Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Athlete Of The Year

I was an athlete when I was younger. I had sponsors. Free racquets, shoes, clothes. I didn't get paid to win, but sports companies would give me free stuff because I won racquetball tournaments on a top amateur level. I didn't really love competing, but my significant other had a Tiger Woods gig going, and I thought that if I was a top player, that I could keep the home team home, if you know what I mean. Although he never won a state, regional, or national championship, which I regularly did, he would consistently tell me that I wasn't an athlete ... like him. You see; "Athletes are born. They're natural. They don't have to work as hard because it's just natural." For years, as I won tournament after tournament, he continued to try to convince me that I wasn't really an athlete. I either won by luck, or because everybody else played bad. I might not have been a natural athlete, but I won while I was raising a small child, teaching aerobics, and managing a large athletic complex. Now, to my point;

This week, Tiger Woods was named the BET Male Athlete of The Year, and Serena Williams was named AP Female Athlete of The Year. Whoopie! Seems like the "Athletes" just became more elite than ever. I get it now. They're either "born" cheaters, or possibly "born" to lose it and tell a tournament official that you'll stuff a ball down their throat! It all makes sense to me now. This is why so many athletes fall along the wayside for bad behavior, drug addiction, and sex scandals. You're just "born" that way. You're special. We bow down to you. No matter how you behave.

I'm not saying that Tiger or Serena don't deserve their new designations, nor that they didn't work harder than me. I'm just saying ... If their behavior is what wins you the title of "Athlete of The Year," then my X was right. I'm not an athlete. Nor, will I ever be.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Turn Off The Lights!

I've heard people say that Realtors are low life. Dirt you-know-whats. I've worked for realtors, even some nice ones. I've recently passed the Oregon Real Estate Licensing exam, so I might even be one someday. I've never really thought negatively about them. Until now. That is, I've got my house for sale, so different Buyers Agents have been showing it. My Agent is the Seller's Agent. She sets up the showings. But then ... The Buyer's Agent, who has never met me, and knows or cares nothing about me, comes in and tries to sell my house and my style to someone else.

I DO believe in Global Warming. We are very conscientious about how much power that we use. When we leave a room, the lights get turned off. If for nothing else, to conserve our own hard-earned money. Now, here's my problem. On Saturday, whoever the realtor is that showed my house, turned on EVERY light switch on the wall. If there was a switch for the light and the ceiling fan, they both got turned on. In the garage, there's a switch for the garage lights (two), in addition to the outside driveway lights (two). Then, in the bathrooms, there are light strips with 6 vanity bulbs each. That's THREE bathrooms, 18 bulbs. We don't even use those fixtures when we're using the bathrooms, let alone walk away and leave them on!

That's my problem. How does a complete stranger get the authority to come in to my house, turn on lights, then have the BALLS to walk away and LEAVE THEM ON? Don't believe in Global Warming? Then, believe in the INVOICE that you're about to receive.

I can't affect what these types of people do in their own home, but I sure wish that I could. Don't think that I should send an invoice? I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good-Bye 2009!

It's coming on 2010 and I can't think of any year that I've wanted to end as much at this one. I'm a glass-half-full type, and will continue to be, only if the next year will come on a little more softly than the last. 2009 started on a positive note. We had two rental properties leased up with great tenants, a brand new house to live in, Al had a great job with benefits and retirement, and my Equine Programs were going well. Then ... The BIG clobber! First, one tenant lost their job and moved out, then the next. Then, with both units vacant, Colorado laws changed where I was no longer able to teach Animal Therapy, and AL GOT LAID OFF! OUCH!

With two vacant rentals, 3 substantial mortgages, and no buyers in sight, the prospect of living on unemployment with no health insurance became a very frightening reality. Wow. There we were, in the same boat as most Americans in the middle of a recession. Screwed.

As we do, Al and I sat down and hashed out a plan. First, we distributed 200 resumes to every possible employer in our area. We were busily running on empty worrying that we would lose it all and end up in a tent city. We hired a Realtor to list the rentals, but she was so depressed herself that it was difficult to talk to her. She was nothing but gloom. Every time I'd see the tent people on TV, it would scare me to death. This was soon to be us.

I listed every extra item that we owned on Craigslist. EVERYTHING. Whatever made me think that we were going to sell our brand new "Fun Finder" travel trailer to someone in the middle of a great recession was beyond me. Especially since the going price was thousands less than we owed. But, we persevered. We did have several people look at the trailer, but they didn't want to pay much for it. Eventually, we made the sacrafice and ended up taking $2,000. out of savings to contribute to the highest offer. We paid it off, and sold it.

Next, we shaved down every possible expense. We cut our TV services to the bare minimum. We cancelled our land line service with Qwest. We lowered our car insurances to liability only. Fortunately, we had re-financed the house for a lower payment BEFORE Al got laid off, so that was as low as it could be. Since we were coming into the spring, I planned the biggest garden that I had ever planted. This year, however, would have to come from seeds rather than the previously purchased seedlings from a local nursery. As opposed to the previous year, all flowers and vegetables were grown from seed rather than seedlings. Ha! This was the difference of about $20.00 for the entire landscape as opposed to over $1,000 the year before. And, what a garden we had, I might add. We saved thousands of dollars on food that summer!

In March, Al was hired by a Plumbing Company that's been around for a while. A small company, but busy nonetheless. $3.00 less per hour than his previous job, no company car or gas, no retirement, very expensive insurance for me, but a job. All in all, around $1,600. per month less than before. Even so ... Yay! Since things appeared to be turning positive for us, I decided to try to find a more positive realtor who eventually sold both rental units to first time buyers under the governments first time buyer tax rebate.

Where are we now? When things eventually turn around, we'll be the most efficient household in the country! Our expenses are carved down to the minimum. Our mortgage is as low as possible. The garden is in place for our next spring planting (seeds, no matter how much money that we have), and our house is for sale. We haven't lost any equity in the house because of it's location in Colorado. We both published books which had been labors of love sitting on the shelf when we were busy, and now they're on Amazon!

Having lived in Oregon for many of my younger years, I know about the simple lifestyle there. Most people grow their own vegetables. There are community co-ops for bartering many services tax free, and prices are much lower than Colorado with no sales tax on purchases. I've recently passed the Oregon Real Estate Exam, and applied for a non-active license until I can get back there. Even though unemployment is high in Oregon, Al and I are very positive about our plans. We've made it through the toughest of times. We've got an emergency fund in the bank. COBRA is expensive for me and will run out this year, but we're grateful that we never ended up in a tent, we're both healthy, and the future can only be brighter than the recent past.

God bless us all. We Americans are a resilient people. We will get through this. Jobs will come back, money will flow, and we'll all be talking about 2009 for years to come! Happy Holidays, everyone. Please take a breath and do something nice for yourself, or for someone else. We have a lot to be grateful for, believe it or not. Good Luck on your job hunt, and I hope that 2010 brings positive changes for us all! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pure and Honest

It's rare that one is willing to show vulnerability. Especially those of the male species. This recent youtube posting is just so darned honest and pure that I couldn't help but post it here for all to see. This is a talented little Ukelele plucker with something special. Too cute!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTCzJWrgFbE

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sarah Palin must be high on lipstick!

Sarah Palin must be high on lipstick! In her piece in yesterday's Washington Post (NOT written by her, I believe), she claims that the summit in Copenhagen this week is based on agenda driven policies that won't change the weather and will merely drive up debt. She further claims that future climate research should be based on sound science and not political agendas as it is now.

Sarah, aren't YOU the one with ethical issues? You’re like the pot calling the kettle black, or the rat that smells the cheese first. You eat too much red meat, woman. Pit bulls do get aggressive when they eat raw meat. Back off and do your homework. You're fortunate to live in Alaska where you can look out on miles of fresh, green terrain.

Of course, it's hard to believe that there are parts of the world where people can hardly breathe because of the pollutants in the environment. Don’t you read the news? This is a global problem, not a Wasilla trailer park issue.

Palin also writes about how the Climate-Gate villains would not allow their critics to speak their minds in "Peer-reviewed Journals." Ha ha ha. I think that was her dig at Katie Couric for asking her what she reads. That would make a good answer in future interviews. Question; "What do you read to keep up on world issues, Sarah?" Answer by Sarah: "Mostly peer-reviewed journals." There you go. Check that off of her 2012 campaign list. She’s got one answer prepared already.

Read Sarah Palin's "Piece";

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/08/AR2009120803402.html

Thursday, December 3, 2009

High unemployment? DO YOUR JOB!

We've made it through a recession, sort of, but lots of people still out of work. The thing that shocks me is the people who have jobs that just don't appreciate them. I've had recent problems with a lazy gal in the doctors office who just didn't want to see my new insurance card, let alone make a copy of it. Consequently, my doctor bill and the resulting lab bills were all denied. Why? Because the lazy @#$%& didn't want to take the time to do her job. Okay, I made it past that one by getting on the phone and taking three hours of my time and lots of paperwork to get it right. Okay, that one's behind me.

Another problem that I had this week was with a speeding ticket that I got about a month ago. FOUR points on your record, or only two points if you pay it on time. I rushed down to the court house to pay my $162.00 fine (before my utility bill, I might add) just to get the points lowered. What did I receive this week? A WARRANT and 4 points on my license. Why? "Oops, my mistake." The court clerk lost or didn't credit my payment. By mistake! Okay, cool. I keep every receipt. I took it back to her, and so she says that it's been taken care of, but that I should call the DMV in a couple of weeks to follow up. You mean the 800 number that puts you on hold for 30 minutes or more, then hangs up? Wow. She's as lucky as the gal in the doctors office to have a job!

Those are just mistakes make by people who are lucky to have a job. This last complaint, however, is to wish BAD Karma on those people lucky enough to be employed delivering mail. I'm not going to slander the post office, because I know that there are a lot of mail delivery people that are contractors for the post office. I am going to state the facts about my mail delivery experiences lately ...

I ship a lot of books. Say ... 25 a week, at least. In the beginning, when people started telling me or commenting on EBay that the package was opened when it arrived, I couldn't believe it. I ship a tightly taped package! It's hard to believe that it would arrive opened! So, I started taping everything in both directions, all the way around. The next report that I received was a package that arrived empty. Cut with something sharp. Who would steal my books?

Just this week, I've gotten two comments from people who received books from me triple taped in both directions, both of them opened. So, what's the deal here? Are you BAD ELVES in the mail system looking for money? Are you sub contractors who think that you won't get caught.Why are you cutting my packages open? Don't you thank God every day that you have a job at all? Who are you and why are you doing this? Are you looking for checks?

If you are indeed employed people ravaging through people's mail, I wish you Bad Karma. I hope that you lose your job and your home. We've all been through a tough year. Stealing is a crime. You're not only violating me and my customers, but you're violating the laws of man during really hard times. Bad Elves. Bad, bad Elves!

People, be sure to tape and track your packages. There are some bad elves out there. I hope that their families aren't the ones to go hungry when Karma strikes, because it will!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Meal Was Spectacular!

Happy Holidays everybody! Wow. Our vegetarian Thanksgiving was really good. It wasn't necessarily a health or spiritual decision, just something that we decided to do. It had a little to do with running the stove all day for two people ... and the foil that you use, and the grease in the gravy, and the cost of raising a turkey, and, of course, the death of the turkey. It was just something that we did.

My biggest fear was making a gravy without meat. I started by chopping, then really browning some mushrooms. I cooked them for a while longer than I normally would. Then, I made gravy as I would have with grease, but used fresh herbs and spices. The rest was a breeze. We had dressing on the side, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade cranberry sauce, cheese enchiladas, rolls, salad and pumpkin pie.

This was a memorable Thanksgiving for us! We've decided to do it this way from now on!

Our house is still for sale. Not a tire kicker in sight! Notta one! We're actually enjoying the warmth and comfort for now. It's kinda scarry knowing that if someone came along and bought it and wanted to be moved in by Christmas, we'd have to go to Oregon and buy a house ASAP. Kinda scarry, allright.

I sent the final application off for my Oregon Real Estate license today. Had to wait for the background check after I passed the exam, so it's finally done. Now, I guess we'll just keep moving forward with our business plans for the future.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twitter

Whoah, Nellie! Everybody's talking about social networking, and how important that it is in business. I don't like being social at all anymore, let alone networking all over the place. Anyway, because all of my BFF's are tweeting these days, I signed up for twitter tonight. For about 5 minutes. Geez, I was hardly done typing my name and email address and I had three new "friends" wanting to tweet. WTF? Come on, I thought that I would read a couple of Wolf Blitzer and Ashton Kutcher entries, but they started pouring in. Come on, I don't know you people. I can't spend all this time typing about the salmon that you had for dinner in a New York restaurant! Really! Call me crazy, but I don't care what you had for dinner. I care if you drove your car there and if you turned the lights off in your house when you left. I live in the sticks where they don't have salmon. Good bye, Wolf, glad you liked the Salmon tonight. And good bye Ashton. It appears as though you're the king Twitterer of all time. So long Trekkies. Good night, John Boy. Peace out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

A lot has been researched and written lately about cruelty to animals and the environmental impact of commercially raised meats. I love meat. Especially a good steak. I rarely eat it anymore, except at a local restaurant where some friends of ours have raised the meat organically. My reasons for not eating much meat aren't well researched and designed, but simple. I don't like the fact that commercial animals are raised in such threatening environments that they live on antibiotics. That can't be good. For them, OR me.

It's also been proven that livestock production not only depletes earth resources, but produce toxic emissions into the environment. Lastly, meat is not as good for your body as the grains that we feed the animals that we eventually consume ourselves!

So, when I told my Italian Mother the other day that I was having a Vegetarian Thanksgiving, she was beside herself with TRADITION! "Of course, you can eat meat one day of the year!" She was acting like I had taken her piece of Pumpkin Pie! She wanted NO PART of NO TURKEY on Thanksgiving.

I assured her that we had a wonderful meal planned for the day! No, it's not a turkey shaped tofu sculpture. Nor is it some soy burger punishment for not eating meat. I don't know why some vegetarians feel as though they have to stuff themselves with some poor brown excuse for meat. Forget about it. Eat well, add protein in many forms!

Here's my Thanksgiving Menu:

Cheese enchiladas with black beans and olives
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes with mushrooms and their gravy
Breaded Cauliflour with Parmesian
Corn Bread Stuffing with celery and almonds
Cranberry Sauce
Green Salad
Homemade whole grain rolls
Pumpkin Pie

Sounds divine! Nobody's suffering. Not even one little tiny turkey. Cheers!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

EcoBroker®

Did it! Completed the very interesting EcoBroker® program. I also got my background check information off last week. I've waited to move back to Eugene, Oregon for a million years. It looks like after 15 years of planning, it's going to happen. No, we haven't sold our house or anything. We are listing it tomorrow. I can't believe that I just said that! We should be marketing our books for the holiday season, and we're listing our house during the slowest month of any year, let alone a barely-out-of-a-recession year! I just think that it feels right. I'm ready to go right to work in the Eco Real Estate Business. Yeah, I know that it's a recession. All that I can say is that if you're  not moving forward, you're not moving. If we're bitterly impoverished, or starving, we'll throw some crab pots in the bay and wait for our dinner. It all sounds so great to me!

If you know me, you know that I love buildings. I like cute homes, unusual homes, commercial buildings, etc. Believe it or not, I like the maintenance and upgrading of buildings, and commercial spaces. I abhor when commercial tenants chop up a space that affects the air quality of other tenants. I've managed property since I was a teenager. Had it not been for a recession that sort of blew me out of the horse health business, I would not have found my place in the world of buildings. Don't get me wrong. You can still buy my book ... it's just not my only interest. Wish me luck. Can't wait. Be ready for some valuable home energy insights.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oregon Real Estate License

Woo hoo! I passed the Oregon Real Estate licensing exam yesterday! Man, when I get into the testing room, I say to myself "Why do I keep doing this to myself?" Just when I get intellectually lazy, I hang another challenge on my shoulders! It was slightly stressful. The Oregon exam was first. You can mark questions to come back to. Frightening. The wording was so confusing. Although I had studied the different types of financing, when each one is a choice, you've got to concentrate. I marked 28 out of 50 to come back to! I started out shaky.

The National Exam contains 150 questions. Cinchy. Not a problem. So, even though I struggled with the Oregon portion, I passed them both. This week I've got to work on getting my background check and fingerprints done, then I'll register for the EcoBroker®  program.

Next ... We've got to start getting the house ready to sell. We've got to find a storage locker, clean the carpets, and aerate the lawn so that it will be ready for spring. Wow. Maybe we can get to Oregon for fly fishing next summer. Would that be so great?

Monday, October 12, 2009

EcoBroker®

Reinvention. Seems to be the professional thing to do these days. After I left the fitness business at the age of 40 something, I needed something more "mature" to do. God knows, almost 30 years of exercising and playing racquetball for a living can take its toll on your bones.

Lucky me, I landed a job in Commercial Property while taking the time to play with my horses. I not only fell in love with buildings, but spent years researching the differences in horse fitness and training, compared to humans. After 15 years, I've finally published my book on horse fitness. What a great time that I've had!

Reinvention. More than 50 something. I'm having a really great time sharing my book with horse people all over the world!  I miss my old horse Buddy. No doubt, but I won't be getting another horse. It's time to go inside and use my head a little more than my body.

I've taken the Colorado Real Estate course more than once over the past years. I love commercial buildings, and have managed many, but never felt inclined to become a broker. Then, it hit me. If Al and I want to move to Eugene, Oregon, we need to prepare ourselves for a life in a tough economy. I left Oregon during the recession in 1982. Let me tell you, when fishing and lumber go bad in Oregon, it's a tough road. All that we can do is plan and prepare.

I'm taking the Oregon Real Estate Broker Exam this Saturday. I'm ready. Fortunately, you can take an Oregon Exam at a testing center in Colorado. Next, a specific training to become an EcoBroker® . EcoBroker®, you ask? Yes. You learn about removing bad stuff like asbestos and radon. You also learn about adding good stuff like healthy products and sustainable, low energy appliances.

So, maybe there won't be a Real Estate BOOM any time soon. There is, however, a huge inventory, and a more environmentally conscious buyer these days. I can't help but think that I'm headed in the right direction for a very well suited last career for a 50 something woman wanting to be back in the Pacific Northwest.

I can't wait to get started. Interesting stuff to learn, and write about. Meeting with people who are conscious about their environment, both in their home and the earth. I am really excited that I've finally chosen the plan for my reinvention. I can still be me. I will work efficiently to help people find a lifestyle that will benefit everyone. What a blessing! Wish me luck on Saturday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

And Justice For Money ...

I'm reeling mad since my encounter with a local Police Officer yesterday. When I saw his lights in the rear view, I assumed that he was going to pass me and go after someone else. No such luck.

I was driving my new mini-van with my dogs in the back for the first time. I was cruising down the hill at what I assumed was the speed limit, 35 mph. He crept along the side of the van, like spider man. As he held his back against the side of the van, he requested that I open my window. Mmm. On the freeway on-ramp, with my crazy dogs in the back. I don't think so. So, I hit the window and rolled it down about one more inch.

Yes, I have my vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Yes, my drivers license address is correct. Yes, I've done everything required to be driving this car. TEN miles over the speed limit? Geez, dude, relax. I'm just a woman taking my dogs out for a walk! Why so uptight? This cop was really stiff! Don't you have some sort of wise guy class that helps you to decipher the difference between a bad guy and the Mini-Van driving Mom of a Golden Retriever? Okay, I was speeding. Okay, okay. Just give me the ticket.

Here's the clincher. As he hands me the $162.00 ticket he tells me that this is a 4 point ticket. IF I pay my fine on time, it will be lowered to a 2 point ticket. When I got home, I immediately went to the internet to search out 4 point traffic violations. What I found was out right corruption. CORRUPTION. A 4 point traffic violation includes things like drag racing, driving under the influence, reckless driving, etc. A TWO point traffic violation is driving 10 miles over the speed limit.

The moral of this democracy ... We are charging you with something serious and costly. Give us a lot of money and we'll let you get off with what you really did. Man, HOA dues to two associations, mandatory activity center assessments, taxes, rules, bailouts, etc., and now I'm paying fines for something that I didn't do. How is a person supposed to survive anymore? Get me out of this municipality! Get me back to the ranch. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Best Batch

Now this could very well be my best batch of wheat grass in two years! Look at this stuff! Just a short trip through the juicer and I'll have one of the tastiest, most nutritious cocktails available. This time of year gets to be a battle with the birds, but I've got some screening to keep them out from now on. Cheers!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Positive thoughts and naming my blog

I've been blogging here for over a year. Each time I sign on, I use my "Plant Your Garden" email address. Sometimes I write about investing and how to try to save money, while earning little bits of interest. Sometimes I write about my garden and how gorgeous that it is.

This past weekend, I researched, "Naming Your Blog." A lot of sites showed the most used words, like blogger, journal, and perspectives. I don't really see it as keeping a journal. I write about the things that I love and the places that I hope to go. This is why I chose the name Flourish. It means to do well, to move forward, and to prosper. Perfect. This is what I'm all about.

Like everyone, we have taken a hit in income this past year. Although we've cut back on EVERYTHING, money is still tight. Whoever thought that you'd have to put a bra or bedsheets on a wishlist for a month or two? This is the reality where Flourish was born.  I will continue to save money, even if it's one dollar a month, and I will plant my vegetables, and all will flourish with positive thoughts and forward thinking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Leap of Faith

I named her Hermione which means earthy. Okay, so you might say that she was nothing but a grasshopper, but she's been here all summer. First, I thought that I needed to spray the beans because she was eating the leaves, then I decided that it wasn't a big deal because I still get all of the beans.

She'd come up and hang out with me when I worked in the garden. No, I'm not even kidding here. I was so mesmerized by this insect that was sticking around, I finally looked up "grasshopper, animal totem." I found that the grasshopper signifies encouragement to take a Leap of Faith. I have been procrastinating some big decisions ...

As soon as I got the message, she was gone! Three months of friendship, and once she got her message across, she was gone. Hermione, my earthy little insect friend. It was a pleasure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Fit Horse Companion

Wow, it finally arrived! The hard copy of my book, The Fit Horse Companion arrived today. Published! All of my research and stall mucking coming to fruition. Stall mucking? Absolutely the best time to hang out with horses.

Some of the best conversations that I've had with horses were in their stall. First of all, it's a pretty small space. It's where they eat and rest. It's a privilege to be in there in the first place, and, if you're not close, and they don't want you in there, you're toast!

It is my hope that some of those people who get on their horse and ride away, then call their horse stupid for bucking them off, will get the drift of a proper warmup. I've always wanted to say "Your horse bucked you off because you didn't warm him up and he was too stiff to run. He's not stupid!" Now, I can simply say, "You should read my book. Maybe if your horse were properly warmed up, that wouldn't have happened."

Perfect. Something to cross off of my bucket list. It's been many years in the making.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care Issues

I try to stay away from political arguments or opinions. We all have something to say about what we see on television, but choose the proper time or people to share it with.

I've been in the alternative or complimentary health care business for my entire 30 some year career. I understand that research has been slow in this area as opposed to Western Medicine, but I believe in prevention and complimentary care. In fact, to say that research has been slow is an understatement. Only this year did researchers follow bicyclists at the Tour De France to extensively compare muscle recovery of muscles that had been massaged vs. not.

To get to my point, prevention and complimentary care are not new concepts. I was watching a guy on tv tonight who was pro health care reform. He was a doctor. What really bugged the #@&$! out of me was that he was expounding on the fact that new therapies like acupuncture were proving to be beneficial according to research. Duh? Proving to be beneficial for over 2,000 years. WTF? Medical experts. Expert opinions. I'm not even going to go into mine right now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Becoming a Contemporary Evolutionary

A contemporary evolutionary? Basically, an advocate of change as the world, and my own life require. I remember when I became a hippie the first time. It was around 1971. I moved to Oregon to be free and hang out with my friends and our dogs. Yes, we grew a garden and lived frugally, but it's wayyyyy different for me this time.

I've been reading a book called The Tao of Abundance. Oh yeah, it sounds like a trippy book allright. But here's the deal. Back in the 70's, the earth wasn't dying at the rate that it is now. We grew vegetables because we were hippies, not because it was good for the environment, or our own bodies for that matter.

With this past recession, I have learned and realized more positive things than I ever have before. When Al got laid off, I was faced with the reality of "what if?" What if we lose our home like everyone else? What if we spend our entire savings trying to get by? What things that I have do I really need?

Back in December, 2008, we were watching the financial world crumble around us. We had been paying off debt and and building a savings and some assets for about 5 years already. We left the ranch, sold the trucks and trailers, invested in a suburban "investment" house at a dirt cheap interest rate and decided to wait it out.

No kidding. The cover of Time Magazine says "Recession Over." Man, those are welcome words! But what does this mean for us? I'll tell you what it means for us. Getting back to that book, The Tao of Abundance .... No, it's not a book about getting rich. It's a book about NOT finding yourself at the mercy of the economy. It's about cutting back on worthless expenses, growing your own healthy food, and getting rid of the fat. It's about building an abundant life, one step at a time.

We've sold one of our rental properties. We're working on the others. Then, we're going to move to Eugene, Oregon where there are no sales taxes. Talk about an annual savings! We're then going to buy a green home with a garden space. Grow our own food, add some solar panels, eat seafood, add a studio for teaching fitness, yoga, and renting to others for the same. NO gas to get to work because it will be at our home ....

We are planning our exodus to the great Northwest with new ideas each day. We have learned such a lesson about having and paying for things that we didn't need. Once we sell our home, we'll be truckin. This time, I'll be a gray haired hippie woman with much more wisdom than I had 40 years ago. Life is good as a hippie. No matter what the motivation.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Salads, and salads, and salads

Living in Colorado has its ups and downs. In the wintertime, vegetables have to be brought in by truck because the world is frozen solid for months at a time. The tomatoes are really horrid! When the trucks are delayed for days at a time, the vegetables are old by the time that they arrive. Expensive too.

During the summer, when you have less than six months from seed to table, you take it VERY seriously. I'm at the back door with my seeds all ready the minute after the last frost. Usually Memorial Day. This is how it looks today, after one month. SALADS! We have salads for every meal, and use the green lettuce on sandwiches. We also grow and juice wheat grass during the summer. We're psyched about the money that we save during the summer, and the color is gorgeous! Cheers!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Re-Inventing Yourself

One of my clients over 45 recently told me that it was embarrasing and de-moralizing that he had to re-invent himself to get a job. Why couldn't he just stay a welder until he retires? He doesn't want to have to "dress up" for work, or act like something that he isn't. The economy just pulled the rug out from under him by sending all of the gas drilling companies to another state. He's not the only one in this position.

I may sound like a lunatic, but my suggestion to him is to get over it and make a plan. I disagree that having to re-invent yourself in this weird economy is an inconvenience. I see it as an opportunity.

This guy lives on a ranch and loves his horses. So, why not go to horseshoeing school, join the chamber of commerce, and advertise for people to drop their horses off at his place for the day? He won't even have to buy gas for his big gas hog of a truck. And, he'll be contributing to a cleaner environment! A great plan for all involved.

Even employers are confused these days. Most of them aren't overly confident about their own jobs. If you've ever wanted to do something else, I believe that now is the time to give it a try. Living on less is a new lifestyle, so why not find something that you love to do, and an employer who would appreciate your interest? I can think of all kinds of jobs that I would love to have ... flower arranging, chef, vet assistant, music store, bookstore, although writing and gardening is a pretty good gig.

A good resume creator can work your hobbie into great experience, which it is, by the way. My advice to the welder was to start stretching in the mornings. Not only to become more flexible, in every way, but to get his back in shape for his new horseshoeing career! Happy job hunting!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Staying Positive

The economy is getting better for some, but for others the job market is still waning, and communities are still hungry. I know that my own health care coverage has doubled in price, my husband has taken a cut in pay, and my business has dropped off considerably.

If you have to wake up in the morning and face new days, one after the other, you've got to look to the future. You've GOT to think positively. Why not assume that it will be brighter than it is? Historically, recessions heal. When this one passes, just think of how much wiser and more frugal that you'll be! Here are a few of the things that I'm doing, that I will continue to do, even after things get better;

If you're reading this, you have access to a computer. Signing up on EBay is simple. If you have an email address, go to www.ebay.com and sign up! Things that are popular on EBay are jeans, t shirts with cool writing on them, kitchen items, collectibles, end other household items. You can even type in "most popular sale items on EBay" and they'll tell you what's hot today. I had so many books on health and fitness that I collected over a career spanning 30 years, I opened an EBay Bookstore. Checkout www.cliffviewbooks.com

Another GREAT idea that has been helping is that I've become a "Mystery Shopper." Another thing that is done completely online. You sign up for a company that has been hired by your local grocery store chain, and virtually spy on different aspects of the store. You buy something from the deli while having contact with the deli employee, you place something in the bottom of the cart to test if they will catch it (of course, you bring it to their attention if they don't), and at the end, you fill out the evaluation form and file for a reimbursement of what you've bought. So, you get a free lunch from the deli, and I always need dog food or a bag of treats for the bottom of the cart test. The Mystery Shopper assignment times are generally evenings or weekends, so even if you have another job, you can shop during your off time and get reimbursed for your groceries.

I've eliminated my land telephone line and use only a cell phone now. I have wireless internet, so instead of faxing, I send scanned attachments. Almost every printer includes a scanning option these days. That alone has saved over $100.00 a month.

Lastly, my organic garden is looking wonderful! It's not big, but it's an area of the yard full of pots and potting soil filled with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, beans, peppers, squash, cukes, and carrots. If nothing else, we won't go hungry. I'll save my visits to the deli for that one greasy treat every week.

Hang in there. Just think of how educated you'll be when money starts flowing again. It will. I've seen this before!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Put your "dibs" on Locally Grown

If you aren't fortunate enough to have a garden of your own, now is the time to hunt down your local organic gardeners. By buying locally, you can save the earth the burden of trucks shipping your food across the country.

At a local food meeting last night, there was a lecturer who shared his story of advertising on Craigslist that he was willing to take excess vegetables off of the hands of local growers. True. By the end of the growing season last year, my husband and I hoped to never see another zucchini again! We gave so much away, even our friends were hiding from us.

Now is a good time to put your "dibs" on that excess. Not only will you be saving good quality FREE food, but possibly saving the environment from one cross-country truck.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

We left the ranch two years ago. It's hard to believe that we ended up in the burbs. The economy, real estate, etc. We thought that we were building a house in the burbs to sell, then it all went south. Of course, we've made the best of it, and I'm on my wonderful vegetable garden for the third season! We've got a nice plot that we brought organic soil to, but now I'm on the crazy roll of dumping seeds anywhere that they'll fit!

Last year, I discovered "cabbage loopers" for the first time. I was so naive back then. I saw these beautiful white butterflies flying around me while I was bonding with the earth. No idea. Later in the year, I found these green worms on my broccoli and cauliflour. I was confused. Although I've had many gardens in the past, they've all gone well. No pests, no problems. Just lucky, I guess.

When I spotted the worms, I thought that they looked like tomato worms. Couldn't figure out where they had come from. We didn't even have tomatoes yet! I couldn't imagine that they were marching across the street from a neighbors house.

Well, remember those pretty white butterflies? Bastards! They were laying eggs on my plants from the cabbage family. Broccoli and cauliflour. Bastards. They ate holes in everything. No broccoli and cauliflour this year!

For a really healthy diet this summer, remember to go with color. Fill every pot and planter that you can find with carrots, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Even if you don't have a lot of room, a little color goes a long way in nutrition. Have fun!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aim So High You'll Never Be Bored!

A client recently told me that he had spent so much time feeling bad about being fat that it hadn't occured to him to "get out of it." When he would get home from school every day, he would mull over the names that he had been called, and spent the time resenting the name callers. Now that he has set goals, he said that he spends even more energy at the gym after school thinking about cool he's going to look when he achieves his goals. I had recommended a Charles Swindoll book called Living Above The Level of Mediocrity, and he has designed a poster out of one of the introductory pages that is reprinted with permission from United Technologies. He gave me the hand painted poster that he did in his art class. Here is what it says;

The
greatest waste
of our
natural resources
is the
number of
people
who never
achieve their
potential.
Get out
of that
slow lane.
Shift
into that
fast lane.
If you think
you can't,
you won't.
If you think
you can,
there's a
good chance
you will.
Even making
the effort
will make
you feel
like a new
person.
Reputations
are made
by searching
for things that
can't be done
and doing them.
Aim low:
boring.
Aim high:
soaring.

Congratulations to my new teenage friend! You're soaring!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To quote the Dalai Lama

"Each of you should feel that you have great potential and that, with self confidence and a little more effort, change really is possible if you want it. If you feel that your present way of life is unpleasant or has some difficulties, then don't look at these negative things. See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort."

Man, it's easy to use negative words. I can't tell you how many times my clients have opened the dialogue with; "I'm not sure that you can help me. I've been on every diet and none of them have worked." I want to say; "You didn't just say that, right?" Isn't that like spending money on something that will never fit? Maybe you should go ahead and buy some really expensive shoes in the wrong size too! No, go scope out some really great shoes that you will reward yourself with after your first small success, which you WILL achieve, only if YOU believe it. Negative thinking is out. Start small, but find a goal, and go for it.

I've had a rough time with a couple of negative people around me. When they're negative, I tend to believe them. Then, I carry the anger and negative around with me. With some conscious planning, I've decided to change how I respond to their constant input. I turn away and thank God that I have a more positive outlook. No more. Neg is out, positive is in. I'm going to buy some really cool shoes that fit!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sleep and Metabolism

One would think that if you burn the candle at both ends by working 16 hours a day that you would burn more calories. In fact, the opposite is true. Even though less calories are burned when sleeping than when awake, the metabolic processes in the body change when the body is "burned out."

Hormone secretion, specifically Cortisol and Leptin change when the body is tired, possibly making it feel more hungry, and causing cravings for carbohydrates.

Experts say that rest and rejuvination is as important in weight loss as diet and exercise. Eight hours of rest is what is suggested by experts to keep the metabolism functioning normally.

If you are a person that has a hard time falling asleep, a hot cup a tea containing Valerian Root has been known to bring a gentle relaxation and a good nights sleep. A supplemental herb called Schizandra Dreams from a company called Health Concerns is a great supplement. This supplement contains Valerian Root and Schizandra Fruit and works like a charm for falling asleep. Dream yourself thin! Sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Walking Through Life's Obstacles

In my first week of coaching, I've found the human spirit to be so giving that it actually lacks self-love in a lot of ways. Some people are so willing to take care of others that they lose their own personal focus. Some of us, raised with guilt, think that self-love is sel-fish. I'm learning to turn this type of thinking around. Here's an example;

If you feel the best when you're helping someone else, how about joining in one of the Susan B. Komen walks for breast cancer this summer? By training each day, you can lose the guilt of thinking that you're taking too much time for yourself. You will be improving your own health, allowing your mind to feel like you're doing it for someone else, while feeding your own spirit and feeling good about yourself!

This might be a good first step in your journey towards balance. It shouldn't be difficult to take time to go to the gym, or to have your nails done, or to take a nap. These are all a part of a healthy body which is necessary for a balanced spirit. Start with today. Walk somewhere that you might normally drive. This will start you on your goal of the donation of your time to the Susan B. Komen Foundation. Who knows, maybe next year you'll run it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

Hooray! I passed the exam and I'm now a Certified Professional Life Coach! What I learned in this program was how powerful negative input can be. In my Life Coach Training this past week, I learned about how we perceive our lack of achievement, and how we can actually stumble ourselves over reinforced negative feedback rather than positive affirmations like "I can," and "I will."

I have my first FREE client this afternoon and I can't wait to get started. Do you have something that you want to accomplish, but haven't been able to for whatever reason that you perceive? Call for a free introductory coaching session now. Remember, I'm just starting out, but I would love to coach you to success!
(970) 285-5644.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life Coaching

What a week it's been! With the book business slowing, and Al's plumbing business slowing, I decided to enrich my life while adding another dimension to my Personal Training and Massage Therapy clients. I've been taking a Life Coach Certification Course that has turned out to be my own coaching experience. What a powerful program! I can't wait to get started with my own clients. I think that it will take about 30 clients to become comfortable with the questioning and probing, but I'm thrilled with my choice.

What is coaching? Not therapy, or psychotherapy. Coaching is a carefully laid out plan designed for the client to set and achieve goals. During a typical coaching session, the coach asks the questions, and the client answers them. No therapy, just questions about your goals and how you can achieve them. We all know that sometimes we create our own obstacles that get in the way of life. A coach can put another set of eyes and ears on your plans, while encouraging you to set timelines, while giving positive input to help you attain success. Can't wait to get started. Oh yeah, let me pass the final exam tomorrow before I get too busy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Runner Up Essay

When you're an aspiring writer, publication is the key to furthering your career. I've published newsletters and even two books, but time marches on. You don't get a paycheck each week whether you produce or not. It's tough. You have to keep writing, knocking on doors, and entering contests that pay.

This week I was notified that I've been awarded as the First Runner Up in the Health Concerns Essay contest. What does that mean? Woo hoo!!! $100.00 worth of Chinese Herbs at wholesale prices. Now that is a winner in our house. We spend a lot of money on herbal supplements, so this will be like a little paycheck.

What next? Today I submitted a short story to one of my favorite literary websites. Don't know how competitive it will be, but I don't have time to worry about it. Today I'm submitting an article to Shape Magazine. Will it be competitive? Don't know, I'm already writing an article for a local newspaper about local infrastructure projects.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fasting

Well, Al and I fasted on New Years Day. As tough as it was, we both felt really great at the end. We lost our voracious need to eat everything in sight. Because of that, we decided to fast every Friday from noon to noon. 8:42 Saturday and I'm feeling great. We drink lots of water during the 24 hours, and are ready to start the following week with a positive attitude and a clear head.

Some doctors would probably disagree with our method and would say that this starving will change our metabolism into thinking that we're starving, so will hold on to extra pounds. I find that I eat less during the week because of the fast. We'll see. Today is Saturday and after we eat a light meal, we're going used book shopping. Happy Day!

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