When You Can’t Let Go- Rearrange

Have you ever started a project at home and thirty minutes later asked yourself, “Dear God, what have I done?”

Have you ever had a piece of furniture that you just couldn’t part ways with? I think most people probably have “that old chair” in their life they just don’t want to get rid of. You have an overwhelming emotional attachment with it. It doesn’t match, but you just can’t seem to let it go? It’s just so comfortable, pretty, makes you happy. Whatever?

I have one of those. It’s a solid oak hutch/curio cabinet that I bought from Gypsies who had a little set up on the side of the road. No really. I also bought their oak table and chair set. The only thing that remains from my road side shopping spree is this cabinet.

It’s awesome. Currently though, it doesn’t really go with the decor in the living room and it’s so big that it just got in the way of everything. You would think that this would inspire me to sell it or give it away. Oh no. Instead, I scooted it inch by inch into the den/office just adjacent to my living room.

It’s probably 7 feet tall, 3 feet wide.  I have no idea how much it weighs.A lot.  It’s also not bolted together.  Scooting the piece was my only option and at any moment, it could fall over if I wasn’t careful.

I decided that I wanted to reclaim my office. Part of this project meant that I wanted to hang things on the walls. Except, I can’t because I have this giant cabinet in the way. It took up a ton of space. It had to go. Except, I can’t sell this thing or give it away.

After some thinking, I decided that I would move it into the kitchen and put my pretty dishes in it and set the microwave on it as well. That is, if it would clear the opening and ceiling in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t bother to measure. I just got to scootin’.

I had to take on the task of taking everything out of it that I had stored on the bottom, in the drawers and on the shelves inside.  This turned into me making a huge mess not only in the den/office but also in the living room and in the kitchen. Awful.

It was literally an all day project. I made a huge mess of clutter all over the house. Excuse my mess in the photo’s below as I was rehoming items that were formerly in the cabinet and also the long hutch that is in the photographs below.  I don’t live in squaller, I promise.

The hutch barely fit into the space where I wanted to put it. I mean, there is maybe 2 inches between the top of the piece and the ceiling. The microwave just fit into the space also.  It’s perfect where it is now.  I’m happy with it too.

I’m also really glad that I was able to free up the space in my office. Now I just need to work on getting it put back together and organized. I want to but some shelves and maybe another, larger bookcase.

I am also attached to the mid sized bookcase that is in the photo gallery below. I rescued that from the Habitat For Humanity ReStore maybe two years ago. That thing probably weighs 200 pounds and is also solid oak. I dragged it home and refurbished it.

Mourning the Death Of Celebrities- A Rant

Last evening, I published a personal tribute for Prince. It is titled Farewell Sweet Prince: The Death Of Prince Rogers Nelson.  It took me five whole days to be able to put some thoughts together. I started and restarted a piece that I wanted to put out into the universe to share my own personal story with the world.

Five days. Five whole days and it still is lacking something. I don’t care if people like it or not or even if anyone reads it. I just felt like I had to write about my feelings as I am grieving the loss of this man.

The passing of Prince was a big deal to me. I’m shocked and confused.  I loved Prince. Did I know him personally? Sort of. He put himself out there artistically. Physically, no. We didn’t hang out. Still, his death affected me. I am sad. I am disappointed. The world lost a wonderful, decent and beautiful human being.

I hate it when anyone passes away. Celebrity or not. It’s sad. I feel badly for anyone who is grieving for the loss of a loved one. It’s such a horrible thing to have to face.

I also hate it when people voice their often loud and nasty opinion of who they think is and isn’t worthy of my grief. Somewhere, people became opinionated about this.  There is apparently a list of groups of people who are and aren’t worthy of our sorrow.

I agree, it’s sad and tragic when a member of our military is killed. I also agree that it’s sad and tragic when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. I think we all know where I stand on law enforcement deaths. I’ve been involved in law enforcement for the past fourteen years.

In fourteen years, I have attended seven police funerals. Since 2003, my county alone,  has lost seven officers. Eight if you want to count the K9 and I think he counts. When I was still in high school, I lost a cousin who was an Indiana State Trooper.  If anyone understands the pain when it comes to law enforcement, I get it. I cried uncle a long time ago.

Who decides who I can and can’t grieve for?  Just because Prince and even people like Robin Williams didn’t wear a badge or serve in the military, doesn’t mean that  we can’t do special things to celebrate their lives. Or *gasp* talk about the fact that they died on television or in the media.

Locally, the city of South Bend put a tribute up on some billboards to note the passing of Prince. The billboard that I saw had three very beautiful and creative tributes. You can see them in the gallery from my post about Prince here.

The East Race/Riverwalk on the St. Joseph River is near downtown South Bend. The section of the Riverwalk just to the north and west of the East Race and past the dam has multi-colored lights that light up this area at night. On the night that Prince passed away, the entire area was lit up in purple.

It rained all day and night the day that Prince died. The whole area was lit up and it reflected off of the water. It was really  beautiful and I was so happy that the city had done that. I thought it was so classy.

St. Joseph River- South Bend, Indiana

St. Joseph River- South Bend, Indiana

I should have done myself a favor and stayed off of Facebook. Later that evening, one of the local media sources posted a picture of the area on their timeline. As usual, this drew a group of “haters” who had to run their mouths and turn the whole gesture into a political platform.

I did some hard eye rolling as I scrolled through the comments.

Basically, some people were really upset because they used the lights to pay tribute to Prince but they’ve never turned the lights red, white and blue to honor the military.

It was a long and drawn out comment war that boiled down to Prince not being worthy of tribute because he’s a celebrity and he wasn’t a soldier etc. How dare the city use those lights blah blah blah!

I call this “grief shaming” and I  commented on it.

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I don’t want to come off as rude or harsh to anyone but I am beyond sick and tired of people telling other people what they are allowed to feel or not feel based on their opinion of what someone else was worth.

Get over yourselves.

As a woman who has grieved the loss of murdered friends and a family member who were killed just going to work, I am not offended by the city’s decision to throw some tributes up on a billboard or their decision to illuminate the St. Joseph River in purple lights.

To be fair also, the city has done a lot to pay tribute to our fallen officers and firefighters. Let’s be real here. There have been parades, billboards, media coverage and other mentions at events etc. These events are even recalled on anniversary dates.

Also, I pay taxes in St. Joseph County, Indiana. I paid for the roads, that particular bridge, those purple lights etc and so on. So if you want my endorsement somewhere to give my permission of our precious purple lights for the night, you’ve got it.

People, don’t be ashamed if you’ve shed a thousand tears for your beloved artist. It isn’t about publicity or recognition. It’s about what you feel in your heart and soul. If you want to express that by talking about it on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat Instagram AND your WordPress blog, then do it.

Pay no attention to the people who are so wrapped up in their own negativity that they can’t get past themselves. They don’t get to pick and chose what you feel and who you feel it for.

We mourn the loss of “celebrities” because they are more than just famous people to us. They are the ones who help us get through our day to day lives. They inspire us to push forward.  They are our rocks. They get us out of bed. They are the shoulder to cry on. They make us feel happy and sometimes brave. They created the soundtracks of our lives. Our inspiration. They tag along with every single step we take in our lives and they are a part of it.

Who wouldn’t feel sad to lose someone who was a part of that?

Prince touched a lot of people through his work. He donated his money to various music programs all across the country in addition to other causes. He was a generous man, kind, unapologetic, and beautiful. We were lucky to have him and it’s a shame that he had to go.

It’s only my opinion but I think that he was worthy of our grief.

In other news, I am rocking out to my collection of Prince ( and company ) on iTunes. Right now it’s on “Controversy”. There is a thunderstorm making some noise and a phenomenal lightning show happening. It all just seems so fitting for the moment.

 

 

 

 

Farewell Sweet Prince- The Death of Prince Rogers Nelson

I grew up the baby of three children to a single mother who never stayed home. I was a shy child who preferred to play alone because sometimes other people were too hard. I often felt  judged by other children and adults. I didn’t feel accepted. I was different and it wasn’t okay. Needless to say, I was very lonely.

I did however have access to records, tapes and eventually CD’s and MTV. Specific artists and musicians became my best friends and family . Music is the invisible, yet tangible, shoulder you can cry on.  I claim it as tangible because you can feel the vibrations in your body. Yet it isn’t a “thing” you can still feel it.  It stays with you. It makes you happy, it makes you sad, it has the power to make you think. It can even make you brave.

Music helps you get through life (an electric word life). The ups and downs. The passing of time. Your  break ups, divorce, heartbreaks. The happy times too. It pushes you out of bed. It gives you the will to keep trying.  Music can inspire so many things and make you feel so much emotion.

When you grow up with favorite artists and you keep them with you, they become like a family member. I don’t know exactly how to label my personal feelings for Prince. He was just a non descriptive family member. My rock.  A role model, teacher, a shoulder to cry on. Prince helped me when no one else had the time.

Prince had the power to make me feel okay to just be human. A woman. A woman who shouldn’t be ashamed or even afraid of her body or her sexuality. A confident being who was free to be just that. Confident. He made sure I knew that there was nothing wrong with me, and that anyone who had an issue with me, just had issues.  Anytime I felt like someone had something negative to say to me or about me, I could almost here Prince telling me “Girl, there ain’t shit wrong with you.”

prince

Cool means being able to hang with yourself All you have to ask yourself is ‘Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?’ If not, then you’re cool.” Prince

I have a list of memorable quotes from Prince etched into my brain. Thoughtful and witty things that he said over the years that I could apply to my own life anytime I needed to.  A lot of them, as I stated above, were related to self esteem issues and life itself. Prince was no stranger to criticism.

Prince,  without a doubt, was a creative genius and even to say that just sounds so bland and incorrect. I have had trouble coming up with better words to describe this man. The truth is that there are no words in the English language to properly describe who Prince is or was to so many of us.

I know that God was pleased with him and He has welcomed Prince home. It was evident with the brightly covered rainbow that poured over Prince’s home and studio in Paisley Park. I don’t think that it was a coincidence that it was raining that day.

As I was driving home from work that night, it was still raining. When I turned on the radio, the station was playing Purple Rain. It was towards the end of the song. The end of the song is as amazing as the song itself. It was a surreal moment.

I cried for him. Purple Rain is definitely one of my favorites, but it’s clearly not the only song he wrote. If anyone only clung to his popular releases, they’ve missed out. Prince had an impressive catalog of songs for every moment.

Just to name a few:  Controversy, Diamonds and Pearls, The Most Beautiful Girl In the World, 1999, Pussy Control, I Would Die 4 U,When Doves Cry, Gett Off, 7, Let’s Go Crazy, Pop Life, Little Red Corvette,Raspberry Beret, Thieves In the Temple, Darling Nikki.

Prince wrote songs for other artists. A lot of people don’t know that he wrote the song “Manic Monday” that was made popular by The Bangles. He also wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor.

Prince made me blush on more than one occasion and I loved it. He was so exciting.  I still remember as a young person figuring out the lyrics meant, from the song, “Little Red Corvette”, when he sang “She had a pocket full of horses, Trojan, and some of them used,”

His poetry was genius ( again not the right word to describe it) and every single thing he said and wrote made perfect sense and it flowed.

Prince is no doubt , the best guitarist that we’ve known in modern times. Just ask Eric Clapton. He will tell you.  It’s also not well known that Prince played a dozen instruments, a lot of them were self taught. He also played a major role in all of his production.

He was truly original.

I can’t express how disappointed I am that he had to go so soon. I don’t have the write words to say it.  Prince was such a beautiful, talented, generous and sweet man. The world has truly lost someone special. I am grateful for the music,  the videos, his personality, the persona, the style. Everything.

Thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson for helping me get through this thing called life.

The city of South Bend, Indiana paid tribute to Prince as well. In the gallery below are a few photo’s that I took around the city. The first three were found on an electric scrolling marquee.  The fourth photo is of our East Race River Walk on the St. Joseph River.  It’s so obvious that Prince touched the lives of millions. I am grateful that others are so free to express that, without care of popular opinion. That’s how Prince would have wanted it.

 

Planning and Deep Thoughts-Replacing What Was Lost

The warmer weather is starting to make me itchy to make plans for the upcoming summer.  There are so many things that I want to do. Last year, I didn’t get to travel anyplace spectacular.  Due to the merger that happened at work, we weren’t permitted to use our vacation time until this year. Also, I was dealing with Lyme Disease and probably wouldn’t have been able to do much if I had gone someplace.

I have two weeks of vacation time to burn before the end of the year! Also, I have been feeling a lot better physically over the past few weeks. I am hoping that this means things are looking up. Lyme sucks, I’ll post about that later.

I’ve had to replace some things over the past few years. One of these things being my camping tent. My ex took my tent. I don’t know why. He wasn’t outdoorsy and didn’t care about it when we were together. However, he felt that it was his.  Sadly, he probably ended up giving it to Goodwill.

While I was married, I didn’t get to do a lot of camping anyway. I went on day hikes and when I did travel to go hiking, I went alone and chose to get lodging vs backpacking and staying out on the trail someplace.

It has been a few years since my divorce and my son, Dom, is about to turn eleven. He likes to be outside and even enjoys hiking. He thinks he’s something special when he wears his Camelbak hydration pack. I have been thinking about taking him camping for quite awhile.

I started looking at different options online. It has been a really long time since I have looked at getting new gear or replacing certain things that I used to own. It turns out that the tent that I owned probably wasn’t so great after all and I could do better.

After about three weeks of researching and reading reviews, I decided to get a Kelty Trail Ridge 3 dome tent. Kelty is a good brand and this particular tent has really good reviews.  I’m anxiously awaiting for its arrival.

I hate that I do this but, sometimes making a purchase like this makes me think of where I have been or where I am going. Things have gotten a lot better since my divorce. It has been six years this past April 10, that it was final.  Coincidentally, this was the date that I finally ordered the new tent.

Little by little, life has come full circle. I just have to be patient for some things.

While I am waiting for our spiffy new tent to arrive, I have been researching sleeping bags.  I’ve also been going through boxes of things that have been moved probably 4 times in the past 6 years that haven’t been gone through in ages. I found my old griddle and other cookware.  It has been patiently waiting for me.

This is exciting. I’ve traveled all over the place but I haven’t been on a real camping trip in a long time. I am looking forward to it. I will probably take Dom for one or two days at a time to see how it goes. He takes after his mama so I am certain that he will love it.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Because You Knock On My Door- The Blind, Deaf, Mute Story

Tell me if you think I am rude.

I was really busy this morning. My son and I were up and out the door by 9:30 to run some errands and go to the grocery store. I set a land speed record because I managed to go to the bank, drive to a different city, stop by a grocery store and make it back to my house in just over an hour.

We get home, he takes off to go and do his thing and I start some chores. I say some because I am  one of those people who starts about five different tasks and takes turns completing them all. For example, I was doing dishes and folding the laundry. While the sink was filling, I was changing around the washer and dryer.

I had to work today so time was limited. Needless to say, I was rushing myself to get things done. What else is new, right? My goal was to be in the shower by noon so I could leave by 1. Somewhere in there I needed to make lunch for my son and get his bag ready for his afternoon with his grandma.

By 11:30 I was sitting on the couch, eating a sandwich, folding my socks and watching an episode of Ghost Adventures. I told you, I can multi-task. I have stacks of clothing on my coffee table and a basket piling up.

My couch is near the front door.  I have my front door standing open and the screen open on the storm door. It was a really nice morning and the fresh air was amazing. I was actually enjoying myself. I even thought to myself, this is really nice.

Until.

A woman who had to be at least 80 years old came ambling up my walk and up onto my porch. I can see that she’s holding a stack of literature in her hands because I see “Watch Tower” in big letters. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness.

She starts knocking on the door. I am sitting on my couch in pretty much plain view. There is no way that this woman can’t see me. A moment later a much younger male dressed in a very nice suit appears next to her on the porch. There is no way that he can’t see me sitting on the couch.

I am staring at them.

My mind is having several thoughts at once.

I don’t feel like talking.   I don’t have time for this. I want to watch my show. I’m trying to relax before work. What do I even say to make these people leave?

Also, I can’t tell this woman that I am not interested in hearing what she has to say to me about her version of God. She’s adorable and really old.  I’m truly not interested as I am already set in my own beliefs and a transfer at this point in my life would just be silly.

They continue to knock harder. I continue to ignore.

There is no way they can’t see me but they aren’t saying anything about it.

While all of this is happening, in the back ground, the crew of Ghost Adventures is discussing how employees of an old cement factory turned Halloween attraction, discovered a satanic bible in one of the sections in the building. At once point, they were doing a reenactment and beeping out the entire segment as to avoid any adverse reactions for viewers. I believe the episode is called “Fear Factory”

Laugh all you want to but that’s what they were doing. And all of that was going down while the Jehovah’s Witnesses were standing at my door.  I didn’t make a move, say hello or even an attempt to acknowledge these people.

I knew they could see me.  They just looked at each other, turned around and walked down the steps to a car that was waiting in the street.  I thought that was odd, but this woman was really old. Maybe they are planning a heist, who knows, time will tell.

As they walked towards the street they leaned in to speak to each other.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying to each other but I bet that they were planning to say an extra prayer for that poor woman who lives in this house as she is clearly a blind and deaf mute.

Wandering the Region- West Beach

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located in northwest Indiana along the south shore of Lake Michigan. The national lakeshore was established in 1966 and includes 15,000 acres of wetlands, prairies, sand dunes, oak savannas, forests, and historic sites.

The West Beach area is located on the edge of Gary, Indiana and near the town of Porter, Indiana. It is also a quick drive from Interstate 80/90 and 80/94 if you’re passing through the area.

West Beach offers approximately 3.5 miles of trails. This includes the Long Lake Loop, that I wrote about previously at “Wandering the Region-The Long Lake Loop”. I also wrote about the West Beach area in January during my last visit.  You can check out that post here at “A Walk On the Lake: Lake Michigan In Winter”

West Beach offers three trails:

The Dune Succession Trail (ecological succession) is a 1 mile loop trail that highlights the stages of dune development. It is an incredible and scenic trail that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan from atop a 2,000 year old sand dune.

On a clear day, you can see the the city of Chicago, Illinois in the distance.  As you hike along with path (and up some stairs, I promise it’s totally worth it)  you will enjoy the shade so generously offered by the Jack Pines, Black Oak Trees and other species. I especially love watching the prairie grass as it sways in the wind.

The West Beach Trail is a more flat and easier 1.4-mile hike through an area that was sand mined in the 1920’s. This area is being restored as an oak savanna and is a great place to see prickly pear cactus. If you checked out my blog post about the Long Lake Loop, I showed a few photographs that included the prickly pear cacti that were technically on the West Beach Trail and were involved in the recent controlled burn.

Lastly, The Long Lake Loop that runs along the south side of West Beach. The loop is 1.5 miles in length and connects to the West Beach Trail Loop.  You will pass by the shoreline of Long Lake which is popular for birding, running and offers much more solitude than the busier sections closer to the beach area.

I should mention that West Beach is also close the Marquette Trail. I haven’t ventured down that trail yet so I can’t tell you much about it. Click on the link and check out more information and see what others have had to say. I’ll write about that trail in the future.

Below is a gallery of photographs that I took during my most recent visit to West Beach. I hope that you will check it out.

 

 

 

Saving Money Apps And the Accidental Mood Swing

A co worker mentioned an app that he came across called Digit. You link your bank account with Digit and it assists you in saving money by using algorithms to discover how you spend money.  It pulls money from your account and places it into a savings account in denominations that you won’t miss.

Sometimes it takes out $2.00 and sometimes it will take $20.

When I signed up for the program, I opted to receive updates from the software. It will notify you of your daily balance and also how much you have saved so far. Every now and then it will notify you of updates. Sometimes, these updates annoy me, especially if I am having “one of those days”.

Today, I got one of these updates to notify me of the creation of an app I can put on my iPhone. I was feeling smarmy so I responded to the text, totally expecting it to either do nothing or give me an error message.  Below is a screen shot from my cell phone of my text exchange from the Digits software.

Except in real life, they’re animated.

 

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I can’t lie. I literally laughed at loud.

Digit is a great resource if you’re looking for a method to assist you in saving money. The service is free to you. You can even control how often it takes out money and you can pause the service and set when you want to turn it back on etc. Also, you can make withdrawals and put the money back into your account. It usually only takes a day.

I don’t generally advertise products or services but, this is a good one.

Still laughing over this.

Wandering the Region- The Long Lake Loop

Spring is definitely being Spring in northwestern Indiana.  It was nice on Friday. Then, on Saturday I was pelted in the face with giant pellets of frozen rain. It was so windy that I was looking at the trees outside and praying that the large branches would stay attached to them.

By Saturday evening, there was almost an inch of snow on the ground. The roads were very icy and I could tell it was bad just based on how slow the semi’s were going on the toll road. It was a mess that no one appeared to have predicted.

On Sunday morning, I woke to sun and amazing blue skies. It was still very windy, but the temperature was rising. When I left the house it was a warm 45 degrees and by the end of the day it was almost 70.

I had planned on it being warmer on Sunday and was hoping that the forecast wasn’t going to let me down. It certainly didn’t. It was a bright and clear day that was made for hiking. The wind got in my way a little bit, but thankfully I remembered my sunglasses and that helped a lot with the blowing sand.

I ventured down to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I really like the West Beach area. It has trails for hiking and a  beach on Lake Michigan. I don’t really  come around the area in the summer due to all of the “people traffic” but in the spring, early summer and fall, it’s perfect.

I took the Long Lake Loop for the first time. I hadn’t veered off to follow that trail before in the past.  I usually went up, what I call, the stairs of doom.  For some reason, I didn’t capture a photo of the stairs. Just imagine a staircase that goes on forever up the front side of a sand dune.

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Standing at the trial head of the Long Lake Loop

Long Lake Loop Trail

Long Lake Loop Trail

The Long Lake Loop trail is just over a mile and a half in length. ( The park offers 3.5 miles of hiking trails total.)  As you walk along the loop trail, it leads you near the shore of Long Lake. It’s a small lake just adjacent to Lake Michigan and is popular for bird watching.  Recently, they conducted the yearly controlled burn and it was interesting to see the vegetation, most notably the cacti, recovering from the burn.

Controlled burn area.

Controlled burn area.

Cacti- controlled burn victims

Cacti- controlled burn victims

It was peaceful. I enjoyed my time just walking along.  I stopped for a little while to enjoy everything around me.

Long Lake

Long Lake

 

Long Lake

Long Lake

It was a great day. I really enjoyed just taking my time and walking the trails.  I’m looking forward to my next visit. I’m glad that I decided to walk along this trail, I think that I will make a point to add it to my visits in the future.

This is also the only trail in this park where you are permitted to have a dog.  Dogs aren’t permitted on the beach and there is a lot of signage to indicate this.  There were a lot of people there who were disregarding the rule, however, I am not one of those people who doesn’t believe the rules do not apply. I hope my readers will also follow the rules.  The dunes are a fragile ecosystem and must be protected.  

Below is a map of the West Beach area courtesy of the National Park Service.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Map of the West Beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.