It’s Been A While

I’ve been MIA for a quite a while – with good reason! Life decided to flip the script on me.

My family moved from Washington State to Nebraska in 2017, leaving the farm-life for suburbia. Then I spent winter of 2017 in Hawaii helping my best friend with her children while she was deployed. Only to get home to Nebraska to find that the hubby had kept our kids alive, but neglected the bills…so I got a part-time job working as a floral designer for Hy-Vee grocery store, a full-time job at the City of Gretna as a Permit Tech, a part-time cashier job at Yonkers, a part-time serving job at a local restaurant (yes, that’s 4 jobs at one time, all I did was sleep and work for 6 months) and we got the bills caught up. Then I was offered a job that paid what all four of my jobs equaled – work less/make more, YES PLEASE! So now I work 40 hours a week at Sympateco in Omaha, NE as a client services specialist.

Now I’ve picked back up where I left off. I’m back to writing my novel and screenplay. I’m back at creating with fiber and fabric. I’m feeling more “me” again. I’ve learned a ton about finance & budgeting and will be sharing that here as well.

I hope you’ve been doing good! I look forward to catching up. I’ve missed being here, but now I know what it means to hustle & grind. See you next week.

Much Love,

~Tillie

Handmade With Love

When I was growing up it was the norm to make gifts for Christmas. It could be because we lacked the money to buy store-bought presents, but I like to think that it was a sweet way to express our affection through our imagination and creativity.

Now, over the years I have been a maker of things and have become addicted to gift-making for holidays. I’m not sure that they were always appreciated or even that good of a gift, however it’s helped me save money and keep my mind and hands busy.

I almost wish I had taken a picture of the gifts I’ve made over the years so I could go back and see how my skill and taste level have grown (it would surely make a funny “wall of shame” photo collage), because I know darn well that I was not good at sewing or knitting or crocheting at one time but that didn’t stop me from giving a wonky looking handknit dishcloth or a badly sewn item of clothing. And I know for sure I used some crazy colored yarn that I was gifted from an aged knitter to make my dad a scarf and I never have seen him wear it, and for good reason; it was ugly as hell! But I used what I had and I really never stopped to consider the fact that he actually doesn’t wear scarves and he really didn’t need one that had every shade of 70’s green in it.

Now I am a proficient seamstress and knitter/crocheter and my taste has been developed by European travel and exposure to fashion outside the realm of the country town I dwell now, so I’m finally getting better at this. But as years go by I realize that gifts are not the only way to show our affection for someone we care for and sometimes it’s the more random and less tangible things that have the most heart, like sending a hand-written note when it’s not a holiday or birthday or stopping by to say “Hi!” and give a quick hug or calling up to tell them you were thinking of them and hope they are doing wonderful. Simple stuff, but super powerful way to show your love.

Shopping is fun, don’t get me wrong! I do enjoy that too. I just get a little thrill from making things. This year I haven’t made many gifts though. Seems I waited a bit too long to get started and I had to make a choice: go crazy trying to do more than humanly possible or choose to relax and do less. This year I chose to give myself the gift of peace and decided to focus on keeping it simple. Less truly is more.

Here’s a sneak peak at what I made for someone, not saying who, but they’ll find out in 9 days!

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The Smitten Mitten, for holding hands and staying warm on a winter wonderland walk.

This is a pattern I found on Ravelry. It works up fast on large needles and I used worsted weight yarn but held double strands to make it a bulky weight. My friend, Gwen, taught me how to use one skein of yarn to make it a double strand by grabbing the inner tail and outer tail and using together. I never had thought of that before! When patterns called for holding two yarns, they usually said to use two skeins but then you end up with two partial skeins when your done. With Gwen’s method you can completely use the skein and move onto the next with very little yardage waste. I’m thrifty and this pleases me to no end!! So if you want to make this cool lover’s mitten set go here: Smitten Pattern

Enjoy your day and happy crafting!

~Tillie

It’s Only Hair

Have you ever looked back at your photos growing up and cringed at the awful hair styles you’ve had? For me that’s a resounding “Yes!” Almost every year or season I changed styles, if you can even call it a “style.” It’s actually quite comical. I own my unique nerdiness, especially when it comes to hair. I like change, what can I say?!

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

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Me at 10 years old with my baby sister. Hair “fails” started young for me. I wish I still had that shirt though!

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I think I am about 12 or 13 here with my Dad and baby sister.

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Ha! This is a classic “hair fail” of mine I like to call my ‘Sister Wives’ do. I was probably 13 or 14. I had a curling iron and a huge can of Aquanet for those bangs. Oh memories…

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I was 14 or 15 here with my Welsh Pony, Pepper, and my dog , Chance. I miss them! But we had good times together and they never once judged me by my epic hair fails.

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The PERM! Yes, I had a few perms I’m not proud of. But that sweet baby there is someone I’m very proud of! This is me at 20 with my first child, Emma.

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At 22/23, I still had hair issues. But it all stems from going too long between hair appointments and choosing cheap service over pricier but better service. Live and Learn…it’s taken me decades but I’ve learned! This picture is Emma at 2 or 3 years old. I miss how little my babies were!

 

 

Yeah, so you see what I mean. I’ve been trying different things with my hair for as long as I can remember, but not always with a good outcome. I’ve only loved two styles and that was when I shaved my head (that felt amazing and was so simple) and when my hair grew out curly and dark with some grey highlights. This year I decided I needed a change and went and colored my hair back to blonde but now I’m wanting to go strawberry blonde or red. Maybe not. I may just shave my head come spring and grow it out all natural again.

The reason I even shaved my head back in 2011 was because I had such a bad hair color application and it couldn’t be fixed and my style was gross, so my husband said “Let’s just shave it and you can start over.” That’s exactly what we did. I was a little nervous because I thought maybe I have a weird shaped head or scars from all the falls I’ve taken off horses and from climbing trees, but it was actually perfect! My husband did the shaving, starting right down the middle so there was no going back! I really loved the feel of it and the way my head tickled when the wind blew over my short wee hairs. Instead of feeling less beautiful or womanly, it was quite the opposite. I felt super sexy and strong, like a true female should.

There you have it. My series of epic hair fails and my most favorite hair style ever: shaved head! I know it is silly to think hair can define a person, but in all actuality it does make statement about who you are. I’m not sure if my constant changing of hair styles means anything about who I am or more like who I’m not. I think it shows that I don’t take myself too seriously and really love a good laugh even at my own expense!

What is your most epic hair “fail” or do you even have one? Some people have flawless hair and good stylists their whole life through. I don’t know what that would be like. Boring?…Great?…I can’t even wrap my head around it, it’s that foreign a concept to me. Some things are better left a mystery, I guess.

Anyway, enjoy your day. Laugh it up and remember: It’s only hair!

The Open Road

There’s 164,000 miles of highway in the US.

There are over 10,000 State Parks in the US.

Who has seen every state? Who has dreamt of pulling up roots and traveling where the wind takes you?

It takes courage and faith to free yourself from convention, to chart your own course into the unknown. The life of an RV owner is a daily adventure with a journey logged in miles and the only constant is change.

It’s my honor, and great joy, to pass on our RV to a new adventurer. Our family has enjoyed several trips in this 1998 Fleetwood Bounder. It has been a place where memories were made, our home away from home, and now it’s time for someone else to create their favorite moments to look back on.

This 34 foot RV is a fully contained Tiny Home on wheels. It has it ALL! (Minus a mortgage) You can use it as it was intended-to travel the open road with all you need in life-or use it as the family vacation home that can go to any destination (this is how our family of 7 used it) or park it in your yard as a guest house or Mother-In-Law suite. It could be a great tour bus for a traveling band or a mobile business center. There are many possibilities with uses for this RV!

It’s a great deal at $21,500. Low miles, good condition, runs, and all appliances work. It’s located in Eatonville, WA but could be delivered if negotiated at the right price. Call 360-832-3354 for more info or to set up a time to see it.

Repeat After Me

Some days I am full of self doubt and can’t find a nice thing to say about myself (those days are generally that one week before my period when all my hormones are all out of whack), but what brings me back to center is a poem by the amazingly talented Maya Angelou that, in my opinion, all women should know and memorize by heart: Phenomenal Woman.

A good friend of mine gave me this poem in a letter when I was 17 years old and it has become not just a poem to me but a mantra that has seen me through some dark times and insecure moments. I thank God for writers who have give words to my emotions, who have put my thoughts in a clear order and shed light on my path.

So, repeat after me, “I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me!”

‘Phenomenal Woman’ by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Just a Little Rant

What’s up with deodorant?

Men and women both use it. It’s a thing of courtesy when we try to smell our best, and I thank everyone who makes an effort. But why the heck can’t us women get deodorant like Old Spice gel stick with a woman’s scent? Seriously, it bugs me that female pit-stick is smaller (less product for the same price or more than the male counterpart=RIP OFF!) and we have to choose between gooey clear gel and white chalk. Huh? Are you kidding me?!

Come on Old Spice, make a woman’s line already. Or better yet, all you lady-brands pick up your game and give us the gel stick like Old Spice with a nice feminine scent. Is it really that hard? I end up using my husband’s pit-stick most times because I love the feel of it and it doesn’t leave white marks on my clothes or goo. It glides on nicely and works pretty damn good. I still have not found a woman’s brand I like and want to stick with.

I also don’t like paying more for less. I notice a lot of things are priced higher when marketed to women than men, which is another problem I see in stores and businesses. Go see for yourself. You can get a package of plain white t-shirts in the men’s department for the price of one t-shirt from the woman’s department. Hair cuts for men, super cheap, woman with a short do will still pay more than a man…why? It’s a fact that men have historically earned higher wages than women in the same line of work and still us ladies will end up paying more for similar universal products and services.

Things that make me go “hmmm…”

drats

Okay, so I posted late on the 2nd and yesterday missed out completely due to spending all my waking hours at a holiday sale in Seattle with my Mom and many talented artists. It was a fun day, but I was too tired to post anything when I got home.

Do I feel bad? Not really. It would have been a lame post anyway if I had tried since I felt tired and uninspired. Someone asked why I would choose December of all months to commit to writing a daily post and I said I like a challenge, but the truth is I’m just crazy; in a good way!

It rained so hard last night that our roof was leaking an upbeat melody into the pots that catch my indoor rainforest. I’m thankful it’s sunny today even if it’s colder than I like. I prefer a warm beach to a snowy mountain, so I will bundle up and make it through these cold months until I can escape to the seaside under the warmth of the sun. Dreaming of the beach keeps me going…

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Hawaii is my future destination. A life on the beach is my dream.

 

In the mean time, I count my blessings. I have a loving husband who makes me breakfast and gives me sweet lovin’ morning, noon, and night-whenever I want it. Our children are healthy and wonderful people. My extended family and in-laws are awesome. I have phenomenal friends that make me a better person. We have a home, food, warm clothes, and all our bills paid. I’m thankful for all that I have! It’s not to say I don’t want for more, just that until then I am happy and grateful for all I have now.

Okay, I’m off to decorate the home for the holidays! Enjoy your day!

Hugs,

~Tillie

 

 

Too Much Fun!

Is there even such a thing as “too much fun?” I don’t think so, but if there is then I just officially had too much fun tonight!

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I got home in time to write this blog post before midnight about my awesome night watching live stand-up comedy at the Tacoma Comedy Club with Gary Gulman. He is seriously funny and I enjoyed his jokes so much. I’ve seen his Netflix comedy specials, but let me tell you, he is even better in person! I admit, I sort of geeked-out when I saw him walking through the club before it started. Scream or squeal, it’s a toss-up on what you would call the sound that I made when I jumped from my chair to shake his hand and get a picture with this tall Amazon of a man. He was super nice and didn’t have me escorted out for being a weirdo fan. (Thanks Gary!)

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Ladies Night Out at the Tacoma Comedy Club to watch Gary Gulman and laugh our butts off

My friend, Michelle, joined me for a ladies night out for some laughs. It was great! I think this is something that should be a regular event. Comedy is so good for the mind, body, soul and these Comics tonight nailed it! I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

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Ladies Night Out with Michelle to see live stand-up comedy in Tacoma, WA

I WISH that I could remember a joke to retell to you, but that just isn’t my strong suit so you’ll have to take my word for it that they were funny as hell! (You can still go see them tomorrow if you are around Tacoma, WA)

Thank you to my friend Michelle for a fabulous night. She drove and I got to have a drink(or two or three) and we had a yummy dinner at 208 Garfield in Parkland where we talked and laughed before heading to our show to see THE Gary Gulman, at his finest I might add. Two great Comics were before him, but I didn’t catch their names unfortunately and I never saw them listed anywhere. They were funny!

All-in-all, a really great night! Can’t wait to do it again.

Sleep good,

~Tillie

 

#No DAPL

In our world of fast information, 24/7 news channels, media platforms that range from old-school newspapers to new-age Twitter, it seems that certain topics are not newsworthy enough to get the coverage they deserve.

Why? Who’s call is it what gets reported and what doesn’t? How much money does it cost to banish news? These are real questions I want to see answered. I’m sure if we follow the money we would see exactly the “who and why” of it.

When I first heard of the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota it was a year late and not even covered in mainstream media. Hello?! There is something seriously wrong with that! This is a protest to protect water, a source of life for us ALL. And things have gone from bad to worse in the ill treatment and human rights violations of these water protectors who are not saying don’t build it, they are just saying not here. It’s their land and it’s sacred and it would compromise their water. How is that not a reasonable request???

I really wanted to go to Standing Rock to lend my support and help in any way possible, but I know I can still be of help here in my corner of the world to get the message out about what is happening this very minute. I hope to use my writing to change a few hearts of those with the power to actually make things right.

The companies behind this pipeline are Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and it’s subsidiary Sunoco Logistics (SL). CEO Kelcy Warren of ETP has said that these protests to the DAPL have already cost the business $100 million in future profits by delaying the project. Sources say that an estimated $8 million has been spent on law enforcement by the state of North Dakota in response to the unarmed peaceful protesters.

What I find so ironic is how this company can complain about profit loss from the protestors but fail to see the real loss is how their company is losing something more than money, it’s losing face. It’s losing integrity and respectability when it chooses to put profits before people.

All businesses were created from some common problem that someone found a solution to. So helping others is at the heart of any great business. I think these CEOs and employees at ETP and SL need to go back and read their mission statements. It’s on their websites incase they don’t have a copy handy. They both cite their mission and values to be about people, helping people, doing the right thing by having integrity, having the highest level of ethics, excellence in service…to people. At no point did I read where it says they are all about profit and people are expendable. I doubt anyone would support  a business with such a blatant disregard for human beings. But that is what these companies are showing the world at this present moment.

I am an optimist and I believe there is good in every situation and person, so I have hope that these companies will read my letters I will be sending and that the people on the other side of the desk will open their hearts to the problem and find a solution that will be inline with their company’s mission and values that they started with. Money cannot come before treating people right.

I urge everyone to send a letter or card or postcard to the two companies and ask that they please find a way to work with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and respect their people and the water. It can be done and should be done. The sooner the better.

Here is the info for both businesses:

Energy Transfer Partners

CEO Kelcy Warren

8111 Westchester Drive

Dallas, TX 75225

 

 

Sunoco Logistics, LLC

Ms. Kathleen Shea-Ballay

Corporate Secretary

1818 Market Street, Suite 1500

Philadelphia, PA 19103

 

Maybe they need to scale back the pipeline until they figure out a better route. Take a loss now so they can have greater success in the future. There are options and breaking treaties and hurting people is not one of them. I know they are capable of doing better and will with encouragement from people with like minds and hearts.

Heck, send a Christmas card to these companies with a short note saying you want them honor their mission statements and values that they built their business on. Most everyone is sending out cards this time of year, pop two extra in the mail this year and do your small part in helping these large businesses get back to the business of helping people.

Let’s spread some good and share the love!

~Tillie

Short Term Goals: Get Shit Done!

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For Procrastinators everywhere: Here’s your sign!

December is almost here!!! This year is coming to an end. I am inspired to get some shit done and the first thing is to up my blogging game next month (starting tomorrow…holy cow).

So I will be writing a daily blog post for the last month of this year. Not exactly sure what about, but I figure I’ll wing-it and let it come to me organically. It’ll be a surprise – for you and me both! It’ll be good though that much is true.

I love to write-and talk-about anything and everything. Mostly, I try to use my words for good and make things better. It’s never my intention to cause havoc, but sometimes the truth hurts and people get riled. That’s where love and hugs come in, my next favorite thing in life! I wish I could find a job where I could just give hugs and spread love…is that a thing? It should be.

What are your goals for next month? You got 31 days to accomplish something of importance to you, what is it?? Mine is to focus. Focus on what I want to be best at, that’s writing. Practice makes perfect, or at least proficient, so that is what I will be doing.

My first step is to write daily for the next 31 days. I know in November there was the writer’s challenge to write 1,000 words a day or write a novel start to finish in one month, but I wasn’t ready in November.

Goals are personal. They are pacts we make with ourselves that create a true sense of worth when we accomplish them. You don’t make and work toward goals for anyone but yourself.

So here’s to getting some things checked off our list in the last month of 2016!

Cheers,

~Tillie