Skin Care Regimen – by request

Skin Care Regimen – by request

Skin care!!

My skincare routine has been HIGHLY requested by friends. So, here you are.

A little background into my skincare geekitude: I almost went to medical school and became a dermatologist, and would have likely wanted to do plastic and reconstructive surgery as well. Instead, through an entirely accidental set of circumstances, I became a corporate accountant for a Fortune 500 company, and skincare remains a side passion. Someday, I’ll take some reduced hours and go to aesthetician school so that I can dabble in my skincare love in a more direct way, and help others to love their skin as I’ve learned to do.

Continue reading “Skin Care Regimen – by request”


How I left my abuser. 

Another time I’ll tell how I met him, why I stayed, what I was thinking, etc. But today I want to share how I finally left. It was a moment of great pride for me, and the first time I had felt strength in ages. 

I believe the one key piece to breaking away successfully is that you have to have TRUE BELIEF in your  decision to finally be done. 

What finally allowed me to break free was a set of affirmations I repeated to myself daily for a while before doing it, until it didn’t feel like a dragon was going to leap out of my heart through my mouth. 

I said: 
“I will not be abused anymore. I won’t allow you to continue to do this to me because I have self worth. I do not deserve to be hurt, pushed, pulled, strangled, beaten, left in the middle of nowhere with no money, or to have guns pulled on me for fun, accused of cheating on you while I’m working, or any of the other countless things you’ve said and done. 

I am finished hiding my bruises and scars -physical AND mental. I’m putting them out for the world to see, and they may ask you. You can answer as you wish, but you will not slander me or create drama. Luckily this will be easy for you because I’ve already cut ties with everyone who usually schemes with you to get me to come back. My suggestion to you is to get help. Take it or leave it, but I am past caring and will NOT change my mind if you do.

I’m finished. You’re finished. We. Are. Totally. Permanently. Finished.”
I then tossed the fake engagement ring he gave me in his lap (turned my finer green!) unlocked the door from the drivers side by reaching over him, and pushed him out of the car. He ended up on his butt on the curb. Literally and absolutely kicked him to the curb. I sped off. 

There is so much more to this story; this is like a quick scene in a movie. It’s a flash of memory for a proud, strong moment at the end of three years of hell. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of his entanglement in my life, but it was the end of the relationship. 

More to come!

Racism. I’m sick of it. Absolutely done.

NOTE: racist posts full of offensive words for/about particular groups of people will be deleted immediately. You have the right to be an asshole, idiot, redneck, sheep-fucking, sister-marrying piece of crap, but you don’t have the right to do it in MY BLOG!! Period. Your comments will be deleted. Get yourself your own blog and spew your idiocy there.

Back to the post:

What is currently happening in Ferguson, MO is widely known. If you don’t know about it, you’ve either been on a sequestered jury or purposely had your head in the sand at this point.

I’m tired of hearing these stories over and over. I’m tired of police brutality. I’m tired of grown men being scared of little boys because on average adults of all races estimate black males to be at minimum two years older than their non-black peers. This has huge consequences when it comes to assuming a 10 year old child is a 12 year old adolescent/teen and making a decision on how to react to normal ten year old silly antics that most boys pull at that age. “Rasslin'” and rough-housing of two buddies is suddenly called into 911 as a gang war. Police react accordingly and somebody’s little boy is dead because he was playing and didn’t hear the cop yelling to freeze. Just one example.

We should be working together, not one against each other, to re-tear down the master’s house and get rid of his rules once and for all. It will take time, but enough of us are angry enough now that I believe MAJOR change is just within our reach. But we need to all team up to get it done. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to fix the problems that are destroying our safety and sense of community.

I have made a pledge to multiple friends and I will make it to my public page here as well:

Continue reading “Racism. I’m sick of it. Absolutely done.”


For those who still have me on their reader list despite my long absence, here is a fast version of major life events since my last real posts in 2010.

1. My “heart cat” Calvin died suddenly in Summer 2011. He developed sudden liver disease and despite a week in the hospital and multiple surgeries, he did not make it. I still miss him tons.

2. We bought a house in august 2011. My dad was super excited to be a part of the process as our “professional expert” and voice of reason. We bought a home with about 8000 sqft of land, so it’s just big enough to make it a small urban farm, and we’ve spent much of the last three years making that dream happen. Still a long ways to go, but I’ll be starting up another blog at for the urban farming stuff if you are interested. A few pictures of the house from early spring as well are below.

3. My little bro got married the day after we closed on the house. That was a happy week in our family. My sister in law is a good balance for my brother, and it’s nice to see him so happy and centered.

4. My dad died December 21, 2011. He stuck around long enough to see his kids settled into their lives and then I think he decided he was done fighting so hard. It’s the most devastating thing I’ve ever been through. I miss him every single day, and I’ll write more about my thoughts and experiences at a later time.

5. My brother and his wife bought a house about two miles from ours in February 2012, and announced they were expecting. They had been trying for a long time, so this was a very big deal. I have no idea if my dad was able to influence that happening in any way from wherever he is now, but I’m sure that if he could have, he would have, because he wanted grand kids more than anything, and would have been an exceptional grandfather.

6. We got conned into another cat. Vinnie Van GoghGo is a one-eared, heart-nosed 25 lb nutjob who was thrown from a car on the freeway and rescued. He has two thumbs on each front paw and can use them opposably. No kidding. He can get into everything and we have child locks on all cabinets or else he will help himself to food and treats and whatever else he can find. He is extremely food-motivated and will do anything for a treat. His former owners taught him to sit up and beg. That was what got us. He say up and begged at us when we were saying we couldn’t take him. Sigh. I’ve taught him to shake paws. He is apparently half dog. He has his own YouTube channel, and is quite the ham.

7. My niece was born 11/27/12 and is the light of my life. Her expressions are so much like my dad’s sometimes, and she has his eyes, which is pretty cool. I love that little girl more than life.

8. I had major spinal surgery in December 2012 due to the disease I have. The disease created new bony growth which interfered with normal function and caused a disc to blow out into the nerve root as well as the spinal cord. The osteophyte (new bone spur) was in danger of severing the nerve root where the nerve exited to my left arm. It was essentially en emergency as I had lost all involuntary reflexes in that arm and had numbness, tingling in my hand and severe pain in my neck and shoulder. Surgery went well, took about 8 weeks to heal, though I went back to work after four weeks (which in hindsight was stupid!) I feel a ton better now but do have a bit of permanent damage as well as donor bone and a titanium plate in my neck.

9. Work is still work for me. A couple of promotions and I’m fairly happy, though I’m aware I’d make 150% or more of my current salary by going elsewhere. It’s hard to give up the five weeks vacation a year and other benefits that come with long-term seniority, though.

10. My husband is no longer with Child Protective Services. After 20+ years, it was time to be done with being on call 24/7 and being in crisis mode 100% of the time. The stress was killing him. He now works for the county, in the court system, supervising those who advocate for kids whose families are struggling with substance abuse. They work hard to make sure the kids’ best interests are represented to the courts.

11. I’m on a new combination of treatments that are really making a huge difference for my autoimmune disease, though I’ve collected a new one since we last spoke – diverticulitis. I’m not the typical at-risk person for diverticulitis, as I eat lots of fresh raw produce and high fiber, low inflammatory foods, and not a McDonalds eater. It’s the opinion of my doctor that one medication we tried may have caused it, as it can be a very rare side effect for some people. It was horrible at first, but has become manageable as long as I eat properly (not an issue) and don’t get over-stressed (working on it.)

12. We are making a big life change. Huge! The biggest! More detail on that coming very soon.

Here are a few pics of the house and yard. The first is when we bought it. The ornamental plum in front had been butchered so we had to remove it. The other pics are from late this spring. I’ll take some updated pictures tomorrow as the garden is in riotous bloom and growth for summer.




Quitting when you’re ahead – a message to those who catcall people on the street.

Last week I had Jury Duty. It was interesting in some ways, great in others, and horrible in yet others. I will tell a few stories here over the next few days to get myself back in the habit of blogging.

This is from an email I wrote to a friend last Wednesday:

A weird thing happened on the way home from jury duty. I was walking to the bus stop and passed a group of older-than-me-but-not-old homeless men. One of them called out, “hey, you with the hair! [I’ve been wearing it long and in my naturally curly state, and gone back to red color. It stands out.] You are SO fine! You’re beautiful!” To which I smiled and said thank you. That may have been a mistake, but I always thank a person for a sincere compliment.

He went on again and said something else about me being this or that (didn’t quite get the words but it was essentially a repeat of the previous sentiment but in slightly less socially-acceptable terms, but not offensive either. Just something about being hot and “damn” and such.) at this point I’m thinking “well. That was nice. Haven’t heard one of those in a few years. Guess I’m having a good appearance day.” I felt pretty good. You just don’t get told you’re hot out in public much once you’re over 35 or so.

And then the kicker… He says “you so fine if you were my woman I’d drown you. Yep. Drown you. (Long pause) With my loooooooove. Next time I see you I’m getting your phone number. You better not be married!”

I didn’t respond to anything after the original “thank you,” and ignored his dumb ass and walked to my bus stop with him yammering about drowning me over and over as he walked past the bus stop with his buddies.

WHAT THE FUCK!?!?? DUDE. Pretty sure that’s the weirdest catcall I’ve ever experienced. Maybe the creepiest, too.

I went from a “hey, cool, I still look good” moment to a “what just happened there?” in less than a second.

I don’t agree with catcalling in general and usually ignore it. However, in this case it started as a well-mannered, sincere compliment that absolutely deserved a thank you in return.

Generally in situations where women explain to (usually) men how demeaning catcalling is, we also tell them that to pay a true compliment in a respectful tone is a different thing than a “hey baby blah blah blah” you know? So you don’t want to discourage the good ones either. It was a little bit sad because at one point he was definitely ahead.

Life lesson: when you compliment a stranger on the street and they smile and thank you, quit while you are ahead and don’t get all creepy on them.

For reference, here’s what I was wearing that day. Harassment doesn’t only happen to skinny girls in short skirts.


Jury Duty

As I begin my third time at Jury Duty, I’m moved to repost my private journals of my first experience.

This was first posted to my private journals in 2006. It’s going to be very long.

The short version: I was juror #14 (second alternate) on the double-homicide trial for a man named Thomas Marshall. He was the defendant in the shootings that took place at the Southcenter Mall in 2005. For those who don’t remember the case or are not in the area, here is the link.

As an alternate, I did not end up deliberating, but I do agree with the decision that was made in the case. It was the same decision that I would have made, based on the evidence presented.

Day One
Continue reading “Jury Duty”

Happy Holidays

Today after work, husband and I went to Target with a long wish list from a local womens shelter.

We got a minimum of one (and as many as 6) of each and every thing on the list. They’ll be able to make multiple gift bags for multiple women from our $100 shopping.

Here is the list we were given as a wish list:
Gift or phone cards ($5 or $10)
Bus tickets
Collapsible umbrellas
Night eye masks and ear plugs to make shelter living easier
Fun pieces of jewelry
Toiletry items (deodorant, disposable razor, hair products (African American hair products always requested) tissues, chapstick)
Puzzle books with a pen or pencil(crossword puzzles, Sudoku)
Daily planners or pocket calendars, inspirational books or quotes
Hot tea, cider, or hot chocolate packets
Microwaveable popcorn, granola bars, or small bags of snacks
Throw Blankets

So many of these items are $1 at places like Target. It made it exceptionally easy.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have gifts to give and receive should all consider giving the equivalent of one extra gift (in cash or goods) to someone in need. Youth shelters need MASSIVE help right now. So do food banks. Don’t forget pet food for the animal shelters too. And if you have no money, give an hour of your time to help sort others’ donations. I promise you will be glad you did.

The ultimate gift to me would be for my whole family to spend a few hours together, helping to make someone else’s day a bit better. I think I’ll suggest it! Who’s joining me?

Better late than never

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written here.

2010 has been a very difficult year, and I’m fairly glad to see it on its way out. It’s mostly been health issues – one on top of the next – that have made it so tough.

The good news is that Dad is still with us. He beat Pancreatic Cancer.

Wait. Let me say that bigger and louder. MY DAD SURVIVED PANCREATIC CANCER. He has NO evidence of the disease, and is in the “1% Club.” Someday it will come back, but at this time, he is cancer free. That’s the best you can ever hope for with PanCan.

The treatment was horrendous, and he ended up in the hospital a couple of times, but he fought and he won. He officially got a clean bill of health in about September after a 6-week intensive course of 24/7 chemo via a pump, plus daily radiation, plus weekly “big” chemo. This was after an entire year of weekly chemo. He was beaten down, they took him to within inches of death, and brought him back.

What was equally amazing were the number of people who helped. I put out a message on a local news site and asked for volunteer drivers to help him to get to/from treatment daily (30 minutes from home for a 5 minute radiation appt!) and we had dozens of volunteers. Had to weed out a few weirdos, but not too many.

And now, he’s just gotten his first haircut. He’s almost good as new – still has to limit certain types of foods, as his stomach can no longer digest them. He’s got a bit of digestive damage from all the treatment, but it’s better than the alternative. So we’re very thankful.

I’m just now getting over the worst stomach bug of my life. 7 days of nonstop vomiting and diarrhea that only stopped for a few hours at a time when I went in to the ER or to see my doctor and got injections and IV fluids. It began much like a foodborne illness: Severe GI pain up high in my stomach (under the ribs) and then nonstop vomiting with diarrhea. The number of times I couldn’t deal with both ends at the same time were absolutely humiliating. By the end I simply wanted to die. I finally started to pray as I was throwing up one of the last times “Please make this go away – I can’t live through another day or more of it.” Something worked, because it finally stopped on Thursday afternoon. I had to wait 48 hours to eat, meaning it had been well over 2 weeks of nothing but pedialyte and jello when I began to try solids again. Holy COW I was hungry. I lost 20+ pounds in that week, and I’m just lucky I had it to lose.

Anyway, that’s all the health stuff. Tomorrow is my first day back to work after being so sick, and I’m hoping I have the strength to make it through the day. I’m still physically very weak and can’t walk super far. But I’ll manage. 🙂

More updates on everything else later.If I still have any readers left. Sorry I abandoned you all. I didn’t mean to — life just went sideways for a bit. I’m back now, though, and will get to writing again shortly.




Tortellini Casserole

Here’s a super quick and easy casserole-style dish you can make on the weekend and then divide up single-servings for lunches or dinners the following week.

1 package mushroom tortellini
1/2 cup dried mushrooms, chopped
1 can cannelini beans (or 2 c cooked white beans of any variety)
4 small tomatoes, seeded
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 handsful frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked chicken, diced
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter
2 T flour, sifted
2 cups milk
6 oz cheese, cubed and divided into 3oz portions (use whatever cheese variety you have on hand)

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, reconstitute mushrooms in warm water, and saute onion and garlic in butter until lightly browned. Sift flour over onion mixture and continue to cook on low-medium heat until flour has coated onions and begins to brown. Add milk, stirring frequently until mixture begins to thicken and then add half of the cheese mixture and allow to melt and incorporate entirely while stirring to make a thick cheese sauce.
Pour beans into oiled casserole dish with vegetables and chicken. Puree tomatoes in a blender or food processor and pour over bean and vegetable mixture.
Add tortellini once cooked, pour cheese sauce overtop, and fold ingredients together.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, and bake 30-45 min at 375.

This will be a fairly dry casserole. If you prefer it to be more saucy, throw in a can of cream of mushroom soup, or double the sauce recipe.