My husband surprised with a wooden tree of life puzzle for Christmas. At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed when I opened the gift. This puzzle wasn’t the traditional puzzle pieces. Nope… this one had unique shapes and designs and there were 700 of them. I didn’t know where to begin!

On New Year’s Eve I decided to open the wooden circle container out and take a stab at it. My son and daughter would add a piece here and there. Eventually I found a pattern… colors, forms started to make sense. I was fascinated by the pieces that were in the shape of birds, flowers, sun or moon. I had thought I would be agitated and irritated by the puzzle. I am not going to lie, there were plenty of times when I have felt that way. For the most part, it was surprisingly therapeutic.

I would binge watch a show on my tablet while working on the puzzle. It was my time to forget all the stuff that was causing me anxiety and stress. My husband’s gift had created a renewed hobby and borderline obsession for puzzles.

If you are battling with anxiety, stress or depression, try picking up a jigsaw puzzle. It might help… or create a whole other level of stress and anxiety.

One of my dog’s got to the very bottom of the puzzle. Doh!!
My next puzzle… this one may go on a wall.
And so it begins…

Mom’s advice and Grandma’s saying…

The advice from my mom that stays with me and that I find myself repeating to others who need to hear is, “Follow your heart and your gut. Don’t worry about what anyone else says or think. The heck with everyone else! This is your life and you’re the only one who will live it.”

I was in a turbulent time where the world and people surrounding me were telling me one thing but my heart and gut were telling me something completely different. I knew what everyone else wanted. They kept shouting it at me constantly and consistently but again my heart and gut told me otherwise. The thing is, I know it wasn’t easy for my mom to say those words. I know she really wanted me to go in the direction everyone else was telling me to go. I took her advice and I have to say, I am so glad I did.

My mother’s love was unconditional. She supported me even when she thought I was making a mistake. She loved me for who I am. She may have expressed opinions or tried to pursued me to do things I didn’t want to do but she embraced me anyway.

My grandmother was the same. She would tolerate my quiet moodiness but put me in my place in a heartbeat. She’d be polite but brutally honest then give me a big hug soon after. When bad things happened she’d say, “There’s always a reason. We may not understand it but there is always a reason. You may not want to accept but God knows what He is doing.” My mom would often repeat the same words.

I was blessed to have these two amazing, loving women in my life. I can still feel their love surround me even though they are no longer in this world.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! To all the mama’s and like-a-mama’s out there!

Senior discount??? Wtf???

Welp. It happened. For the first time in my 50+ years on this Earth, I was given a senior discount without even asking for it. They didn’t even ask me for my drivers license. Gasp!

Let me back up and explain… One of my four dogs, Lily, stepped on a bee and yelped. We thought she was stung which immediately set us into panic because she’s allergic. We checked her paw and noticed it was slightly red but didn’t see a stinger. We gave her bendryl then decided we’d keep an eye on her.

The next day we noticed her nails were slightly turned up. We gave her more benedryl but her paws were progressively getting worse. By the time we finally got to the vet, one of the nails fell off and then another. After further inspection, the vet determined all of the nails needed to go. Turns out it had nothing to do with a bee sting. So, she had a little surgery. She’s in a lot of pain and discomfort.

We have to take her to the vet a few times to get her bandages changed out and her paws inspected. She’s going to be okay. It’s just going to take awhile. They have also drawn blood to find out what caused this.

Of course, I could hear the kir-ching, kir-ching of the cash register everytime the vet spoke a word when we arrived the first day. I was crabby and getting on my own nerves! Not only worrying about my Lily (by the way she’s techinally my daughters dog) but also the dinero involved plus trying to figure out how we were going to get Lily outside to handle her business when she had all paws bandaged up and the cone on her head.

We returned the next day so they could inspect her paws. We had hoped the bandages would be removed but unfortunately the nail beds weren’t where they needed to be. But the vet told me I would be getting a credit for a reason I can’t recall at the moment plus they realized they missed a discount so I wouldn’t have to pay for this visit nor the next. My immediate reaction was a thumbs up and my exclamation of “Cool! Thanks!”

The vet told me to go to the front desk so they could sign me out while he finished working on Lily. I was smiling and walking with a little pep in my step. The receptionist glanced at the computer and said, “Oh, I see we missed the Senior discount. I’ll just apply that now.” She clicked a few times then typed something. She asked me if I wanted the receipt printed or emailed. I told her email was fine.

It didn’t register in my head until I got home. I glanced at the receipt she emailed me. “Senior discount?? Wtf? Why would we get a senior discount?” It seriously took me a few minutes to grasp it… to hold on to and understand. “OMG!! I’m a senior??? Wtf??”

But… oh… I glanced back at the receipt. It was a discount of over $200.00. I felt conflicted. I was smiling for a few seconds and then I frowned. Then scowled and cursed.

“Senior discount!! F$@& senior… psttt… I am not a senior!”

I kid you not… less than a second after I declared that I sneezed and had to rush to the bathroom so I wouldn’t pee on myself.

She can’t get her bandages wet or dirty. This was our solution while outside on wet grass. We have since learned sandwich bags with hair ties work better.

Writer’s block versus character blocking

As a writer, I am a professional daydreamer. This could be a blessing especially when I am in the writing zone or it can be a curse. The curse happens when I start thinking of everything except when I am supposed to be working on a book. The daydreams get worse when I’m having either a writer’s block or a character block.

Writer’s block is what I am currently going through. I have two books that I am supposed to be focused on but my mind isn’t willing to go into either of the story worlds. But, here I am writing a blog post instead. At least I’m writing. What some people may not realize is the tremendous amount of self imposed guilt and feelings of failure that comes with the hardcore writers block. Writing is a part of who I am. It feeds my soul. I need to write. It’s not a choice. It can crush a writers spirit causing sadness.

Character blocking is something a little different. It is basically a fight between the writer and the characters in the book. It’s when the character(s) reach a certain point in the story and then cross their arms and tap the foot with a scowl on their faces not willing to give the writer anything! Absolutely nothing! The writer can nudge them, push them but the character shakes their head stubbornly and won’t budge a centimeter. The character taunts the writer. It’s aggravating and annoying and causes anger.

For me, the breakthrough from the character blocking will happen in the wee hours of the night from a dream or random thought that pops into my head. It will lead me into the writing zone where the outside would vanishes and I am in the story.

If you’re a writer, you know the only cure for removing the blockers is most likely time. Walk away from the project for a while. Write something else or do something else. The flow will eventually start moving again, but I know, it hurts in the meantime.

Come into my world… fairy garden in progress

Ever since I was a little kid, I have had a fascination with fairies and gnomes. As an adult, the fascination grew when my husband and I took a trip to Morro Bay over ten years ago. When we were walking along the storefront there was a shop that had fairies hanging in their window. We went inside and I felt as if I were transported into a magical world. There were fairies hanging from the ceiling. There were candles and crystals on every shelf. It was amazing. My husband couldn’t wait to get out of the shop.

But, last year we took a trip to Solvang. We were walking along one of the storefronts and there was a shop that had fairies hanging in the windows. My husband groaned as I grabbed his hand and tugged him into the shop. But, this time he was fascinated by all the displays. He said, “Oh no! You’ve sucked me into your world.”

We both laughed and I said, “Hey, it’s a beautiful place.”

He surprised me by picking up a few fairy pieces and bought them. It became a thing we worked on together. We bought little pieces when we could over a few months. We even bought succulents so we could add it to create a fairy garden. The succulents didn’t last long. Most likely because they were in the shade instead of direct sunlight.

Recently I came up with the brilliant idea to use bonsai instead. I ordered a tree from Amazon. Correction, I thought I had ordered a tree but what was delivered were three branches with directions to soak the branches in water for 1-2 weeks until roots grew then plant them. This made me happy. I love growing stuff, caring for it then watching it thrive. So I followed the instructions and have recently planted the branches into the fairy garden.

I now invite you into my world. The garden is in a barrel.

Two weeks after planting bonsai branches.

You’ll see the three bonsai’s along with three mermaids chillin’ and gossiping around a pond with ducks. There are fairies near the mermaids listening to the gossip. You’ll also see a wooden rope ladder that leads up to a campground with an outhouse.

Then finally a little further down you’ll see the gnomes partying at a bar.

Just sharing the little things that make me smile.

Hmm… food delivery?

So, I was laid off after training and mentoring folks to take my job (after 25 years). Fortunately, I was blessed six months later with a new position for the same company. It’s strange but I am soooo much more happier in this new job than I was in my last. The only problem is I’m not getting paid nearly close to what I was before but… hey, I got a job with benefits. I’m thankful.

Also I have way more time on my hands than ever before considering my kids are now young adults and I no longer need to drive four hours a day going to dance classes, baseball practices/games or basketball practices/games. What in the world could I possibly do that would fill my time and perhaps fill my pockets at the same time???

Then it came to me… food delivery? I can drive. I could run in and out of restaurants and drop food off to random strangers. So, I signed up for Postmates (which is now Uber Eats) and also Grubhub.

I delivered a few orders randomly for a while. Easy breezy but it’s not lucrative. Basically I was making pocket change but it got me out of the house and able to interact with fellow humans which were all nice with the exception of one server at a restaurant who gave me the stink eye and made me feel like dirt at the bottom of her shoe. In her defense, I nearly bumped into her after I tripped on a piece of rug. She almost dropped a tray of food. So… I didn’t blame her.

But, a few days ago, I had time and could use extra funds and thought… why not deliver? So I clicked on Uber Eats and was surprised when an offer popped up only a couple of minutes after logging on. I accepted it. I went to the restaurant and when I got back into my car with the order I was surprised to find a new order had popped up. But, it didn’t give me the option to decline. This stumped me. I looked further and realized it wasn’t a food order but a pick up from a store for two lounge chairs. Wtf? I can’t pick up lounge chairs… that wasn’t part of my plan. So I kept tapping into the app trying to figure out how to get out of this. Nope. Appeared to be no way out.

So I ultimately decided to be a good person and pick up some strangers damn lounge chairs. Fortunately, I was in my van and knew they could fit. Also fortunately, I had the GrubHub warming bag in my car so put the Uber Eats order in there to keep it warm. I walked into the store with most likely a lost look on my face because an associate immediately asked me if I was there to pick up an online order. After I confirmed he helped me complete checkout then pointed me to the chairs. “Are you okay picking them up?”

In my head I was cursing and having a temper tantrum but out loud I said, “Um, sure. I got this.”

He said they were light and I should be okay.

Pssst… I got this. I walked over to the chairs and attempted to pick them up at the same time.

Nope. Nope… I don’t got this.

He saw my struggle and then suggested, “You know, you could take the shopping cart right over there.” He pointed.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” I said. I grabbed the cart and attempted to pick the lounge chairs up again but it just didn’t happen.

The guy said, “Hold on, let me help you.” Thankfully he helped get the chairs on the cart them wheeled it to the van. He even helped me get it into the van. He wished me luck getting it out and told me to pull them out carefully so I don’t rip up the upholstery. I finally got back in my car and tapped the app to get the address for where to deliver it. I plugged the address into my gps and I was on my way. About ten minutes later I hear the words, “You have arrived at your destination. The route guidance is now finished.” I looked at the house addresses around me but none were matching what was on the app. I drove up and down the street… the address does not exist. I had someone elses lounge chairs in my car. I came to the conclusion I would go with the address that the gps stopped at. It just happened to be a house with a for sale sign jabbed into it. I figured it would make sense if a realtor or owner ordered the chairs to stage the house. I managed to pull the chairs out without damaging them or my car and placed them in the driveway since per the app it instructed to leave anywhere. I was smart and placed the receipt in between the armrest and back of the chair. I tapped delivered and took a photo of the chairs sitting in the driveway with my phone. Then I got the heck back into my car and drove off before someone could stop me.

Then, I pulled over to get the address for the original order. I tapped the address into my gps then off I went. Now, this address led to a field. Okay, y’all I was not about to be a victim on the five o’clock news. I seriously contemplated saying f@$& it and take this stranger’s order as my own lunch but my conscious wouldn’t allow me to. So, I drove a little further and learned the address was really a business building. I also realized there was a note that said, “drop off at the lobby desk.”

I couldn’t see the office building numbers from my car so had to get out of the car and walk from building to building. I glanced around the lot to make sure there were people around in case something went down and I needed witnesses or an escape route. I finally found the right building and entered gasping for breath. The receptionist was talking to a man that was leaning over her desk. (I am pretty sure they were flirting. The writer in me knew there was a story there.) She looked at me questioningly and a bit of concern on her face. “I’m here to drop off a food order for Kevin,” I said, still catching my breath.

The guy said, “Oh, that’s me.”

I handed it to him and said, “Sorry for the wait. Thank you.”

“Oh, no problem. Thanks,” he said.

It dawned on me as I was heading to my car… that guy might not have been Kevin.

Welp, I was done. I made sure I was logged off the app. It took me one hour from start to finish. I drove from one side of town all the way to the other.

I decided then and there it would be my last delivery.

Later on that same day, I was bored and started glancing at my phone and then the app. My son saw what I was doing. He had already heard about my adventure. He said, “Don’t Mom. Put the phone down. It’s not worth it. The gas, the time, safety… don’t.”

He was right. But knowing me… when I get bored… who knows…

Me about to begin my adventure…