Soapbox

I am a firm believer of holding people accountable for things that they do. I think as a society we are too reasonable with things that are not okay. We all have rights, but I also feel that you forfeit your rights when you start to harm others. We need to set better examples and raise better children. Some of the teenagers that I am seeing these days make me cringe. It’s NOT unavoidable. Let’s just DO BETTER. Because we can. End of soapbox.

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given.

What is it that makes us care about the opinions others have of us?

                              As a young kid I was happy and perky which is natural and expected of a child. I guess somewhere along the line, I had some collisions in life (hormones may have played a part as well) and they built up into a not so happy and perky teenager. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I just wasn’t as open and giggly as I had been. By the time I was 14, I had been given 3 assessments of my demeanor that had made an impact on me.

                  The first one was a guy that I had a major crush on. We’re going to call this guy Pickles. I had been talking to him for a long time online. This was in AOL was still in fashion.  (We did eventually meet in person…) I had worked up the nerve to tell him that I liked him which is a tough thing to do when you’re 14. The response I received was lengthy due to Pickles trying to be a decent guy, but I didn’t hear anything after, “…besides, YOU’RE NOT WEIRD ENOUGH FOR ME.” Based on his demeanor, lifestyle and interests I decided what “weird” meant and I desperately tried to be that. (Baggy pants, heavy metal and a general mysterious/careless attitude.) It didn’t work. It did however lead me into the life of assessment provider number 3.

                     The second one was around the same time as the first. I was 14-15 and attending a private school. I had a good amount of friends here and felt pretty secure. I actually still managed to have a good bit of my natural vitality left. I remember, being in class and having a friend of mine (also male, but less of a love interest) interrupt me mid hyper burst of happiness and he asked me, “Why are you so happy all the time?” This made me think. I didn’t really have an answer to this… but did I need one? Just in case I need to refer to him later, we’ll call this guy, Spikey.

                   The third one was an actual boyfriend. I met him once I started on this path of “weirdness” I began when I was rejected by Pickles. What shall we call this one? Lemming. Lemming sounds good. Ok, so Lemming was friends with Pickles.  Lemming was apparently pleased by my level of weirdness whereas Pickles was not. Pickles was still, however, a good friend. I fell in teenage-love with Lemming. Pickles did not like this. Pickles claimed to have information that would prove to me that Lemming was no good for me, yet he never told me.  ANYWAY, long story short, Lemming was a bit of a loner and a waste of his obvious intelligence and potential. Our break up argument consisted of me, 17 and he 21 arguing over why he “couldn’t find a job” and how I had 2. There is a lot of back story, but we broke up and he told me that I was “childish” and didn’t understand how hard life was.  For some reason this stuck to me as well. I thought I was doing well. I had 2 jobs and was about to get my first car.

There have been many other times in my life when my character or physical appearance have been evaluated or criticized, but these are ones that stand out to me.

               When I was 19-20 years old, I was doing some training in another city in order to learn how to do a job for a volunteer-run drug detox program. I was living with some other people that were there training and I kept having trouble with one of the girls I lived with. They had a person who was there to resolve disputes. I wound up seeing him a lot because I just couldn’t seem to get the situation under control myself. This is another LONG story, but after being sent to see this dispute counselor like person, he was just as tired of the situation as I was and being busy just said to me, “Look. You need to stop taking things so fucking personally!” It didn’t come across as rude as it sounds, but it did piss me off. This guy was supposed to help me with this insufferable creature that I lived with! I stayed huffy and angry about this situation for QUITE SOME TIME. I would go a long time before anything ever sank in.

                  I lived the next 8 years with these ideas in mind. How I needed to understand that I couldn’t be childish and that life was hard. For some reason, being happy for “no reason” was weird and that I wasn’t weird enough. AH! Confusion! A lot of the time I was interested in doing what would please people. I wasn’t really sheepish, but I never did what I wanted. I did what would be good for someone else. I was always the really nice person that could always be counted on to sacrifice their time and $ to help someone out. This is not wrong unless it lessens your self preservation. I was also afraid of doing the things that I wanted for fear of further confusing assessments of my being.

         I had a horrible marriage that SEEMED to end only because my spouse had obtained his long-sought legal immigration status and I hit a slump before being able to recover. There were many horrible things that he said to me that have since been rendered null.

I am currently 28 years old. Not until last year did this sparkling nugget of truthy advice finally sink into my mushy head and ignite some understanding and for lack of better words, cajones/balls/gonads.

          Something as simple as: “stop taking things so personally” has affected me in such a positive way over the last year. It really is something that you have to come to realize personally, but really… if someone is an antagonistic ass hat to you… HE IS THE ASS HAT. This never actually means that there is something actually wrong with you. It took me a long time to realize that my husband was not going to change. I wasn’t a bad person and I didn’t deserve the treatment that I got, but at the same time I was responsible for it’s continuation. I didn’t leave when I should have.

ANYWAY. Since I have changed my life around a bit, I have heard and developed new mottoes and mantras, my favorite of which is “Things aren’t serious, I can change at will.” This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that need to be taken seriously, but we don’t need to be serious about them.

        There are a lot of things (and people) that try and make life seem scary and bad and dangerous. These people NEED you to believe this. This is how they survive. I am not going to get into my political or spiritual beliefs here, but maybe I will take it up in another post. My point here is that things aren’t the way they seem. On some level they are worse. But worse can be improved upon. How do we improve upon doom and gloom? Hatred and war? The universe works with polar opposites. This is easily proven and the saying, “opposites attract” isn’t just relationship advice. Therefore, per my outstanding logic (haha) we should pump an infusion of happiness and positive emotion, love and peace into the universe.

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               I could go on forever, but I think this should sum it up: “Happiness and strength endure only in the absence of hate. To hate alone is the road to disaster. To love is the road to strength. To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. And may very well be the greatest secret in this universe.”- L. Ron Hubbard.  To read the whole article click here: What is Greatness?

 

 

Poppin’ Tags at the Thrift Shop.

Up until I was 16, I thought that the only people who could shop at Good Will and various other thrift shops were homeless people or people who could somehow prove they were most definitely going through some kind of hardship.

Growing up, if my family ever met with hard times, I was not aware of it. We had money. My mom liked to shop and I think it rubbed off on me.

The first time I ever went to a Good Will, I was 16. I was training to help run a detox center and one of the people helping me had decided that I need to dress a little more professional.

The idea of shopping at a “homeless people store” for professional clothes was just baffling to me.

I didn’t end up finding much, but it was an experience that was new to me.

Now that I am older (28), living on my own and a little more evolved from my slightly confused teenage thinking, I LOVE GOOD WILL.

It makes very little sense to me to spend so much money on things that we don’t really need.

Owning things makes us feel good. It’s like it shores up our confidence in the fact  that we are “making it.” I’m not anti material things.

One of my jobs is as somewhat of a mystery shopper.

I go to malls and all of the “fancy” stores and I observe the environment and the people and it’s just so icky to me to be so wasteful.

$20 dollars for a t-shirt kind of hurts my mind and that’s considered a steal at a lot of these places.

I won’t knock the people that shop these places too much because without them we would have no silly people bringing all of their good things to Good Will for us to buy.🙂

I just wanted to share some of the awesome things that I have gotten at Good Will to prove the point that you can get some pretty sweet stuff at much less of a harm to your wallet.

A lot of times it’s super-cool one-of-a-kind things.

Check it out.

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I was really surprised to find this. It was brand new and still has the floppy tag on the handle. I think I paid $8 for it. That’s a little bit high for a Good Will item, but it was BRAND NEW so I didn’t mind.

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This. I don’t know why I bought this. I think it just goes with my love of pirate ships. I saw it and was ecstatic. It makes a nice loud dinging sound. I am going to put it to use once I have my farm. I think I paid $4.99 for this.

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This was a nice find too. It’s Celtic looking and has all of my favorite colors in it. The rope was lose when I got it, but I fixed that with some super glue. It was $5.99, but it was part of the sale stuff so I got it for around $3.

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Yay! Red and silver plated chalices! Both together were $0.99. They have a crazy bat-demon looking thing on them, but I couldn’t pass them up.

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These are things that I bought from Good Will, but got craft with to make some home decor. They are glass dishes that I spray painted. The tall one is an upside down glass with a candy dish affixed to the bottom and spray painted. They currently hold my change.🙂

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This!🙂 I love this. I have it over my desk. It didn’t look this cool when I got it, but I worked my magic and made it awesome.

I used a pencil eraser to get rid of some yellowing and I repaired a sail with a really sharp pencil. I also painted it black. It was a dark wood color to begin with. It looked old and weird, but I love it now.🙂

$0.99.

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This is an essential oil diffuser.

 I have always wanted one of these. This one still has the original price tag on the bottom. It was originally $38.99. I paid $3.99. It does have a little chip on the oil tray, but hey.

Cool stuff, right?

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard it enough, here’s a little inspiration:

It’s ok to have things, but why spend so much money on them? Think about it. Most people make around $10/hr. A t-shirt at Abercrombie or whatever is like $40+. That’s 4+ hours of your life just to get a shirt.

Not cool.

Feeding a Man.

ImageI’m not old fashioned, but I’m also not some crazed feminist. I like to cook for my man. It pleases me to see him enjoy the things I make for him or to watch his face when I put a plate of awesome in front of him.

Yeah. He loves food.

How much?

Like bring a book to the buffet because it’s going to be a while.

Despite this, he still manages to maintain a healthy weight. We’re both nearing 30 and I keep hearing that at that point you can no longer just eat whatever you want and stay fit.

I just wanted to share some man friendly, but still healthy food that I have made for my man in case you need some ideas.

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This is just an orange, some cherries, strawberries, dried apricots, sprouts, pecans and some beef jerky.

Yeah, this one is not going to win over all men. I happen to be with a major veggiesaurus.

ImageThis was so tasty-good! I started with a thick slice of homemade wheat bread. I drizzled olive oil over it. I then spooned some ro*tel spicy tomatoes on top. Time for spices! I sprinkled garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. I had some fresh basil in my patio garden, so I cut up some leaves and added that. Then I put a few slices of peperoni and covered it with mozzarella cheese. I baked it for about 20 minutes at 350.

Image   This might look kind of strange, but it was really pretty good. These are cauliflower “tater-tots”. What I did: I took about half a head of cauliflower and boiled it. After draining off all of the water I put the softened cauliflower in my Magic Bullet and blended it up until it was slightly chunky. I added 2 tbsp of heavy cream and 1 egg. I mixed it all together and once I did, it seemed a bit too watery for me (I followed a recipe) so maybe do 1tbsp of heavy cream. (To make up for the watery consistency, I added a bit of almond flour to absorb the moisture.) Once I had that ready, I heated up some olive oil and fried them like you’d fry anything else. My boyfriend loved these. He even ate them cold.

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This one was a big hit as well. This is just a pile of jasmine rice with avocado and salsa on top and 2 boiled eggs. What’s awesome about this one is the spinach leaves. I took the largest leaves I could find and I smushed cream cheese on it. I think put a small piece of turkey bacon on top of that and a sliver of hot pepper from our patio garden. I rolled these up as best as I could. (I used a little more cream cheese to hold them closed.)

I just decorated the plate with some more peppers from the garden.

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This is just 2 boiled eggs (peeled) with turkey bacon wrapped around them. I held the turkey bacon in place with cream cheese. Then there is some turkey lunch meat and some salad greens. Oh and there’s some salsa on top of the eggs.

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This was actually my plate, but he had an identical one. On the bottom is some “mashed” cauliflower. It was a little too pureed, but it still tasted awesome. Then I just made a hamburger patty and plopped that on top. 2 pieces of turkey bacon and some greens keep everything contained.🙂

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This is a cell-phone picture, so it’s not as clear.

This is just some jasmine rice with ground turkey and some mixed vegetables. It was really good too.

A lot of this food complies with the Paleo/Primal laws. I don’t follow this strictly, but I stay pretty well within the lines. If you want to learn more about being Paleo then I recommend this site: http://www.paleodietandliving.com/start-here/   It is very thorough.

Anyway, ladies, if you don’t; cook for your man sometime. It’s fun. He will appreciate it. It will make you feel good. Love is something that you have to continue to create. “The way to a man’s heart is through is stomach” isn’t all that wrong.🙂

Start a garden!

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I mean it.

There are more regulations on vitamins and things that are good for you than there are for mass-produce “food-stuffs” that are constantly shoved in our faces by popular media.

Prior to the industrial revolution how did people eat? OMG…they didn’t have Cheetos, Twinkies and Taco Bell.

To be completely honest, I miss the good old days of manual labor and self sufficiency. To be even more honest, I am sure that in my present beingness, I probably couldn’t hack it.

People used to build their own homes, grow their own food, sew their own clothing and it was all fueled by trade and barter. How cool is that? The invention of machines wasn’t so bad, but then the government had to go and intervene. Grrr.

I like this video as an illustration of what I’m thinking.

http://youtu.be/v8WA5wcaHp4

The more and more I’ve looked into it, it’s become very clear that we shouldn’t be trusting mass food producers. The name of their game always has been and always will be “money”. In general, there is nothing wrong with seeking money and even nothing wrong with seeking it in abundance, but when carelessness for the well-being of your customers comes into play it just becomes evil. Plain and simple.

It’s easy to prove that people feel good when they help others. So why would someone do something to deliberately harm others? (Food for thought.)

Due to all of this, I have recently taken up gardening. I’m not good at it yet, so it’s not my main food source, but I do intend for it to be at some point in the not-so-distant future. Hopefully by then, I’ll be good at it.🙂

I currently live in an apartment. Not too conducive to gardening, but I am making it go right. Luckily, I have a boyfriend who is also a green-thumb wannabe like me. Even more luckily, he has a job at a plant nursery. He gets a staff discount, but nothing compares to the price of “free” from the dumpster. You would be surprised at the amount of stuff that just gets thrown out at these places.

Anyway, for the first few weeks of living together, I would wake up to plant-presents on the patio or by the front door. It was a very up-lifting thing and fun thing. This is how we built up our army.

To get to the point, here are some pictures.

First-Where we started:

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Slowly, after MANY trays of tomatoes, we weeded out the bad ones and we came to this:

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And now, my most recent picture:

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We now have chard, peppers (bell and spicy), mint, fennel, basil, rosemary, a ton of aloe vera, a plum tree, a few avocado sprouts, tomatoes, strawberries and I’m sure I’m missing some things.

We do collect rain water for the plants, but I’m still not sure if that’s ideal. I’m planning to set up a filter system of some kind to clean it up even further.

We intend to get much better and eventually get some land where we can do this on a bigger scale. I’m a little surprised with how much we’ve been able to do thus far.

Here are some pictures of our “harvest”.ImageImageIf you are aware of some of the atrocities afoot in the food industry but are unable to garden, at least: If it has a commercial, DON’T EAT IT!

Oh and diet wise, this is where I’m trying to be:

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Jobs, working and office politics.

I HATE 2 of these things and it’s probably easy to tell which 2.

I got my first full-time job when I was 16 (2001). It was more of a volunteer thing, but it was full time. I was running a small print shop for a church. I had known everyone at the church for quite a long time so becoming a staff member there was not a scary thing. I was also at the age where I didn’t really NEED money so this was a perfect set up. I quickly became very good at my job. I enjoyed learning how the mass-printer worked, how to run the folding machines and using an old-school Mac that had been donated by a parishioner. I liked keeping tidy files of all of the originals and “Masters” of every document that I had ever printed so that I could save the day later when someone ran out COMPLETELY of something. I was also quite pleased by the shock on people’s faces when I would write all over their last copy with a yellow high-lighter so they wouldn’t use their very last one. Assuming it was ruined and thinking that I was bonkers, I would tell them that the copy machine doesn’t register yellow highlighter and I was instantly revered as a wizard of some kind. I held this “job” for 2 years. This job was perfect for me because I was kind of a loner. I didn’t enjoy having too much interaction with people. With my position, I didn’t have to talk to any parishioners, only fellow staff members and that was just fine with me.

  The church that I worked for had a large social out-reach program and one of it’s facets was a drug-detox program that was developed back in the 80’s. Nearing the end of my first 2.5 year contract with the church, I was approached about my willingness to become the in-charge of the drug-detox program. At this time I was not quite 18 and I had a bit of an authority phobia. Under pressure and really not seeing a reason why not, I said, “Yes!”

   My next 2 years were spent in Austin, Texas learning how to run this detox program. I learned a lot. I experienced a lot. I lived with an older married couple in their extra room up-stairs. I could ramble on about this life-packed 2 years, but it’s not entirely applicable this time.

When I returned from Austin, I was a new person. I was smarter and much more confident and my willingness to help people had sky-rocketed. I was interested. In everything. I was 20 when I returned home. I came back the day after hurricane Katrina. The very next day I was at the Astro-dome downtown helping to hand out water and get medicines for people who were sick. (This was also part of something my church was doing.) The more I helped people, the more important I felt. This “job” became more of a crusade and I was in it for the long haul. I had this job for the next 7 years.

Because this was a church job and more of a volunteer thing, I had to find ways to make money to pay bills and such. There were a few church parishioners that owned businesses and were more than happy to give me a job. More than 3 times, the opportunity fell apart due to my inability to put more time in with them than with the church. This felt horribly unfair to me. Why was it that I was doing so much good for other people, but I couldn’t make enough money to help me survive? At first, I remained confident and kept on trucking.

Here is my first run in with Office Politics:

(2006) I was hired to be a front-desk/office-manager of a small dental office. I knew the dentist/owner of the company and I thought that she and I hit it off really well. There were 2 dental assistants and one other front office girl who also handled accounts. I was excited and I felt like I was supposed to feel the same way about this job that I did about my church job. I wanted to feel dedicated and responsible. I didn’t feel this way, but I assumed that it would grow on me. The dental assistants were not pleased with my existence because I was there implementing the rules of the office and they previously had a run of the terrain. I had a few kerfuffles with them, but nothing major. The dentist enjoyed bringing me into her office and asking my opinions of the other employees. I always tried to answer objectively and not completely based on my opinion, but I was made to feel safe and that my opinion mattered. I told her my opinion of the 2 dental assistants and that I could tell they didn’t like me. In less than a month, I was let go. I found out that she was also holding these “give me your opinion” meetings with all of the other employees. Despite doing exactly what she told me to, I was let go based on the opinion of a disgruntled employee who was “disgruntled” simply because I was following the employee manual and she had to shape-up.

This was annoying, but did not affect me as harshly as the 2nd or 3rd run-ins I had with office politics.

Round 2: Fight!

 (2007) I had, interestingly enough, been hired at another dental office. I was kind of a gopher/catch all. I LOVED IT! I was designing newsletters, collecting stats, making graphs of the offices production and I seemed to have a good friendship with everyone. This dental office was MUCH bigger and had 5 times the employees than the last place. When I first joined the team, the owner of the company (also the main dentist) was out of town on some retreat. I had been hired by the Office Manager. I really liked her. We got along well. One day, I was asked to check the mail instead of the usual person to get it. When I did, I noticed a slip for a piece of certified mail. The mail person was still there so I got it from her and I signed for it. I took the mail up and distributed it. When I was at the last piece of mail, the certified letter, I went to the normal mail handler and showed it to her. She acted surprised and said, “Oh! We never sign for certified mail!” I was concerned and I apologized. She then relaxed and told me that it was ok, just not to do it again. I agreed and time went on. Getting the mail eventually slid onto my list of responsibilities. About 2 months later, the owner was back in town and I received a notice for a certified letter. I, acting on what I was told by my senior, just ignored it. I got another one and another. I ignored them. A week later, I was confronted by the owner asking me if I had signed for it. I told him that no, I did not. He was mad. He wanted to know why I hadn’t received this piece of mail. I told him the situation and what my senior had told me. He then told me that I was stupid for not thinking with the new situation. He was somehow under the impression that I had just blatantly ignored it. I was honest and told him that I did blatantly ignore it, but that it was based on the order of my senior. I told him that I got scolded for signing for another piece in the past. This did not seem to sink in. All he heard was that I deliberately ignored a piece of mail. Later, I find out that this letter was a court summons and that he had failed to appear in court. It was a malpractice suit and he didn’t show up! Of course, I felt horrible and it was very clear to him that it was my fault. I agreed to do some amends to make up for the damage I had caused. While I was mid my amends project, he sent his wife to fire me. She told me that she didn’t want to let me go but that he had made his mind up and that someone had to go and it wasn’t going to be my senior. “You know how he is…”, she said.

     I had to be escorted out so that they could ensure I wasn’t going to steal something. Not only was I wrongfully terminated, I was being treated like a criminal! Several of the other employees had over heard some of the Dr.’s yelling and knew I was a goner. They came to tell me bye and hug me. I was in such shock that I didn’t really even respond until I got to the parking garage. I really enjoyed this job. I had the most fun at this job and it was just over. Walking to my car with my bag of stuff, it took all I had not to burst into tears. I remember fighting it so hard that I had the classic chin-quiver going.

         It was a yucky day out-side. I was devastated and the weather seemed to be an accurate reflection. I did not have another job for nearly 2 years after this. I was scared to work. I didn’t want to get back to loving my job and then losing it.

      Interestingly enough, my next job was working for a company that was also owned by the same man.

Round 3: Fight! (2009)

  I took 2 years to even be interested in working again. Not good. I know. I had amassed a bit of credit card debt during this period and I was paying it off by doing odd jobs and favors for friends. I also managed to get myself married during this time. That’s another story.

This last one is the most scarring. I’m gonna make it short.

I like kids. I don’t have any of my own, but kids are cool. After a bit of a situation within the administrative offices of this last company, I was asked to work in the daycare because they felt they could trust me with their kids. I was stoked. Screw all those adults and all of that paperwork-it’s time for finger painting and chicken nuggets! To make a long story short and less painful, I’ll say this: I got put into the daycare because another employee was making mistakes and blaming them on me. The newly hired executive took her side over mine and I was forever on the shit list. I really did not get along with this guy. I moved into the daycare and was excited. I wasn’t the in-charge, but the in-charge was the wife of the guy I didn’t like. She was so afraid of the kids getting hurt that she wound up hurting them accidentally all the time. I couldn’t stand taking orders from her. She was eventually removed by an upset parent, but was given a job in the administrative department because she was pregnant and couldn’t be let go. I became the new in-charge and things were going well. The hardest thing was juggling what each parent wanted to be done. No one could get on the same page. I was let go because I sent a note home to a parent regarding their child stealing and biting. This upset the mom. I was gotten rid of.

I was most upset about losing the children more than my cushy $14.50/hr nanny job. I loved those children. They loved me. They said so all of the time.🙂 My heart was broken and I again did not work for 2 years.

During this time my husband decided he was no longer interested in being married to me any more. I fell even further into a funk. It took a lot of soul-searching, mom yelling and the sweet, sweet love of my current boyfriend to help me resurface.

Lesson: I have learned that many adults are just big children with “important” opinions and they really just need to be treated that way.

I currently have a job as a mystery shopper and a social media guru. I love it with my entire being.

There is much more I could say, but this really is the simplicity of it. If you are a person who works in a company where being friendly gets your further than hard work…and you hate it… then just treat those people like cranky toddlers. Feed them. Make them feel important. That’s the secret. If you’re like me and it makes your skin crawl, then get out of there and start your own business.  Jay Z had it right. “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”

As a result of my soul-searching, personal experience, common sense, study and sweet, sweet loving- I have made some decisions. Those will be in the next post. I need to let you go. You have important things to do.

Pirate Ships and Dinosaurs?

I like them, that’s why.

Funny thing: I don’t like the sea. It kind of frightens me.

I have been on a boat before. I’ve been on a ship. On the ship, I was small enough in comparison that I did not realize I was floating on an endlessly deep ocean that could swallow me whole. The boat I was on was more of a life-boat than a “yacht”. No matter where I sat, I could see water. That was a bit disturbing to me. I didn’t panic, but -ok I panicked on the inside. Anyway, this life-time, the vessels, sadly,  have not been pirate-owned. So why do I like them? I think my previous statement may shed some light. “This lifetime” I do not have any pleasurable experience with boats/ships/the ocean, but hey… Whether you believe in past lives or not, I think most people can agree and have experienced feeling something so strongly though not knowing why. This is why I like pirate ships – spiritually I feel I have a connection to them. I think I was once a pretty bad-ass pirate. Like a Robin Hood of the sea kind of guy. Yes, guy.

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Dinosaurs: Why not? Look at this guy:

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Just for amusement’s sake, here is what a mix of the two things would look like: ImageRobin Hood of the sea being chased by a T-rex. YES!