Life with Jody--former Soldier (medically retired), writer (in training), and lots more
This blog tied for 3rd Place in the June 2016 "The Bard's Hall Contest" |
This is a non-specific blog about me and my life, the things I do, the problems I cause, and the trouble I manage to escape. Topics that may be covered include but are in no way limited to food, animals (especially farm animals), war, the military, photography, North Carolina, medical problems and medical care, religion, writing, and examples of extreme laziness.
|I'll try to abbreviate things from yesterday so it's not 10,000 words.
- Called my mailbox place to let them know I forgot to check my mail before leaving and would be gone over a month. Was informed I had a box. DOH! THAT'S MY MEDICINE I NEEDED TO TAKE WITH ME! Had to contact the doc to order more to be sent to me on my trip.
- Called my real estate agent because the house I'm selling didn't appraise for the contracted price. Good thing I called as I was supposed to have signed something else several days ago. Found out one of the rooms wasn't converted into a bedroom during the renovation. And after the renovation, peeling paint and rotting wood was found on the exterior during the appraisal. Was assured I wouldn't be charged for the repairs. Uh, you mean the repairs I've already paid for? Glad I won't be double charged. Don't like his contractor, but I don't have a better one.
- Called about my car insurance situation (complicated issue with North Carolina being only 1 of 2 states out of 50 that have this complication). Going back to the original insurance company I'd previously used just to tide me over a few days, only to find out that not only had I been paying for car insurance for 2 companies at the same time, but 1 wasn't even insuring me for the right state! And now when I asked for help getting insurance with the correct state, they can't help me.
- I call my original insurance company for the, at least, 3rd time about the situation and FINALLY someone mentions I can send a copy of my driver's license. That's it? I've been dealing with this threat of having my insurance cancelled for almost 2 months, the deadline is Monday and NOW you tell me I just have to send in a copy of my license??? Fine. I'll do that. Just send me the paperwork to go with it.
- Insurance company sends a link where I have to log in. Uh, I locked down the account due to fraud so I can't log in. Send me a paper copy. Two calls and 4 people later, a paper copy comes. Oh, but I'm travelling, so I have to find an Office Depot or someplace to print and fax from.
- Email account complains that I'm not me and wants me to verity that I'm in New Mexico. Yes. It wants me to verify the last several times I logged in. Weirdly, yesterday in Arizona isn't on there. But, uh, why did I try to log in from Germany and Seychelles recently??? Great! More hacking. Thankfully, they didn't get in.
- I go to get my driver's license to get a copy to send to the insurance company. Not there in my pocket, nor is my military ID or my American Express card, all of which I used to get a hotel last night. I search the car and my bag and my pockets--several times. Nope. I'm driving across the country with like 3 more nights of travel and no ID?? Hotels want ID! And it's awfully cold to be sleeping in my car. Not to mention, I'm getting a Georgia driver's license. They already said I have to surrender my North Carolina license to get a GA one.
- Not only do I have to show my NC license to get a GA one, but the whole problem is the car insurance and my car tag. But I can't get a GA car tag without a GA driver's license, which I can't get without a NC license or a copy of my driving record, which takes 14 days to process. Thankfully, COVID extended winter break. Thankfully, I keep forgetting to make my GA driver's license appointment because I'd have to cancel it anyway.
- Cancelled my AmEx card and the phone tree insisted on verifying me by either my card information, which of course, I didn't have, or my office number. What office number? I haven't worked in several years now. I finally got a person and ask them to take it off. I ask the next person too. They cancel my card and ask about the other card. It's fine. No, I don't know where it is, exactly. I moved recently and it's in a box somewhere, but it's safe in my apartment.
- I call later to verify they erased the office number. The guy says they didn't, but he can't so for me to speak to another department. She insists there's no other number and she has no idea why he was seeing an office number. In the meantime, AmEx is calling me while I'm on the phone with them. I can't click over so when she's done I ask her why they called. She said it was a fraud alert on my other card and sends me to the fraud department. They assure me everything is fine, they've now cancelled both cards. I didn't want the other card cancelled! I SAID I didn't want it cancelled!! Too late now.
- I went 5 places before someone would let me go to the bathroom, thanks to COVID.
- There's the little annoyances like trying to call the hotel about my lost ID, etc. and the number is the main number, not the hotel, itself. Phone trees, transfers, more phone calls, etc. UGH! And my car, when I ask it for a restaurant, it shows me all the nearby ones from closest to furthest. Same with gas stations. When I ask it for a hotel, it wants to know which one. I don't care--give me closest to furthest. Nope. Use the phone to find the closest, then type it into the GPS--freaking aggravating!
- I had 2 VA appointments today. Or so I thought. Apparently, both were cancelled, but one was rescheduled for later today and the other for tomorrow? But when they send you email reminders, they don't say who the appointment is with. And you have to log in on a computer for the appointment. I tried doing it on my phone, but some app was allegedly blocking the usage of the camera and it wouldn't tell me which app nor would it let me use it without the camera. So, hotspot the computer with the dying battery in the middle of nowhere with bad wifi and barely get enough to understand that this isn't the right appointment time because it was changed. Oh, and did I mention that for some stupid reason, some of my appointments are still on Eastern Standard Time and others on are Pacific Standard Time, 3 hours earlier? But I was on Mountain Time so that was some fun math. I have made several calls and requests to get all my appointment reminders on PST, but no one seems to know why they aren't. Oh, and apparently the appointments were rescheduled on top of each other, but then not because the other was then cancelled. I tried to contact one of the providers and it turns out they give to have permission to contact them through the secure email thing they insist you use, but neither is on my list of contacts. I texted the only person I knew at the VA and asked her to notify one of them, but she didn't get back to me until after the appointment time because she has her own appointments.
- I paid for a car wash and waited and waited and waited because it was "in use." Nope. Broken. So I had to go inside to get a refund. We disagreed on the cost so I feel like I was short changed, but whatever.
- I need a 1099 to prove my social security number for Georgia. No worries. I sell Pampered Chef and they give me 1099s. Oh, but last year, I didn't really do anything and didn't make enough to get a 1099. Thankfully, my financial planner keeps a copy of my tax returns, so his secretary found an old copy of one from before.
- For some reason, my car decided it didn't want me to listen to my Audible and refused to play it after a gas refill. It wanted me to listen to the radio instead. No! Give me my Audible! Turns out, I can mostly hear it okay if I turn it to full volume and put it in the cup holder to act like a speaker. I showed my car! It later gave up and decided I could listen.
- I stopped to get gas and the pump leaked on my hand, which burned and stank. I washed my hand several times (in a gas station that let me use the bathroom--different state) and couldn't get the smell off. Also, the top was left off the refill tank in the driveway. I ran over it--probably not great for either my car or the lid. I couldn't let it go with a gaping hole in the ground, so I had to go park and go back inside and tell them to come fix it because I didn't know what I was doing with the seal being off and everything. I'd already had to go in to go to the bathroom to wash the gas off my hand, then go back in to get them to tell me the car wash code because the numbers were too small for me to read (but this car wash did work), so I didn't want to go back in a 3rd time, but felt obligated to do so. They were grateful, so at least that was nice.
- For some reason, I couldn't figure out how to make the car vents stop blowing cold air on me, even though I had the heat set to 82 and the whole function off. I didn't have this problem before. I finally closed them. It used to slowly leak warm air in, but for whatever reason, for most of the trip, I wanted to blow or leak cold air in today. It finally warmed up after 4-5 hours.
- A truck threw a rock at my windshield. I couldn't tell if the mark was road dirt or a crack and forgot to look later. That was part of the point of the 2nd car wash, which I never got--to clear the window enough to inspect it because the stupid wipers decided they need to be replaced now. Oh, and the wrench came on, but I think that can wait until I get to GA. And when I got my tires replaced a month ago, they didn't bother to give me caps for the air valves. Rude!
- The hotel didn't supply shampoo or conditioner. I called to ask about it and they said they had a vending machine for it. Seriously??
- I was feeling so angry and frustrated and whatever, I stopped and got the tiniest Dairy Queen Blizzard. (They currently have a peppermint hot cocoa one that is great.) Of course, though I always have a towel on my lap when I'm eating in the car and I stretch it across so things can't fall between the seat and anything else, I managed to spill my Blizzard on both me (above the towel's reach) and the center console (just beyond where the towel stopped).
- There were numerous dropped calls because AZ and NM have a lot of bad spots, so I couldn't even call and complain to friends about my crappy day yesterday.
- I finally got a hotel to accept my VA ID card and let me not sleep in my cold car tonight, but now have to hotspot my internet because their wifi won't stay connected more than a minute or two at a time. Fun.
- There's more things that I would remember while typing something else, then forgot, but you get the point of how things are going...and that was just yesterday.
So, yeah, I'm crappy, but otherwise fine. You?
|Crow wrote a newsfeed note about the idea that writer's block is just a construct, not a real thing. "Note: As The Crow Flies
No Lack Of Ideas
If ..." I started to write a response, but then ended up with something long enough to become a blog post. Since I haven't blogged in forever, I thought I'd just copy and paste it here instead and post a link on their note. That way, WdC won't complain that my response was too long.
I used to not believe in writer's block...until I got it once. I thought writer's block was just not being able to think of something inspirational to write, something that got you really excited. Now I think it's something else--a total blocking of ideas of any sort.
My writer's block experience was very strange and unexpected for me. I've had times when I didn't feel inspired to write and couldn't come up with a "good" idea, but I wrote the bad ideas and entered the contests so I could get the MB or GPs or whatever. But then one day, I had what I think must have been real writer's block.
Part of the strangeness of the experience is that I didn't even know I had it until I tried to write something. Perhaps I was feeling depressed already. I don't exactly recall that part, but I was battling depression frequently during that in my life, so it's likely. I decided I wanted to enter a contest and discovered I couldn't come up with an idea. I mean, like nothing. "I could write about...uhhh...a thing. What's a thing? Think of a thing to write about...a...uhhh...things...things...name a thing...the computer I'm staring at is a thing. No, it needs to be a living thing. Okay, uhhh...a..a...uh...name something that's alive, dang it! What's alive? A plant? That's alive, but not the idea topic for a story. Name an animal. Any animal. Seriously? The first animal to come to mind is...a...uh...dog? Okay, a dog. So, what happens to the dog? Ummm...I don't know. He...uhh...he...I don't know."
It was crazy. I literally couldn't think of anything to write. I thought I'd go easier on myself when I couldn't think of a plot and I'd start by naming the dog. But the only dog names I could come up with were like Lassie and Benji--already famous dogs. I couldn't think to use the name of a dog I knew in real life. I looked at writing prompts. "Two friends get into an argument." "A man comes home to his apartment only to find..." Okay, people. You have to give me more to go on that just that. Maybe if you tell me the whole storyline, I could fill in the details? Not even sure if that was possible, though. I couldn't think of anything to write--literally, nothing.
I've read research on writer's block and they tend to think it's just anxiety, but I don't take my writing seriously enough to be anxious about it. Personally, I think there is a bit of confusion about what writer's block is. Sure, there are people who get super anxious about writing something because there's a lot riding on it or because they are perfectionistic or whatever. But what about those of us who don't care enough to be anxious about it? I write because I like to write, not because my livelihood depends on it. I am not one of those people who needs to write to breathe. I think I wrote 1 thing all last year and I was fine with it. But my first year, I wrote probably over a hundred. I write when I want to write and I don't when I don't. So, what's to be anxious about? In my very unprofessionally educated opinion, they aren't experiencing true writer's block...or I experienced something else.
I think of it like the difference between an anxiety attack vs. a panic attack. Too many people say they had or are having a panic attack when they mean an anxiety attack. I sat next to a girl once who said she couldn't be near me because the shaking of my leg was giving her too many panic attacks. Yet, I sat next to her for two hours without noticing a thing. It's quite possible that my anxiety was causing her anxiety. But if she'd had several panic attacks, we would have seen it. She'd be doing things like having trouble breathing or she'd be hyperventilating and perhaps crying. She'd likely be shaking, not just shaking her leg, which was wasn't even doing. She couldn't have pushed through and participated because the panic would have enveloped her entire brain. Her panic would be visible and likely audible, as well. Instead, she looked normal. Panic doesn't look normal, that's why it's panic.
So, I think perhaps what most people call writer's block is really more like the anxiety attack that people call a panic attack. I think it's hard, but I think fear and anxiety are the culprit and they can be worked through. To combat writer's block, things like writing prompts are generally recommended. But in what I consider true writer's block, those don't help...if you can even think to look for them. They are like a panic attack. You can't think clearly. You can't make reasonable choices. It doesn't matter if the dog's name is Fido or Rex. In my opinion, this writer's stumbling block they call writer's block, trying to figure out if the dog's name is Fido or Rex is the problem. In what I consider true writer's block, neither name even comes to your mind. It's not that you can't find the right name. There is no option for a dog's name. To me, this is true writer's block. Should the dog be searching for his ball or going for a walk with his owner? Writer's stumbling block. I have no idea what the dog should be doing. I can't think of what dogs do. I know dogs do things, but I can't think of a single thing they do. At the time, I can't even think that dogs chase balls or go on walks. Writer's block.
In the end, I overcame my writer's block by writing about my writer's block. No creativity was required. I just wrote about what I was currently experiencing. It was the only topic that I could think of and it took me a long time to come up with that because the rest of my mind was absolutely blank. It was totally blocked. To me, that's true writer's block.
That's my only experience with what I think is true writer's block. But I must say that now, I'm a believer.
|Howdy All! It's a day of many firsts for me!
1. First time I ever made tabouleh--SUPER easy! I should make this all the time! lol
2. First time I used my new charcoal sugar scrub...mostly because I thought it was my charcoal mask and realized I was wrong when I dipped my fingers in and decided to just go with it. But if I'd used the charcoal mask, it would have been the first day I'd ever done that as well. lol
3. First time to ever cook with real chicken broth. I decided to use that instead of water as the tabouleh suggested. It went well.
4. First time to ever grow my own garlic. Full disclosure, it started to grow on it's own, but I planted it 2 days ago and haven't killed it yet, so YAY ME!
5. First time to ever do a direct sales party with another DS. Krysha has a broken hand! sells Color Street 100% nail polish strips to get a glamorous manicure without the mess of liquid polish. Her's aren't stickers like some companies. They remove with regular nail polish remover because they are real nail polish. I sell Pampered Chef high-end kitchen products designed to make your time in the kitchen better. I've always been told not to do a party with another DS because neither of you makes any money, plus things can get ugly as you "fight" for customers. Well, our products and price points are very different and she's been a sweetheart so, so far so good.
6. First time ever doing a Mystery Host Party. When you do DS parties like Pampered Chef, Color Street, Mary Kay, Tupperware, etc., the host gets the rewards based off how well the party goes AKA the sales. More sales = more rewards for the host. But in the party Krysha and I are doing, who knows who will get the rewards? You earn points towards the possibility of being selected as the Mystery Host by commenting, inviting friends, booking a party, etc., and of course by purchasing. No purchase is necessary to win the Mystery Host rewards, but you'd better be inviting folks and participating a lot if you don't purchase. At the end of the party, she and I will each select a winner for the host rewards for our company's party. EXCITING! Since she's brand new to Color Street and neither of us has ever done a Mystery Host Party, whether it goes well or badly, there will definitely be excitement!
7. Today I'm (probably) Going Live on Facebook for the first time. Sure, there's a chance I'll chicken out since each time I practice, I go off the rails because I can't focus, but still, it's good for me to try. We'll see what happens...
8.. First time I will have opened the microphone I bought like 3 years ago. My director mentioned that when my computer fan is on, it sounds like I'm in an airplane, so if I'm going to Go Live, I figure I'd better break out that microphone that I never got around to donating. SEE? This is exactly the reason I hate downsizing!
9. Okay, that might be all the first time things I've done today, but also a large number of "first time in a long time" things (like writing in my blog ), but I'll refrain from boring you with those.
If anyone is interested in joining the party, you are welcome to come! If nothing else, you'll get to see and hear Krysha and I, so isn't that alone worth it? If you order from either of us by midnight Monday May 25, 2020, you'll get a free gift from both of us. And because this year my Pampered Chef anniversary coincides with Memorial Day and I'm a disabled war veteran, I'm also giving those orders free shipping so order soon!
The parties will both have recipes, games, kitchen tips, and product demos. Come join us! Unfortunately, we can't ship to our overseas friends, but you are more than welcome to join in the festivities! We'd love to have some of our WdC friends to support/make fun of us!
You don't have to purchase to have fun at the party. Most folks don't purchase, though of course, we hope you will. Whatever you do, we definitely encourage you to participate! That's what makes the party fun! To join our party, click the link and ask to join! I promise to approve you.
|Well, it's been a long time since I've blogged. In fact, I couldn't remember exactly how to get here to do it again, but luckily WdC makes it pretty easy to find your own blog again. I've had several comments about why I'm not blogging (mostly laziness), so I thought I'd try to get back to it.
Well, last month (May) I did a big promotion to get folks to join (or rejoin) "The Contest Challenge" and it worked...at least for the time being. (HOPEFULLY most people will keep at it for the whole year.) I gave away a free 1-year Premium membership. It cost me over 50 million GPs...significantly more than I expected. But that's mostly because I did NO math to prepare for this. So, one might say it's my own fault. But I hope that "one" would say it quietly behind my back and not to my face, just to be polite. But they are right. It IS my own fault. Well, it was fun and I got a CRAP TON OF STUFF IN RETURN thanks to Lilli ☕ organizing a wonderful thank you reward for me! THANK YOU! It was so unexpected but SO AWESOME!
During that time I also made Yellow Case. I'm not sure why as I don't think I'd been super active recently, except that month. lol But whatever. I'm not going to argue! I'm very happy being Yellow and Blue isn't even a goal, so YIPEE!!
Also in May, my cousin talked me into selling Pampered Chef. With the brain injury, it's easy to talk me into stuff, though she claims she wasn't even trying. On the good side, I see selling Pampered Chef as a way to help me work around my brain injury and get back towards working a full-time job again. And I DO LOVE THE PRODUCTS! They have such creative things like the Julienne Peeler where you can peel veggies into julienne pieces and the Rolling Cookie Cutter so you don't have to cut each cookie by hand (not that I make cookies with my blood sugar, but still, options are nice) and I love the Measure-All Cup (and the Petite and Mini ones as well) because you can measure 1/4 cup in the same thing you can measure 2 cups so you're only dirtying 1 item, not to mention you're less likely to lose count when you have to do multiple cups (a real issue with the brain injury) and it has a plunger thingie so you no longer have to scrape out the inside when measuring things like honey or ketchup. I am totally in love with their RockCrok collection of stoneware because it goes EVERYWHERE! You can use it in the freezer, oven, broiler, microwave, on the stove, grill, and, of course, in the dishwasher. It's fantastic! And their nonstick cookware is also amazing because you can use it with metal utensils and it goes in the dishwasher. FANTASTIC!
Okay enough about what I love about Pampered Chef. I don't want to sound like a commercial. Too late? Well, they have great stuff! It's not MY fault. lol
FYI, anyone interested in joining my Pampered Chef party that starts Monday, June 24, 2018, (and ends Sunday July 1) go to this link. (If you live overseas, we can talk about me shipping smaller items to you myself, but I'm not shipping you a set of pots and pans on my own dime. lol)
If the party is already closed, you can contact me or just order through my website.
Also, I'm offering 5 MBs to anyone who hosts a qualifying party (only $200 in orders). If you don't want the cookware, but do want the MBs, consider hosting a fundraiser or host a party to stock your church's kitchen or doing a wedding shower for someone. We can find a way to help you get those MBs! I'M SUPPOSED TO BOOK 4 PARTIES IN MY FIRST 4 WEEKS, SO I COULD REALLY USE YOUR HELP!!!
Anyway, what else am I up to? Well, I'm glad you asked! I'm working on my retirement plan--rental houses. I bought a new house in December and just finished that renovation. I'm starting the renovation on one side of one of my duplexes as well. Unfortunately, I had to do EXTENSIVE exterior work to help with water issues, it needs a new roof soon, and the a/c just went out. And I still have to do the inside! YIKES! On the good side, the exterior and roof cover both sides, so I won't have to do that again any time soon. I'm not making any money off my rentals at this time, but am just trying to pay them off (using the rent) so I can use the money for a nursing home one day. I say I can't afford the kind of nursing home I will one day want to live in and I don't want to live in the kind I can currently afford. lol I'm hoping to have everything paid off in 15 years so when it's time to go into a nursing home (hopefully in more than 15 years), I can afford a great one!
What's YOUR retirement plan?
(Don't forget to talk to me about those 5 MBs! )
|I'm trying to make a website for my friend's pottery business, Paint n Parrot in Fairhope, Alabama. Check it out if you're in the area. Currently, he only has a Facebook page, but you can check that out. You can go and paint things and he will fire them for you so they are food safe. It's pretty cool!
Anyway, his website will be pretty static, but I'm trying to make it as interesting and fun as I can. I've decided to include some activities (like word searches and word jumbles). I've also included a couple of riddles and some jokes. (Fyi, finding pottery jokes and riddles isn't the easiest thing--ESPECIALLY the riddles!) I also wrote a tongue twister for his site. I'd love some feedback on it before the site goes live!
Peter Potter putters with pots. Potter Peter pots putters. Both Peter Potter and Potter Peter putt pots. But only with Potter Peter's potted putters and Peter Potters' puttered pots.
Okay, so it doesn't make a LOT of sense. Who pots putters? And who putts pots? But that's part of the fun, I think... Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions. I'm wondering if Peter Potter should be the one who pots putter and Potter Peter should putter with pots. For that matter, I'm open to anyone else wanting to write a tongue twister about ceramics, pottery, clay, etc. There's a MB in it for you...
|This entry is in response to "Note:
48-HOUR CHALLENGE : Media Prompt
I've never heard the song "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic. For that matter, I've never heard of OneRepublic. lol The song isn't bad, though. It's got a nice tune and is peppy. However, I don't really understand some of the lyrics. For example, "Everything that kills me makes me feel alive." Hmmm... I don't get it. However, it DOES remind me of my saying, "Nothing makes you feel more alive than almost dying." Admittedly, almost dying can cause horrible problems like PTSD. However, it can also be a rush like nothing you've ever felt. That was my response to the rocket attack in Iraq. The feeling was indescribable! I've never felt more alive than I did at that moment when I realized that I could die at any moment! Crazy, I know. And my two friends who were with me, had the PTSD reaction. I have PTSD from Iraq, but not because of that incident. That is one of my favorite memories! NOTHING MAKES YOU FEEL MORE ALIVE THAN ALMOST DYING!
Here's their video. Do not ask me to explain what the video means. I have no idea, especially that part with the alligator. lol
If you want to know more about OneRepublic, here's their Wikipedia page.
Interesting bit of trivia, their band was originally named This Beautiful Mess, then Republic, before becoming OneRepublic. Also of interest, 2 of the members originally met their senior year at Colorado Springs Christian High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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|I'm writing this in reference to "Note:
48-HOUR CHALLENGE : Media Prompt
Deadl...". They offer a merit badge. I accept.
We were to listen to the song "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang and write something (story, poem, blog entry, etc.) related to it.
When I listed to the song again, I suddenly realized how simple this song was. It's not telling some story or explaining something to you like most songs. It's just simply singing about celebrating and inviting you to celebrate along with them. I wonder if this isn't part of the magic that has caused this song to be so popular for so long.
I don't have a lot more insight into it, so I thought I'd do a little research on it.
It came out in 1980 as an R&B/Soul song on their album, "Celebrate!" They hit #1 on the charts in the U.S. February 7, 2981 and stayed there for two weeks before Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" kicked them off. But they managed to make #1 in Billboards Hot 100, Dance, and R&B charts. They were also an international sensation, making #1 in Canada and New Zealand. They reached #2 in South Africa and Netherlands and it was #3 in Belgium. COOL! Or should I say, KOOL! lol
Here's a link to the lyrics. http://www.metrolyrics.com/celebration-lyrics-kool-the-gang.html
I didn't know this, but this wasn't the only time it was recorded.
In 1987, the New Zealand band, Dragon, recorded "Celebration" as a single, then in 1988, they included it on their album, "Bondi Road." It was also included in their 1989 compilation album, "Snake Eyes on the Paradise Greatest Hits 1976–1989."
It was recorded in 1991 by Australian singer/songwriter Kylie Minogue for her album, "Let's Get to It," though she didn't release it on that album. She later released it in her "1992 Greatest Hits." To be honest, while I like the sound of the Kool and the Gang song, the video from Kylie Minogue is a lot better.
Most of this information was taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebration_(Kool_%26_the_Gang_song)
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Well, it's been quite a while since I last wrote. A lot has happened. Most importantly, I got a new computer. YIPEE!
Well, I have SB Musing and someone else...I forget who, to thank for my bath bombing these days. They kept talking about Lush's bath bombs during our virtual European vacation. I'd never even heard of Lush, let alone a bath bomb. In/conveniently (depending on how you look at it), the internet was there to educate me on all that I've been missing. It started innocently enough with me ordering a Lush bath bomb. Then I liked it, so that was a problem.
I'd been looking into soap making again (more on that in another post) and kept running into bath bomb recipes. They seemed so simple, I finally decided to make some. I thought they might make a great gift--cheap, easy, fun, perfect. I kept looking at bath bomb molds on Amazon because, of course, you can't have a weirdly shaped bath bomb. (They're round for anyone who doesn't know.) Eventually I ran into a whole kit (including molds) at A.C. Moore (a craft store). I got it and excitedly went home to make them. Well, in their defense, it DID say to mold them then CAREFULLY take them out and let them harden. I figured since other instructions I'd read had said to let them harden for 24 hrs before removing them, I'd go with those instructions just to be safe.
The next day I couldn't wait to unmold them! I grabbed my first one and tapped it like I'd seen in the videos and pushed on the back like the instructions said and well, nothing. I tried again, tapping harder. I banged with the end of a spatula. I pounded it on the counter. I pried at the edges. I shoved at the back. Nothing would get those devils to release my beautiful (in the eye of the beholder) bath bombs! I even tried freezing them since things shrink in the cold. Well, apparently it all shrunk the same amount since it didn't cause the mold to release.
So, it's been about 3 days now and I've used a couple of my bath bombs and they work quite nicely. Thankfully the molds are waterproof (plastic) so I just float them in my tub and when the bomb FINALLY releases (not as soon as you might think), I just rinse it out quickly and put the mold on the edge of the tub to be taken to the kitchen later while I enjoy the rest of the bath. Well, the tub is quite small, so "enjoy" might be too strong a word, but still, it's entertaining, if nothing else. However, I rarely take baths and now I've been forced to take one daily just to release my molds so I can try another recipe.
Well, today I tried another recipe. I got it off a video that claimed they'd tried several recipes and this one was the best. Seriously? It involved adding water and oil (in small amounts), but it started the fizzing reaction and apparently containing it is an issue. I filled my molds and the filling kept growing...and growing...and growing...until it spilled all over the counter. Hmmm...theirs didn't do that in the video. Maybe I need to watch the video again. Or perhaps I should just use one of my spray bottles for spray oil and water mixes to be used for things like bath bombs. (Not sure what else I'd use it for, actually, but surely there's SOME other use for oil and water SOMEWHERE.) I'd used witch hazel in a spray bottle and didn't have this giant reaction situation start, so maybe the spray bottle is the secret. The witch hazel DID cause a LITTLE reaction, so I think it's more the application than the ingredients.
So far I'm 0-2 and the bath bombs are winning, but I haven't given up yet! I bought an 8 pound (3.6 kg) bag of Epson salt and 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of baking soda. I've got plenty left for experiments. I SHALL WIN! (For those unfamiliar with bath bombs, they fizz in the tub and often release scents, colors, and even oils or other skin soothing things into the tub. The most basic ingredients are baking soda and citric acid, but Epson salt, corn starch, and oils are frequently added, among other things.)
Regarding blog reminders, for those who don't know, you can set it to remind you to update your blog at intervals of your choosing. I chose every 3 days. (You see that since it's been more like 3 weeks, that doesn't really make a difference for me. lol) However, I discovered that if you don't do it when it tells you, then all bets are off and you're back to the daily reminder thing. Hmmm...good to know, but I can be just as stubborn as it can be. Case in point, I didn't let it force me into writing after it had only been 3-4-5 days. But hopefully I'll be better at writing from now on...we can hope...lol
I hope the rest of you are better at blogging than I am! Hahaha
TTYL (Talk to You Later)
For one last time, the prompts will be in blue and I'll write in red in honor of England's red, white, and blue flag.
Your last day in London...you have a red eye flight this evening home.
With 2016 marking 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, there’s no time like the present to revisit all of the theater favorites or follow in the footsteps of the iconic playwright. From standing on Juliet’s balcony in Verona to exploring Hamlet’s castle in Denmark, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Shakespeare all around the world, but the No. 1 destination is, of course, his home country of England. The country is celebrating the legacy of its national poet with a host of special events, plays, film screenings and exhibitions, and even if you missed the anniversary itself (April 23), there are plenty of ways to add a Shakespearean twist to your visit.
Visit famous Stratford-upon-Avon landmarks and walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps with this ‘All Five Houses’ tour ticket. Step back in time to the 16th century, when one of England’s most famous scribes was alive. Visit Shakespeare’s family homes and gardens at your leisure, where a broad range of exciting activities bring the bard’s story to life. Listen as the guides shed light on his life and times, watch live performances, test your Shakespearean knowledge, meet farm animals at Mary Arden's Farm and enjoy a fun-filled day for all the family. Highlights: Family-friendly Romantic experience, perfect for couples; Step back in time on a history tour; Perfect for all ages and skill levels.
Read more about Shakespeare's Birthplace: 'All 5 Houses' Ticket - Stratford-upon-Avon | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/Stratford-upon-Avon/Shakespeares-Birthplace-All-5-H...
The Shakespeare's All 5 Houses tour was fun and interesting. They had a different tour guide at each location and each was unique in their special ways. It was cool getting to see where he'd courted his wife and where his daughter lived, but my favorite part was his mother's farm. That was the BEST! Partly, I love animals, so there's that. But also, they really made efforts to do it as accurately as possible, even using the same breeds of animals as she raised. Cool!
I hung out with Jellyfish was Jabbed on this part of the trip. She's been in several of Shakespeare's plays and was able to offer insight that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. How fun is that?!? I'm glad I got to spend time wtih her, but especially on this last leg of the trip!
Dinner is a walking experience you'll appreciate before the long plane ride for some of us.
Feast your senses on the cosmopolitan culinary scene of East London during a 3.5-hour walking tour of the vibrant London district. Accompanied by an expert gastronome guide, explore the eclectic neighborhoods of Spitalfields and Shoreditch to discover spots favored by local food-lovers. Appease your appetite with the English classic of a bacon sandwich at St John Bread and Wine restaurant; delight in the complex flavors of Beigel Bake's delectable salt beef bagels; and savor creamy artisan cheese during a tasting session. Stroll the renowned Brick Lane to sample spicy curries and try the traditional British dish, fish and chips, at Poppies restaurant.
Highlights: 3.5-hour food tour of London’s East End; Explore Spitalfields with a friendly guide and discover where the locals eat; Head inside quirky cafes and top-rated joints endorsed by Time Out London; Visit St John Bread and Wine for a bacon sandwich and Beigel Bake for a salt-beef bagel; Enjoy fish and chips at Poppies served traditionally in newspaper; and sample curries on Brick Lane. Learn about the East End's multicultural cuisine and history.
Read more about London East End Food Tour - London | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/London/London-East-End-Food-Tour/d737-6093FOOD?pub=...
A 3 1/2 hour food tour? Wow! I'm not good at pacing myself and was fairly full after the first stop. On the good side, I wasn't super keen on the 2nd stop anyway. My favorite two stops were the cheese stop and the final dessert stop. YUM! lol I hung out with a variety of folks during different parts of the tour. I wanted to get to say goodbye, so I spent some time with Jellyfish was Jabbed, Kittiara, Sally, and the rest of my British buddies. I'll see the others in the airport and on the flight back. I'm happy that I'll be sitting next to SB Musing. In case I can't sleep, I'm sure she'll be a source of entertainment. lol
Your flights are all arranged and transportation is covered. Exchange addresses, cell phone numbers and get all those hugs taken care of because the next month-long adventure with Lyn's Tour Guide Service is next August.
If you have enjoyed your traveling experience, please feel free to tip your travel service "30-Day Bloggers Group" . It is always a pleasure to serve you. Witchy woman and Fivesixer.
THANK YOU NORB AND LYN FOR ALL YOU DID FOR US!!!
|Howdy Fellow Travelers and Other Readers!
Well, one again, the prompt is in blue and my response in is red.
August 29--London, England
You're booked on one of the hop on, hop off buses today. Enjoy whatever appeals to you.
Explore the best of historic London– seat of the British Royalty– by bus on a lively tour of the city’s key attractions and landmarks. Hop aboard the Big Bus at Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus or any of the other stops on the route, and grab a comfortable seat in the enclosed lower deck or on the open-air upper deck for the best views. Enjoy the flexibility of choosing your own itinerary and pace with the structure of strategically placed stops and informative onboard commentary from a professional guide.
When purchasing your ticket, choose the Red Route or Night Tour – both 2.5-hour full-route journeys – or the 3.5 hour Blue Route tour. With your 1-day, 24 hour or 48 hour pass, hop on and off the double-decker bus at any of the route’s many locations (tour stops listed below), or stay onboard for a relaxing ride through buzzing London. As you ride, learn about London’s history and interesting anecdotes about locals sites such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Marble Arch and more. Hop off to explore the eclectic shops in Covent Garden, snap photos of the lavish Buckingham Palace or experience the bustle of Oxford Circle. Between stops, stroll through gorgeous Hyde Park and view Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. Your hop-on hop-off pass includes a Reward Voucher booklet for discounts around town, many daily activities (listed in the itinerary) and a 30-minute cruise along the River Thames! To end your London City adventure, disembark at any stop along the route, any time you like.
Tour Stops ▼
Red Route: Stop 1: Green Park Underground. Stop 2: Hyde Park Corner. Stop 3: Queen Mother Gates. Stop 4: Marble Arch. Stop 7: Regent Street. Stop 8: Piccadilly Circus. Stop 9: Haymarket. Stop 10: Trafalgar Square. Stop 11: Craig's Court. Stop 12: Whitehall. Stop 13: Westminster Bridge. Stop 14: London Eye. Stop 15: Covent Garden. Stop 17: St. Paul's. Stop 18: London Bridge. Stop 19: Tower of London. Stop 20: Embankment Pier. Stop 21: Westminster Pier. Stop 22: Westminster Bridge. Stop 23: Lambeth Palace. Stop 24: Parliament Square. Stop 25: Westminster Abbey. Stop 26: Buckingham Palace. Stop 27: Royal Mews. Stop 28: Victoria. Stop 29: Victoria Station. Stop 31: Mayfair.
Blue Route: Stop 1: Green Park Underground. Stop 2: Hyde Park Corner. Stop 3: Queen Mother Gates. Stop 4: Marble Arch. Stop 5: Madame Tussaud's. Stop 6: Oxford Circus. Stop 7: Regent Street. Stop 8: Piccadilly Circus. Stop 9: Haymarket. Stop 10: Trafalgar Square. Stop 11: Craig's Court. Stop 12: Whitehall. Stop 13: Westminster Bridge. Stop 14: London Eye. Stop 15: Covent Garden. Stop 17: St. Paul's. Stop 18: London Bridge. Stop 19: Tower of London. Stop 20: Embankment Pier. Stop 21: Westminster Pier. Stop 22: Westminster Bridge. Stop 23: Lambeth Palace. Stop 24: Parliament Square. Stop 25: Westminster Abbey. Stop 26: Buckingham Palace. Stop 27: Royal Mews. Stop 28: Vipposite Hard Rock Cafe. Stop 34: Hyde Park Corner (outside Lanesborough Hotel). Stop 35: Harrods. Stop 36: South Kensington. Stop 37: Gloucester Road. Stop 38: Kensington Palace. Stop 39: Notting Hill. Stop 40: Kensington Gardens. Stop 41: Thistle Hotel Kensington Gardens. Stop 42: Bayswater. Stop 43: Paddington Station
Read more about Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour - London | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/London/Big-Bus-London-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Tour/d737-6506...
I'm so excited about this hope on and off bus thing! I think it's great! We get to see so many things and I don't have to read anything to learn. lol At one point, a number of people hopped off and I was torn between going to the museum with SB Musing who would impart all kinds of amazing knowledge without me having to read or on the tour of Harry Potter filming locations. I ultimately let my educational side win out and I hop off with WakeUpAndLive, SB Musing, Sally, Elycia ☮, and SandraLynn. I knew this would be super fun...and it was! What a great bunch of ladies, though I was glad I wasn't the only one who wanted SB to just give us the rundown while we looked at the items rather than reading every single thing. lol Whew! Our tour guide, SB, did a wonderful job! HAHAHA
Party into the early hours on this fun pub crawl of central London and experience the city’s legendary nightlife even on a tight budget. With free skip-the-line entry to five bars and nightclubs, five free shots and exclusive drink discounts all night long, it’s excellent value and a great choice for individual travelers or couples wanting to meet like-minded party-goers. There’s even a professional photographer on hand to capture the night’s most memorable moments.
Highlights: Excellent value for money; All entrance fees included; Informative, friendly and professional guide; Perfect introduction for first-time visitors. Skip the line! What You Can Expect: The night kicks off at Piccadilly Institute– a bit of a schizophrenic giant of a club with its multiple themed rooms and discounted drinks. Your guide will be waiting for you right at the door and once you’ve gotten your wristband and first free shot token you will be taken inside to meet the other crawlers. The night is all about meeting new people and partying until the early hours so let your guide introduce you to everyone right from the get-go. Keep your wristband easy to see and new friends will be made quickly.
Next up is Bar Soho on Old Compton Street, which is right in the middle of the diverse and celebrated area of Soho. The short walk there takes you along Shaftesbury Avenue and right past all the huge West End theatres. Then it’s off to the bars and clubs of Leicester Square, which is without a doubt the epicentre of London nightlife! At each bar and club you get a free shot as well as discounted drinks such as bottles of beer or single vodka mixers for around £3! The majority of bars and clubs in London charge heavy admission prices but with us you don’t have to worry about any of that just as long as you are with us. Come, save money, make friends, have a few drinks and have a brilliant time in the centre of London on our #1 rated London Bar Crawl!
Read more about Pub Crawl of Central London - London | Viator at: https://www.viator.com/tours/London/Pub-Crawl-of-Central-London/d737-9075P1?pub=...
Well, this was an interesting experience. I've never done a pub crawl and really, if I'm not with Sally, I'm not even a drinker. But I figured whatever, it might be fun. I have to say, it's a good thing I've been hanging out with Sally, building my tolerance. Otherwise, I wouldn't have lasted through the first place. Admittedly, I was done for by the third of five. It was getting late anyway. I ended up getting a cab back to the hotel and sleeping it off.
But one of the highlights of the night is when Sally FINALLY talked the bartender into letting us make a drink for our group. She was so funny. She used this fake American accent (been hanging out with us too long) and I think she might have shown some cleavage. Well, hey, if you've got it, flaunt it. Not that I've been looking, but Sally is nicely proportioned, so I certainly don't mind her using whatever feminine wiles she can to get us a chance to practice our bartending. We're getting a lot of mileage out of that one class. lol
I asked Jellyfish was Jabbed what she wanted to drink and she teased me by asking for three different drinks she knew I didn't know how to make, then "complaining" that she needed a new bartender. Eventually, she ordered a mojito, though. I've gotten pretty good at those, so I was happy to oblige. Admittedly, we should probably expand our knowledge. Sally asked for help from the bartender when one of her "customers" asked for something she didn't know how to make. Darn that smart Sally! I just made mine order something else. Sally got to learn a new drink AND she got a bit of attention from the hot bartender. Very smart woman. We finally got shooed out from behind the bar when she accidentally dropped her fake American accent and the bartender discovered it was all a ruse. HAHAHA!