Life in a Mobile Home

The term mobile home usually conjures up images of stereotypical “trailer park trash” similar to Joy Turner in My Name is Earl. In fact, we watched the four season series twice before we moved into our mobile home just to get into the spirit!

My Nme is Earl

When we were looking for a home, we realized we’d never get our credit cleaned up in time to get a decent mortgage before we had to get out of the rental we were in (we only had 3 months); so we looked for a different solution such as other rentals, for sale by owner etc. Although living in a mobile home was never on the table, mainly because of the whole “trailer” stigma.

But when you’re desperate, you make choices you wouldn’t normally make, and sometimes they lead to changes in your perceptions of life.

This one did just that. Continue reading “Life in a Mobile Home”

Can Buying Handmade Change the World?

Can Buying Handmade Change the World

I recently read an article on the New York Times website that attempted to answer this exact question. The article Sorry, Etsy. That Handmade Scarf Won’t Save the World. was written by Emily Matchar, an articulate writer who delved into the issue thoroughly for the brevity of the article. I actually enjoyed reading it because it was so well written. Being a writer myself, that says a lot.

In the first three paragraphs, the author points out the irony surrounding handmade goods and their pricing. A store bought sweater, for example, can cost $20 or less at Walmart, but a hand-knit sweater can cost well over $100 on Etsy. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, handmade was free, and many families only survived because they wore only handmade clothes.

Almost every family had someone who could make by hand what they needed. These handmade arts were ubiquitous. (Interestingly, during the Great Depression, people used whatever they had on hand to make what they needed. Recycling at its best.)

In today’s world, not everyone knows how to knit or crochet clothing or grow food in a garden organically. Hence the increase in cost of handmade goods and organically grown food. It’s supply and demand.

Continue reading “Can Buying Handmade Change the World?”

12 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Greg's Blue Eyes

I’m not just the owner of Blue Dasher Crafts, I’m a real person too! There’s a lot more to me than just the business, so this post is all about me. Here are 12 things you probably don’t know about me.

Enjoy!

12 Things You Don’t Know About Me

1) I tend to be a rather eccentric individual. I’m more of an introverted loner than an extrovert people person. Although I’m good with people, and can get along with just about anyone, I’m much prefer the solitude of my own home and family. I could very easily become a recluse if I didn’t have to work outside the home or run errands like grocery shopping etc.

2) I love crafting, especially crochet, cross stitch, jewelry making and scrapbooking. Unfortunately, I haven’t scrapped in a couple of years, mainly because I haven’t had the time or the money, so I’m a bit behind. Cross stitch and crochet are my two favorite crafts. I find them very relaxing, and I love watching a piece take shape as I crochet away!

3) I love the eyeball. You probably know this one too because I spent so many years in ophthalmology. But you may not know that the first thing I’ll notice about someone is whether or not they have a muscle deviation (if their eyes are crossed), or any other ocular abnormality. Whenever I look at someone’s eyes, my brain automatically goes into observation mode and I notice things like the “hills and valleys” in their iris muscles, their pupil size, the lenses in their glasses which can tell me if they’re nearsighted or farsighted. It’s an occupational hazard I guess. Oh, and I’m a sucker for blue eyes. Yes, my husband has blue eyes. Continue reading “12 Things You Don’t Know About Me”

2014 Reading Challenge and a Book Review

I love to read. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to pick up a book, let alone open it recently. My plate has been overflowing with stuff going on and I’m lucky I have time to workout in the morning.

But I make time to do that.

I realized I need to make time for things that are important to me, and reading is important. It stimulates the mind and improves vocabulary. It also improves my writing skills. So, it’s something I need to do.

I started out by creating a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for Sam and I. It was kind of like our own little book club. Although we weren’t reading all of the same books, there were a few young adult novels that we were both reading. One of which was Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise by Archer Swift.

I had 33 books on my summer reading list. Sam had about 15. But I wanted to keep reading after the summer, so to keep myself motivated, I joined the 2014 Reading Challenge on GoodReads.

I decided to start with a realistic goal this year since I am starting in June and increase the number next year. I’m going to try to read 40 books by the end of 2014.

I already finished one.

Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise Book Review

Eden, Dawn: The Chronicles of Paradise

I started reading this book on June 4th, and finished it on the 10th. Considering I work part time and do freelance writing along with homeschooling and blogging in my spare time, that was pretty quick. If I could have sat there for two days straight to read this book, I would have. It was just that good.

Eden, Dawn is the first book of a trilogy. Eden, Noon will becoming out in October and Eden, Dusk is set to be released in 2015.

I refuse to give away spoilers, but I’ll do my best to give you the gist of the story, which takes place on another planet. Earth has been destroyed and the survivors have made their way to an Earth-like planet they call Eden. I’ll leave the description of the planet to the book since Swift does a wonderful job of painting a picture of this beautiful world.

The survivors have been on this planet for 10 years. Most of them have died. They are divided into clans of no more than 25 people and littered around the planet in an effort to protect themselves from them.

I love how the author refers to the nemesis of the survivors as them. It makes you feel the pure hatred they have for this humanoid alien race, which has killed many of their clan and elder leaders and taken most of their women.

I don’t want to say too much about the Zikalic (the aliens) because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Learning about the aliens as you read the book is essential to the development of both the characters and the plot.

The book focuses on one character – Ristan Abel. A seventeen year old boy, who becomes a young man over the course of the story. He has lost his parents as well a girl he thought was the love of his life.

Ristan finds himself thrown in the middle of an elaborate plot to destroy the human race that starts with dissension in his own clan. He realizes that one of his own clan members is in cohoots with the youngest of the  elder leaders and then simply by chance finds out that something much more sinister is happening. There are traitors among the survivors.

I have to confess, at one point in the book, I knew what was going to happen before it did, and put the book down. I thought the rest of the story was going to be just as predictable, and I commented about it on Good Reads.

But after about 24 hours of thought, I realized that the author had succeeded in engrossing me in this story up until that point, maybe the rest of the book had a few twists I didn’t anticipate. At the same time, the author contacted me and explained why the part was written that way, which told me I had made the right choice.

I was not disappointed.

Incidentally, if you’d like to read the author’s explanation in his own words, you can read it on his blog here.

The rest of the story unfolds in a way that had me glued to the screen of my kindle for about four hours (during a thunderstorm, which really added to the experience).

This was my first time reading a book in this genre, and I found it because it was recommended as a free book on Amazon through Jungle Deals. But I would have gladly paid for the book because it’s the best I’ve read in a long time. I’m glad I chose it as the first book in my reading challenge.

If you’re interested in reading the book, you can still get it for free on Amazon. If you’d like to know more about Archer Swift you can visit his blog (which I highly recommend). If you’d like to see what else I have on my Summer and 2014 reading list, you can find me on Good Reads.

I’m a Sucker for Animals

I am, I admit it. They give me that sad little “help me” look and my heart crumbles. It’s one of the two main reasons I’m vegan.

My own pets have me wrapped around their little paw. They know exactly how to manipulate me, and they are so good at it.

In the past two days, I’ve rescued five different animals from a plight. Many people may consider these animals inconsequential and not worth rescuing. But I can’t help feeling sorry for any animal that gets trapped, injured or is otherwise unable to help itself.

Yesterday, I rescued a tree frog who made the sad mistake of jumping into my house. With six cats, if I hadn’t caught him, he would have been dead in minutes. Shortly after that, I went out with Sam to chase dragonflies, and Sam found a butterfly that couldn’t fly. He could glide, but I think he was too weak to fly. Here’s the butterfly:

Continue reading “I’m a Sucker for Animals”

The Doctor – FTSF Blog Hop!

It’s Friday again, and you know what that means! It’s another (cue game show announcer)

Finish the Sentence Friday!

Today’s prompt is: If I could have dinner with anyone in history,  it would be with…

I actually had some trouble with this one. I’m not really a history buff (that’s totally Greg). Every time I’ve been asked this question, I completely draw a blank. Completely.

But then I got creative…

The sentence prompt isn’t specific… it doens’t say “If I could have dinner with any real person in history….”

As the person I chose would say “HA!”

So here ya go:

Drum roll please…

………………..

If I could have dinner with anyone in history, it would be with: Continue reading “The Doctor – FTSF Blog Hop!”

Greg and Sam Make Gorp!

Aren’t they cute??

What is gorp, your asking? Ya, I didn’t have any idea either. Apparently, it’s trail mix! I had never heard this word before. It’s kind of a funny word too, Gorp… I looked up the word, it means a high energy snack eaten by hikers and climbers. But there was no etymology. Who knows where the word came from!

Greg got a ton of stuff to make this gorp including:

  • Cashews
  • Chocolate covered almonds
  • Pretzels
  • Dried pineapple, cranberries, blueberries and mixed berries
  • M&Ms
  • Coconut shavings
  • Yogurt covered raisins
  • Sunflower seeds

I probably missed a few ingredients, but that’s all I could remember! It’s SOOO tasty though. I really can’t eat it on my diet, it’s really high calorie!

Greg brought all the stuff home, and had Sam help him put everything together. It was so cute watching them work together! Continue reading “Greg and Sam Make Gorp!”

Father’s Day Fiasco

Father’s day was rather interesting. Since I had run out of meds last week, Greg was ever so kind enough to go and pick up my meds at Walgreens (thank the Goddess for my wonderful hubby!). However, the morning started with a bang… well a scream really.

Sam screamed when she saw this:

Oh how I hate these things!
The cocoon?? Sam found.

Continue reading “Father’s Day Fiasco”

Wonderful Wednesday – Pets

It’s Wednesday again! That means PHOTOS!!! YAY!!!!

My friend Cyndi, from over at Pictimilitude, has added a theme to her Wordless Wednesday. The themed hump day is called Wonderful Wednesday (love it!), and today’s theme is pets… Awesome.

So here are my pet photos for the day. I took these on Monday, and they are the first really good shots I have of Sekhmet, our puppy!

I love it when they stick their tongue out like that!
I love it when they stick their tongue out like that!
Although she isn't the most patient dog, and really doesn't like to be held, she didn't mind Sam laying on her for this picture.
Although she isn’t the most patient dog, and really doesn’t like to be held, she didn’t mind Sam laying on her for this picture.

Continue reading “Wonderful Wednesday – Pets”

The Hardest Part About My Day… FTSF Blog Hop

Here we are, another Finish the Sentence Friday. Today’s prompt is “The hardest part of my day is…”

That’s a good question. One I actually had to think about for a bit. But it hit me like a ton of bricks.

The hardest part of my day is…

…staying motivated.

I have issues with motivation. It doesn’t seem to like me enough to stay around for very long.

You’ve all seen my weekly goals, so you know I’m pretty ambitious. But there are days when that ambition barely gets me out of bed in the morning. I admit it. Motivation is not my forte.

My relationship with motivation is so bad, I have a secret Pinterest board with motivational sayings and pictures of things I want in my life. Motivation and I have a love/hate relationship. We both love to hate each other.

However, I have learned a thing or two about motivation in this tortuous affair. I think it’s one of those things that confuses a lot of people (myself included!). Continue reading “The Hardest Part About My Day… FTSF Blog Hop”

Soul Mates – Finish The Sentence Friday

Today’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is:

I hit a turning point in my life when…

…I met Greg.

Actually, there have been a number of different turning points in my life. Like when I decided to become pagan, that was a huge turning point for me. I began to feel more balanced, and my beliefs no longer contradicted my spirituality. It was definitely life changing.

My divorce was another turning point. I was freed, free to discover who I was. Again, life changing.

One of my favorite pictures of Greg from before we met in person.
One of my favorite pictures of Greg from before we met in person.

But the real turning point in my life, the one that completely changed me and the path my life was taking, was when I met Greg.

We met on Xbox live playing Rainbow Six 3 (I’m a gamer, I admit it).  Ironically, we had met several times before online. However, it wasn’t until both of us were going through a divorce that we were actually free to explore a friendship. Both (ex) spouses were jealous, and despite having played games many times before, we were not allowed to have any contact.

In October of 2004, we started talking every day via email and MSN messenger. He was living in Minnesota, and I was in Florida. We had so much in common, and not just things like movies, and music (although his taste in music is much more diverse than my own), but things that really matter in a life long partnership. Things like our philosophy on life, and our values. But we had yet to meet in person.

We sent pictures back and forth; Greg even sent me a “care” package in November 2004! It contained a CD of some of his favorite music and pictures of him putting the package together, a long with a few other items including York Peppermint Patties (my favorite candy) and popcorn.

One of the pictures Greg took of him putting together my package.
One of the pictures Greg took of him putting together my package.

We spent hours talking on the phone, and I ended up with a $700 phone bill. We played games via Xbox during our free time. In fact, that’s where you could usually find us if we weren’t glued to the computer or a cell phone.

In December 2004, the much anticipated meeting took place. Greg drove 2,000 miles in 24 hours from Minnesota to Florida, and we hugged (and kissed) for the first time. I’d attempt to describe the feeling, but you can’t describe the indescribable. Most people think I’m crazy for this, but he moved into my apartment that day.

We’ve been together since December 17, 2004. Since then, we’ve moved three times, traveled to and from Minnesota three times, had our daughter, dealt with bitchy ex wife bullshit, and survived numerous financial difficulties. And although we had a few arguments in the beginning, honestly, I can’t tell you the last time we had a quarrel. Sure we disagree at times, but variety is the spice of life.

Why was this a turning point in my life? Because Greg allowed me to grow and become who I was meant to be. He allowed me to explore my spirituality and all of my intellectual pursuits, as well as all of my bazillion hobbies. But what really made this a turning point is that he explored all of these things with me.

We’ve been known to have existential conversations that lasted hours. We have described our memories and thought processes in immense detail in the hopes that both of us would be able to see exactly what the other person sees in their mind’s eye. In doing so, we have given each other an extreme insight into the other person’s mind, and this has not only brought us closer together, but allowed us to explore ourselves in a way that few people ever experience.

Our conversations have allowed both of us to see things from completely different points of view, which has lead to both of us developing a unique understanding of life. I’ve become more confident in who I am as a person, and in just nine short years, I have learned more about myself, and life in general than I learned in the 24 years before we met.

Our relationship is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and it has changed my life dramatically. I’m a better person because of Greg, and I have realized exactly what my values and goals are for my life right now, and it’s all because of what I have learned from exploring this life with Greg.

Greg and I in Minnesota about a month after he moved in.
Greg and I in Minnesota about a month after he moved in.

 

Things You Miss When Your “In the Zone”

So, on Monday, I was being super productive and was totally in the zone just writing my little heart out. I must have been writing for at least 7 hours straight, only taking a break to walk the dog, take a few pictures, which admittedly took about 30 minutes, and check on Fumbles. I didn’t even break for lunch! I ate and wrote.

As I said on Monday, I’ve been extremely productive lately, and I’m taking advantage of it! I don’t know why, but I actually feel like writing. Since we got that check in the mail, I’ve been thinking that the universe is trying to give me what I want: a chance to make this WAHM thing actually work.

And I have realized, I really, really, want this to work.

There’s just one problem with being that “in the zone.”

You’re oblivious to just about everything.

I was actually pretty aware of what was going on inside the house. But the crazy shit that was happening outside, and across the street I completely blocked that out!

Here’s what happened.

Our landlord came over while I was happily writing away, so I went to wake up Greg (it was his biphasic nap time) so that he could deal with him and I could keep writing.

About 30 minutes later, Greg comes back in and says:

Greg: “Did you know there are three cop cars and a domestic disturbance going on across the street?”

Me: “Do what now?”

Greg: “There are three sheriff’s cars across the street, one of the people peeled out of the driveway and ripped up D—-‘s driveway, and there was a ton of yelling going on. You didn’t see any of that? It just happened?!” (name bleeped for anonymity).

Me: “What???”

I looked up from the keyboard and sure enough there were three cops across the street. So I grabbed the camera…

 

DSC_0023

 

(Sorry, the pics are so bad, I was trying to be incognito.) Ya, so I still have no idea what actually happened over there, but I really need to be a bit more conscious of what’s going on outside. Especially considering my desk sits right in front of the bay window.

The View From My Desk

 

I guess in the grand scheme of things, the fact that I was oblivious means I’m not a nosy neighbor, but if something dangerous was going on across the street, I’d never know. There’s two sides to that coin.

But I have to say, being in the zone and getting that much work done was way more exciting than what was going on with the rednecks across the street!! 😀

The Newest Addition to Our Family

No, I’m not pregnant…. Thank the Goddess.

When I went to the DMV last week, we ended up waiting for two hours. I left with a pounding migraine and a brand new license. Greg left with a pounding headache too. But we decided to take a trip to Walmart to pick a few things, and  as we passed the aquarium section, we though we’d finally get Sam some fish for her fish tank. We have a 10 gallon tank, and had all of the water ready, filter installed along with the rocks and decorations. All we needed were plants and fish.

Since her tank was so small, I only let her get three fish. She got two Malis (a black one and a speckled one) and a Dragonfish. Sam was so excited to pick out names for her fish and get the whole tank set up.

Sam anxiously waiting in line to check out at Walmart
Sam anxiously waiting in line to check out at Walmart

 

Sam and her new fishies :D
Sam and her new fishies 😀

We knew nothing about the Dragonfish, except that the salesman said they were notorious for trying to get out of the tank.

I thought he was kidding at first, but he was dead serious. I kept wondering why a fish would try to get out of water, but I’m not a fish, and I don’t have a teeny tiny brain, so I gave up trying to figure it out.

We got the fish home, acclimated them to the tank and then finally poured them in. The Dragonfish just kinda hung out at the bottom of the tank, while the other two swam around.

Greg and I decided we all should take a nap, or at least have quiet time because we both still had a headache from waiting in line at the DMV, and it was only getting worse. We told Sam she could take a nap if she wanted to, or quietly play in her room for an hour or so.

Little did I know that hour was going to be a traumatic one. I awoke to the feeling that I needed to get up. I didn’t know why, I just had to get up. Something was wrong. Sam had fallen asleep and said when she woke up she heard a noise and saw something slither and fall behind the dresser. I looked in the tank, and the Dragonfish was nowhere to be found. So, I moved the dresser with Herculean strength (it’s not a cheap particle board dresser it’s oak and full of clothes) and saw the poor fish dead on the floor. Bright pink in color, and my heart sank. I ran to get Greg, he got dressed and came to look at what had happened.

Greg grabbed a card to pick him up and figure out what to do with him, and he said:

“He’s still alive!”

“You’re shitting me?”

Greg threw the Dragonfish back in the tank and that little sucker went swimming around like  a bat outta hell. I don’t know how long he was out of the tank, but it was at least 5-7 minutes, probably longer.

This Dragonfish is awesome.

Several hours later, I went to check on him and found the black Mali had died. Greg fished him out, and I found a small Ziploc bag to put him in and put him in the freezer. We planned on taking him back to Walmart.

The next morning I woke up to find the speckled Mali had died. WTF?

The only fish still alive was the Dragonfish who had tried to commit suicide. Seriously?

Of course anything with Dragon in it’s name has to be fierce in my opinion, but I love dragons!

So for the past few days, Fumbles (we named him Fumbles McStupid after Rodney McKay’s comment in Stargate Atlantis – the “Duet” Episode), has been on suicide watch, and I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about the Dragonfish.

It’s name is actually the Violet Goby, sometimes called the Dragon Goby. He’s really quite a beautiful fish.

Fumbles, Our Dragon Goby
Fumbles, Our Dragon Goby

He’s a carnivore too! But he’s not an aggressive fish, and he really likes to hide. Unfortunately, we need to get him some sand instead of the rocks he has because they like to bury themselves in the sand, and if they try to do bury themselves in the rocks it can be fatal.

I got him a water heater and a thermometer, so that he can have just the right temperature (he likes 78 degrees).

Honestly, I think I’m more attached to this fish than anyone else. I really like this fish. He’s beautiful and so different. I check on him like every 2 hours to make sure the temperature in the tank is right, and I’m the one who feeds him. But he’s supposed to be Sam’s fish.

She’s forgotten to check on him every time I’ve asked her too, even if I set an alarm!

Poor fishy.

He really is a beautiful fish.
He really is a beautiful fish.

Unfortunately, Sam can’t get anymore fish because Fumbles needs all the room. He really needs to be in a bigger tank, which I’m working on. I’ve been so productive lately, we may actually be able to get it this month!

Both of the fish that died are in our freezer, Greg thinks we need to take them back to Walmart and get our money back. I kind of agree, but it was only $3 and some change. I’m not going to fuss over it.

I’m astounded at the resiliency of this fish. He’s fully recovered from his suicide attempt, and has even gotten somewhat used to the tank. He’s more active during the day now, and I’m actually able to get good pictures of him (I love taking photos of him). He really seems to be thriving in the tank all by himself.

Don’t tell Sam, but he’s secretly my fish… 😀

The Story of “Lady’s Rose”

Lady and I
Lady and I

In 2001, I adopted a dog, part beagle, part lab whose name was Lady, the day before she was to be euthanized.We adopted her as a friend for our little 8lb dog, Dickens. But Dicken’s story is another blog post.

She became the big sister to Dickens. They were inseparable. Dickens’ wasn’t the most tolerant dog, and she’d sometimes argue with Lady, but Lady would argue with her too. Everyone argues. But they were best friends.

Lady became my familiar (spiritual companion) and there was a bond between us that was indescribable. As long as Lady was there, I knew everything was going to be just fine.

Lady was there for me during my divorce, always knowing exactly when I needed a puppy kiss and some cuddling.

She was always happy, and loved to run. Her favorite game was tug-of-war with a squeaky toy. She was a very playful dog. Vocal too.

She was also a  very gentile-natured  and tolerant dog. When we saved two kittens from under a saw grass bush on our property, she tolerated it. She didn’t really like the cats, but you’d catch her cuddling with them on occasion. She may not have liked the cats, but the cats loved her, especially Odin.

The Catalpa Tree Lady is Buried Under
The Catalpa Tree Lady is Buried Under

She wasn’t aggressive, but she’d let you know if she didn’t like what you were doing. I let Lady teach Sam how to be around dogs. I trusted her implicitly. I knew she’d never hurt Sam, but she’d gently let her know not to pull her tail, or hurt her.

Lady was the kind of dog that if she saw Sam getting into something she shouldn’t, she’d make a huge racket and let you know and she’d also try to stop Sam if she sensed danger. She also watched over Sam when she was napping. Surprisingly, when we adopted her, we were told she really disliked kids! But, I know Lady loved Sam.

Things started to go downhill when Lady turned 9. She developed diabetes, and required insulin shots twice a day. She developed cataracts because she was such a brittle diabetic, we couldn’t keep her blood sugar under control. She went blind.

She slowly deteriorated until her kidneys finally shut down. She died in 2010, a year after her diagnosis. She was 10 years old. She died at home, in my arms. I was heartbroken.

We buried her in the backyard under her favorite tree the large leafed Catalpa.

This is only half of the rose bush. The rest of it is actually taller than I am!
This is only half of the rose bush. The rest of it is actually taller than I am!

The day after we buried Lady, I went out to visit her. I found this little plant straight across from her grave near our neighbor’s fence. It was very small, and when I got a closer look, I found it had thorns on it. I had no idea where it came from. The one rose bush we had died during the winter of 2007.

I decided to try and move the plant, so I dug it up at the roots, and replanted it on top of Lady’s grave. It died. About a week later, the plant was back in the same spot it started in!

About a month later, our neighbor decided to mow part of our yard near his fence, and ran over the little plant. It grew back, but winter was coming. We had a freeze, down into the teens, but it didn’t even phase the rose.

This rose bush has been growing ever since.

Lady's Rose
Lady’s Rose

This is why I call it Lady’s Rose. It has endured through several traumas, and is thriving. I think it was Lady’s way of reminding me that everything will always be okay. Even if she’s not here physically, she’ll always be with me spiritually.

It’s ironic that these roses are pink. Pink roses have always been my favorite.

This rose bush has given me some of the most beautiful shots I have ever taken. I have so many pictures of this bush in just about every different kind of lighting and angles. But the water effects have been my favorite.

We Love You Lady!
We Love You Lady!

Lady is sorely missed, but this rose bush serves as a reminder of her, and all the memories she gave us.