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Aloe Vera leaves, scarves for soft, luxurious hair and Chinese chopsticks: how I discovered some remarkable benefits for the least amount of money.

Published May 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Okay, I admit, it still costs money to buy these things to get started if you don’t have them around your house. However, since I’m always cramming my cranium with more knowledge about health benefits, pros vs. cons using everyday commercial hair care products that I grew up with my entire life and studying up on tons of articles out there both in print (freebie magazines from the health food store and via the internet and Farmer’s Almanac). I used to read the Farmer’s Almanac religiously when it was inexpensive years ago. An issue nowadays will cost $6.97… ouch! And along the way I discovered some fascinating healthy tidbits in my own pursuit of continuing my good health and overall well-being, especially from the of the dusty antique pages of my beloved set of late natural path Bernarr Macfadden Physical Culture encyclopedia. Now, I’m not saying this man is god. His methods and remedies, although outdated by today’s standards, may seem very far out there in left field, but the knowledge he presented (and updated from time to time clear into the 1940s) I find to be highly invaluable and educational. And it was Bernarr Macfadden who essentially opened my eyes to a healthier lifestyle. I also have a copy of his book written specifically for women that includes tailored exercises of the day, ditching the corset, health(ier) clothing choices although plastics weren’t invented yet when this book was written and a host of other information.

And I wanted more than just the egg hair rinse. I began my new hair care routine with the natural and health benefits of the aloe vera leaf. Sure, you can buy an itty bitty spindly aloe plants at Lowe’s on their discount/ distressed plant shelf for about $4 or maybe even at your local grocer for an astronomical amount for a little plant containing three puny leaves that look half dead… and let’s face it, unless you live in an arid, hot year-round climate, then growing your own aloe vera in your backyard for harvesting is nearly impossible to do in cold climates unless maybe if you bring it indoors for the winter. Believe me, I tried keeping small aloe vera plants alive indoors and just didn’t have the right terrarium atmosphere for them to survive. And then again, I only knew as much as my pre-Internet knowledge allotted me back in the day. I understood that aloe vera are desert loving plants and that’s was about it. And I knew back then the juice from a snippet of aloe leaf did wonders for burns, bruises and minor cuts. However, I didn’t come to realize just how beneficial these plants truly are until just a few months back. I live in an area that do stock aloe vera leaves (huge leaves at that). However, sometimes I can find two or even three large aloe leaves bundled for 40 cents-80 cents in the reduced merchandise cooler. Even if the aloe vera leaves look a little expired, I still find that they come in useful for my skin and hair regimen since I don’t consume the juice in smoothies.

 

And what are the health benefits? For starters, the aloe vera juice extracted from a leaf when applied to a burn, minor cuts or even scrapes helps promote healing. But did you know you can also cut open the aloe vera leaf of that clear slimy substance and whip it up in a blender to use straight as a natural skin and hair softner?  Yep, and it feels baby soft to the touch from my personal experience, gives natural luster to the hair follicle, again based on my experience, and when added in with fruit and veggie smoothies packs a lot of vitamins and antiseptics. In actuality the extracted aloe vera gooey stuff has no taste whatsoever. The kind that is produced in the bottles is oversaturated with nasty sugars.

 

It is advised to avoid consuming the yellow-ish aloe vera gooey substance because this acts like nature’s fast acting laxative. And when adding in aloe vera juice to a smoothie, do so sparingly as suggested by some health advocates and avid juicers due to a laxative effect. Also, the leaves I have found to be of use long after I remove the gooey clear substance. I like to cut the leaves in chunks and then freeze them for use later on and scrape the remaining gooey substance and use that to shave my legs with (makes the skin velvety smooth when dry shaving) and it feels excellent after a hard day working outside in the heat as well.

 

The shelf life of aloe vera juice when blended into a frothy foam that settles in the container can be stored in the fridge up to one week. I have heard from many women who also add in olive oil and coconut oil for their hair care routines, but if you hate the greasy weighed down feel it might produce, avoid using these oils entirely. It’s all about personal preference though. Personally, I found the DIY coconut oil and olive oil leave-in hair treatments to soften and restore damaged hair make my hair look and feel really gross as though I haven’t washed it in many months. And it doesn’t help living in a hard water area with nasty, industrial waste fluoride treatments, either. And it took several repeated ACV washings to get said oils out of my hair. I have alternated with the no shampoo, or “no-poo” trials with not so impressive results, either. My hair doesn’t look dirty or anything, but it’s either dry or brittle as a result even though I refrain from using shampoos and conditioners. I do, however, find that washing in city water isn’t helpful at all. I find that I’m literally at my wits end trying to get rid of the chemicals out of my life, especially when it comes to finding a shampoo that doesn’t contain Dimetheicone and its many sneaky aliases which is a polymer silicone and used in a wide array of hair products, skin care products, etc. and I believe I when doing some extensive and exhaustive night owl reading and research into this chemical is also classified as toxic according to the EWG (Environmental Watch Group). Dimetheicone also belongs to the polymeric organosilicon compounds (silicone). It is also used as an antifoaming agent, skin protectant, and skin conditioner. It is also approved for use in food as well. Eww, I’ll pass on that second helping of mystery pie. Here are Dimetheicone’s many different aliases:

 

DIMETHICONE COPOLYOL; DIMETHYL SILICONE; HIGHLY POLYMERIZED METHYL POLYSILOXANE; METHYL POLYSILOXANE; SILICONE L-45; DC 1664; DIMETHICONE 350; DIMETICONE; DOW CORNING 1664; MIRASIL DM 20; VISCASIL 5M.

 

Whew! Now that’s a long list to add to my shopping list of no-no’s. Moving along… the aloe vera leaf has many healthy properties. I heard it might help with anti-aging although I’m a firm believer we all grow ‘old’ gracefully and that is a fact of life. No amount of beauty creams and downright overpriced anti-aging concealers and beauty ‘add-ons’ that are pushed onto us women will amount to much, except perhaps do the exact opposite of what the products promise and could, for example, maybe exacerbate the natural aging process and help it along rather than magically ‘fix’ something that  isn’t broke. I also go by the philosophy, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

 

I noticed first hand the benefits of using pure aloe vera after the first week of using it like lotion. I’m not talking about the chemically-laden fake aloe vera that comes loaded with man made sugars in a 10 gallon oil drum for $1.80 at Big Lot’s. Okay, I exaggerated on the 10 gallon oil drum serving. I think it was more like 32 ounces, but still—that’s sugar overkill if you ask me. I don’t even use sugar in my evening/ morning beauty routine, although I have heard it makes the skin soft and so does pure raw honey. But skin can also absorb the sugars just the same.

 

I like to use straight aloe vera juice and go through one leaf per two weeks (when I can stretch it that far). It does wonders when your hair is damp and you’re drying it naturally (without heat of a hair dryer). I also wrap my damp hair in a soft cotton and/ or silk long scarf and let it completely dry. Using long scarves as in place of a bath towel or hair dryer to dry the hair I stumbled upon quite by accident and I highly credit a youtuber Steph Arizona for using scarves when applying hair masks to prevent it from dripping all over the place and also for throwing out some helpful advice on what to do with all those plastic grocery sacks that can accumulate like dust bunnies around the house. The grocery sacks make really good ‘one use only’ improvised shower caps and you’ll save a few bucks as well.

 

So, I gave some of Steph’s hair care tips a try and went at it with a somewhat skeptical approach at first since most of these DIY hair masks never worked for me in the past. I tried the coconut milk hair mask Steph uploaded on her youtube channel and individual results will vary. Therefore, I wasn’t discouraged when it didn’t work for me. I was only out $1.25. But I didn’t like the chemical they sneak into the Polar brand of Organic Coconut milk that I purchased wasn’t a natural ingredient and the actual coconut content didn’t amount to much. My result was my hair was very weighed down, limp and felt like it had a thick film on it that wasn’t easy to wash out even with repeated ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses and followed up with a full strength distilled white vinegar rinse with distilled water.

Although it did make my hair look shiny and silky, it was a huge mess to wash out. I then tried Steph’s ‘rice milk’ hair mask. Although, here again I didn’t allow my rice to ferment for three days (I believe that’s what she recommended) so I didn’t notice much of a difference in my hair. And mind you I did these hair mask recipes two weeks apart to give my hair some rest. What I didn’t do was reach for the Mane and Tail conditioner or the even the vegan shampoo (found at Sally’s Beauty Supply). However, even though its listed as vegan the shampoo is still loaded with chemicals in extremely small print, so you’ll need to carry a jeweler’s loop on your person to read these ingredients on the bottle. So I only reserve the vegan shampoo when the olive oil and coconut oil hair mask blunders made my hair greasy, albeit shiny. Also, I had some success with an avocado hair mask mixed with some aloe vera juice in place of shampoo.

 

But since doing the scarves for the hair mask recipes, I do strongly urge to make careful buying choices when shopping for scarves. I admit I buy mine from thrift shops and often times they don’t have tags listing the fabric content. Sounds icky to buy second-hand stuff but if you add a little bleach to the wash (before you put your laundry in), this helps and believe me, anywhere I can save money, I opt for that and leave the big box retailers and online shops alone.

 

Also, when purchasing used scarves for these hair masks I made quite a few ‘disastrous DIY infinity scarf’ shopping blunders, not ‘buyer’s remorse’ per se since I didn’t know said scarves weren’t wide enough, but instead thin, long and slapped together likely by a newbie to using a thimble, needle, and thread (hand stitched in most cases, not that that’s a bad thing). Most of these disastrous homemade infinity scarves I do happen across are less than $1. Sometimes they’ll set me back 49 cents here and there. And if there’s a tag attached to the scarf look for silk and/ or cotton. If its polyester this is spun plastic. And rayon is even worse yet since it’s a chemical that can leech out toxins.

 

Oh, and some helpful buying advice: always look for the tag and read the label for the fabric content. This threw me off a few times since the scarves would lack their tags and feel like soft cotton, when instead they were still stretchy, clingy, and made of either nylon, rayon, and viscose fabrics. Since I did some major spring cleaning yesterday, cleaned out my overburdened closets and donated ten large bags today, I got rid of nearly all of my clothing that not only no longer fit me, but also contained polyester, rayon (which is a toxic chemical and potential carcinogen that can seep into your skin), and nearly all nylons (including hose, trouser socks, trousers, and tank tops). This included many of the scarves that I just recently purchased for my hair mask treatments and natural hair drying.

 

Then what is advisable to wear in place of all these synthetic fabrics? And what if you have extremely sensitive skin? Then what? Look at the tag in the clothing and/ or scarves before you buy them. And do TRY on the clothes before you buy them. I am a repeat offender of ‘assuming it will fit’ mentality, when in fact, it’s the opposite in some cases and it make not look good on me or it make look fantastic on the dress form, but too small around the bust or too large around the waist, etc. And why is this a ‘one size fits all’ society all the sudden nowadays?! Aw, man!

 

I hauled ten trash bags crammed full of clothing and that outgrew me since I lost weight and changed my diet for better and made (hopefully healthier) eating choices for myself in the long run. I’m almost completely vegan now, except I do eat the occasional hard-boiled eggs about once a month. So if I were to say I was full vegan, then it would make me a hypocrite. I am a full vegetarian though and don’t consume meat, chicken, pork, or even hamburger. I don’t even do those ‘veggie burgers’ since here again its all highly processed foods on my ‘no-no’ list.

 

And what does this have to do with Chinese chopsticks? Well, aside from wanting to learn how to use a pair of chopsticks (that’s on my bucket list of things to learn how to do eventually when consuming rice), I also found a new pair of wooden chopsticks today for 29 cents and they were a lucky thrift store find. There’s nothing special about them and they’re not fancy or anything. When I opened the package I was slightly disheartened to see a few splinters so I designated these pair of chopsticks as hair sticks. Hunh? Hair sticks to hold your bun in place. I found some beautiful, elaborate //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=antiquemystiq-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00RHL8XR2&asins=B00RHL8XR2&linkId=89fc8d0b469478d24b773175273788f6&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>hair sticks on Amazon. So, I did a quick skim on youtube for tutorial hair stick videos and used one of the chopsticks to draw my hair in a bun and let it completely dry.

 

I used to keep my hair in a bun all the time back in my younger days with plastic hair clips before I fully understood that plastics are bad for the environment, etc. and keeping my hair in a bun constantly used to give some natural curls to my hair when I let it down so I wouldn’t have to kill my poor [then] chemically treated dyed hair or submit it to harsh hair spray. I used to be a fan of Aqua Net ‘concrete’ super hold hair spray back in the 90’s and that’s how we younger women got that ‘big hair’ look. Back then we called it, “teasing our hair” since the term ‘big hair’ didn’t come into vogue until about, oh… let me think here, around 2008 when I first heard of the term, that and the saying “big hair bands”. We simply used to call our beloved rock stars “hair bands” back in the day and not to be confused with the pony tail holders.

 

So, I’m trying out the chopstick bun in my hair as I write this and will give an update later on. I have a very tough day ahead of me and I need to get some beauty sleep. Oh, and I haven’t packed my lunch, either. I was more pre-consumed with food prepping earlier this evening and making space in my fridge for my leftovers of mashed potatoes mixed with red and yellow onion, fresh broccoli, and Chia seeds and my one pot meal of tri-color Rotini (spinach and tomato variety) without the added man made ‘enriched’ junk. I will post my mashed potato recipe for anybody that might be interested. It’s simple and takes a few minutes of food prep work, but so filling and good after a long day of running one’s legs off. I always say a hot meal, iced herbal tea (not the cheap instant teas), and some dessert of cut up fresh banana, strawberry drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce using Baker’s Unsweetened Baking chocolate bar, two tea spoons of raw honey and a few Carbo unsweetened chips is a real treat! As always thanks for reading, liking, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting, etc. I always truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Ah, it’s almost summer and that means…

Published February 19, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s almost time to break out the shorts, open-toed sandals, a comfortable top or tank, and sunshine in a bottle.

What? Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie, that is. I recently came across a recipe for it and it looks delicious. For this you will need the following:

Glass Mason jars (any size).

Glass straws such as these or others found here as well. I know they’re pricey, but when you’re trying to ween yourself off of plastic entirely and are concerned about unhealthy chemicals being leeched into your drinks and food, then glass straws might be a very healthy lifestyle investment. Sure glass straws can be a pain to clean (some come with a straw brush) and the other draw back is they can shatter and get broken, but making any lifestyle changes come with extra work.

You will also need a juicer or regular kitchen blender. If you opt for a blender, then you might want to strain this through a cheese cloth. I’ve tried the wire mesh strainers and they end up becoming rusty after one use. And if you have a juicer that gets rid of the pulp, then great. 🙂

If you’re going the blender route, be sure to add in enough water to cover the blades first and foremost to reduce wear and tear.

Sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie:

Take one lemon rinse, peel off the rind and slice it into chunks. You may want to remove the seeds before tossing it into the blender. Depending on what juicer you have, the more expensive models I’ve heard and read about anyway should eliminate the seeds and pulp. Also, about the seeds, some can have small toxic properties, and although its considered a very minuscule amount when ingested by eating certain kinds of fruit like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, if the seeds do get ground up, then in turn could cause small sharp particles that can then tear the intestines. Believe me, that doesn’t sound like fun. Therefore, I take the extra time to remove the seeds, especially when in doubt.

Next you will need some Fuji and/ or about three red apples. Wash, rinse and slice them into chunks. Discard the core and seeds in the trash. Add the apple slices in with your lemon.

You will also need some oranges, peeled, rinsed, and seeds removed if you want to go to the extra effort. About two Cara Cara oranges or pretty much any type of orange should work. And you need about three. I used one bag of small Halo Cutie oranges, and prepared these in a juicer and frozen them in ice cube trays.

One pineapple. Rind removed and discarded. Next, you’ll want to cut up the pineapple. Its all a personal preference if you discard the core or use it when juicing. I’ve heard both pros and cons of eating the core of a pineapple. The pros is it contains a high concentration of natural vitamin C and other healthy benefits. The cons of the pineapple core is that it can cause fiber balls to build up in the digestive system that can be difficult for your body to break down. Also, some seeds in fruit aren’t meant to be ingested because they can contain cyanide.  So, for myself personally until I can do more research on eating the whole pineapple I would toss out the core. Yeah, I might be depleting the vitamin properties and not getting the full ‘juicing’ experience, but rather be safe than sorry.

Two Kale leaves washed/rinsed off. I would say optional on this if you don’t like mixing veggies with fruits.

Okay now that you’ve washed, sliced, diced, peeled, chopped and cored your fruit you’re ready to add it into the blender and/ or juicer and whip these ingredients together. Last night I tried making this smoothie with most of the ingredients but lacked the most vital one; the pineapple.

So my “half” sunshine in a bottle smoothie is sitting in the fridge. Today I was determined to  walk to town to get  said fruit. And did the usual errands. I also stopped in a local upscale women’s clothing boutique that sells boho (Bohemian/ Hippie-ish) inspired clothing, jewelry, Vera Bradley hand bags, wallets, small back packs, makeup bags, Hanky Panky thong underwear, and even more Chinese-produced, massively over-priced jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, earrings… eh, I’ll just blog about all that in another post.

Tonight I plan to finish my fruit smoothie, crank out at least two other blog posts on here, do my Yoga for the night, etc. Then tomorrow I plan to get the garden cleared  and get it ready for summer. I already have most of my seeds bought and saved back as many as I could from all the fresh produce I bought at the store (roughly a year’s worth of “almost” free food if it grows and produces, that is).

Oh, and if you tried making this sunshine in a bottle fruit smoothie or anything similar, I’d be interested in knowing how it turned out. And should I find the video again of this smoothie I seen on youtube, I will post it in this blog. It looks great, but if you try to make it without the pineapple you’ll have a strong lemon smoothie instead.

Stay tuned for more. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I always appreciate it a lot! 🙂

My three-step deodorant (how-to-make):

Published January 31, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

This was pretty much trial and error when I began my mission to quit putting unnecessary chemicals into my body over three years ago. I researched, scoured, and tried many ‘all-natural’ health food store deodorants with less than impressive results. And it was only after the fact when I would arrive home and read all the ingredients of said deodorants.

How much money did I end up wasting? About $30 per month!!! For that price I could have very easily made my own deodorant and still have money left over.

So, I kicked all those mineral salt deodorants and Tom’s of Maine to the curb. I pitched out all cheap store-bought deodorant brands too, especially the kind that contain aluminum, which by the way, from what I’ve read extensively about, the body doesn’t NEED aluminum. Aluminum could be a cause of bone disorders, kidney problems, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer. Therefore, to eliminate these risks I looked through all of my daily beauty products. I was quite shocked to find Ivory soap “the soap that floats” does contain that sneaky beauty industry word, “fragrance”. This means Ivory isn’t 100 pure. Also, whether or not it really does as advertised to kill 99.9 % of germs leaves a lot to the imagination. If it’s a bar of Ivory it will collect bacteria like a Petrie dish.

Throughout the summer of 2015 I experimented using nothing more than a lemon slice daily. And believe me if you have sensitive skin this will burn like a three alarm fire! Lemon slices were out as far as home made deodorant alternatives were concerned in my case. I looked into using just baking soda, but found I had to re-apply it quite often and it sweated off in less than five minutes. Also, some generic and well-known brands of baking soda can contain aluminum which could account for me breaking out into rashes and having it make my teeth hurt when I used to brush with it in place of store-bought toothpaste.

Well, gosh darn it! So I did further research and came across some home made deodorants using Arrowroot Powder, but the stuff’s expensive. For the meantime, I just wanted a ‘go-to’ home made deodorant. While I was reading up on the benefits of raw organic coconut oil (like oiling pulling where you swoosh a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth the very first thing 20 minutes upon getting up and on an empty stomach). Not only is this anceint techinque suppose to help draw out toxins, it’s also supposed to help your oral health and whiten teeth as well. I also read about coconut oil’s deodorant properties too. I then discovered there’s many more uses for hydrogen peroxide other than just using it to treat cuts and scrapes. Hydrogen peroxide also has deodorant qualities. I tried this and almost got it to where it worked for me, but it wouldn’t stick. Hmmm…

For the final test version I dusted off with Rumford aluminum-free baking powder. The results? Excellent!

Here’s my three step process I’d like to share with the readers. If you like, you’re more than welcome to pass this along. I don’t know how well this will work for every individual since everyone is different, but here it goes:

Wash, shave (if you need to), and pat dry your underarms. I do this exclusively as part of my morning routine. I haven’t even begun to master tweezing and don’t ever foresee myself getting the hang of that. Shaving is still very quick for me and less of a hassle.

After your underarms are dry, smear some raw organic coconut oil on your fingers and apply this to the underarms making sure to get a generous amount rubbed into the skin.

Next, soak a piece of toilet paper with Hydrogen peroxide and dab this to the under arm area. Since I haven’t found an easier solution to apply hydrogen peroxide without a piece of toilet paper, this will have to do for now. I’ve tried using cotton balls to no avail and even tried using a facial scrubbing pad with messy results since the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t absorb into either material. It just dribbles all over the place.

And last, using a big makeup brush (or powder/ blush brush), dip it into the Rumford’s aluminum-free baking powder and dust it under the arms. Depending on whether or not you’ve shaved recently this might make sensitive skin hurt and/ or turn red. The redness goes away as long as there’s no razor burn or scrapes. And the sensitivity might lessen. Don’t apply this to broken or irritated skin, nor rub in the coconut oil with sharp fingernails. Believe me, this hurts really bad!

Things you’ll need:

Two makeup blush/ powder brushes. Since I use just one for now I often have to wash it out every other day to prevent bacteria buildup. Having two would come in handy while one is drying.

Hydrogen Peroxide (any brand) although I’ve heard there’s a lot of difference between brands.

Rumford brand aluminum-free baking powder (this can be found in most health food sections of a grocery store and/ or health food vitamin store). The container comes in a red can with a tan-color plastic lid. This baking powder sells between $2-3 dollars depending on location.

Raw Organic Coconut oil. I personally haven’t noticed a difference between cold pressed virgin coconut oil or any other less expensive store bought brand. I use whatever coconut oil I have on hand. I used to buy coconut oil by a brand called Spectrum, however, my store quit carrying it. It was also great for baking too.

And there you have it. I hope this is helpful for everybody. I also did this as to get away from the name brand/ store bought deodorants that have been known to be linked to certain types of cancers. And especially for women since some commercial deodorants have been linked to lumps in the breast tissue and lymph glands under the arms as well. By cutting out the use of deodorants exclusively, it’s my belief that my body is thanking for doing it.

And one other thing before I close: what you eat and put into your body has a lot to do with how your body sweats out the toxins and the odors that it’ll release. For example, if you eat a diet rich in red sweet onions, white onions, garlic, then you’re body will secrete these causing body odor that’s very unpleasant. However, I’ve heard from others who are on raw veggies/ fruit diets say that the body odor is almost eliminated and it all boils down to one’s own chemistry, sweat glands, etc. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

Eating Healthy: My Daily Routine.

Published January 26, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I wanted to share with you a healthy habit to get into. And if you’re already doing so, then great! 🙂

I know– I know, groan all you want. Sigh and roll your eyes. Tell me to my face I can’t possibly know the first thing about eating right since after all, I’m just your average woman out there living on a tight income. I’m not a licensed dietitian. I’m not a physical fitness trainer nor am I a certified life coach. But what I do have to offer is a great way to get started on a path to good health and it might even eliminate some bad habits along the way. And if you chose to stick with it (its a preference, not an order), then you’ll begin to see results.

I don’t believe in pumping my body full of diet pills just to achieve desired results. In fact, I believe those are highly dangerous and some have even caused death (think of that Fin-Fin).

This is like a nutrition ‘meal planner.’ Yep, I pre-plan everything I’m going to eat and prepare it the night before or even set aside time a week before and spend three days preparing my own meals on a budget. Pre-planning can save time, be extremely handy when in a hurry or when arriving home dead tired on your feet after a long day at work.

And eating healthy is just a start. When I get up I put on a pot of water. While its heated I remove my container of oats. I begin my day like anybody else, except I take things slow. I don’t get in a hurry. If I had roses to stop and smell, I do that too. I  don’t distract myself with a blaring TV or radio. The house is silent. The computer is kept off. I shower, then get dressed. I return to my boiling water and fill a coffee cup part water/ part oats. As that cools, I add in some Nature Nate’s Raw Honey and go make my bed and tidy up and get ready to head out.

My stuff like winter gloves, hat and scarf, receipt book, odometer notebook and pens are already packed in my bag so is my music. I snag a hard-boiled egg, peel off the shell and eat it with some salt. I wash it down with either steam-treated distilled water (some times seltzer water), and eat my oatmeal. I shut off the burner and when I’m done eating, brush and floss my teeth.

For lunch I might have a kale and avocado spread sandwich on home made Pretzel bread and a handful of unsalted almonds (high in natural vitamin E) and a cutie (small orange) or similar fresh fruit (never canned or pre-packaged fruit cups).

For supper my one pot meal awaits in the fridge. I either have pea, steamed potato and ham soup, or I thaw a batch of home made chicken broth, add in a piece of chicken and simmer it for two hours on medium heat, then add in some dried peas and whole wheat wide noodles. I check on it and add in water as needed. I clean house, do laundry, and fold and put away clothes. I sweep and vacuum, and when I’m done, the rich aroma of a home made stew fills my cozy house. I bring in my cat and feed her a spoon of Tuna along with her dry cat food. She’s happy as long as I’m the center of her universe. Sometimes she’ll claim the recliner and curl up and sleep for hours. I eat supper, wash up the dishes and wipe down the stove and counter tops.

My meal plan is as follows:

Mornings: Oatmeal and raw honey (in winter), one hard-boiled egg, one banana. In the summer: one hard boiled egg, one banana. I try to eat at least within the first 30 minutes after getting up. This helps to boost metabolism.

Lunch: Sandwich using home made avocado spread and/or soup/ stew or boiled Pollock fish or Salmon (if its on sale) and rice, steamed asparagus, green beans or corn, and a potato (make sure to poke holes in the potato or else it will explode. Do this especially if you plan to have a baked potato).

Supper: This is generally the ‘heaviest’ meal of my day. It can vary depending on what I have on hand. I’ll either have stews, soups, chicken (as the main meat), a veggie, a potato, and for dessert, an apple and peanut butter. Sometimes I forgo the apple and peanut butter and eat a small custard-cup serving of mixed frozen fresh fruit that’s been pre-washed, sorted and bagged. Other times I might make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins 20 mins.

How to make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole:

One can of Tuna (drained) and dumped into baking dish. Or, if you prefer, you can always use one can of Salmon or canned chicken with the gross stuff drained off and rinsed in distilled water. The thing about Tuna is that it contains mercury, so you may want to eat this once-in-a-while. And this same heavy metal is also found in most fish as well.

One potato washed, peeled, and cut into shoe-string length. Add those in with the tuna and add in some water. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sometimes I’ll make this using hot dogs and sauerkraut, and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuna is optional and so are the hot dogs. It’s very rare I do eat hot dogs on a regular basis simply because they are so full of chemicals and they are very unhealthy. The more chemicals you can keep out of your body, the better you’ll feel.

Put some tin foil on the baking dish, set the timer for about 15-20 mins. and place the casserole in the oven to bake. Make sure to use a half cup of water so it doesn’t burn. For a variation Feta cheese is also good as a topping as well in this recipe.

During the summer I rarely heat up the house using the oven and prefer to either steam the heck out of my veggies and chicken dishes, or just boil them in water. I never use any cooking oil and don’t make or consume fried, greasy foods either. It may sound like a plain boring diet, but its what helped me lose a lot of weight and keep it off.

I don’t own a juicer yet. Rather I do blend my fresh produce like kale, fruit, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and add in a small amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I also like to use half a cup of steam-treated distilled water and/ or Hiland Drinking water (bought at Dollar General). I blend all of the ingredients using grind, whip and puree on my blender, and when its too my liking (thickness-wise like a fruit Smoothie), I pour it into freezer bags, label them and store them in the freezer for future use. The shelf life of this in the freezer is about one month or until the bananas begin to brown then you know its time to toss it.

The avocado spread is made much the similar way using just enough water not to make it soupy but keep it like a thick sauce texture, some lemon juice (spices optional: rosemary, black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, onion powder or fresh sliced white onion about two strips) and freeze it if its not going to be eaten right away. Shelf life of avocado spread in the freezer is 3-5 months. Thereafter it must be pitched out if not consumed by then. I always like to thaw the avocado spread in the fridge overnight so it’s ready for me when I get up.

The home made pretzel bread I make has to be either frozen or refrigerated. Other times I’ll make Welsh Rarebit for a snack. I did happen across Welsh Rarebit when skimming through my 1890s cookbook and wanted to share it:

Welsh Rarebit:
16 (1/3-inch-thick) diagonal bread slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup porter or ale
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg yolk

I usually omit the butter, and all-purpose flour and use whole wheat flour instead. I would assume the bread slices are put on a plate and then the Welsh Rarebit is served over it kind of like an open face sandwich. Also, I skip the port and ale and leave out the milk. This is just my personal preference. With the other ingredients in the Welsh Rarebit, you’ll want to mix these and bring them to a low simmer over medium heat stirring constantly so it won’t stick or burn. Once thickened, remove from burner and serve over the bread. Goes great with a little bit of Feta cheese on top and a side of green beans.

I also have a recipe for my no yeast Pretzel bread:

• 3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably stone ground)
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1⁄2 cups rice milk (works with any liquid) or 1 1⁄2 cups water (works with any liquid)
• 1⁄4 cup liquid fat (i.e. melted milk free margarine, vegetable oil, olive oil)
Directions
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Do not sift the flour!
3. Mix liquids and add to dry.
4. Stir until there is no more dry flour.
5. Depending on the humidity of the air where you live you may need a little bit more or less liquid.
6. The dough should be moist but not sticky.
7. It may take a few minutes for the flour to fully absorb the liquid, so don’t rush to add liquid or flour to it.
8. Score lightly the surface in a diamond or X shape to prevent splitting of the crust.
9. This is a country style bread that should be sliced thick.
10. It is important not to overwork the dough.
11. Shape into a ball or an oval, with oiled hands.
12. Place on clean baking sheet.
13. Bake for 40 minutes at 400°F.

Remove bread when done, and brush on a mixture of water and baking powder. Sprinkle with Pretzel salt and return to heated oven for about 5 mins. Take out and let cool on a wire cookie rack. Sometimes the loaf will stick to the bread pan so make sure to oil it with Coconut oil or similar if you’re using cooking oil. This bread comes out hard and crusty on the top, moist and spongy on the inside. Cut into slices (this is hard to do without a bread knife, but can be done), then put into bread sacks or zip lock bags and place it the freezer or fridge. If you place this bread in the fridge be sure to consume it within less than a week. Since there are no additives, this bread doesn’t contain all the chemicals that store bought bread does to keep it from getting moldly. This home made bread also sets better and is more dense (not light as air like all commercial store-bought breads are) and you won’t get hungry afterwards since it won’t contain any MSG Mono Sodium Glutamate = ‘natural flavors’ or artificial “your guess is as good as mine” ingredients.

It might take awhile to notice any results when breaking free from chemically processed foods and switching over to an all natural, raw fruits, veggies and home made meals diet since everybody is different. If you can cut out the sugar (sugary drinks, bagged sugars, candy, and sweetners) you’ll soon discover a HUGE, (I mean massive) increase in energy and libido. Your body will thank you and your spiritual, mental, and emotional well being will love you for it. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll see it physically.

Another helpful tip: start by keeping a weight diary. (This helps, trust me). Weigh yourself each morning after you get up first thing. And don’t eat or drink anything. If you do, that’s okay too. Usually you weigh less in the morning than you would at night. I generally like to take my weight twice (once without a stitch of clothes on), and one weight reading with clothes on including shoes for better accuracy. I always jot down my weight nowadays and the date.

When I began my raw veggies/ fresh fruit about three years back, I didn’t keep a weight diary. And I really should have. I weighed 132 pounds back in 2014, and for a woman of such a small size, I would consider that morbidly obese and I’m not even a medical doctor. Surprisingly throughout my past regular and even yearly exams nobody ever brought up my weight to me. I didn’t gain that weight until I was in my late twenties (27-28) and it just stuck with me since my ex would cook in grease. Everything was grease and he’d swear by it was the only way to cook. I used to drink soda like a fish back then, ate very unhealthy processed foods and by the time I was in my early 30s I hated how I looked and felt. I know what did it for me was when I undergone my emergency gallbladder surgery at 35 and that was my wake up call. And had I not heeded that handsome surgeon’s advice about having the emergency surgery, I wouldn’t be here blogging.

I began to see results almost one week after I cut out soda completely. But mind you I began to do this slowly over time once I healed from my gallbladder surgery completely. Then I stopped baking with sugar. And then I really saw results! I slowly, but surely I eliminated all boxed dinners, processed foods, junk foods, candy, gum, and at the last even tea. I will eat sunflower seeds and chew on toothpicks.

Nowadays I make my own steeped tea boiling water and adding in two fresh frozen cranberries. Other times I will raid my Hosier cabinet for my dried Peppermint leaves and put those in my tea strainer. They won’t change the water to green as I’ve seen from the bagged “Bigalow” Peppermint tea does. There’s hardly any ‘mint’ taste from my dried peppermint leaves, but they complement the cranberries I think. I’ve also tried a little bit of my dried lavender flowers too and didn’t notice much difference (taste-wise). Lavender does help to aid digestion.

Cranberries are an extremely good source of antioxidants and natural vitamin C and if you can buy them fresh in the bag (Oceanspray brand) found in the fresh fruit/strawberry, blueberry, and mulberry cooler, then its worth it. Yep, you can freeze fresh cranberries (at least I do), and you can freeze fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mulberries. 🙂

If I can think of anything else, I will be adding to this blog as time goes on. Please, keep checking back. Thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, re-blogging, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eight-legged residents that just won’t leave.

Published June 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m writing out my frustrations. I’m not mad at the economy. I’m not upset about anything I read about in the news. I’m nearly at my wit’s end even though I’ve heard that living with spiders isn’t something to go off on a b**** fest crying fit over.

Actually, they aren’t just your average ‘spider’. They are the somewhat misunderstood, yet potentially dangerous brown recluse. Oh, and it doesn’t help that the basement is only 50 % finished, either.

And another thing, the former tenants from what I was later told about (long after I moved in) were heavily into drugs and didn’t take care of the place, if at all.

Well, gosh darn it! I loathe drug users, too. I especially dislike tinkers taking home repair/remodels into their own hands and doing things on the cheap… actually, I’ve never seen handy work like the kind I had to re-fix correctly to the best of my abilities. And no, I didn’t come across any brown recluses in the minor upgrades I had help getting done on my tiny money pit.

The house was just in a nice neighborhood and property taxes are well below reasonable.

And like any older structure that hasn’t been lived in in quite some time, it will attract all different sorts of residents. They hang out in the bedroom, living room, kitchenette, open basement/ crawl space (gross!), the utility area, bathroom (they love the shower walls and scaring yours truly half to death).

The ancestor brown recluses had to be eradicated. And I had never in my natural born days seen spiders get quite as large up to the size of a half dollar. Oh, man, take my word on it, I was driven beyond insane and ended up moving elsewhere for a period of time and put the tiny money pit on the market and write it off as a major loss. And most of my personal possessions went to the trash the first time around since I couldn’t deal with it anymore or the potential that a few hangers-on moved with me in the process. The most sentimental stuff remained in a garage and sealed. I sorted through it all later.

Spiders shouldn’t dictate how a person should live their lives. In fact, it should be the person settling fine into their new home. Instead, I didn’t have one spider to deal with, but up to many different kinds in my first year alone. I had venomous Hobo spiders, St. Anthony spiders, daddy long legs, brown recluse, grass spiders, funnel spiders (mostly in the yard) and wolf spiders that pack a nasty bite, but not lethal to the others mentioned.

“Kill ‘em if you see ‘em.” That’s my motto when referring to the spiders.

I’ve had two different pest control companies to my tiny money pit so many times over I lost count. At first, I was considering what chemicals they sprayed with and if they were safe to be inhaling when the AC or heat had to be used. I was assured what they use is safe around pets and humans. However, a person has to stay gone for a few hours for the fogging because it can be highly irritating. In my case (and I must have an industrial strength eight-legged freaks) that can live through an atomic blast. Moving can be an option, but at the present time unfeasible until I’m more financially stable.

I am wiser now than I was about what to look for when figuring out where to live. Don’t buy the darn place if the price is cheap. It’s priced to sell for a reason even though the realtor may not have any clue what’s been inhabiting the open basement/crawl space or attic longer than man has been on God’s green earth.

Everything was normal during the two walk-throughs I did with the realtor. The only thing I saw were two dead daddy long legs in the bathtub and several dead elm bugs in the window sill of the utility space. The open basement (although spooky and very small), didn’t give off any indication of the nasty surprises that did await me once my heart was set on this place.

I might be in love with the era the house was built in, but wasn’t thrilled that I found myself stuck in a living nightmare few ever find themselves in. I’m not going to get into the specifics as to why I was in such a rush to move from my previous place.

Oh, I guess coming out of a nine-year controlling relationship and failing at loving a Mama’s boy will make a woman go crazy eventually. But I won’t use that excuse in my current situation.

I think what plays a significant role in all of this is that a.) the house sat vacant with no takers or renters for at least three years or better.

And b.) the ancestor brown recluse spiders had been in the house for more than seventy years (no joke). Brown recluse spiders can survive without food and water for many long years and adapt to all harsh conditions.

The first go around made me haul out my personal belongings without even sorting through the contents. I think I wouldn’t call this down-sizing so much as it was more of a lost cause effort to combat this infestation that was reaching epidemic proportions. I couldn’t sleep, eat or even have furniture in the house. What I did have would go curbside after one month. Long curtains, oh yes, spiders LOVE to nest in fabrics, towels and clothes, shoes, etc. So I went with mini-blinds and I plan to wash and return the curtains I do have.

Sad that I can’t even leave stuff out. No books, magazines—nothing stays out. All of that was placed in a storage tub and hauled off elsewhere to be stored off sight. My life feels really boring since I can’t enrich my literary diet. But some day I pray this will change for me and I can have my books and magazines again and leave them discarded wherever I please without worry.

If money was no object… I could go the circus tent route—(yeah, right, if I was made of money I wouldn’t be living in this tiny money pit). The circus tent route is where a pest control company places a fogging tent all around the outside of the house and then fog the hell out of it. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t have any effect on brown recluses. And it’s extremely costly…. Not to mention a waste of resources, money and time if it fails.

The second time I had another pest control place come out they fogged the attic in the dead middle of winter. And guess what? I at first thought it worked completely. I had just gotten hired on a factory and moved back in. Everything for a brief period of time was looking up for me, but it didn’t stay that way. I still took precautions and kept nothing left out not even food or opened containers. Everything food-wise (except canned goods) stays in the fridge.

And I switched to storage containers and trash bags. All my clothes went into bags and containers. This I knew would have to cut down on the spider population since I wouldn’t give them a breeding ground. Well, my hopes were again dashed, and dashed some more.

The second infestation of brown recluses began cropping up in the spring of 2013. This time they ranged in dark brown, light-sandy brown and tan (almost impossible to see on laminated oak flooring). Arrg! I HATE SPIDERS! There, I shouted it in all caps.

I didn’t have quite so many mental melt downs whenever I saw a few spiders running around (and no, I’m no a messy person). I keep a strict, tidy place.

This house, its age and the fact it wasn’t remodeled right (or built eons ago) correctly says a lot about the architecture of its time which I was informed started out as a slave home (which may or may not explain why it was cobbled together without insulation in the utility area where the washer and dryer hook up). So when it gets hot, it cooks. In the winter the pipes freeze and doing a load of laundry is out of the question.

I feel like palm-smacking my head for being a nitwit when it came to first-time home-ownership. But I was young, really looking forward to getting back on my feet and simply couldn’t remain patient until the right house came a long and one had that might have been a lot better in quality. The spiders gave me an education, but seriously, I want them gone so I can live a somewhat peaceful life until I can save up enough or meet a rich Mr. Right and be out of here.

Brown recluses can bite. And although sometimes their bite can lead to a flesh-rotting wound (this is caused by necrosis, skin lesions). Thankfully the brown recluse’s fangs can’t penetrate through fabric and I haven’t been bitten as of yet. However, I take extreme precautions to shake out my clothes and shoes before I dress. I always check my bed and never let the covers touch the floor.

But I still don’t sleep well even after all the preventive measures and countless sprayings and foggings. This seems to just aggravate the spiders. So I did extensive reading on natural methods to make this place as unpleasant as possible for them. I invested in double-sided sticky tape and it became my best friend.

But—the grass spiders and one new spider that now lives inside of my bathtub faucet that juts out from the fake paneled shower wall (it’s not even shower surround material, that’s how shoddy the landlord and/ or previous druggie renters were), creates a new web every morning and night. I go in knock it down, spider hides inside faucet and doesn’t emerge until the next day.

When does the madness end? Likely it never will. With a house as old as mine (and it’s a crying shame and not remotely laughable), it makes me wonder, “What was I thinking?” when I laid eyes on this tiny money pit.

And then I had all that enormous life-time accumulation of stuff that moved in with me. If wondering, no, none of my personal possessions had any spiders in or contained in any of the moving containers. In fact, I was baffled as to where these brown recluses were just ‘showing up’ in the blink of an eye.

In the beginning they would repel from the ceiling, crawl out of the floors, floor vents (another do-it-yourself job that was s***** constructed long before the house was even on the market). The spiders loved to crawl out from under the fake tile in the bathroom and scurry back in once I spotted them on the edge of the tub.

I wept tears of anger and complained about my living conditions that made me feel like white trash even though I’m a far cry from that. I did everything in my power to combat this spider infestation and became more angry in the process. I downsized some more. Threw out memories, pictures— anything I could get my hands on. I pitched all of my books even some valuable antique ones that were scarce to find in print.

I then began trashing everyday dishes, cups and limited myself to one cup, plate, bowl and silverware. Next, I threw out my extra pairs of shoes, clothing, and towels. I simply couldn’t stand living in a brown recluse house and couldn’t escape the fact that at any given time I might have a nasty scar from a brown recluse bite or be bitten at any given time.

I don’t care what the pest control companies tried to console me with. They see this stuff all the time. Heck, there was an article in the local paper published in 2013 about an alarming influx of brown recluses leaving pest control companies working overtime that particular summer. My place was no different, but the unusual number of them was making my living conditions impractical and impossible. I soon heard that brown recluses were invading the rich homes in the city. So I wasn’t the only one having nightmares keeping them awake at night and it still didn’t bring me any peace of mind.

And I’ve read and picked through every self-help article on battling brown recluse spiders and came upon one disturbing relation: they are EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate once they reside inside a house. I’ve heard of clearing away grass and brush from the foundation. I do that weekly. And the lawn gets mowed regularly. There’s so may cracks that several tubes of caulking won’t fix. And the foundation is so old some of the cement overlay has gaps where some previous renter or landlord shoved rocks into just to cover it up. I can clearly see daylight behind the installed hot water tank. And damn-blasted to the wanna-be never-will-be home un-improvement renters before me never sealed up the cinder block window. They just crammed a cinder block and built a wooden porch over it. That’s another reason why the spiders keep getting in.

And the other un-improvements I won’t bother mentioning because they don’t relate to this blog post. I will, however, offer some tips on keeping one step ahead of this brown recluse:

1. Storage tubs and trash bags. If you have anything of value, place it inside a trash bag, seal it good and store it in the plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Double sided sticky tape. Place this around all inside perimeters of the house, around bed posts on the floor and thresholds. For the longest time I did this around the edge of the bath tub, but the water ruins the stickiness of the tape.

3. Peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. I heard brown recluses hate the scent of peppermint. I did this tonight around the house, hoping on a prayer this helps combat the issue until the pest control man stops by next week.

4. Vinegar and water. Seriously does this really work? You have to directly spray the spider and most of the ones I did this to did nothing. It doesn’t faze them.

5. Hair spray will freeze them long enough to get the fly swatter to them.
Nobody should have to live like this. But I won’t ever know the freedom for quite some time to just lay my stuff down and not feel the overwhelming compulsion to micro-manage it every second.

One good thing about this, living with brown recluses will be a motivator to save as much dough as possible to get the heck out. I’ve come to realize that this problem existed and went largely ignored for quite some time. Perhaps the former druggie renters worried more about getting their next high than ridding the house of the spiders.

And secondly, knowing very well who the landlord was didn’t help. Living here has taught me A LOT about living. I became a minimalist overnight even though I didn’t intend to live without some creature comforts. I made sacrifices just to tolerate my living conditions and I’m the crabbiest person because of it.

Then I learned from May to July are the active months for brown recluse spiders. And I have one more month to endure and then a grueling long a** winter ahead of me as well to get through. I pray by this time next year or sooner if I can make it happen I can move out of here.

I’m sick of not having my life the way I want it. I’m sad because I can’t relax. I’m frustrated because this tiny money pit will never be a ‘home’ except if you’re a contractor with a lot of money to sink into this place and don’t mind sharing it with brown recluses. Also, investing in the really expensive bug dirt would be nice, but financially out of reach for now. And besides I have my sights set on someplace else hopefully in the near future anyway.

Enough with my b**** fest crying fit. I now return you to your blog. As always, thanks for reading, re-posting, sharing, twittering, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. And if you have any helpful suggestions or tips I’d be happy to hear them too. 🙂

When signing up for the Y is a hardship:

Published June 8, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Whenever I find something that might interest me I first and foremost do my extensive research, contemplating and do a lot of procrastinating about it, then finally decide to take that plunge. And…

All doesn’t go smoothly, at first which is my first introduction into the crappier side that is known as life.

And it didn’t help that my morning was rudely interrupted by a survey caller at 11 am on a Sunday. So, arg! I forced myself to go back to sleep since it’ll be one of those rare days I will have during an upcoming hectic week to get caught up on sleep. And when I get sleep-deprived it does strange things to me. I especially get grumpy whenever I can’t get my regular hours of sleep… any who, so my morning didn’t start off as planned. I guess if sleeping in on the weekends can be planned.

I finally decided that I might want to join my local Y. Before I even show up, I have the first step completed. I brought my paperwork stating my income. But that’s not all, there’s more—much more. If you think you can easily walk in and sign up to be a member of a gym, show proof of I.D. and pay the necessary fees upfront, think again.

What am I attempting to do again? Apply for a first-time home buyer’s loan or join the Y so I can get some real swimming in and maybe the occasional treadmill/ lap track walking exercises in the comfort of the great indoors? See, I don’t do the sunbathing and all those times I did go swimming back when every summer, I really disliked the fact there was no shade to relax under.

So much red tape to get through and I’m not even half-finished. In the meantime while everything processes (the old-fashioned snail mail way), I can enjoy two free passes for myself to see what I think of the Y. I’ve got one opinion of it formed in the back of my little mind, “It’s a pain to join.” I can see it already.

I’m leery at best of any results and since I’m really not a morning person (like 5 am is for the early birds) and I don’t drink coffee, either. So what else would there be for a thirty something like me to do? Probably have nothing in common socially if its a senor citizen crowd that shows up early or go try my hand at racket ball to pass the time.

I tried doing what the Y suggested to start the financial assistance process and that was to go to the IRS website and click on their many confusing links to fill out an electronic version of the paper copy I had in my hand. The person I spoke with at the Y said it would be, “…much faster to do it online and you’ll have results in two days, in some cases through email, print it out and return here with it.”

Hardship #1. Nothing in life is THAT simple! And certainly not when dealing with a government website.

Hardship # 2: And guess what? The IRS electronic form filing for that specific tax form I need to show proof of… “Isn’t available at this time. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

INCONVENIENCE, my foot! Holy Mackerel… [palm smack on forehead].

Being it’s a Sunday, the post office is closed. In fact, the cut off time to make it to my grocery store’s service desk has long since came and went to buy individual stamps. Then again, what do I know? I don’t keep track of these things since I never have to go to the store on Sunday to buy stamps.

With the ten dollars loaned to me to fill up the gas tank, I in turn did a very stupid thing today—I bought one book of stamps. The checker rang me up for $19.80 and I said, “Whoa, wait a minute– $19 for two stamps? No, I don’t think so. Put ‘em back.”

“Oh, sorry, it’s after a certain time. I can’t sell you any individual stamps. You’ll have to come back tomorrow. And since we didn’t do our stamp count yet—”

Okay, now there is no sign that states when they can’t sell books of stamps even after a. they either do their ‘stamp count’ for the day and/ or b. the service desk is closed after a certain amount of time.

This whole day has already cost me frustration, stress, loss of sleep, driving around in a van with no working AC. It’s extremely hot, muggy and you can’t imagine how irritated this is makes me feel because my trip takes me all over town just to complete this final step. I’m not just a hop, skip, jump away from the nearest store. So, in my stress I politely, yet sternly said: “Fine, ONE book of stamps, please.”

And guess what I find when I do return from mailing that letter to the IRS? My tax returns that *might* be the right ones for me to finish the form to get a membership. Which means, if this is turns out to be true then I could have saved back my ten dollars and the trouble, time and expense.

Who knew joining the Y is full of red tape and when its all said and done, whew! I don’t know if I’ll feel like renewing ALL of this again after a twelve month period. If its this hard to get a foot in the door to get out there and be socially engaged, I may opt for something else. It just means I won’t be able to go swimming because I HATE water parks.

First, I don’t want to pay the outrageous daily fees to get in a little swimming under the blistering fireball that is the sun. Secondly, I absolutely don’t agree with a ‘bare all’ swimsuit regulation the water park has instated. And third,  I also dislike that they restrict the use of appropriate swim trunks over a bathing suit and t-shirts worn in their man made rivers, wave pools, etc. Plus if you need to lock up your personal effects, the water park charges you an additional $7 fee to rent a locker. To swim there daily is $5.50 for an adult. That may not sound like much, but take in the fact that people do and will steal your personal belongings and if you can’t afford a locker fee, you are pretty much asking for getting your identity/ debt/ credit cards stolen while you’re out swimming. Its difficult to keep an eye on stuff and not pleasant to try and enjoy yourself at the same time.

Thanks for reading, liking, and sharing. I may continue to update this blog post when I know more.