Wednesday, November 29, 2017

🐅 10 Wild Cats You Probably Never Heard Of 🦁

Almost everyone knows about Lions, Tigers, (and Bears..Oh My!) and Cheetahs. Well, there are many more wild cats out there, and they are just as majestic and fascinating.

Here are 10 wild cats that you probably never heard of:

(color indicates population threat)

  1. Chinese Mountain Cat - At about 15 pounds in weight, the Chinese Mountain Cat looks much like a common house cat. In fact, except for the tail, it closely resembles a Grey Tabby. Unlike some wild cats, this species lives a solitary life. They live in individual burrows in the ground. Their fur is used for clothing. Location: Found in the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu, it is locally known the "Grass Cat". Diet: It preys upon small animals that make their home in the grasslands and forest edges.They feast on hamsters, moles, birds, and more.
    National Geographic
  2. Pallas's Cat - There are two variations to this small cat that lives in Eurasia - red and grey. Hunted for its fur, and poisoned accidentally, the Pallas's Cat numbers are dwindling. It is sometimes confused with the Chinese Mountain Cat, but to experts, the two are distinct. They do not fare well on the open ground, so they favor ravines, rocks, and heavy plant areas. Location: There are in a circle that contains many countries. Mongolia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Iran are countries that are included in its habitat. Diet: A prey animal, they eat smaller animals such as gerbils, hamsters, birds, and ground squirrels.
    Edinburgh Zoo
  3. Sand Cat - Another small Tabby type cat, the grey Sand Cat is a desert cat, just like the name implies. They have a thick fur on the bottom of their feet that insulates from the scorching temperatures. Since water is scarce, these wild cats have adapted to survive solely on the water they receive from eating their prey. Location: These surprisingly adorable little furballs can be found in many countries across the Sahara Desert. They are also located in the desert areas of the Middle East. Diet: They eat the usual rodents, but due to their desert lifestyle, they will also eat snakes, scorpions, spiders, lizards, and anything else they can find.
    Bristol Zoo
  4. Rusty-spotted Cat - While some cats in this species resemble an Orange Tabby, some are more grey in color. Instead of the typical lines, they have spots of darker color. In fact, they are often mistaken for a domesticated feline. One of the smallest cat species, they are often called the "hummingbird of cats" Location: You will find these rare cats in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Diet: The Rusty-spotted Cat dines on mice, rats, and birds. They are also known to eat frogs and insects.
    Berlin Zoo
  5. Marbled Cat - With spots and wavy lines, this feline does have a "marbled" look to its grey and brown coat. With a really long tail, and a more "big cat" type face, this one resembles house cats less then the others we have looked at so far. With their preferred habitat being forested areas, they are expert climbers. Location: Their circle of habitation includes Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Burma. Diet: Their affinity for the trees means they dine on birds more than some other cats. Marbled  Cats also have the typical diet of rodents.
    Vogt, Karl Christoph, 1817-1895
  6. Geoffroy's Cat - In the Leopard family, this cat got its unusual name from the French zoologist, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Since this species is not threatened, there is quite a bit known about them. They live solitary lives, only coming together to mate. They regularly swim across rivers in their large hunting areas. Location: Living in South America, Geoffroy's Cats are found in Argentina, Uraguay, Brazil, and Chile. Diet: Like others, they eat rodents, rabbits, and birds. Depending on their living area, they will eat water birds such as flamingoes and swans.
    Banham Zoo
  7. Jaguarundi - Related to the Puma, the Jaguarundi has a long body and long tail. The body is usually 20-25 inches long, with the tail being 10-15 inches long. They come in two color variations (Grey and Red), but the exact color will be anywhere on their color's spectrum. Like other small, wild cats, they do not form social groups except during mating seasons. Location: These South American cats are prolific. They can be found in virtually every country. They are even seen in Central America. One was observed as roadkill in the Southernmost area of Texas. Diet: They eat anything that moves. Their diet may vary depending on the area they live, but they eat opossums, rodents, rabbits, birds, and other animals.
    https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7410/10439321046_54844d3aee.jpg
  8. Black-footed Cat -  This cat is the smallest cat in the world. It weighs in at 4 pounds or less when full grown. These cute, spotted cats are endangered for various reasons. They are preyed upon by bigger domestic cats and dogs. They are also commonly hit by cars. Fortunately, there are some in captivity to keep the breed alive. Location: These tiny terrors are fond of eating spiders. Wild specimens lived in South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The only known ones now are in captivity. Diet: The Philidelphia Zoo says that their Black-footed Cats love spiders. Although they are small, they can still kill and eat small birds and rodents.
    Wuppertal Zoo
  9. Flat-headed Cat - Like a raccoon, the Flat-headed Cat will wash objects in water. In fact, it spends all its time in and around water. They get their name from the flattened crown of their head. Their facial structures are normal. With this much time in and around water, pollution is the main thing that has made this species almost extinct. Location: You can find these rare creatures in the rivers, lakes, and swamps of  Borneo, Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia. Diet: These water lovers consume mainly fish. They have distinct paws for this purpose.
    Tangkulap Forest Reserve
  10. Caracal - When you see this majestic cat, you may immediately recognize the black plums that stick out from the top of the ears. If you are like me, you never knew its name. Also known as the "Desert Linx", they are not a true Linx. These are diverse, adaptable creatures and that is shown in their thriving population. Location: They are found in the dry lands of Africa, the Middle East, and India; however, they are not in full desert areas. Diet: As larger cats, the Caracal's diet is varied. They partake in rodents and birds, but also antelope and monkeys. Of course, this isn't their only meals, they hunt and eat most furry animals of the same sizes as these. 
https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1659/25400450736_f838590099.jpg

I hope you learned something new about wild cats. One thing that the research on this article reminded me of is the function of zoos. We all know that no wild animal wants to live in a cage, but without zoo programs, some of these wild animals would no longer exist. Instead of trying to eradicate zoos and aquariums, we should strive to make sure all the zoos in the world meet the best standards.
Aside from the linked references, I used the book, Wild Cats of the World by Luke Hunter (2015).

Monday, November 27, 2017

🍴 Binge Eating - Can I Be Helped?

"Just put down the food." This sentence can be found in the comment section of any story where someone is fat. Whether they are talking about losing weight, gaining weight, or even not talking about weight at all.

If only it were that easy.

A Life Binging


I have lived with binge behavior all my life. Only the face has changed.

People can binge on anything - alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, food, shopping, and video games are the most common things. In today's society, people even "binge watch" TV shows. Unless your binge-watching of Glitch interferes with your ability to be healthy, we won't include that.

At one time, I binged on cigarettes and alcohol - at times, drugs. Around this time I also binged on shopping. As I was trying to quit those things, I started binging on gambling. When social media came out, I binged on MySpace. Eventually, I kicked that habit, too. Now, I binge on food.

Chemical Compulsion


It is easy to be able to blame things on a physical addiction. Drugs and alcohol can make you chemically dependent on the substance, but what if you can't blame a chemical? What if you just have compulsive tendencies?

Actually, you can blame that on a chemical dependency as well.

When you participate in something you find pleasing, your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and other chemicals so that you feel good - happy, satisfied, well. This is great for people that suffer from depression and anxiety.

The problem is that eventually, you don't feel good anymore. That is where I am now.

Choosing Pain over Life


I found out that I have several food allergies - milk, wheat, corn, eggs, tomatoes, and peanuts. That encompasses every food that I like to binge on. I have health problems like fibromyalgia and IBS that are much improved if I steer clear on my food allergies.

At first, it was easy. I just told myself that it was like poison to me. I felt better, so I did good for awhile.

Slowly, the offending foods crept back into my life. I told myself that it was just for today. I told myself that it was just for a special occasion. Now, I can't lie to myself anymore.

I would rather be in pain then follow my diet.

To Control, Admit Defeat


My eating is out of control, much like the other bad habits before that.

Where do I go from here?

Well, I joined Overeaters Anonymous online. I hope that in The Steps, I can find healing - permanent healing - from all my compulsions, instead of just trading one for the other.

The problem with food is that I feel like it isn't as harmful as my previous compulsions, but it is, and I have to learn to see that.


Step One - I admit that I am powerless over food, and my life has become unmanageable.

Step One - Admit you are powerless over food, and your life has become unmanageable. Use the comments!!


photo credit: cold_penguin1952 <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/101440531@N06/24948135508">anasazi_beans_5Div3180</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>









Thursday, November 16, 2017

🐘 Elephant in the Room - Race

I want to talk about race. The cultural differences, protest, and other things that make people feel uncomfortable. That makes me feel uncomfortable. I am not trying to "race bait", I am just trying to open up a dialogue - not about slavery, not about civil rights of the 60s, but about us..today.


Cracker

I will start by saying I am white, like real white. I often jokingly call myself a cracker. People have always said I needed a tan, that they can't look at me without sunglasses, and I've been called translucent, or other similar things that made me feel inferior.

I come from northern European heritage, my ass is flat as a pancake. I exercise, my buns are toned, I just don't carry my fat there. I carry in my boobs and belly. No matter how much I lose, my boobs and belly are not proportionate to the rest of me. The style now is to have that back, but I have a flat back. I want to have the fat taken from my belly and put in my butt, but I don't have money for that.

I also want my size G boobs reduced to size C, but insurances don't cover that, and I don't have the money for it, either, so they are starting to get saggy.

It is fair to say I don't like my appearance very much.

We Don't Even Support or Own Cultures

Yesterday, I read a blog that a Latina wrote about people stereotyping Latinas as being sex pots or great lovers, etc. She says that she doesn't identify with that generalization, but not just white people do it, people of her own heritage do it. She uses examples of Latin TV shows to support her case. You can read it. I linked it above, so I won't go into everything it says.

You see it everywhere now. On the football fields, in blogs, and on the news are many stories about people who are ready to open dialogue for a better society. I don't know about you, but this actually makes me more self-conscious, more awkward, and more reserved - especially the term "white privilege".

I have a few personal stories to tell that have made me also be ready to open some dialogue. The next couple paragraphs will be about that.

Like I said before, I am too white according to other people...mostly whites. I have seen that brown is where to be. If you are on either side of the spectrum, somehow you are not good enough.

It is stylish to have a curvy body, but the curves better be in the right places, or again, you are not good enough.

Some Personal Experiences

The other day, I was at the grocery store walking down the middle main aisle. Two African American ladies...older ladies...came out of a side aisle while I was still a little ways back. They were visiting and stopped, so I just kept walking thinking they will have moved before I got there. They didn't. One lady said, "Come on, baby, you can come through." The other lady said, "I'm not gonna move for her". So, I just said it was ok, I could go around and go down the side aisle.

I don't know the reason why, but I couldn't help but think she didn't want to move because I was white.

My daughter and I lived in the "projects " for about six months when I was down on my luck and health. She was the only little white girl out playing. They had an older African American lady who sold homemade popsicles for 25 cents. All the kids would go buy, so my daughter went with them. She told my 7-year-old daughter that she wouldn't sell to her because she was a "blue-eyed devil". She told her to never even come close to her apartment. I still let my daughter play with other kids. I let other kids come in and play with her. I have never raised my daughter to think some races are better than others. In fact, she is a multiracial friend and dater today.

I had "white bitch" painted on my door one day. My daughter had to see that. We then moved in with a friend of mine where my daughter and I had to share a tiny room, and share the bathroom with 2 other people.

When I tell these stories, I imagine, and sometimes can see, people rolling their eyes. I imagine them thinking,"oh, poor little white girl got her feelings hurt." It is more than that. With the "white privilege" movement, I have got more and more reserved. I don't like talking to people in person. I always feel I am saying the wrong things, even if someone has the same cultural background as me - like I am always skating on thin ice.

I get allergy shots, and everyone at that office is African American. One day I went in sunburnt, so I was joking that I go straight from white to burnt, because I am too white. They laughed, but I got in my car and worried that I was being offensive.

One time in a cultural psychology class, I told the class about my daughter calling any one of another race, brown. She was about 8 at the time. She was telling me something about a classmate, and I said, "oh, the blonde", and she said, "no, the brown girl". I told the class that I didn't correct her. I didn't know what to correct her for as she was using it as a descriptor, so I just didn't say anything. Some of the African American women in the class chuckled and shook their heads, and I was left thinking I had done something wrong but didn't know what.

Present Day

This morning, I brought my daughter, who is now 15, to her counselor's office. At this point, I mainly just keep to myself. With more protest and racial issues, I constantly worry about offending someone or saying the wrong thing. You will usually just find my head in a book or looking at my phone to play a game.

I am pretty closed off. But this morning, an African American woman and child came in. I soon was able to tell that it was a grandmother and teenage granddaughter.

I was struck by how much their stories sound like our stories, not because they were black, but because it was just typical teenage stuff...and typical advice people give teenagers. A couple times I wanted to make a comment, but I am worried about saying stuff that shows "white privilege" or whatever.

At the moment that she was telling her granddaughter about making a career for herself and never counting on a man to provide for her, I decided to open up.

I said, "I always tell my daughter the same thing". We got to talking and found we shared a love for animals. I have fish, cats, and dogs, and so does she. I had a dog named Bright Eyes as a kid, and they had one previously, too. We have owned all sorts of small animals, and so had she. We had a great conversation about instilling pride and self-esteem into young girls, and the time was passed in a better way than me sitting and staring at my phone.

Had I been afraid to say anything, I would have missed the joy of meeting this woman and her granddaughter.

Where Do We Go?

That is what prompted me to write this blog. At what point do we make the gap between us bigger? At what point do we fear being ourselves so much that we just shut ourselves off from everyone?

Is there a way to open positive dialogue without pushing people away?

Can we just accept that some people say the wrong thing? I mean, I think everyone does that at some time. Can't we just be more forgiving, more lenient?

At what point do we find a way to build people up without tearing others down? I truly believe there has to be a way.

Today

In my daughter's school, people of all races are friends with each other. There are gay people, trans people, people of different cultural backgrounds, and they all have friends, and they all get dates.

They think nothing of inter-racial couples. I hate to think that we have to wait for them to grow up so the world can change. Maybe there's a way that everyone can work together to make that change today.

I don't know what the answer is. I wrote this because I would love to see some comments from different people, and their perspectives and experiences. 

photo credit: neeravbhatt <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/74601184@N00/27480671053">Modern Multi Racial England</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Burning Tree 🌲True Mysteries #2

I guess I was about 4 when we moved to the country, and let me tell ya, it was the country. To get down the road to and from our house, we had to open a cattle gate. The electric poles were run just for us, and we had a party line and a private well. Our land had to be cleared of wax myrtles and organic debris. We would even have cows wander through while we were working.

It was a magical place. Not far from a river, we knew that Native Americans had lived there, but it became real for us when we started finding arrowheads. At night you could always hear an owl screech or the scream of a black panther. They both can sound like a woman screaming, and at times it would scare the bejeezus out of me. The story I am about to tell, I will admit, that I don't remember.

I will tell it to you as my mom told it to me.



When we moved "out to the country", we purchased land with some of my parent's friends, so we weren't the only ones out cleaning and working. One day, my mom saw a fire in a wooded area a little ways away. She said that it looked like only the top of the tree was burning. It was a pine tree used for lumbering, so the top was a good ways off. She decided to go check it out, and we started walking with some of our neighbors. We got out to where it looked like the tree was, but could no longer smell smoke and we didn't see anything burning. We didn't even see anything that ever had been burnt.

It was a clear day - no lightening. I am sure that people can say the burning wasn't in the place we thought it was, or that it was just some crazy reflection, but I prefer to think it was something else. Maybe, it was a welcoming, or a warning, from the native spirits of the land. Whatever it was, it still remains a mystery.

Do you have any mysterious true stories? Please leave them in the comments!

photo credit: `James Wheeler <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/24128704@N08/8722343348">Distant Campfire</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

🦉15 Fascinating Facts About Owls🦉

Owls are beautiful and majestic. They have been the subject of decor and art through the ages. The world is currently experiencing a resurgence in the love of owls. Here are 15 fascinating facts about owls.


  1. Their feathers are designed for hunting. - Unlike other birds whose feathers make sounds while flying, the owl is designed for silence. They have soft feathers with a velvety cover that makes movement virtually silent.
  2. Owls groom each other. - Like many birds, owls must groom themselves to get rid of parasites and to spread natural oils. Since they can not groom their own heads, other owls do it for them. Similar to the way one dog licks another dog's ears.
  3. The natural oils on an owl serve more than one purpose. - The owl secretes an oil at the base of their tail that is spread to other areas in grooming. This oil protects feathers and repels water. It also turns to Vitamin D in sunlight.
  4. Owls experience Reversed Sexual Size Dimorphism. - In these species, the female is larger than the male. The reason is still up for debate, but some experts believe that it is because the females must protect the eggs while the male hunts. A smaller size owl is a more successful hunter because he can't be seen easily.
  5. Young owls may not see humans as a threat. - Surprisingly, it is sometimes relatively easy to catch a young owl. In the past, people saw this as a by-product of poor daytime vision. It is now known that while owls do see better at night, this does not mean that they are blind in the daylight.
  6. Owls have three eyelids. - While most other birds use their bottom lid to close the eye, owls use the top lid - like humans. They have a third lid called a nictitating membrane that they close when they get close to prey. This protects their eye.
  7. Like other predators, owls have binocular vision. - Birds and other prey animals have eyes on the side of their head. They turn their head, or bob their head, to get a better view for gauging distances. Owls can accurately judge distance while remaining still.
  8. Humans gather 3 - 9 times less light than owls. - Perfect for nighttime hunting, the owl's pupils can get very large in a short amount of time; however, the myth that owls can see in no light at all is false. The owl eye needs to be sensitive to light, so they sacrifice color variation for this trait.
  9. Owls can catch prey using their ears alone. - The ears of owls are large openings. They also have loose feathers and a movable flap of skin to open and close the ear hole. Even the facial disk is designed to focus sound to the ear openings.
  10. Baby owls take a long time to swallow their food. - With parents feeding them prey that is not much smaller than them, owlets can take up to ten minutes to swallow their dinner. They quickly gulp their food to avoid having it stolen.
  11. The female owl will make the meat acceptable for owlets. - During feeding times, the female owl will consume the head and stomach organs of prey. The easily digested parts are then fed to the owlets.
  12. Owls cough up "owl pellets". - While the digestive juices of the owl are more acidic than human juices, the owl still can't digest everything. They regurgitate what they can not process and this is called owl pellets. They contain teeth, bones, and hair.
  13. Courtship is ended with a feeding. - Owls will sometimes mate for life, but sometimes they will want a new mate. Courting starts with displays like special wing flapping and special sounds. It ends when the male brings prey to the female.
  14. The dead chicks are eaten. - The male owl must make at least ten trips a day to feed the mother. When the chicks hatch, the male must make even more trips for food. The weakest chicks will die and be consumed by their siblings.
  15. Unlike many birds, the owl doesn't have just one laying. - An owl nest is huge. It has to be as there will be the mother and owlets of different ages in the nest. Unfortunately, this means that the older chicks will survive and the youngest will become a meal.
If you are interested in learning more about owls, pick up the book "Owls of the World" by Dr. James R. Duncan. That is where I got information for my article, and this is only an extremely small snippet of what is in the book.

Do you have any good owl stories? Please leave them in the comment section.

photo credit: kishorebhargava <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/18094672@N00/28139926179">Togetherness</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

😸How to Toilet Train Your Cat🚽

Most cat owners hate the litter box, in fact, I can't think of any reason someone would like it. Well, I guess if your cat pees on the carpet, then you would say, "Use the litterbox!". Then you would be liking the litter box.

Some cats go outside, but maybe you live in an apartment, or by a crazy person who kills cats. In this case, training your cat to use the toilet would be a blessing.

So, how do you train a cat to use the toilet? Well, first thing first, you need to know that this can be a lengthy process - up to 6 months. Second, it works better if you have a cat dedicated toilet and a people dedicated toilet.

Take it easy! If you try to rush it, you can cause serious behavior problems for your fur-baby. Don't rush it. I find that it is best to go in with the attitude of, "If it works, Great".."If not, Great". You should never get a cat and base your ownership on being able to toilet-train it.
  1. Decide if you want to buy a set-up or make one yourself with items around the house.
    • Citi-Kitty - This has everything you need to get started. This product has 3 stars on Amazon.
    • Litter Kwitter - This is another kit that you can get to start the training. It has 3.5 stars on Amazon.
    • You can also make the set-up yourself using an aluminum pie tin and flushable cat litter.
  2. Start by placing the litter by the toilet. Slowly over the course of a couple weeks, raise the height of the litter box using books, crates, whatever...just as long as it holds the cat's weight and doesn't cause a cat to have a litter box on his head. Once you get level with the toilet, leave it a few days, and then go to the next step.
  3. Now, you want to close the toilet seat and place the litter box on top. Have the cat use the box here for at least a week.
  4. If your kitty has successfully made it this far, it is time for fun.
    • Put some flushable litter in the pie tin (or container from the kit) and place it so that it is between the toilet seat and the bowl. Let the cat use this for at least 5 days.
    • Cut a small hole in the tin and her use that for a few days. Keep making the hole larger and larger over time until you remove the tin completely. At any time, if your cat starts to not use the toilet, go back a step until your four-legged family member is comfortable.  (If you have a pre-made kit, they will have punch-outs for you to use.)
  5. Now that your cat is using the toilet, you can install an automatic flusher, like this one with a motion sensor. That way the mess goes down on its own, and you don't come home to a smelly house.
Good luck on your adventures, and please let me know in the comments how you successfully potty trained your cat. Heck, let us know if you were unsuccessful, too.


🐠Betta - A Fish With Personality🐟

I have owned fish many times in the past, and so has my daughter. After not having one for years, I bought a Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish). These little creatures can survive in surprisingly small containers with low oxygen levels; however, I wanted mine to have room.

I always feel so sorry for the Bettas in the containers at the pet store, and even more sorry for the ones that go to a home and have to live in small containers still. I wanted mine to come home to a castle. I got a one-gallon tank, a filter, some small gravel and larger rocks, a "temple" decoration, and 3 things called "Betta Buddies".

This is how I started the tank.
  1. I went to my local pet store and picked out a tank, some decorations, the "buddies", and Flinn (our Betta).
  2. I placed the tank where I was going to want it and placed all the decorations inside.
  3. After that, I filled up the tank with water and set up the filter.
  4. Then, I followed the directions on Tetra BettaSafe to treat the water.
  5. Now, I put the Betta Buddies in where I thought they should go.
  6. Finally, I put Flinn in the tank. I just poured him in from his little plastic bowl he came in.
When I first put the Buddies in, I really thought it would be something for me to look at, but the fish wouldn't care one way or another. How wrong I was! He loves them. He lays on them and pushes them around his house. I got another plant, and he lays on it, too.

He has so much personality that I never noticed in other fish. One time he was lying on his temple and he looked dead...I was tearing up. I never cried over a dead fish, but I have really bonded with this one. Luckily, he was alive.

I feed him twice a day, putting only 3 pieces of BettaFood in the morning and evening. When he comes up, I drop it right in front, so that he gets it before it falls. It cuts down on tank cleaning.

When I feed Flinn, I usually watch him for awhile. Sometimes he swims around his tank and he lays on his plant, then to the Buddies to lay on them, then to his temple to lay on it - he likes to make the rounds. I always imagine him saying, "I love my stuff. I love my plant. I love my Buddies. I love my temple."

Our fish guy, Chris, said that yes, you can leave your Betta in a cramped bowl with dirty water, and they will live for awhile - many people do this - but he said his Betta lived 10 years because he had a filter and a heater. I want to do this for Flinn.

UPGRADE!!

Soon I am going to give Flinn his upgrade so he can have a heater. I also want to give him a sucker fish. Betta will happily share a tank with other non-Bettas as long as they don't feel threatened by them.

I feel like Flinn is so special, maybe he is, or maybe I am just starting empty nest syndrome. My daughter is 15 and is off doing other things more and more.

Whatever the reason, it's a good thing I don't eat fish anyways.

Have you ever owned a fish with personality? Please let us know in the comments.

🐾7 Incredible Mixed Breed Dogs🐾

It seems that “full breed” or “registered” dogs are all the rage. They are certainly all the money. Well, breeds aren’t always “all that”. Here are 7 mixed breed dogs that have defied the stereotypes to prove that “mutts” aren’t too shabby.

1. Call me sheltered, but I have never seen this before. I grew up with dogs. We never had fewer than 10 dogs at a time, but I have never seen a dog climb a ladder….and yes, we had ladders, too. Watch this video, and you will see Milo climb out of the ocean on a ladder. To top that, he is even carrying what I assume to be his favorite flip-flop.

https://youtu.be/FhSQ0DV_LKc

2. A man with morbid obesity gets a challenge from a nutritionist – adopt a shelter dog. He adopted Peety, a middle-aged, overweight dog. This short film is about a man who thinks he is saving a dog’s life, but the dog ends up saving his life. On this channel, Omeleto, are many stories about people helping animals, and them helping right back. Have your tissues ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t14DA0EYjt8

3. Rocket was almost euthanized for being too “hyper”. “But Andrea Bergquist, who volunteers with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, saw something special about him and adopted him. This is the story of a Border Collie mix that was on the verge of death that went on to save people that were on the verge of death.

http://www.countryliving.com/life/inspirational-stories/news/a44603/rocket-search-dog-hurricane-harvey/

4. http://www.dogsgossip.com is a place where dog lovers can come together and share stories about their special four-legged family members. That is where we found out about the amazing dog that survived the tsunami in Japan and stayed by his canine friend until help arrived. It had a link to the Yahoo story, which had a little more detail, and an update. Read about this loyal mutt here.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/dog-japan-stays-side-ailing-friend-rubble-20110316-073316-158.html

5. Meet Effie, the cancer sniffing dog. Her owner credits her with finding breast cancer that mammograms did not pick up. It was this shelter dog’s persistence that led to her owner's persistence in insisting to the doctors that something was not right. This difficult to place foster dog found a permanent home with her foster parents.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/amazing-rescue-dogs-marlo-thomas_n_2025921.html?slideshow=true#gallery/251847/0

6. Some dogs just want to have fun, and this mix breed has found his way. Bringing new meaning to snow dog! Watch as this fur-baby fills his time sliding down an icy hill. Ya, Ya…at first I thought it would be a boring video, too. Nope.

http://thebullybreeds.com/2017/01/20/dog-repeatedly-slides-down/

7. Worried about living alone? Just teach your dog important things like learning CPR. I never watch dog shows, but after seeing this video, I think I may start. It really motivates me to try and do more with my fur-babies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu_rLIq7-5o

I hope these stories have shown you that shelter dogs are awesome. You don't always have to pay high dollar to get a great four-legged family member. If you want a certain breed then try your shelter and rescues before you buy.

If you have an amazing mixed-breed, mutt dog, let us know in the comments.

🕰️The Art of Procrastination🖐️

Procrastination - The age-old problem of putting things off.

Well, maybe it isn't ages old. If you think about it, in prior millennium, procrastination severely limited your chance of survival. Food was scarce and competition was high. If you said, "ah, I won't fish today, maybe I will go tomorrow." Odds are, you didn't eat much that day, and if the weather turned, you didn't eat much the next couple days either. So maybe, procrastination is a new age problem. Whatever the case, it is certainly a problem with me.

I could blame it on mental illness; I could blame it on physical illness, but I think it comes down to too many ways to waste time in the modern age. With Cell Phones, Computers, Social Media, and Games galore, people always seem to find something else to do. Gone are the days of being bored and playing a game with family, being bored and doing some writing or drawing, and just plain being bored.

Of course, our fast-paced lifestyle contributes to procrastination. We have scheduled every last iota of our day, even our kid's day, to the result of exhaustion. There never seems enough time to use your mind to figure out stuff to do; never time to do those things you know need to be done. We all get by just doing what has to be done, and the rest goes on the back burner.

For when? Sometimes never.

I have been trying to make a conscious effort of not playing games on my phone, not surfing the web while I "wake up", and not turning on the TV when I take a break.

Will you join me?

🐶3 Things I Learned from Dogs in Poverty💸

I dog blog for a living. Not this blog, but one for someone else. (Side Note: I am a procrastinator, and it is hard for me to be motivated to do things when I don't have a deadline.) Today while scouring the internet for material for my latest topics, I noticed something. Something I found astonishing.
  1. Dogs lying on an expensive dog bed, and dogs lying on an old blanket had the same look of peace, safety, and contentment.
  2. Dogs playing with their owner and a $15 dollar toy from the pet store didn't look any happier than dogs playing with their owner and an old stick from the yard.
  3. Dogs eating expensive food from the refrigerator section didn't look any happier than dogs eating food that came from the dry food aisle at Walmart.
After a little thought, I realized that dogs are happy. They don't think about what they should have, what they could have, or what they used to have. They take what they have and make it the best thing ever. Here is what I learned.
  1. True happiness comes from being content with the things you DO have.
  2. True contentment comes from appreciating the little things every day brings.
  3. Stop looking ahead, stop looking behind - enjoy this moment.
Maybe animals are smarter than humans.

🌜Scary Night on Cemetery Road - True Mysteries #1⚰️

I decided to do a mini-series of true, unexplained events that my family and I have experienced. This one is my story. I would love to hear any similar stories that you have! Just leave it in the comments.

I jumped out of bed and started packing. A few years before, my grandparents had moved out to the country, and we all loved it. This was my week of the summer to stay at the old farmhouse on Cemetery Road. I couldn't get there fast enough.

Expect Us to Arrive Late

We pulled up and parked by the front gate. My cousin's family was already there, as usual, we were always late. The times I stayed with Grandmaw and Pawpaw was usually with my cousin that was closest in to me in age. We would spend hot summer days canoeing in the pond, making hidey-holes in the hay loft, finding old graves in the cemetery, and looking for four-leaf clovers. This stay would end up being a little different.

"I got a tent for y'all", Grandmaw said as we went into the house. I loved this house. Small and cozy with the constant smell of good food. We usually made tents with the dining room chairs and sheets, so we were happy at the idea of having a real tent to put outside. "Can we sleep in it outside tonight?", I asked, "Sure", said Grandmaw. Pawpaw helped us set up the tent outside their bedroom window, and we started to play.

Playmates to Strangers

My cousin loved to play school and office, and so did I. We were used to playing together, so it came easily. There were times when my Grandmaw would get three cousins together, but that would usually end in a third wheel. Kids are mean, my child self included; when there were three, bullying and alienation would occur. For that reason, it didn't take my Grandmaw long to learn that kids staying in pairs was the best way to go. Sometimes I still remember times when I was mean and nasty; I feel bad, but I can't go back. I am not close to any of my cousins now, with Grandmaw and Pawpaw gone, I only see them once a year...sometimes not even that.

A Normal Night in the Woods - at First

Dark was falling so we finished up supper - hamburger steaks with A-1 Sauce, mashed potatoes, and snap beans - a regular in their house with ingredients coming from the backyard garden - watched a little TV, and then at bed time, we headed back out to the tent.

At first, we weren't scared. We were used to the sounds of nighttime in the woods - screeching owls, screaming panthers, crickets, frogs, and bats. We started playing again. We had the mesh "windows" open, but it was a little freaky as we couldn't see outside. It was just black when the lantern was on and we would look out, so we closed them. My grandparents lived on Cemetery Road. They were the last house before the road dead-ended into the cemetery with graves that dated back to the late 1700s. It is still in use, with my grandparents and dad being buried on our family section.

This road wasn't like you see roads now. The last time I drove out, it had been black-topped with asphalt, but at this time it was still pebble - little pebbles of all different kinds held together with tar (I'm assuming). The pebbles were of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. On the sides of the road and in potholes were loose stones. There wasn't much traffic with only four houses, and rarely did anyone come all the way down. We just had the occasionally cemetery visitor passing. I spent many hours sitting in the road collecting quartz and other shiny unusual rocks, but I digress.

Other Sounds in the Night

Around midnight my cousin and I started hearing a strange noise.

"What is that?"

"I don't know."

We could hear a sound like something dragging over the pebble road - maybe a metal wagon being pulled over it, or chains dragging down it. Our eyes were as big as saucers. It continued, so we unzipped a window and peered out, but even with the streetlight at the road, we couldn't see anything.

The dragging sound was very distinct given the material the road was made of. It was a sound that we had heard before while playing on the road with things in the past. The sound was coming from the direction of the cemetery, but it was moving towards us.

We turned off our light and tried to keep quiet.

Finally, when it sounded like it was in front of the house, I unzipped the tent door and stood up looking over the tent.

Nothing was there.

Screams and Screen Doors

I could clearly hear the dragging sound; I was looking straight at the area it sounded like it was coming from, but I could see in the moonlight that nothing was there.

Screaming, my cousin and I ran through the back door and into the house. As the screen door slammed behind us my grandparents were jumping out of bed saying, "What is going on?!"

"There is something out there!"

"On the road - someone on the road!"

Pawpaw runs out with his shotgun, disappearing into the night, front door flung open. He walks back in, "Nothing's out there. I didn't hear anything". We walk out and sure enough, the sound was gone.

"It was probably the chickens."

"No, we swear it was someone on the road!"

"They were dragging something!"

"We could hear it passing on the road!"

In our fear and excitement, my cousin and I were talking over each other.

"Well, whatever, just go to bed", said Grandmaw.

We headed into the spare bedroom. No way were we going back out to the tent.

Light of Day - Memories the Same

That morning, we awoke to the smell of blueberry muffins. My Grandmaw was a phenomenal cook (a trait I did not inherit). She would bake these muffins from scratch using the blueberries that grew on the bush by the side of the house. They were gooey deliciousness. Of course, we couldn't stop telling the story of the noise on the road.

My grandparents just stuck to the, "It was the chickens", "They were probably just flapping their wings in the coop", story.

Today I can still remember that night very clearly. It wasn't the chickens. The chicken coup was on the other side of the catch pen that was on the other side of the house. The dragging sound wasn't coming from our right, it came from the left and ended up straight in front of us. It was definitely on the road. To this day, no one can convince me that it wasn't a brush with the "other side'.

Do you have a ghostly encounter? Tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, November 13, 2017

🥠The Wisdom of Fortune Cookies🥠

I never saved fortune cookie messages. Sure, they are fun when you are sitting at the table sharing with others, but no real revelations. Like many, I have been unhappy with many of the new fortune cookie fortunes. They are not really "fortunes" - you know?

Now, I have two fortunes that I have in my wallet so I can see every time I open it. This is their stories.
  • You will find yourself in a position of dignity in the end. - This is one of those messages that people don't usually like to get. Ones that say,"You will meet someone special today" or "You will gain something you have always wanted" are usually the coveted cookies. The thing is, this fortune cookie was cracked at a very undignified time in my life. I was sick and on pain meds. If you have ever been on pain meds, you know that you are not treated well. You are drug tested, you get dirty looks at the pharmacy, and people just dismiss you as an addict. I would also get stomach pains so severe that I could only lay and moan, or stand and moan. Whatever position I was in when they started, I had to stay in. I couldn't move. So there were a couple times I would be standing in the bathroom moaning and crying out - while my pants were down around my ankles. My family would just stand there and watch helplessly. I wasn't feeling very dignified. This fortune was just what I needed. It represents that one day I will feel better, I will work steadily again, I will be able to do more chores again, I will be whole again.

  • The measure of time to your next goal is the measure of your discipline. - I am a procrastinator that comes from a long line of procrastinators. It is hard for me to get motivated to do things when I don't see an immediate gain. This trait is probably easy to see if you look at the publishing dates of my blogs. I go in fits and starts. It doesn't help that I am on medicines that make me feel lazy and relaxed. I write for others, but my dream is to make a living writing for myself - my blogs, my books, my poems, whatever. When writing for others, I get paid when I turn in my work, so I get it in quick so I can make that money. For my own stuff, I do it whenever..I put it off...I make no money with it right now, so it is easy to make excuses to myself. I got this fortune a couple days ago and it really speaks to my issues right now. It lit a fire under me, and hopefully, I can keep it lit.
Have you ever received a fortune from a fortune cookie that really spoke to you? Please share in the comments. Thanks!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

😟My Suicidal Daughter😔

Original Publication - 5/14/2017

I haven't written this week, because the one thing on my mind, I wasn't ready to write about.
It's not because writing about it makes it "real", it was already pretty real. I think it is more because as long as it stays in my mind, I can delay having to make tough decisions. Once I get it out in the open, it becomes obvious that I can't just keep going like it didn't happen - even though my daughter also tries to do that.

I am no stranger to suicidal thoughts and actions, but I hoped and prayed that my daughter would be. Recently it became obvious that she would suffer from mental illness as I have. She was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. She is in counseling and on medication, but the process takes time.

No quick fixes here.

Anyways, this is how we spent our Saturday night a week ago.

When Crying Sounds Like Singing

My husband muted the TV and said, "What is that noise?". I said, "It's Bee singing".

My daughter loves to sing. She has a microphone and amplifier in the room upstairs. We don't heat and cool the upstairs as we are a small family, but she goes up there and uses one of the rooms like other kids would use a tree-house.

5 minutes later

"What is that?" Arthur mutes the TV again. "I think she is crying", I say. "That's what I was thinking", Arthur again.

I walk to the door that leads to the stairs to go up. I yell, "What's going on?". "Nothing!", Bee tells me, but I can tell by the thick, watery sound that she had been crying.

"Hold on, I am coming up."

I walk into the room, and Bee is sitting half on and half off her beanbag chair that she has just received as an Easter present. She looks a mess, of course, she had been crying. She has her phone in her hand.

I walk in and sit on the bed and ask, "What happened?!". Again, the "Nothing" comes from her red swollen face.

"No, Bee. Tell me what happened." "Did someone say something?"

"No, I just can't take it anymore!! I just saw something!! Someone took my sister, and she was calling for me, and I couldn't help her!"

I turn into mother mode and start calming her down. "OK, come here. Get off the floor."

"Oh, ok, you cut yourself."

There are two long cuts on her wrist. "Where did you get a blade? I thought we locked everything up?", I ask. Bee's voice is monotone when she says, "I took apart a pencil sharpener."

"That's OK. Let's go down and clean it."

Bee gets up. She is still crying. "I couldn't cut deep enough! I couldn't cut deep enough!"

"I know, honey. It's OK. Let's go downstairs."

In the bathroom, I see that her cuts were deeper than she had ever made them before. Thankfully, they weren't deep enough for stitches.

Suicidal or Cutting

"Was this just cutting again, or were you trying to kill yourself?" Bee just sits there and shakes her head "Yes".

" Alright. it's going to be alright", I was saying just as much to myself as I was to her.

"Let's get you in the bath, and we will just go lie down. I will sleep with you tonight." The entire process Bee completed in robot mode.

"Take off your clothes."

"Step into the bath."

"Here I can wash your hair."

"Wash your body."

"Pull the plug."

Every step needs to be said, or she will just stand there...staring. Staring into an uncertain future? Staring into the black abyss of hopelessness? Staring into the memory of things seen that never really happened? I don't know.

The Never-ending End

So, I did sleep with her - that night and the next. We got her to her psych nurse and counselor. We instituted the rule, again, that she can't stay by herself.

Is this the end? I hope. Honestly, it is probably just the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. When you have a mental illness, there is never really an end. Just a life punctuated by fits and starts - dark and light - forward and backward.

The cycle of madness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

🌞Summer Party Supplies🎉

Summer is the time for parties. Birthday parties, Holiday parties, and good weather get-to-togethers are everywhere you look. If you want to throw a party to remember, or one so people will come back next year, then you need to make sure you have these "to die for" items - especially if you live in the South.

Mosquito Control

These little buggers can ruin an outdoor party in a hurry. Luckily you have a few options when it comes to killing or mosquitos.
Personal Products
The first thing people think about in mosquito control is their own bodies. You can just use the can of bug repellent that gets sprayed everywhere, but that may not be the best option for your guests. Many guests will take care of this on their own, but a good host will provide care to those guest that forgot.
  • Off Botanicals Spray - This is what I use personally.  It doesn't have a strong odor, and it is lighter and less greasy than the original sprays. I have eczema, so I try to put only natural products on my skin. I also spray it on my clothes and have never noticed any spotting or staining. It does look like this product is being phased out in favor of their "Family Care" line.
  • Bug Repellent Wipes - This is what my mom uses, and I have to say that when I run out of my botanical spray, I will probably get these. When you have the wipes, you don't get spray in your mouth, eyes, nose, plate, and well - everywhere. You just open and wipe the exposed skin. It is also light and airy.
  • Clip - Ons - I found that these did not work, but for our last hurricane, all the National Guard and Power Company employees have these. There must be something to it that I didn't do right, or maybe it was the brand I used. This is definitely great for the people who have sensitive skin. These get real fancy, too. They come in bracelet styles, and you can even get them with fans to circulate the repellent.
Area Products
In my area, you can get the parish mosquito control unit to come out and spray before your outdoor wedding or another special get-together. But if the price is too high, or you just like to do it yourself, there are many options to choose from.
  • Plants - This is the perfect solution for someone who gardens as well. If you have your lawn sculpted by someone else, no problem, just have them artfully throw these beneficial herbs around in your landscaping. Basil, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Marigold, Lavender, and Mint are just a few of the plants that will naturally repel bugs and sweeten up any outdoor party. You don't need a large garden, either. Most of these herbs can be easily grown in pots.
  • Insect Traps and Lights - I have no experience with the traps, but I have been to many an outdoor party that had "bug zappers". The zappers never really seemed to work. Yes, they killed thousands of insects, many months, and the occasional lizard, but we still had bugs biting us. What is the point in all the murder and mayhem if people are still fighting the bite?
  • Citronella Candles and Torches - You can get these cheap from your local store, or get the decorative torches from your local hardware store. There is debate on the efficacy of them. I will be honest and say that I haven't used them much. The parties that I have been to that had them had them sparsely placed throughout the backyard. They didn't seem to work much. From what I see, you have to get ones with actual Citronella. The Citronella "Scented" ones don't work. Size also matters, with ones having a larger surface area working the best.
  • Sprays - There is always the old standby - poison. It is pretty effective, but not the best choice is kids are playing in the sprinkler or adults are engaging in games in the yard. I won't get into the debate about the safety of such products. Once again (because we live in a capitalist, free-market society), there are many options to choose from. You can get ones that attach to your garden hose, foggers, or garden sprayers. Just make sure to spray it in time for it to completely dry before your shindig starts.

Party Games

The best parties have things for people to do. Especially if you are inviting people who know you, but don't really know each other. Having games to play gets everyone loosened up and gets the conversations flowing. You don't want a party where the only thing to do is watch the dogs play or talk about the weather.
Adult Games
  • Washers - You can make this yourself and here is how. People I know will decorate the boards with favorite sports teams, but feel free to do your own thing. Its similar to horseshoes and at the parties I have been to, people are always on the board.
  • Horseshoes - It may seem old-fashioned, but many parties still through the horseshoes. It is still just as fun as it used to be. The team style of the game gets the party started and keeps it going for hours.
  • Darts - Whether you just get a manual board and scoreboard set or a digital game with automatic score keeping, darts was, is, and always will be a popular party game. Just make sure you are responsible about placement. It is a real downer when someone loses an eye at your party.
  • Board Games - I remember when Pictionary first came out. It was a staple at my families Barbecues and the occasional Cochon de Lait. While the men set around watching the meat, and the kids played in the fire (I grew up in the country.OK?), the women were in the house laughing and screaming in out-right fun over the Pictionary board.
Kids Games
You don't have to rent a blow-up to make sure the kids at your parties have fun. Let's face it, the weather doesn't always cooperate and sometimes you just don't have the money. Instead, invest in items that are reusable. When getting those things, don't forget backup games in case the weather doesn't hold. Everyone these days has a Wii or a Playstation, be the house that dares to be different.
  • Water Games - Sure, you could just set out the sprinkler, but why do that when you can really set the atmosphere. There are many water toys out there for all ages. You can have the toddler area and the big kid area.
  • Croquet - This old-fashioned game is still tons of fun. At my house, we still love to get out the old croquet set and play in the yard. it is also great when your teen starts hanging out with boy/girlfriends. Keeps them out in the open and in sight. it is also a great icebreaker.
  • Bounce Houses - It used to be that if someone had one of these in the yard, you knew they put out some money. Now, in most areas, you can rent these for a relatively low price. They have ones geared towards smaller kids, and even ones that teens and young adults will enjoy.

Party Food

You don't want to be the person that always brings a fruit or veggie tray, or if you host the party, you want something all your own. Try these easy recipes.
  • Dorito Casserole - This is my mom's recipe. It was always a hit for her, and it is always a hit for me. It is still the dish that I request every year for my birthday dinner, and a much requested dish in my house as well. Here is that recipe.
  • Cocktail Meats - You may know these already. I am not sure if it is a Southern thing or not, so I will still put it out here. I love these. I hardly ever eat meat, but I can never pass these ups. You can make a crockpot with each, or combine them in one pot. Just put 2 packs of miniature smoked sausages or 2 packs of meatballs (you can also use 1 pack of each). Put them in your slow cooker with 1 jar of grape jelly and 1 bottle of barbecue sauce. Cook on high for 2 hours before serving. You can leave the cooker on low for the whole party, just make sure it the sauce doesn't dry out.
  • If these don't float your boat, there are many websites out there to help you. Here are some I really like to peruse - Allrecipies.com and Martha Stewart. If you want a distinctive southern dish, try this, and this, and this.

Party Decorations

I still love decorations. No matter how old I get, confetti, glitter, and streamers still put me in the party mood. here are some tips for cheap, easy decorations. Some you can even save and reuse.
  • Dollar Tree - Don't make the dollar store mistake. They are not always cheaper. I used to work at Dollar Tree and they have some real bargains. Everything is $1 and sometimes they have clearance sales where everything is $.50. When my daughter was a kid, this store was a must for her birthday parties.
  • Oriental Trading Company - This magazine used to make its rounds in almost every office I have ever worked in. i don't know if they still make a magazine, but they do have a convenient website that has tons of deals, bargains, and creative decor.
  • DIY - You don't have to be limited by someone else's imagination, and you don't have to go shopping at an expensive craft store. Walmart, Target, and other retailers have everything you need to put your guest in the mood. Create an original "themed" wreath, personalized confetti, collages, and more.
I hope this blog is useful to someone. I know some of it is "common" knowledge, but sometimes "common" knowledge isn't all that common. Some of the things in here are things I learned over time. After throwing parties and realizing I should have done certain things, my know-how increased.
Thanks for reading!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

☯️Tao Te Ching - Female Voice - ASMR Page Turning and Sssss☯️

ASMR Whisper Role Play "How to Make Money Online"

🎁Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas👩 2018 Gifts for Mom

My daughter got me an early Mother's Day gift when she was out-of-town with family last week. I just love it. She knows exactly what I like. It got me in the mood to do a gift list. When you get the right gift for mom, life just seems to go better.

Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas

1. Purple Agate Bookends - Perfect for the avid reader, these beautiful bookends are each one of a kind. They are a nature made conversation piece that your mom will love to show off. If these aren't the right gift for mom, check out Earthbound Trading Company. They have tons of hand-made, unique gift items.
2. Oil Diffuser Set with Oils - I will have to find a way to show my husband this set. My diffuser recently gave up the ghost. This set has a nice wood style oil diffuser with 16 of the most popular essential oils. Aromatherapy is very trendy right now and something I can vouch for. This makes a great starter kit for Mother's Day.
3. Annabelle Doll - My husband's mother is a doll collector. This unusual doll is from the horror flick, The Conjuring. It would work for a doll collector or a horror buff. Actually, I may get it for my daughter for her birthday. Maybe not, she probably would be scared to sleep with it in her room.
4. Birth Stone Charm Bracelet - A nice variation to the "Mother's Ring", this bangle bracelet is quite stylish. In fact, I think I would prefer this gift for mom over the more traditional rings. You also get to put the initial of the children with the birthstone - a unique touch. For great personalized gifts for mom, just browse Etsy.
5. Guided Meditations - I listen to guided meditations almost every day. They are great for relaxing and unwinding. One of my favorite guides is Jason Stephenson. He is on YouTube, but he also sells CDs for all different kinds of needs - sleep, stress relief, healing, etc.
6. All-Natural Yoga Mat - These Eco-friendly yoga mats are great for your Earth angel mom. I love doing yoga on natural mats. They really make you feel grounded. Mats are not just for yoga. My husband uses a mat for sit-ups and other exercises. They are great for laying out on the beach and in the yard, too.
7. Herb Garden Kit - This kit has everything your mom needs to start her very own herb garden. Great for the culinary mom or the mom with the green thumb. This particular one is from Bed Bath & Beyond, but you can find other styles at various places online.
8. Planner Stickers - This is a great gift for the mom who is never without her day calendar.  These stickers will bring flair to any calendar or planner. If you don't think these are the right ones, they have plenty others to choose from at The Happy Planner.
9. Cooling Towel - You don't have to spend a lot to get a great gift for mom. I used to have an outdoor job, and these towels were a life saver. If your mom does outdoor activities, she will appreciate this gift in the hot summer heat.
10. Summer Emergency Kit - A cute gift for the poolside mom. Give this gift to your beach bunny mom to avoid getting burned this Mother's Day. Everything your mom needs from flip-flop fixer to bandages.
11. Roadside Emergency Kit - Your mom always made sure you were safe, now you can do the same for her. This kit will do in all sorts of emergencies. It just depends on what you classify as an "emergency". If you want a real rough and tough kit, click here.
12. Beginner Harp - Now that you are out of the house, your mom has time to do all those things that she dreamed of. Maybe one of those things was learning an instrument. I always wanted to learn the harp, but you can get whatever you think your mom would like as a Mother's Day gift.
13. Closet Organizer - Is your mom a clothes horse? Does she shop till she drops - and then some? She would love a closet organizer. They have all types with a variety of prices, but think of the money she has spent on you. If you have it to give, why not give it to mom.
14. Coaster Set - After all that yelling, "Put your drink on the coaster!!", it finally sank in. Show her you were listening by getting her a new coaster set. They have all kinds to pick from at CafePress.
15. Affordable Art - In the home or at the office, nice art can help calm and inspire. If you don't have to spend a lot to get a nice work of art. Whether it is original or a print, art makes a great gift for mom on Mother's Day.

👁️Do You See in Your Dreams?🌃

In the last few years, I have had a major spiritual shift to Eastern philosophies. The ones I most study are Taoism, Yoga, meditation, and the Chakra system. I have had many spiritual awakenings.  They are almost constant. Here is a recent one.

Astral Travel and Existence Without Body


Even after several years of study, there are many things that I believe in, but I can't do. Astral Travel, or out of body experiences, are one of these things. I guess when it comes right down to it, I don't really believe. I have many doubts. This morning as I was drinking my tea when the thought came that has really opened up my heart to this.

Vision and Sound in Dreams


I dream colorful, vivid dreams. Like most women in my family, I dream long, interesting stories. We love to sleep, because it's like going to the movies. After a night of dreams, my mind was wandering. I was thinking of the chores I needed to do today, and the writing assignments I need to finish for others. All of a sudden, it hit me. I see and hear in my dreams. I don't need eyes, I don't need ears - I just do.

Body Is Not Needed


If I can "see" and "hear" in my dreams - if I can feel sensations such as pain and touch in my dreams, then why can't I have an out of body experience? What would be the difference in doing all these things in my dream than doing them in Astral Travel, or even still, doing them after my body dies?

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts and ideas on this subject. Thanks!

🌮Taco Salad - Doritos Casserole🥘

This is my mom's famous Taco Salad recipe. It isn't anything like people think of a Taco Salad, so I call Dorito Casserole.

Potlucks and Parties

It is a favorite at parties and potlucks, and we always come home with an empty pan. If we bring it to a get-together, we put the lettuce and tomato on top. At home, we leave it on the side and add it to our plate. That makes it better for heated up leftovers.

Variations to Dorito Casserole Recipe

My mom adds olives to the lettuce and tomato and it is delicious. We also serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side.

8 servings in a 13x9 baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 standard size bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos - apx 10 ozs. 
  • 1 can Rotel Tomatoes - Mild (Can use "spicy if desired")
  • 1 can Whole Kernel Corn (No Salt)
  • 1 can Pinto Beans (No Salt)
  • 1 can Ranch Style Beans
  • 1 cup Mexican 4 Cheese grated
  • 1 bag shredded Iceberg Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato cubed
  • 1 pack of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pound Lean Ground Meat
  • 1 can of Olives
  • 1 container of Guacamole
  • 1 tub of Sour Cream
*I use a light coating of Olive Oil on all my pots and pans to prevent sticking*

Not Really a Taco Salad

Alright, here we go. First I drain the Pinto Beans and the Whole Corn. Pour those two items into a 2 qt pot. Then I add the can of Rotel and the can of Ranch Style Beans (don't drain those). Cover and cook on Medium Heat.

After you get that going, use a 3 qt pot to brown your ground meat. I stir in my Taco Seasoning when it is about halfway done. By the time this is finished, your bean mixture should be bubbling. Mix it and the seasoned meat together.

Leave that on low heat while you prepare the pan. Grab the Doritos and crush them up. It is neater if you crush them before opening the bag. Take care not to "pop" the bag..that is a big mess! I start squeezing softly and slowly from the bottom. After crushing, pour on the bottom of the pan.

Next, pour your bean/corn/meat mixture evenly spreading it on top of the Doritos. Then, sprinkle your  Mexican cheese on the top of everything.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Finishing Touches

If we are bringing it somewhere, or we know there will be no leftovers, we top with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. You can mix in olives if you know everyone likes them or serve on the side with guacamole and sour cream.

Let me know what you think in the comments! Thanks !

Thursday, November 9, 2017

😱The Apocalypse Is Here....OK, Maybe Not🧟

I planned to have a nice blog yesterday. I was going to post the recipe for my mom's famous Taco Salad. Trust me, it isn't at all what you are thinking. My daughter and I went to Walmart to get the fixins,  and she was going to take step by step photos while I whipped it up.

Apocalypse Now?!?!?!

We were halfway through Wally World when the lights went out. I called my mom who lives on the other side of the city, and her lights were out, too. In fact, after a few calls, we knew the whole city had lost power. We begin to make our plans. Fill the cart with groceries, and make a stop at the pharmacy for all the Prozac we can carry. She would wait at the front, and guard the cart, while I went and got The Toaster (our car).

No Generators?!?!?!

After 30 minutes, people are no longer milling around talking. Walmart is almost empty. Employees are covering all the refrigerated areas with flat boxes or brown paper, because a place as big as our Walmart Superstore has no generator for the cold sections. We are finally told we couldn't wait. Which yes, I was trying to do. We get to the front of the store, and there must have been at least 20 carts of food. Cold food was included, and it was slowly being restocked. There was no backup power for the registers either.

Shopping Today...Sigh

So we will be going shopping later today, but not at that store. I don't trust that store has reliable cold goods.
Oh, by the way, a major wire into our city failed, but the power company said they don't know why. The power was out for three hours, except in our little neighborhood. (Can you say Awesome!?!?!) Apocalypse?? - who knows - maybe the first step. Mwa-ha-ha-ha.