15Apr/16

In Search Of The Perfect Pillow…

is there even such a thing?

pillow puffed and ready to go

pillow puffed and ready to go

I have been in search of the “perfect pillow” for quite a while now. Maybe as long as 10 years.. And in that time I have purchased and rejected at least 15 pillows. The pillow I am using now I got about a year ago and I have to say when I first got it I loved it, it was indeed “the perfect pillow”…now not so much.

I never had a problem with a pillow when I was younger. I just went to bed and slept comfortably on my side and woke up ready to go(well maybe not ready to go, but woke up feeling fine). I only used one pillow for many years and then had to have two. I needed a little bit more support. I don’t think I ever even gave my pillow a second thought. It was just there waiting for me when I crawled in bed. Then a few years ago I started having problems with my neck at times and finally attributed it to the pillow/pillows I was using. I had to travel for work during this time and when I was at a hotel I noticed I didn’t have the neck problems when I woke up. I didn’t really give it much thought at first but after a few times it made me stop and think about why I was feeling so much better when I woke up at the hotel as opposed to at home. I felt great. I slept soundly and my neck felt relaxed all day. This happened every single time I went there and it was at least once a month if not more. I loved those pillows. And I had to have one!

I would forget all about the pillows until the whole neck thing would return and believe me, it did return. And then I would be at the hotel again and it was better. So I decided I had to find those pillows no matter what. I searched online and of course on Amazon, my go to site for everything. I found so many “hotel” pillows I wasn’t sure which one to get. So I looked the next time I was at the hotel as to the brand name they had there. Well, that was of no help as It was just the name of the hotel, they wanted you to buy their brand. I looked it up and they were $75 for one pillow, one pillow. I never paid more than $25 for a pillow and wasn’t about to do it now. I found one with rave reviews and purchased it. It cost $45. I didn’t think I would ever pay that much for a pillow but when you think about how much time you spend sleeping I guess its worth it.

I purchased the pillow and loved it. I could wait to unpack it and try it out. It was wonderful and truly worth every penny. I slept soundly and my neck did not bother me. I told everyone about my wonderful pillow. I was in heaven. I have had the pillow for about a year now and it’s “broken.” The reviews did say that after a while the pillow gets flat. Flat??? Flat is an understatement. It bunches up at the top but down at the bottom(where your head and neck are) it is nonexistent. It’s like I am sleeping on my arm, because I have my arm under it to give me a smidgen of support. If you take the pillow and put it in the dryer and fluff it, it is fine…for 5 minutes. But then it’s back to the new pancake style pillow I now own.

what my pillow looks like

what my pillow looks like on my bed

 

There is another issue as well. Not only does my “new” pillow not give me any support, it makes my hair flat. Flat hair, just like the flat pillow. I’m really not liking this at all. I don’t even understand how it does that. Anyone that knows me knows my hair is curly and somewhat puffy. How can a pillow manage to flatten my hair? So its back to the drawing board and the never ending search. I found one on Amazon, it is Bamboo, it’s made in America and its $49.99. I think I may try it.

I am hoping this will work. I am into this whole “earthy” Bamboo thing since I got my Bamboo mattress pad. I love it, is very comfy and cool in the summer and keeps me warm in the winter.

 

 

So that’s the deal. I really hope I find the perfect pillow. I am always searching for something. I think my life would be dull without a quest of some kind to keep me entertained. It keeps me on my toes. Speaking of toes, I would rather it be shoes I am looking for.. Oh, never mind, I am still looking for the perfect pair of flats.

I leave you once again my friends with a quote and a question. In fact two quotes, I couldn’t decide which one I liked best so I thought I would give you both.

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

“Fatigue is the best pillow.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Do you have a favorite pillow? If its great and you love it, tell me about it in the comments. I may try it.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to an affiliate site and if you click on the link and purchase something (which would be wonderful) I would make enough to buy a coffee.

 

08Apr/16

My Love of Shoes, Documented in Pictures

 how it all began…

 

shoes-549066_960_720

Ballerina flats

I think it started when I was a baby. My Mom loved shoes and had a million pairs of high heels. She wore them all the time, 4 inch heels no less. So maybe she somehow passed that love along to me while I was still in the womb. I know she did with the whole shopping thing so I guess the shoe thing was just a natural one for me to pick up from her too.

renee

Not “cute” shoes

I’m guessing I didn’t get the whole designer cute little shoes thing yet in this picture. But I really don’t think it was my fault. I was only 3 at the time of this picture so I don’t think I had much say in what shoes I wore. Don’t judge me, I just wore what my Mom made me wear.

Saddle Shoes

Saddle Shoes

In this picture I am in elementary school and saddle shoes were all the rage. I was so excited when Mom got these for me.  I loved them and wore them every single day. I polished them and took great care to make sure the white part stayed that way. The cheerleaders wore these in high school and I wanted to be a cheerleader(sadly, that never happened). My older cousin was a cheerleader and she wore hers all the time, so of course I had to wear them too!

Red T Straps

Red T Straps

Next it was these red T straps shoes. I don’t know who made them or where we got them, but they were way cool. I wore them with everything. It didn’t matter if what I had on went with the color red or not, I just wore them. They were my first really stylish shoes. I thought I was “it.” Whatever “it” was…

Capezios, My Favorite

Capezios, My Favorite

You have to excuse me if I get a little teary eyed here. This is my favorite shoe ever…ever!! All of my friends had Capezio shoes and I didn’t. I begged my parents to get them for me and it fell on deaf ears. They were “too expensive.” You have to understand, I was in 7th grade and all the seniors were wearing these. Since I looked up to these girls, all I wanted in my 12 year old life was to have these beautiful shoes.  My friends all had them too and I was the only one in “my group” that didn’t. We all know how that feels. So I asked my parents if I could somehow earn the money to buy them, would they even allow me to get them. They said yes.. I think mostly because they didn’t really think I could do it. But even back then if I wanted something bad enough I would find a way to get it. So I got a “job.”  I started babysitting for a family up the street. They had 3 kids, two of the kids were really sweet and good kids, but the youngest a 3 year old was a real pistol. He was so bad, they had run out of babysitters who would even set foot in their house. So they were very happy to have me. Believe me when I say I earned every penny of the money they paid me and more. It was like something out of a horror movie watching this kid. But I had a goal and when I reached the amount I needed to buy my beloved Capezios none of that mattered. The day Mom and I went downtown to get my shoes was I think the happiest day of my life. I got the shoes I coveted for so long and I paid for them myself. All was right in my world that day, I had my shoes! I wore them home on the bus and slept with them right beside me that night. I couldn’t risk my little sister trying them on and ruining them. I proudly wore my new shoes to school the next day and I was finally “in style.”

I have not been able to find a picture of Capezios, the twin button kind I so loved anywhere on the internet. You can find anything on the internet, why not these? There are a few other styles but no twin button ones like mine. A group of friends were talking about this recently and one of them told me she still had her shoes. Yes, the ones she wore in high school. So I asked her to send me a photo of them. They are pictured below. I couldn’t believe I finally had a picture, only difference is hers are red. The one and only picture I have of mine is the one above of me wearing my black ones. I don’t know what ever happened to my shoes. I miss them…

Linda's Capezios

Linda’s Capezios

 

Penny Loafers

Penny Loafers

After the Capezios came the penny loafer. I’m the blonde sitting on the edge of the chaise with the beloved penny loafers on. Everyone was wearing these and I was older and cooler now so I had to have them too. Everyone was also wearing them with a shiny new penny in theirs but I put dimes in mine. I always was a rebel.

My Capezio Heels

My Capezio Heels

For years after the loafers I wore high heels (must have gotten it from Mom). The higher the heels the better. I wore them to work for hours at a time and it didn’t bother me one bit. I loved them and had every color and style. These were Capezio. Yes! They made heels too.

Boots

Boots

At this point in my life, I like comfort,  but I still love style. So I wear a lot of boots. I wear them all winter long and if they weren’t so darn hot I would wear them all summer. I love boots. I am into the ankle boots now as well. They are so good for the transition between Spring and Summer. I do love sandals and flip flops for the hot summer months and have a ton of them too.

Right now I am searching for the prefect ballerina type flats. But really I guess I will always be searching for that perfect shoe I once had and loved so much. I loved the look of them, the feel of them and last but not least the smell of them. There was a certain smell Capezios had and no other shoe has come close. Ok, I do know how that sounds, but it’s true. I don’t know if it was a Pennsylvania thing or if girls in other states were as attached to their Capezios as we were. Sadly Capezio is only making shoes for dance now, even after all of our emails and phone calls to them. I did find a pair a few years back, Clark was making them, they weren’t the same style but they were Capezios. They only had one size left…a size 6 and since I wear an 8, they really are a smidgen tight. In reality I can’t get the shoe even half way on my foot. But I have them. I have a pair of Capezios. I open the box now and then and smell them.

 

I hope you enjoyed my photo trip down shoe memory lane… I leave you as always with a quote and a question.

“One shoe can change your life” ~ Cinderella

What was your favorite shoe?

 

01Apr/16

My Favorite Quotes About Life

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I saw a friend post one of my favorite quotes yesterday and it made me smile. I have so many favorites and wanted to share a few of them with you. I hope they make you smile.

  1. “Throw me to the wolves and I’ll return leading the pack.” ~ Unknown – This one really resonates with me because it has happened so many times in my life. I have had my share of hard times but after each one I come back stronger than I was before.
  2. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr Suess – I think this is so very true. People who “truly” care about you and love you will still love you no matter what you say or how you act. Believe me I know this to be a fact. I’ve tested this out too many times to count. I love it. And I love Dr Suess.
  3. “I always knew looking back on the tears would make me laugh, but I never knew looking back on the laughs would make me cry.” ~ Unknown – I really have experienced this first hand lately.
  4. “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.” ~ Randall G. Leighton – I have always believed this and thank goodness when I dance no one “is” watching.
  5. “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer.” ~ Erica Jong – I think this is so spot on. We just need someone to confirm what we are already thinking. I do this a lot. I ask my friends what they think and I know what they will say before I ask them. I do know who to ask and who not to ask on specific subjects. LOL..
  6. “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” ~ John F. Kennedy – Believe me I know their names…I have a list.
  7. “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.” ~ Unknown – I think this is very true and have seen it happen to people I know. I love to play!
  8. “If you obey all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun.” ~ Katherine Hepburn – I love this quote and I loved Katherine! I have disobeyed a few rules in my lifetime and it was worth every minute. Maybe I will share a few in a future post. Get ready..
  9. “Never regret something that makes you smile.” ~ Unknown – Kind of goes hand in hand with number 8. I have very few regrets in my life, but things that made me smile sure aren’t one of them. And I have a question, why don’t we know who said so many of the quotes that are out there? Just a thought I had while posting these.
  10. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” ~ Mark Twain – This is a great quote and one I have tried to live by. I have a few more on my bucket list but I am checking them off one by one.
  11. “You can be Gorgeous at thirty, Charming at forty and Irresistible the rest of your life. ~ Coco Chanel – She also said, “A woman with good shoes is never ugly.” Thank goodness I always wear good shoes. I do love shoes! And boots..
  12. “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.” ~ Regina Brett – You all know how much I love this one. I use it quite a bit and did a whole post on it a while back.
  13. “What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about.” ~ Unknown, but Larry Laprise wrote the Hokey Pokey in 1948 ( a little trivia for you) The first time I saw this was on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, I cracked up and it continues to make me laugh every time I see it. My daughter bought me a sign with this on it so I see it quite a bit.
  14. “Don’t date guys who wear turtlenecks.” ~ Renee Stambaugh – My friends and family laugh at this one, but think about it…
  15. “When you are perfect, you can worry about everyone else. But you will never be perfect so you don’t need to worry.” ~ Renee Stambaugh – My Mom said something similar to me, I have said this to my kids and now they are saying it to their kids. My grandson said it to his brother last time we were together and my heart nearly burst. They really do hear you..

I always close with a quote and a question, so here is my quote and it’s another one from me. “When you are faced with a problem and are stressed about it, ask yourself this, when you are 90 and sitting in your rocker on your front porch will this matter..”

What is your favorite all time quote and why?

25Mar/16

Ten Reasons to Stop Exercising..Now!

Seriously, it’s dangerous…

cute walking sneaks

cute walking sneaks

This is meant to be funny, so don’t get all excited and think I am giving you the go ahead to stop exercising. I’m not! But here are some very good reasons why maybe you should. Or at least why I should…

  1. I have been faithfully exercising at least 5 days a week for over a year now. Cardio, weights, sit-ups, lunges, planks, hula hooping and walking…and guess what? I’ve gained weight and added a few inches. So if I didn’t exercise would I be skinny and fit in all my old clothes? Not sure, but it might be worth a try.
  2. I am really feeling great and so I am thinking ok, maybe it is worth it and all this exercise stuff must be working. Think again, I did some gardening for a couple hours last week and my body hurt for 3 days afterward. So why bother exercising if you are still going to hurt after a little gardening?
  3. I am spending way too much money on cute work out clothes. I needed a jacket for walking that would whisk away the perspiration…at least that is what the tag said it would do. You have to look good while exercising, that is evident by all the fashionistas I walk by every day. You can’t just wear any old thing while walking and please, can I just say this now…”say no to sweatpants!” And of course you can’t just have one pair of sneakers. I needed to go buy another pair because you shouldn’t  wear the same ones every single day. I mean this is a known health thing, right?
  4. I am trying to eat healthier due to all this exercising. So I decided to give up potato chips and snacks. I KNOW, right? How can someone be expected to give up potato chips? I think I may have to buy some soon, as I think this may be affecting the economy. I honestly don’t want to hurt any local company by my non support of their product.
  5. I was hula hooping the other day and dropped the hoop and then fell over it. I could have broken a leg or arm or something. How is this even good for you?
  6. Also while hula hooping I broke 2 nails. Are you seeing a problem here with this hula hooping thing? It is dangerous and maybe I should just stop while I’m still alive.
  7. I do oil pulling(will do a post on this at another time) while exercising some days to save time. On one such day I had to sneeze while doing the oil pulling, but held it in. You really shouldn’t hold in a sneeze. This is not good for your health at all. I think it could damage your brain.
  8. Squats make your knees crack and hurt. Nuff said..
  9. If I got too fit and skinny I would have to go buy a whole new wardrobe. Wait, how is this a negative?
  10. I am using way too much water taking more showers and doing my hair more often. Well, this may not be a valid reason, I think I am taking the same amount as I was before I started exercising. But it sounded like a good reason and I needed one more.

So there you have it..ten reasons or good excuses to stop exercising. But, I have a couple good reasons to keep doing it too. My grandson and I have plank contests when we are together and sometimes I win. So there’s that! And I have a group of girlfriends that chat every day on Facebook and we give gold stars to each other when we complete our exercise for the day. I wouldn’t want to let them down. So I guess I will keep doing this exercise thing…however I may have a few potato chips with lunch afterward.

I read this quote below the other day, and it made me laugh. I did Google it to see who wrote it but couldn’t find anything. So if you are by some chance reading this and you wrote it, let me know and I’ll give you credit.

“Losing weight makes you look good in clothes, exercising makes you look better naked.”  Since no one ever sees me naked, maybe I can stop.. But then again in reality I guess I exercise so I feel better and also so I can eat chips…and ice cream…and..

18Mar/16

My Sister, My Friend…

and now she’s gone…

on the boardwalk

on the boardwalk

I have been putting off writing this as I knew it would be painful for me. Next week would be my sister Rhonda’s 60th birthday and she won’t be here to celebrate it. 60 is a big milestone and I know we would have done it right, lunch or dinner and of course our favorite thing, shopping. But that is not to be.

I was 6 when Rhonda was born and I really didn’t want a sibling. I enjoyed being an only child and all that goes with it and I had plenty of friends and I didn’t want that to change. But she was so cute and she idolized me.. so it was ok.

Don’t get me wrong, we had our moments… and they weren’t always good ones. She followed me around like a puppy. Always wanting to be included in my circle of friends and what we were doing. But we were grown up kids and we didn’t want a little kid following us everywhere and getting in the way. But of course Mom said we had to include her and so we did.

I was a little rough on her at times(ok, a lot of times) but it never deterred her from loving me and being my best friend and supporter. She had this little dog that you would wind up and it did flips. She was deathly scared of it so we kept it in the basement. I would tell her I needed her to come see something and I would make the dog jump at her as soon as she came down the steps. She would cry and run back up to tell Mom what I had done. Five minutes later I would call her to come back down promising not to do it again. I told her I had hid the dog and begged for her to just come down and play. She would of course and I of course had the dog out and she would run screaming back up the stairs. This would go on for hours sometimes. And the worse part(or the best part depending on how you look at it) is she truly believed me when I said I wouldn’t do it again. She loved me that much.

Rhonda was always the “good” one. I was the bad one. I got in trouble and she never did. I was always jealous of that. It didn’t matter who did anything, I was the one who got blamed for it. Mom would say, “you are the oldest and you should know better.” So I would get in trouble and Rhonda would not. I hated that I had curly hair and she had beautiful wavy hair. I hated that she got to do things I was never allowed to do. I hated that Mom dressed us in matching outfits. I thought she was my parents favorite. I asked them much later in life and they said definitely not, but I still think she was.

matching outfits

matching outfits

I got married very young and left the house. That was a hard time for her so I had her over to our place a lot and she helped me with my daughter who by the way was only 10 years younger than her. They were very close, friends instead of aunt and niece and always remained that way.  My husband at the time worked nights so she was my companion and confidant during those long nights. We would make spaghetti and drive around town in my VW. When I divorced my husband, Rhonda was there to help me with the kids. We took them to the beach and she helped make things somewhat normal and fun for them at a time when they were very confused. We had great times together back then. I miss those days. And I miss her.

When she got married and had her own two girls she was truly in heaven. All she ever wanted was to be married and have a family like me. She talked about it all the time growing up. At night in our bedroom upstairs we would share stories about what we wanted our lives to be like some day and her story was always about getting married and having kids. She loved kids and kids loved her. So when she finally had her own she was the happiest person ever. Rhonda loved her girls so much, more than her own life. We spent many family vacations together at the beach, our parents, her kids and mine. I was happy for her and enjoyed seeing her girls grow up into beautiful young women. Rhonda was so proud of them. They were all she ever talked about. One of our last visits together she spent talking to me about her girls.

Rhonda was the best person I ever knew. She never had a harsh word to say about anyone and always had a friendly hello and smile for everyone she came in contact with. I knew this about her but it was at her funeral that I truly found out just how much she was loved and how many people’s lives she had affected. Their shared stories overwhelmed me and I vowed after she passed to try and find the good. I knew she did and she proved that over and over. So every day I post a “good story” on my Facebook page in her honor. Some days they are hard to find amongst all the political junk and the terrible things happening in the world. But I find one even if it takes a few hours. I do it for Rhonda. And I do it for me, I need to see that there are good people out there doing good things every day.

She was the best friend you could ever have or wish to have. She was not just my sister, she was my friend. She also had one special person in her life besides me that was like a sister to her. It was a neighbor and they grew up together. Since I was older and married she needed a friend to be there for her and that friend was Connie. I was glad she had her.

I miss my sister so much. I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk to her. I miss the fun times we had together laughing at something stupid until we were crying and not even remembering what we were laughing about in the first place. I miss her smile. But most of all I miss her laugh. There are so few really “good” people in this world. And the world is less without her.

Have you lost someone that made a big impact on your life?

“The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.”

~ Cali Rae Turner

 

 

11Mar/16

The Past, it’s a good place to visit….

but I just can’t dwell there.

me back in the 50's

me back in the 50’s

I really don’t know what’s wrong with me lately, I find myself dwelling on the past so much and it is depressing me. I am even dreaming about the past. This isn’t me, I am a normally happy person and so it makes me mad to feel this way.

This month is a bad month for me due to the fact it is the anniversary of my Mom’s passing and my sister Rhonda’s birthday, who has also passed. So it brings up all kinds of memories and while it’s ok to think about them and move on, I seem to be dwelling on them.

Maybe it’s due to the fact I have too much time on my hands. After the loss of my job last year and then my recent retirement I was so excited to have time..time to do whatever I wanted. This has been wonderful on one hand, but having all this time also gives me more time to think. I think about all the good times from days gone by, people who are no longer here and times that will never be again.

I never had the luxury of having a lot of time on my hands. I was working, sometimes 3 jobs and raising 3 kids by myself. Then after the kids grew up still working and helping with grand kids. But always working towards something. This has been a real adjustment for me, this having “time” thing. And I must say I love the ability to go to lunch with friends or take off at the spur of the moment for the beach. But it has also given me down time and sometimes like this month, having that time to think isn’t good.

I give people advice all the time. Ask anyone, they will tell you I can dish it out. But I guess I am not good at taking my own advice. I know what the answer is and I know how to go about changing things. I’m just not doing it. I am not just visiting my past, I am dwelling there. I recently read an article that said you shouldn’t have items from your past all around you, that it causes you to live in the past and not move on. I am not going to get rid of the pictures and items from my past. That just isn’t going to happen. They are a part of me and what made me who I am.

Really this hasn’t been happening ever since I lost my job…it’s only been this past month or so. I think all the birthday’s and anniversaries and some other things going on in my life have brought it to a head. My writing has been a wonderful “job” for me and allows me to get things out…just like writing this post. But this week I didn’t even want to write. And then I thought, why not write about why you don’t want to write. And it is helping… even as I type these words.

I’ve lost so many things that defined who I was, it has forced me to look at who I want to be going forward. I lost my parents, my sister, my job, my friend and my pet. I can’t even keep a plant alive these days. Seriously, I don’t know what that’s all about but every plant in my house is dead or dying. So I kind of feel a little lost myself. Don’t worry, I’m ok. I think I am just trying to figure it all out. I always had a focus, something I was working towards and I don’t have that now. I didn’t realize this would happen and wasn’t prepared for it when it hit me.

When I go outside on a warm sunny day like we have been having lately or have lunch with good friends and laugh until we are crying, it makes me realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I need to focus on the moment and I need to focus on me. That has never been my focus before and I don’t quite know how to go about it. So I will continue to do this and I have made a list of things I want to do and people I want to see. I will be fine. I need to realize that I will have times like this and be ready for them when they come.

The past is a good place to visit now and then but we just can’t live there. We must live each day like it is our last because it could be. This moment, it is the only one we truly have. I am going to make it joyful. What will you do with it?

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~ Marianne Williamson

03Mar/16

My Dad, A Man of Few Words..

but the words he spoke left quite an impact

Dad%20on%20a%20fighter%20plane

Last week was my Dad’s birthday, he would have been 89. I miss my Dad more with every passing day and his death has left a void in my life that no one can ever fill. Dad was a strong, quiet, hard working man who loved his family…and golf.

Back in his day working hard and providing for your family showed how much you loved them. That was all you needed to do. You worked and worked and when you finally got home you were so exhausted you couldn’t do anything else. Dad worked 2 jobs, 6 days a week so there wasn’t a lot of time left at the end of the day. Most nights he would just fall asleep on the couch watching tv.

He played golf on Saturdays after work and sometimes on Sundays. But Mom didn’t like him playing on Sundays so that didn’t happen very often. We would have family picnics in the back yard and Dad would be the one who tended to the grill. There was always a problem getting the charcoal to light and there would be a few words spoken that we pretended not to hear. But he got it lit and the burgers were great! I sure do miss those times. This is the only time we ever saw Dad cook. When Mom was in the hospital having my sister, my Aunt had to come and feed us due to the fact my Dad was making us cereal…cold cereal.. for every meal. Funny thing is when Dad was in the Navy, he was a cook on the ship. Guess he got tired of it and vowed to never do it again.

I learned a lot from this man. I certainly got my work ethic from him. And I saw his respect for my Mom and the way he treated his own mother. Back in the 50’s and 60’s most women didn’t have a voice. Men ruled the house and what they said was law. But that wasn’t the case in our house. Mom had a voice, boy did she ever. And Dad let her have that voice. He would say his piece and then Mom said hers and basically Dad deferred to Mom. I remember a few times it went on a little longer, but I was very young and by the time I was in my teens, Dad had just given up and he would just let Mom win. He was a smart man.

Dad also had a sense of humor. You didn’t see it very often and most of the time a few beers were involved but he had a very dry sarcastic sense of humor and it cracked me up every time. I think maybe I got my sense of humor from him. I’ve been known to express a little bit of sarcasm now and then. It was always funny to see this side of him when we had people over to the house. My normally quiet father turned into a comedian. Everyone thought he was funny, especially him.

He never yelled at us except when we would have the refrigerator door open too long, which to Dad was anything more than a second. Lights were always turned off on us, even if we were in that room reading. “You don’t need a light on the sun is still out.” Heat evidently wasn’t needed either as it was always shut off to the upstairs and if we turned it on for some dumb reason… like maybe us seeing our breath…. it was off within minutes.

Since my sister and I didn’t have much interaction or playful moments with Dad, you can imagine how surprised I was at the way he treated my kids. He was so loving and played with them any time he could. I never understood why that was until I had grand children of my own. You have more time and you don’t have all the rest of the stuff that goes with raising them. You can just enjoy them. I know I do.

The only time I can honestly say that my Dad let me down or missed a moment to really connect was when he found out I was pregnant. I was only 15 and looking back on it now I can kind of understand his reaction. Especially due to the fact it he wasn’t a very touchy feely kind of man and didn’t know how to react. So he chose to not speak to me for several days and when he finally did he told me he was disappointed in me. I was already disappointed in me, I didn’t need my father saying it. I wanted him to hold me and tell me it would be ok. He didn’t do that then, but his actions the next several months and the years ahead proved that he loved me and stood by me.

The last time I saw my Dad, he and my Mom had come to Ocean City, MD to spend a few days with me at the beach. A few days later he was gone. Dad had recently retired and had more time to do fun things like go to the beach and play more golf. He played every single day…well maybe not Sundays. He always said when he retired he was going to play golf every day and he did. He was actually out playing the day he died. Something else he always said was that he wanted to die on the golf course and he did. Who wouldn’t want to go doing the very thing you loved most in the world?

A father shouldn’t just be a sperm donor or someone who just gives their last name to a child. My Dad proved this and my own son proves this to be true as well. My son didn’t have a very good role model in his own father but he is the best Father to his children I have ever seen. He teaches them with so much love and respect. He isn’t afraid to show them he loves them and as a result they are respectful and loving children in return.

I think how our parents treat us and others truly shapes our lives. Sometimes its good and sometimes it’s not. But whatever the circumstances of our childhood, we can’t continue to blame them for our problems. At some point we have to move on and take responsibility for our lives. I didn’t have a father that constantly talked to me, played with me or one who showered me with love. In fact, he never once told me he loved me. But I knew I was loved. He may not have said the actual words but he proved it by his actions.

My Dad was a wonderful man and I miss him. Happy Birthday Dad! He used to say it never rained on the golf course. So Dad, I hope the grass is green and the sun is shining and every hole is a hole in one!

The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~Theodore M Hesburgh

Do you have a great story about your Dad to share?

 

25Feb/16

How I Got Rid Of My Cold, Naturally!

and in less than 2 days…

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Disclaimer: “The Helpful Hellion is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.” This means I could make a little money if you click on one of the links below and actually buy something. Also as stated before, I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. Do not try anything here if you have serious issues. Please consult your physician. I only tell my story and what happened when I used this. If your toes fall off after using these oil mixtures, don’t blame me!

I started sneezing and honestly could not stop. I am dead serious here, I must have sneezed at least 20 times in a row each time. My ribs and back were starting to hurt from it and I thought, oh great here we go. My grandson has had a cold lingering on for weeks now and insists upon kissing me on the lips. He is such a little love bug! And the keyword in that statement is “bug.”

Not wanting to go the medicine route as anyone that knows me even a little bit knows  that I do not do medicine. I started researching my trusty copy of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy and found immediate relief from the sneezing. A drop of Lavender 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil by Edens Garden- 10 ml rubbed on the inside of your cheeks..who knew? But I did it and did not sneeze again, even once. It really did amaze me. How did I not know about this miracle cure for sneezing?

So that took care of the sneezing, now what to do about the achiness, coughing and slightly feverish feeling? Back to the book. Die some more research and then I made up a concoction of Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil 16 Oz(two tablespoons) and 5 drops each of Lavender, Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils in a little bottle and then shook it up and rubbed that on my feet, chest and back. I did this several times throughout the day. I especially reapplied it right before bed. Make sure to rub it on the feet and put on some nice thick warm socks.

I love Edens Gardens Essential Oils, they are a very good quality for the price. I have used them often and have had no problems. I don’t take them internally so I don’t worry about having some kind of weird reaction from them. But you should always do a little test to see if your skin can take the oil and never put it directly on the skin with out being diluted in a carrier oil, such as Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil or Sesame Seed Oil. I did rub the lavender oil on my cheeks but it was such a small amount and I feel like it went into my system through my cheeks, I didn’t really swallow it. Surprisingly, it did actually taste pretty good.

The reason I picked these three oils are…Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti fungal properties. Peppermint oil has antimicrobial properties and a calming effect. Eucalyptus oil has a wide range  of properties include anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, antiseptic, and antibacterial as well as other great qualities.

You can also do this and I highly recommend it… put a few drops of the lavender and eucalyptus oils on a few tissues and keep them near by or carry them in your purse in a baggie to pull out and sniff if you get congested. A few drops on a tissue by your pillow also helps you to breathe freely and sleep more soundly.

A steaming hot bath with 3 drops each of Thyme, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Lemon essential oils will relax you and open up your sinuses. If you don’t have a bath or the time for one, you can put the oils on a washcloth and lay that on the bottom of the tub while taking your shower and it will still give you some much needed relief.

Diffusing the house or your bedroom with the above mentioned oils will help get rid of the germs and help you to breathe and feel better. I use this one from Amazon..

I did a few other things to get rid of the “bug”. I ate things that were good for me. I never remember if it’s, “starve a fever but feed a cold or feed a fever and starve a cold” ..whatever…but what if you have both…then what? Do you just starve? Well, since I wasn’t sure, I ate when I was hungry. I do have to disclose that I may or may not have had some ice cream…but that was for my 100 degree fever..and it worked. Fever was gone…I had tea every day this week instead of coffee and cinnamon on my bagels. I did take my Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 32 oz. straight twice a day instead of just once. You don’t need to do it twice..or straight, you can out it in some water with lemon or in your tea. And I got lots of rest and slept very soundly, I think due in part to the lavender.

The best thing I ate for my “bug” was the homemade chicken noodle soup my daughter in law made me. Nothing like homemade soup especially when you don’t have to be the one making it. There is just something to be said for this old remedy. It really truly works and it’s yummy!

I can not believe all of this worked. I have never gotten over a cold or a “bug” so quickly in my whole entire life. You better believe I will be doing these things again should the dreaded “bug” return. I hope you try some of my natural remedies next time you get a cold or the “bug” and that they work as well for you as they worked for me. I wish you all good health and long life!

Do you have any natural remedies that you would like to share, maybe something passed down from your grandmother?

“I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.” ~ Willa Carter

 

 

 

18Feb/16

Top Ten Things I Learned From Mom

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“we are our Mother’s Daughters”

At least I know I am…I find myself so often doing things or saying something just like  Mom. These were things I hated as a child, but now here I am doing the exact same things. I look in the mirror and I see her. I hear her in my voice. She has molded my life like no other person and shaped me into who I am today. I wish I could pick up the phone and call her so many times recently and ask for her advice. She always helped me through tough times and I’ve had a lot of them lately. Yes, she sure taught me a lot…and not all of it was good. LOL..

Things I learned from Mom:

  1. A Love of family – She loved her family above all else. Everything else came second to them. Mom didn’t just say she loved you, she showed it in every thing she did. Her Mother and Father and siblings were so very important to her, she respected them and honored them. And she passed that on to her own children and grandchildren. We knew we were loved.
  2. To have a caring heart – she deeply wanted to help people and she did that. She gave freely of her money and her time. She volunteered at the schools, was a PTA President and a Girl Scout leader. She also gave to over 100 charities. Yes, really.. If someone, anyone, needed something or a few dollars Mom was always there to help them, all they had to do was ask.
  3. Love of animals – Mom loved animals and had 3 dogs. She loved them and treated them like her kids. Personally I didn’t like any of them.
  4. To be a strong woman – She was a little ahead of her time, my Mom.. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and didn’t care if anyone liked what she had to say. If you asked for her advice, you were going to hear it. Most of the time she was right. She fought for what she believed in and heaven help those who tried to tell her otherwise or hurt someone she loved.
  5. A love of food – this is one I wish I didn’t learn quite so well. She loved food and was a great cook. We had dinner together every night and we ate what she made for us or we didn’t eat. I just wish she wouldn’t have taught me to love potato chips.
  6. To love yourself – Mom did a good job on this one. She was a beautiful woman and she took care of herself. She wasn’t skinny by any means, and at times was quite heavy, but her weight never made her think less of herself. She thought she was beautiful and so others did as well.
  7. A sense of style – she had her own sense of what looked good on her and what didn’t. Mom didn’t follow trends or wear what everyone else did. She looked amazing in everything she wore. And as I have mentioned before, she had a statement piece that was her….the big earrings. She was never without them.
  8. Get up and make up – my Mom got up and put on her makeup every single day, whether she was going out or staying in. She styled her hair and put her makeup on, every day. And she would never go out of the house without dressing up or her make up.
  9. A love of the beach – writing this now is funny to me since I can hardly ever remember her getting in the ocean. She would get in pools but not the ocean. She didn’t want to get her hair wet. But she did love the beach. We went to Florida and the many beaches close to PA. Even if it was just for a day, we would all pile in the car with sandwiches made by her for lunch along the way and we had the best time ever. As a side note… I hardly ever get in the ocean anymore either, unless the grandkids shame me into it. But I love to sit on the beach and enjoy the beauty of it every chance I get.

And my favorite is #10. Shopping and bargain finding – My mom was the queen of  shopping and she loved it. It was her hobby. Finding a bargain was the best thing in the world for her. We would go shopping all the time. When we were kids she took us downtown every Friday and we shopped until we couldn’t walk anymore. As she got older, she still loved to do it and made my Dad take her every Wednesday and Saturday and my sister and I and then later my kids went with her on Fridays. I honestly think she would have loved to go every day. This has certainly had an effect on me and my daughters. We all love to shop and when we do it together it is even better. Trying things on and laughing together until we almost pee ourselves is the best tribute to my Mom. I am sure she is looking down on us and saying to herself…”I taught them well.”

“When you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” ~ Charley Benetto

What’s the best thing your mother taught you?

 

11Feb/16

Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

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Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my blog. I can’t believe a full year has gone by that quickly and that I have now been doing this for a year! I didn’t know if I would even do more than one and yet here we are a year and many posts later. I had always wanted to write ever since I was in junior high school and started writing the “great american novel.”

I learned so much about blogging, writing and myself during this past year and all of it is a little overwhelming at times. I have written one post every single week since day one. I had made that my goal when I started and I accomplished that goal. I think there may have been one week I did it late and it ran into the next week, but I did it! That in itself is a big accomplishment for me. I sometimes have a tendency to go “all in” for something only to give it up a month later..like the piano keyboard I bought.

There has never been a week in this past year where I didn’t have anything to write or even had a hard time thinking of something to say. Sometimes I had started on one subject and then changed to another when I sat down to write. I keep a little notebook at all times and jot down things that happen or that I see and think, “wow that would make a great blog post.” And also anyone that knows me also knows I have an opinion on just about everything so this is just another way of expressing myself.

I amazed myself with setting the whole thing up from the very first. I researched and researched every little thing about writing a blog, I started out on Tumblr and used that for about a month and quickly switched to a self hosted WordPress site. Which is no small task, especially for someone that put a disc in the wrong place when I first started using a computer. I decided on The Helpful Hellion as the name of my blog due to the fact my dad used to call me a little hellion and I wanted to in some way help people with my blog. I hope I have done that even in a small way at least, maybe by making you think of some good memories of your past or that you learned a helpful health tip.

I knew this blogging thing wouldn’t be easy.. however I foolishly thought all I had to do was write it and post it. I didn’t know I had to learn all about SEO, analytics, security, backups, PHP code and on and on and on…I want people to see it, not just friends and family. I want to get it out there in cyberspace so I had to learn about all of these things that seemed so foreign to me to the point I felt like I was reading and learning a different language. And in fact I was. Oh, and an important thing to note, you can’t just put a picture on your site you took off the internet somewhere or you may wind up paying a pretty penny for that indiscretion.

Being on a schedule and making myself stick to it was the hardest part. I have never really been good with this… and having recently retired the last thing I wanted was to be on a schedule. But for some reason I stuck to it. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I am doing something I truly love doing. I may not ever publish that “great american novel” but I’m writing and people are actually reading and enjoying it and that gives me so much joy! I know I should care how many people are reading it and how many page views I’m getting. I know that..but what I’m getting is so much better than any of that, I am getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do and I don’t have anyone telling me how to do it or what to do differently.

There are so many people blogging now it is almost as if everyone has one. So the chance of me getting noticed or becoming the next big thing is slim. But I’m doing what I love to do and I’m just going to keep doing it. I’m writing about what I’ve lived and what I’ve loved. I write what I know and enjoy talking about. One of my goals is to help people live a better life through alternative health solutions. I write about things I use myself and have helped me to stay healthy and enjoy life. I love passing those stories on to others.

This is just a little of what I’ve learned this year. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and will continue to do so and share it with others. I love reading your comments and the stories you have shared with me. Some of your favorites have been about my memories from days gone by. I love writing about this as it helps to fill up the holes in my heart of the things and people I love and miss. And there is a lot more where those came from.

I just want to say thank you for reading and that I am thrilled to have all of you on this journey with me.

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald