Essay

A Day With No Ambitions

Today, I cannot think of anything to do and it really doesn’t bother me. I have been staring at my computer for about 30 minutes, reading Facebook posts. I surfaced long enough to realize I should probably make something for lunch.

No ambition to accomplish anything exists in me.

Nothing…

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

December 20th–Monday Morning

I have been on hold with my mortgage company for the past half hour. I made a payment that went to the wrong account. I am so happy I checked to make certain the money went to the correct place. Just an annoyance. That is all.

Still holding while the lady checks to see if the money can be moved to the correct account. Seriously?

OK. 45 minutes of my life has just sped by while I tried to get something fixed that should not have had to be fixed in the first place. And the lady I was talking to spoke English, but she probably needs to update her library card. Sometimes what she said made no sense, at all.

Photo by Ilyuza Mingazova on Unsplash

But that isn’t what I wanted to write about today.

The end of the year is approaching and I am looking forward to next year. Even with continued Covid-19 scares and variants, I think 2022 will be very nice. You see, I just retired and am no longer working anywhere. What a fabulous feeling! I have a large house and have accumulated two room roommates who pay me enough in rent to mean that my working days are complete. And I am only 67 and pulled it off. RETIREMENT.

I stay a home most of the time because there is no Covid-19 inside and it is all over outside. I crochet, I am working on a novel that I will probably just keep to myself because no one reads my stuff anyway. I keep the common areas of my home cleaned, so yes, I will stay busy even though I am retired.

Looking forward to the new year.

Photo by Universal Eye on Unsplash

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Brilliant Idea

I was watching a documentary called Little House in the Forest on Rakuten Viki about living a simpler life.  It was actually an experiment where the producers sent an individual to live in a tiny house in the middle of a forest somewhere in Korea.  

The experiment was to see if the people were happier when they unplug from the city.  They were not connected to the electrical grid, city water or city sewage.  They had firewood for the wood burning stove and solar panel for minimal electricity.  They had an outhouse.  They were permitted to bring their own food and clothing–enough for 3 days.

The experiment involved So Ji Sub, the guy from the Korean Romantic Comedy Oh My Venus and Park Shin Hye the girl from the Romantic Korean Comedy While You Were Sleeping.

During the first episode, they mentioned a trend in Korea where people strive for minimalism.  The narrator said that most people owned 8,000 to 10,000 things and only used 2,000 regularly.  So, in Korea, people would challenge themselves to throw away 1 thing a day for 30 days and then post a picture of the discarded item on social media.

I think I will try this, however, instead of posting on social, I will post photos of the discarded items on this blog. So many things to choose from!

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

2 Lists: Things Every Woman Should Have and Things Every Woman Should Know.

 We all get older. I recently took some time to reflect on my life. I created a list of things that every woman should have. This list applies if you are 22 or 55 or 67. I also included a list of things every women should know.

Some of the things on this list were borrowed from Glamour magazine. 

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
  1. One old boyfriend who reminds you of how far you’ve come. 
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. 
  3. The knowledge of how to entertain unexpected guests and a house clean enough that you won’t be embarrassed when someone does drop by unexpectedly, but not so clean you make your guests uncomfortable. 
  4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying. 
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond. 
  6. A past interesting enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. 
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it. 
  8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
  9. A set of good dishes. 
  10. A pretty journal and the time to write in it
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a hammer and a lace bra. 
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it. 
  13. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30. 

There are also some things that every woman should know: 

  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself. 
  2. How to comfort someone who is in mourning. 
  3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. 
  4. How to find joy in the little things: A circus, a thank you card, a pretty sunset.
  5. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best dry cleaner in town. 
  6. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to. 
  7. Where to get a picture framed professionally, who to ask for advice, and what to wear to a cocktail party. 
  8. That you can’t change the size of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents. 
  9. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over. 
  10. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.  
  11. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long. 
  12. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.  
  13. Why they say life begins at 50 and 50 is the new 40. 
  14. How to be comfortable when you are by yourself for an extended period of time.
Essay, Writing

Love Is Everywhere

Love is actually everywhere you look.  Most of the time it is not earth shattering or even remarkable.  Most of the time it is those tiny moments when we are struck with the simplicity of the emotion. 

If you look, and not even very hard, you will find examples of love flowing in lives.  Touching each of the senses. Some examples:  

Hearing

I stand in line at the check out in a department store and a woman in front of me is on her cell phone. Not an unusual sight these days.  She gets a particular smile and her face and then tells the phone, “I love you, too, sweetheart.”  My imagination takes over.  Was she talking to her husband? Boy friend?  Maybe a child.  Hearing love is true music.

Sight

I sit at a stoplight, eager as everyone else for it to change so we can progress to the next stoplight.  In front of me a man is driving and a woman rides shotgun.  He leans over and kisses her, tenderly and slowly on her lips, passing the time until they can proceed.

Smell

I approach the barista and ask her if they have Kenya Coffee.  She smiles and says yes, hands me a bag of coffee beans and rings up my purchase.  All the way home, the scent of the best coffee in the world fills my car.  I get home, open the bag and inhale deeply, allowing the scent to overwhelm me.  Coffee Love.  Perfect.

Taste

Everyone has a favorite flavor. For many it is chocolate, or bacon or oranges.  The happiness that happens when something touches our tongue and awakens the sense of taste is delightful.  It is love.  How often do we say, I love dark chocolate or I love lasagna.  Food is love.  Taste is love.  Sharing food is love.  Just ask any chef.

Touch

The tactile sense is overpowering at times.  I find myself walking through a store and gently caressing the clothes on the rack, or the yarn in the bin. Judging the textures.  Enjoying the feeling.  Did you know you have nearly as many nerves in your feet as in your fingers?  The best feeling is when I take off my shoes and caress my feet with the carpet under me. The motion is deliberate, moving my feet to and fro.  I allow my toes to clutch the carpet fibers and relaxation washes over me.  Love.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  Love makes the world go ‘round.  All you need is love.  Love is a many splendored thing.  When I seek love, I find myself smiling more often.  I am calmer.  I am happier.  Love, love, love.  

I challenge you to find love.  Every day.  Everywhere.

Blog Entries, Essay, Uncategorized, Writing

Anger Management and STRONG Advice to Landlords

This post is not about crocheting or writing. This one is about anger, as the title suggests. So much to deal with, these days. But, let me start at the beginning.

Anyone who follows this blog knows my brother died last June. In order to keep my finances in order without having to sell most of what I own, I decided to get a roommate who could pay me a small amount of rent monthly. I made a very bad mistake when I didn’t charge a deposit. I thought I was being nice. I thought I was doing my future tenant a favor. I tried to be a fair and reasonable landlady. What a mistake!

I found a woman in her fifties who needed a place to rent, so we agreed on a sum I gave the the grand tour of the house and she said she liked it. She signed the lease, agreeing to pay me month to month. Then, she moved in. Within a week, this woman started complaining about the temperature in the house. My house is 126 years old which means it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, even with HVAC installed. She complained about several things she thought was wrong with my house: No insulation, builder’s grade carpet in the bedroom, only two electrical outlets (she forgot to count the one in the bathroom) and the water from the water heater was too cold, the internet was slow, she had to park on the street, and on and on ad nauseum.

I replaced the water heater because it was old and a ticking timebomb, anyway. I patiently explained the cost of insulating a old home and the cost of re-wiring and old home. She demanded lower rent. So, we renegotiated and I lowered the rent by $100 a month. In retrospect, I should have told her to get lost right then.

Accusation

Then, she began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day. I told her I did not go into her room because I had no reason to go into her room. She installed a security camera and pointed it toward the door to the bedroom. This was apparently done the day she moved in, however, I didn’t know there was a camera in her room for a couple of months. She was bragging on a rug she bought for the floor and I spotted the camera when I went into her room (with her present) to admire it. I thought my head would explode, but I held my peace. Another big error on my part.

She began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day.

The next time she accused me of going into her room, I suggested she look at her camera footage and she would know I didn’t go in there. That became my new mantra. “Look at your camera footage before you accuse me.”

Escalation

By this time, winter was approaching and she began to complain about the room being too cold, the water being too cold, me going into her room and me listening to her phone conversations. As for the last complaint, I went into my bedroom, which is upstairs and right over her bedroom, to change my clothes after dropping food down the front of my shirt. She came up the stairs and demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

She demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations.

“I was on the phone and you went into your room to just hung out and listen to me,” she explained in her whining, complaining voice. What an incredible ego she had. Really? There couldn’t have possibly been another reason I went into my bedroom? She is too old to be an entitled millennial, but that is what she acted like.

I asked her through clenched teeth, “Is your TV on right now?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Stand in my bedroom and tell me what you hear.” I could not hear her TV in my room, nor could I hear her when she was talking on her phone in her room. She didn’t respond. She gave me a bitch-I-wish-you-would-drop-dead look and left. While she was heading down the stairs, I told her that I refused to sit in a closet and never come out just because she moved in.

She had her mail changed to a post office box because she thought I was reading her mail. She continually complained about me going into her room. She still complained about me listening to her phone conversations. She complained that it was my fault that HER Firestick stopped working because of my wonky internet. (I have no problem with it, whatsoever.)

As a side note, I didn’t promise 5-star accommodations. I distinctly remember promising a bed and a bathroom, kitchen and laundry privileges.

She nearly ruined my washer with using too much fabric softener and when I asked her to not use it again, she did anyway. It took me two days to clean out my washer after she left because the inside of it was covered in a sticky blue sludge that smelled just like her fabric softener. And I was allergic to it. when I did my laundry, inevitably, it coated my clothes. I had places that itched that I really didn’t want to scratch in public. I told her this. She didn’t care.

And then, the day before she left, she once again accused me of going into her room. My patience snapped and I suggested (loudly) that she check her camera footage. I suggested she stop making the accusation because if she asked me five months from now, I would tell her the same thing. “I did not go into her room!” I told her that if I HAD to do into her room for some reason, like the house was on fire, I would text her to let her know. I told her I never wanted to hear that accusation, again. She said, “All I want is peace.” I replied, “Then, stop your paranoid accusations and figure out, once and for all time, that I don’t care what is in your room and I have no burning desire to hang out in there when you are not home. I have a life and none of it includes looking around your bedroom.” My tirade was skillfully sprinkled with a few foul words and much longer than I included in this post.

She moved out the next day.

And after she left, I knew why she didn’t want me in her room and was so freaking paranoid about it. She robbed me blind. She must have had a pile of my things in a corner and she was afraid I would see them. The list of things she stole from me is as follows and in no way complete: sheets for the bed she slept on, 2 brand new pillows, the pulls from the ceiling fan, the light bulbs out of the ceiling fan, the bathroom set of cup, toothbrush holder and soap dish, a walking cane, a blanket I crocheted for her that she was supposed to pay for, another blanket I let her borrow, a 25 gallon plastic tote I let her borrow, a hammer, several screwdrivers, a cordless drill, kitchen utensils, an umbrella, and the key to the front door.

She robbed me blind.

Then she told one of my neighbors, who asked her why she was moving, that I kept going into her room when she wasn’t home and she had camera footage to prove it. That statement made her a liar as well as a thief, because there is no camera footage of me going into her bedroom because I never did.

And I don’t want to even discuss how nasty the bedroom and bathroom was right after she moved.

The Lessons I Learned

  • I will not invite someone I don’t know to live in my house, again.
  • And if I ever decide that someone can move into my spare room, they will give me a hefty deposit that I will NOT return until about 30 days after they have left and I have had time to assess anything stolen from me.
  • I will immediately evict anyone who starts to complain about my house.
  • I will not renegotiate the rent once it is agreed upon.
  • I will add $150 non-refundable key deposit and change the lock the same day a new tenant moves out.
  • I will not try to be a “nice” landlady, again.
Essay, Writing

Chandelier of Ideas

Everyone is busy. That doesn’t even need to be said. We have tasks that we must do every day, like brushing teeth or eating. We have task we chose to do every day, like making the bed or reading.

In my case, not only do I have the necessary tasks, daily, I have to battle with my creativity. So many ideas. I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.


Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

What normally happens is there is so much rolling around in my brain, that I get overwhelmed: Writing ideas, crochet projects, organization projects, business plans. Not to mention actually working to earn real money. (I am a scheduler with A Closer Look Mystery Shopping and I do mystery shops for several firms.) On top of that, I have grocery shopping, cooking, dish washing, laundry, finding time to work-out a few minutes every day, and sleeping.


I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.

From what I have read, to be truly effective, I have to set up a routine and make deadlines for myself. I’d rather chew on glass, however, there is merit to this suggestion. This is, I am most creative in the morning, but that is when so many of the “ordinary” tasks take up precious time. Better if I would ignore my mother’s voice in my head telling me I have to make the bed and clean the kitchen before doing anything enjoyable.

Ideally, I would get up, make coffee and toast, then slam out two hours of solid creativity before making the bed and cleaning the kitchen. I could work on those new crochet patterns, write stories, create a business plan, mentally organize my closets.

Then, I could do my job, which is repetitive and not terribly creative. Then, after working a few hours, I could work on the actual crochet project. Another repetitive task that is closely akin to meditation.

Yes, I think this is a good plan.

Blog Entries, crochet, Essay

7 Surprising Crochet Health Benefits

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness.

Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts. 

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress! 

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Not Quite a Resolution

Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET

Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.

A Corner of My Desk. A Large Part of My LIfe

This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.

KEEPING A DIARY

No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?

READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY

This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.

Blog Entries, Essay

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was worried about so many things that I cannot even remember, now. That is, not until I got the email from FutureMe.

FutureMe is an email servcie, where you can send an email to yourself, or anyone else, at some point in the future-a day, a week, a year, longer. I used to think it was a cool idea, but now, it is a reminder of what I did not accomplish.

I didn’t:
*Lose a bunch of weight
*Read the Bible every day
*Pray every day
*Get my finances on a better track
*Exercise regularly

Maybe, I don’t have to accomplish anything at this stage of my life. Maybe, my life is good enough right now. Maybe, some of those goals are unrealistic. Truth is, I am pretty satisfied with the way things are. The major change I would make is lowering my stress level, which is, I am very sad to say, sky high. There is a single person responsible for that. Or rather I should say that the person I stress about is not going to change what he is doing and in reality, I am responsible for my own level of stress.

So why do I worry about him so much? He has no one else to worry about him. Not really. I worry that he will die and I certainly don’t want that. I worry that he will not get better from his sickness that has been going on for nearly 3 months and he refuses to go to a doctor. Why? Because he says that anyone on earth can look at his medical records and there is a “libatard” (the term he stole from someone else for a liberal retard)–likely the janitor at the doctor’s office–that will take that information and use it against him to have him declared a menace to society and they will take away his right to buy a gun or own a knife.

I say, “That is the craziest thing I have heard in my life…”

“Just you wait and see! It will happen,” says he, interrupting.

I respond, “Like it or not, you are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither am I. We are both merely drops in the ocean of nearly 8 billion people. No one is going to look at your medical records to see if you went to the doctor to cure nausea.”

“That kind of thinking will get you in trouble with it all goes down. Stick your head in the sand like everyone else.” He walks away to end the discussion.

I went on vacation to see new faces and to talk to new people and to get a fresh presepctive. I took the problem with me. It seems as if all I could talk about was him, my brother. I realized that I cannot hide from stress. So, a new year and a new resolution: REDUCE STRESS