Category Archives: Self-Improvement

Change of course

Daughter is going to the local community college and will be ready to transfer in the Summer of 2018. Most likely she will transfer to where son is attending college now, and they will room together for one year before he finishes. With both of them in college, the near future plan was to sell the house and build on land in Oklahoma.

I don’t want to live in Oklahoma. That is no secret but I figured since husband’s job is going so well (really well – raises, bonuses and great people to work with) we would not be able to leave until he retired.

Well… there has been a huge upheaval in the thinking process about this because husband’s job would allow him to work from home – at a distance – in another state. We figure that as long as he came back one week every 3 weeks or once a month, he would be okay with work.

Wow! Okay so that opened up a lot of possibilities.

I made the comment to husband that wouldn’t it be a dream to move to Eureka Springs, where we honeymooned 28 years ago and have always wanted to live? where we had attempted to move when I got a job in Siloam Springs but which never happened for him…?

I didn’t think we could afford it (because the plan is to downscale in a major way, which means reducing bills big time).

But I looked on Zillow.com and yes, we could afford it.

We could make it work.

It could happen.

Wow.

So while this won’t happen for some time, the seeds need to be planted right now. There’s a lot of to do and consider. The first plan is to make a reconnaissance trip to Eureka Springs in early spring 2017, before the tourist season gets started.

So exciting! so terrifying!

Sorry I’ve been gone so long – this blog is my lowest priority so it has been ignored but not forgotten.

Final Realizations

Its been slowly sinking in that the bankruptcy is over. We got a small check in the mail marked “final disbursement” from the court; the online account that shows the progress of our payments indicates $22,284.21 was paid into the plan and that the account has been closed.

Another $22,000 could have been paid (extending it another two years) but those creditors never petitioned the court when they had the chance so they snooze, and they lose.

We have not had a corrected paycheck yet because it takes time for auto-drafts to be stopped. However, it should be corrected on the next paycheck and we should start seeing more income.

Does this solve all our problems? Of course not. I have a house which needs crucial repairs – we have termites, a squirrel in our attic space due to repairs needed in the roofline, a cracked window and many more things that need replacing, repairing or renovation. I also have multiple medical bills from two emergency room trips (one for Grenwinae and one for me) and a surgery for my daughter to pay for.

However, we have an option now – two years earlier than we would have gotten – to start applying income to these issues. I have a chance – an opportunity – the future has opened up suddenly as to possibilities.

Again, we filed Chapter 13, which means we were accountable on paying back creditors who would come to the court in person or with a letter stating their case. We did not file Chapter 11, which banks and companies do which can absolve them of paying anyone back.

I’ve hesitated to mention these money problems here because of the social stigmatism on filing bankruptcy. High profile bankruptcy cases have shown how it has been used as a tax dodge for some unscrupulous people. It can be seen as an option that only people who are failures choose. It is shameful.

However, there are just some instances where there are few choices and honest people get trapped into horrible situations. For example, my BFF who had $175,000 in hospital bills because her husband was in ICU for a month. Since he was ill and their main breadwinner, not only did they incur medical bill they would never be able to pay off for decades but also a huge loss of income that went on for months.

We made mistakes that put us in a place where we had few options or choices. We could continue paying predatory lenders with 40% plus interest rates or we could use a legal maneuver for protection.  We took the best way possible for resolving it and have paid our debt (literally). Now it is time to re-group and think of the near future and what we can do to stay out of debt and improve our life.

Gobsmacked

Yesterday, when Grenwinae came home I was reading a book in our bedroom. He came through the door and said, “It’s paid off.” Huh? My mind went to various thoughts on what he could mean but coming up empty I asked what he meant.

“It’s paid off. The bankruptcy is paid off.”

In the fall of 2012, we filed bankruptcy. Our financial House of Cards had been precarious for years but it just couldn’t be sustained (personally, I don’t know HOW we sustained it as long as we did). I’m not going to go into detail about how we ended up in this situation but briefly we bought too much house 17 years ago and the two times we’ve tried to sell it national events torpedoed our efforts (the first time we listed, within a week 9-11 happened; the second time we listed, we went to war, now I have a house in dire need of repairs that could never be afforded).

We made too much money to be helped by any programs; made too little money to pay off the personal debt. Obama helped people who had no income – we had income, just not enough to pull us out of the hole we had dug through our own foolishness.

We were between Scylla and Charybdis, hanging onto a small piece of board of our wrecked ship with a group of sharks circling us.

Unlike mega corporations our debt wasn’t wiped out. Instead, we would pay what we owed but the amount would no longer accrue interest (on two of the loans we were paying over 38% interest I kid you not – this is called predatory lending practices and we were very naïve in our 30’s). We made a list of everyone we owed, went to court to stand before a judge, the court authorities and our debtors.

We spent several hours being chastised like we were five years old and documents were drawn up for amounts to be withdrawn automatically from our income. Grenwinae had to be humiliated and chastised by his father. It was a dirty secret that only the closest friends and family members knew.

When December 2014 rolled around, I knew we had spent 2 years paying over $20,000 to all of our debtors except Company X (a predatory lender which we owed the largest amount too and which, through their aggressive threats had forced us to seek relief through the courts).

In bankruptcy the attorney and court decides who gets paid first and how that money is applied and Company X was last on the list. The attorney handling our case was wrapping up our end of the year (2014) payments and deciding who next to pay (which would only be Company X as everyone else had been paid now).

She discovered they never sent a letter, or representative, to the court!

While their debt appeared on OUR records submitted to be paid, since Company X never crawled out from the hell that spawned them to take our soul in front of the judge, the debt is considered OVER. After 17 years of dealing with them, struggling to pay Company X rather than buy food or clothes, they wrote us off when we wouldn’t cough up the blood money on their schedule.

Bankruptcy is OVER.

We are reeling from this news. Plans I had carefully laid out now can all be re-shuffled. Possibilities open, not only because of the income we will regain (the payments made to the court) but also selling the house (which was never in the bankruptcy) can now be moved up a year, possibility two years on my plan!

We are too stunned to really fully understand the meaning of it. It will probably take months to heal and regroup mentally from the fact that something that has dogged and haunted our footsteps for over 15 years is now over.

Mercury Retrograde  you tricky little bastard – here’s a big kiss from me!

It’s a Pagan, Full Moon in Leo, Imbolc Miracle!

PS Remember this post? I just didn’t think it was going to be this big.

Yoni Eggs

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After my Pink Conversation, I knew that I needed to take action but procrastinated. It’s much easier to stay in a self-indulgent, destructive rut, stuffing cookies down my face while I read in bed than to actually DO something.

I slowly though started looking at Yoni Eggs (which I found out by chance from a friend via Facebook). Some detailed info on what they are is here (this has explicit diagrams so NSFW). Basically, it’s a egg shaped stone you use to tone your vaginal area to increase tone, blood flow, help in Kegel exercises, increase sexual performance and to help with female issues such as incontinence.

Pregnancy #2 did a number on my bladder as daughter must have sat on it for the entire nine months. I’ve ignored the issues and hoped they would “go away” but they haven’t. As I’ve aged and gained weight the issues have increased so action needed to be taken.

I knew from my mom’s issues (who had 5 kids) that drugs and surgery, while paid for by insurance, has little hope in rectifying the problem of lost muscle tone. Male doctors love to collect their insurance check but if you look at the results, the outcome is rather dismal for improvement.

After looking about I ended up ordering from Nuit at Shakti because I had ordered from her before and felt good about her store. I also really liked the Rhodonite egg she had it he shop at the time.

So I have my egg and all is good! It’s too early to tell but it is simple to use. Let’s see what will happen shall we?

If you are female and want to know more about it, you can leave a message on this post and I will take it privately to email.

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Business musings

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I have been very busy working on the business. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gained traction but than look at the hard numbers of traffic on the website, blog and Facebook and know I have a long way to go to achieve a sustainable business.

It makes me feel like I’m standing still, all the while losing time. Obviously, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and in the 2 months we’ve been in business we’ve made 27 sales, and a little over $600 in sales. I am feeling good that taxes will also show a return due to business expenses and I don’t feel that I’ve spent so much on the business as to jeopardize the family financials (I spend more on my horses per month which is a sad testament since I’m not riding at this time).

Another good outcome is that it gives me goals to accomplish instead of just friggering time away. Grenwinae and I have been able to have business reasons to leave town for the day and spend time together on treasure hunts.

However, what is worrisome to me is that without outside paid advertising I am not sure the blog, Facebook and store will take off. We paid for Google AdWords and yeah, it helped but not enough to pay back what was spent on the campaigns. If I had more stock? If I had something that could easily be reproduced en masse (like elastic baby headbands? ugh), perhaps it would pay to advertise.

Owls and Hawks have been busy making themselves be noticed, however, no specific message.

The day is gloomy here and it’s easy for thoughts to slide to that gray area.

I am making progress but it is slow. I have had to remember to pace myself and to keep things going at the level that my mind and health will allow.

Caring for self

Hm that last post (Pink) made me very uncomfortable. I generally don’t like sharing such personal feelings, however, I need to power through and continue.

In the midst of all this Hawk visitation, I think yesterdays message was more about being quick and flexible. The Coopers Hawk that went through the backyard, sailed through like a jet fighter – he glided through at top speed and smoothly angled over the fence, all without beating a wing.

Coopers Hawk is known for this backyard maneuvering. They will use obstacles like fences, to hide from their prey (small birds) before attacking them at bird feeders.

Generally, when Cooper shows up it either means I’m about to get blinded by a sneak attack (like Grenwinaes’ poor job review that he got when in Missouri and which started the catalyst for returning to Oklahoma), or it’s something I need to react too quickly.

I did get several things done in regards to daughter – she is set up with some needed appointments and we shall see what we shall see.

The pair of Hawks – well I know what that was about and discussed it with Grenwinae because I behaved badly towards him the night daughter had her meltdown. I think the Hawks were admonishing me.

On caring for myself this week, I finally got in for the massage I bought from Living Social. And I bought a facial package for myself and daughter. Daughter of course wants nothing to do about taking care of herself but too bad. I’m pushing through on it.

I also got my hair cut – it was looking shaggy. I’m worst about letting it grow out and ignoring it. So getting my hair done every 6 weeks is going to be one of my care-for-self things I will start to do.

The biggest things remaining that I’ve done nothing about is 1.) eating better; 2.) exercising; and 3.) clothes shopping.

Baby steps… baby steps…

Got off the computer and my bank called… my debit card was used illegally (the number had been compromised) and they bank caught it and refused the charge. Card cancelled, new card on the way, but no damage done.

When there is nothing to let go

So last week wasn’t emotionally the best week. No good reason for it but just felt snarly. The situation with son isn’t completely resolved (he looked so defeated last week I just didn’t have the heart to rip him) but he did get his PTK paperwork sent off for his scholarship before deadline and is making a study schedule with his dad.

One reason for the snarls is the inundation of information via the internet. I love Halloween (or Samhain) but the overkill on the pagan articles about worshipping ancestors (which I don’t) was really making this cat angry. I have very few tender feelings about relatives, living or dead.

I have thought some of my mother, who I am estranged from, this week. No, there will not be any reconciliation but I, as the kids get older, and I look back, I can better understand the stress, worry, and uncertainty she must have been experiencing (after all my father died when he was 52, and I am 51).

However, while I can sympathize, I cannot empathize. I am not her; she is not me… and the casual, cruel choices she made in parenting cannot be ignored or excused. Nothing can change her manipulating, selfish character. I wish her well with her remaining years and I can forgive but won’t be forgetting.

I’m also on Week Three of the Journal Challenge. I always seem to be going the opposite direction of everyone around me. This was true when I was a teenager, and now 30 years later seems to adhere to the same pattern.

I’m not in denial – I really don’t have anything further to release or dig up from the graveyard of memories and regrets. Astronomically, it’s also the time to dig deep and let go… instead I am growing things, using this time of the fall season when things are dying, in order to create. This is all backwards!

So rummaging around in the Skeleton Closet, looking for something that I can shoehorn into my challenges, here are some general thoughts:

1.) I am too harsh on myself when it comes to letting in good things into my life. I’m better at this than I was but I can always do better in being kinder to myself.

The business is doing much better than I thought it would the first month, and it’s growing at a gradual pace which is good as it doesn’t put me under too much pressure at a time that I couldn’t handle a flurry of needs/wants/demands.

I will focus on her meditations and try to do one every day – just take some quiet time and acknowledge that I’m worthy of my success and that my success can be taken on it’s own merit and not as a means to an end.

2.) We had talked about taking our next trip (this time to Stillwater, OK) and I want to plan that in the schedule prior to the week of notorious ice storm weather (so before Dec. 10th).

Planning and taking these mini-vacations is something we both really, really need to affirm that our life is changing, to experience new things, and to have pleasurable time together as a couple without demands from life eroding our relationship.

3.) Release and clean up: do a clean up on the house, work a bit getting the garage cleaned up and sorted, and start the winter garden beds are physical activities I need to start working on.

The Lion RAWRS!

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I’m going through one of my spells – where little things really irritate me. Most – if not all – of all the internet really irritates me. The ignorance, stupidity, lack of common sense, and the round of “I think this way so you should think the same” makes me blow my gasket.

Usually I just make sure I get more alone time, but lately it seems I’m being shadowed by kids, pets or husband every step of the way and for someone who favors the life of a Hermit, it’s like fingernails down a chalkboard. I REALLY need some alone time or heads are going to start falling.

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Week 2 of the Journal Challenge has started. I will have to think over this and how I will approach it. I’m in a weird situation when it comes to this topic. I’ve done this work already and dug deep. I know my faults and what causes them. I know how to work around them or to kick them in the ass. Sometimes, I procrastinate on the ass-kicking like the exercise thing (which needs to be addressed this week) but generally, I’m very tuned in to myself because of decades of work.

I wasn’t raised to have low self esteem and lets’ face it I’m a classic Leo. So laying around self-pitying and mentally masturbating about my issues is not my style.  I know for a fact that over thinking what you do wrong can actually cause you to spiral deeper into a depression and prevents action. The only real antidote to in-action is action and action is movement not sitting on your butt over-analyzing why you are a fuck up.

I would rather RAWR it out, rip some poor gazelle’s throat out, and than go lay around (with some great hair) in the sun where everyone can admire my bad-ass ways.

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Don’t get me wrong, some people need to really examine their life and find out why they repeat the same patterns of behavior – choosing the same type of man who is an abuser – is the one everyone recognizes but few actually understand how to change that behavior. I’m not in that phase of my life right now.

I don’t want to piss on anyone’s parade and I’ve already discussed the Tiny Home issues (where it’s becoming unrealistic and just outright stupid), but I want to address some things for people who might actually listen:

Living in a small town is NOT for everyone. It sounds romantic but each small town has it’s own “flavor.” I have lived in MANY small towns. The smallest was a population of 100. So please do not tell me that I do not know what I’m talking about. Being a former journalist, I’ve also been a person who covered the city government, school boards and other issues. So yeah, I know a LOT about small town living.

Some can be welcoming to strangers – many are not. Some have a certain crime specialty (i.e. one town had higher robberies of guns; another had a blossoming drug trafficking trade). All of them have issues with offering a variety of work options, so if you and your partner work – you may not find employment or be stuck working for one employer because choice doesn’t exist.

All of them have sacrifices you will need to make. Here are some that I have found very irritating – lack of choice of doctors; lack of hospitals for emergency care; lack of grocery shopping choices (really Wal-mart?); lack of diversity of views (many small towns are populated by very conservative people); and lack of employment opportunities.

If you are wanting to cut back, hey, I agree wholeheartedly and I’m making plans to do so myself. But this is what I suggest (before you really screw up your finances, your career and possibly the relationship with your significant other and kids):

We choose Springfield MO due to a lot of different criteria – population size was one. Smaller than Tulsa, but bigger than the smaller towns I had lived in. It had bookstores, quaint downtown, college town, hospitals, live theater groups, a mall, several of my favorite stores, health food stores, farmers market and was located near a lot of beautiful scenic areas. What is important to you?

1.) What size town (population wise) would really make you happy?

2.) What type of economy do you want to move into? Graduated from college, has different needs than moving to retirement.

3.) What type of weather do you like?

4.) Do you and your partner agree on this lifestyle? What compromises do you need to make?

5.) School systems. Most small towns have really crappy schools. If homeschooling, make sure the state you plan on living at allows and realize you need room to keep homeschooling supplies.

6.) What do you consider necessary to your life’s enjoyment? For example, I strongly need a bookstore and I wanted to enjoy more live theater. Guess what? NO INTERNET was available in Chadwick. YES, NO INTERNET.

I loved my time in Chadwick but that rural community has a serious meth and drug trafficking problem. It is also 45 minutes from town which made the trip to the emergency room seem to take forever, despite me speeding. Wal-mart was the closest grocery store and that sucked. Springfield MO didn’t offer any employment diversity for Grenwinae to change employers.

So… I wouldn’t give up the time we had there – it was wonderful – but I wouldn’t retire there either. Bottom line – if you can move and try it out first without a full cannon-ball dive into the deep end, I highly recommend it. But changing your lifestyle that drastically without baby steps? I can guarantee you that you might find yourself way in over your head.

Eihwaz, the rune of transition

I don’t know much at all about Runes. I do know that Grenwinae was told by someone very experienced with Runes that you better be careful as it is a deep study that can really screw with your mind. However, I think I’ll be okay if I just examine one Rune and think upon it’s symbolic meaning for my journaling endeavor. 🙂

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Cauldrons and Cupcakes posted Eihwaz, the rune of transition as our Journal prompt this week. Eihawz is the 13th rune (and coincides with the 13th Tarot card which is Death). Both have the letting go, dying of something to give way, must let go of what is not needed to grow themes.

I really like the definition I found here:

EIHWAZ:  Defense, Striving
Although you are facing a trial, you are protected. The skill you most need lies in trusting that protection.  Unforeseeable power and wisdom await you if you avoid panic or precipitous overreactions. Be strong, and judiciously bold, and no harm should come to you. This is the Rune of TESTING.

The Labyrinth is a two way passage and in my case, I’ve done the death work for the transition to happen – I’m climbing out of the darkness but now I have to know how to live in the world.  Strangely enough, existing in the transition is proving to be emotionally challenging because it means taking what you learned from the Underworld (the center of the Labyrinths’ journey) and merging that knowledge into the secular world.

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The time in Missouri was the time for death and letting go — but now we have returned to our “real world” in Oklahoma and have to understand that we are not the same and life will not be the same even though it is easy to fall back into patterns and habits (being in the same home makes it too easy for this to happen).

Part of this has to not allowing life to be sucked into those old patterns and to allow new growth to happen, which is tremendously hard for me on so many levels.

1.) Holding onto old habits means existing in a safe rut. It’s the Devil You Know. I’ve become gun-shy over the last two decades waiting for the axe to fall as it has too many times with disastrous results – loss of money, financial instability, loss of job, loss of friendships, and even death in one instance.

2.) Holding onto old hurts allows me to nurse my anger and frustration – which is really about disavowing responsibility. If I grip that events out of my control hold me back, than I cannot be held responsible for not achieving what I want. It’s someone/thing else’s fault.

3.) Change in the past has often been disheartening, leading to frustrating dead ends (i.e. my last three paid jobs were dead ends for sure). It’s hard to keep putting yourself out there. The wheels have been spinning but with no progress. It’s hard to believe things will change – so the number one thing I need to do is CONVINCE MYSELF THAT CHANGE FOR THE GOOD WILL HAPPEN.

Here is my roadmap:

1.) Plan time just to have fun (1x a month) outside of town (I need to get out of Tulsa where too many old habits/energy still remains) or even just find a different place to go in Tulsa (i.e. different restaurant, store, neighborhood, art/craft festival, farmers market etc…).

This will be a challenge because of old patterns of behavior: “It’s too much trouble; let’s just stay home” mentality. Being exposed to new places though is one major key in stimulating a long term marriage. I’m not getting any younger – when am I going to have fun? When I’m dead?

2.) Plan time (1-2x a month) for road trips where we specifically go for business treasure hunts. This will be fun too – the purpose though is to go further afield than just our backyard. However, I have a ruttish problem of just driving by places because it’s too much trouble to stop.

3.) Plan a retreat/mini-vacation out of town about every 3-4 months. The last one was great – first vacation in about 5 or more years! The effects of peace have lasted longer than I thought. This is a huge priority!

4.) Make creative paper journals for A.) Finances (how are we going to make money to retire but approached in a positive way) and B.) New House. Should be a creative, planning book with lots of pictures, diagrams, fun colors, fantasy dream lists etc….

It’s a creative book – not a To-Do Goal list full of A-B-C on our finances. Also, I think putting this stuff in a 3 dimensional format will encourage the growth and change I want in my mental processes that just telling myself with self-talk is not really accomplishing at the level I want or need.

5.) Health – this weekend buy new shoes and start walking once a day for 20 minutes. Continue our nature walks on the weekends. Try to use my CPAP machine as much as I can tolerate.

6.) Immediate Environment – The mess of moving the two households back to one needs to be sorted and organized. Try to do in mini-installments; set some small goals as big ones become too overwhelming, though I got a huge amount of housework done yesterday so yay for me!

7.) House Repair – We are planning on investing 1/3rd of the Christmas bonus into making needed repairs on the house (exterior paint job, new kitchen faucet, new family room ceiling fan, molding). I’d like to work on a House Spell to take place at that time too. Need to revise our repairs list and prioritize.

NOTE: I will be doing a massive Tarot spread reading on Samhain so I’m holding off pulling cards until we get closer to that time period.