Founder’s Day Celebration

Today was my little town’s Founder’s Day Celebration. Unfortunately I missed most of the activities because we were working on my car, but we managed to get downtown and see a couple classic cars, listen to an elderly gentleman play his squeezebox for passersby, and heard a ladies acapella quartet singing for diners in the outdoor portion of one of the restaurants. All winter this sleepy little town lay dormant, and today was full of sunshine and opportunities. A few of the shops were open early with clearance sales as they restock with this years best stuff, but most importantly, House of Flavors was open for business. Ice cream!

Previously the House of Flavors was a bit of a cramped space, an aisle in the center from the door to the counter, a few tables on each side of the aisle, and a giant mirror on one of the walls. All of that is still there, but the restaurant is now twice the size with twice the amount of ice cream choices! It looks wonderful inside, and the crew is amazing. Remember to tip when you go for a visit, they live at your vacation destination!

After ice cream, we roamed the downtown streets. There was a classic car there whose door handles resemble a handlebar mustache, and her owner sat nearby playing old Italian music on his squeezebox. The owners of Cosmic Candy were busily readying up the most amazing candy store in the world for the season, but it was not open for business just yet. Soon! And they will have an amazing crew as well, ready to serve up the best popcorn and widest variety of nostalgic candies ever presented. Can you tell I am excited for that? Well, I am.

A little further up the street we hear the acapella voices of a ladies quartet floating off the patio of the Gull’s Landing, where in the midst of summer they have live music as well as the quartets. Many of the art galleries were open and ready for business, with handmade driftwood art and original ornaments galore. My sister saw the Police Department for the first time as we approached the air center to add air to a bike tire. It’s the tiniest, most adorable police station I have ever seen, and home to the first set of “borrow-able bikes” as well as the bike repair station. For free, you can air up your tires, or use the repair station itself with a variety of tools attached and a place to put our bike upside down for ease of use. And there is a public restroom right there as well for your convenience.

The temperature dropped as we crossed the street to gaze over the lake, not the big lake, but the town lake, a popular fishing destination. Led Zeppelin blared through the loudspeakers at the cafe as we ambled by slowly, listening to Kashmir flowing through the air. With a deep breath in and a slow breath out I came to realize how magical this place can be, and I wonder why I didn’t hang out here more when I was a teenager. Back then I was only interested in the fun that rolled into Silver Lake I suppose; all the Jeeps, dune buggies, and cute boys. Now, 20 plus years later, I find the fun coming from the live music on the green, the sandy beach and bright blue green lake, the rolling hills in the cemetery, the Tuscan inspired architecture, the fantastic history of the place.

And the morbid side of me likes the macabre facts I have dug up about the place, which I will share with you one story at a time. In another blog post. Subscribe for email updates! And stay tuned for the story of the death of B.O. Sands, a lumber baron from the early days of the area.

P.S. When the day completely ended and I had my shower, I discovered I got my very first sunburn of the year, and I couldn’t have been happier!

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The Longest Winter

The snow is officially melted here in this sleepy Lake Michigan village, and the warm blooded snow birds are beginning to flock back. With that said, today it was 47 degrees and cloudy! It was definitely a pea coat/beanie/flip flops kind of day. This winter feels like it has dragged on for far too long, and I am used to crappy spring weather in the mountains. Last year around this time we had already climbed the dunes and played at the beach.

Today also marks a day of sadness, as we laid our pet turtle to rest at the beach, in a semi-secluded spot with a driftwood marker and a painted epitaph. If you happen to be roaming the smaller dunes and come across this marker, feel free to leave a token in memory of the quickest turtle in the world, Raphael Moonstar.

Things like that, coupled with the weather, make the gloomy season seem that much gloomier.  I will be so grateful for those sweltering summer days we are about to have…if we get summer here. Until then, I will smile as the boats fill up the harbor and the vehicles line the previously sleepy streets of this little tourist town. I think this summer I will be volunteering to run the Book Buggy at the beach for the local library, a cart of magazines an paperbacks checked out on the honor system.

The honor system is in use quite a bit in this little harbor village when I stop to think about it; there are also free bicycles for day use in three locations. I must say, I am rather excited to watch this place come to life as the grass begins to get greener, leaves and blossoms begin blooming in the trees, and the temporary residents begin appearing with their cute dogs and chatty kids. I live at their vacation. That is what I remind myself as we shuffle through our cold snaps and grey days.

Long, cold winter

Michigan is no stranger to erratic weather patterns, and this year appears to be in holding with “there is no pattern here” weather. It is almost May, and there is still snow on the ground in spots. If you visit the dunes here this summer, be sure to do a little digging around. I can almost guarantee that you can be running around in the sun, in your swimwear and sunglasses, and have a snowball fight. If we ever get that warm weather. Usually during this extended cold snap I can be found creating something. As a result, this blog, and a few online writing groups, have been neglected.

In the process of that neglect however, I managed to write a horror novella that is in it’s very first stages of review, created a fairy garden in the west facing window of my place, brought Black Knight Canna to life from bulb stage (a feat for sure for a former black thumb), painted two horror themed paintings, decoupaged an end table, and turned from a redhead into a blonde. So at least I didn’t retreat into a cave of hibernation to hide in for the winter! I feel like with spring there should be a revitalization of sorts with my blog. I have all these ideas about how I should be doing this whole blogging thing, and I have come to the conclusion that keeping it simple will be my best bet.

But when on earth have I ever kept things simple? While I am typing up those last few words up there, my mind was also building a system and a theme for posting. Seriously, I’m typing the word “simple” and in my head it looks like this: I live in a vacation town that’s about to come to life. I can tie my Twitter and Instagram into this with pictures and live tweets, while posting about living where others vacation. Oh boy. But…wait a minute…that actually could be fun…I mean, do you know what it’s like to live in a place that is basically dead in the winter with only a couple hundred people around and the majority of all businesses closed until May, mostly Memorial Weekend? Then suddenly the town comes to life, with temporary families occupying the many rentals throughout, bringing in hundreds upon hundreds of people, coming and going all the way to October.

Well, if that does interest you, then watch my blog for future posts, because it is almost May, and it’s nearing time for my little town to blossom into life. Don’t forget to subscribe for email updates on future posts. While you are at it, go HERE to follow me on Instagram and go HERE to follow me on Twitter.

Bath Time and Stress Management

As parents, usually when we hear the words “bath time” it pertains to the kids, and is either a struggle or a fun mess. Most of the time, those baths signify the end of the day, the moments before pj’s go on and heads hit the pillow for the night. Many parents also use a lavender bath scent in one form or another, because we all know how relaxing the scent of lavender is. A bath is relaxing. Or, it’s supposed to be anyway. Some kids hate baths and that can stress the parents right out.

Today’s bath time mention is for the adults. Once in a mom’s group I mentioned that as a 3rd shift worker I loved coming home to take a hot bath with a glass of wine, even though it’s 8am. 3rd shift life. A couple of the moms mentioned wishing they had the time to do that. As a mom of older kids, I find I have entirely more time to do things like bath with wine than I did when they were little. But when they were little, I also had a four hour block each week that I dedicated to myself, with the help of my mother and sister of course. I get that maybe others don’t have it that easy, but if you have a partner, then your partner should be helping you keep your mental health in order, right?

That four hour block I had reserved for me time wasn’t just a bath, it was an entire routine of things I missed out on doing during the week (my time was Sunday evenings) like tweezing my brows, exfoliating properly, hydro masks, hair dye if I needed it, shave too because let’s face it, we let things slide when we are heavily involved with parenting. The bathroom was all mine for 4 solid hours, uninterrupted, and highly appreciated. I didn’t include wine in my routine until more recently, but let me tell you this: A half hour soak in boil your skin off hot water with a bath bomb or bubbles, and a glass (ok, goblet) of wine while soaking is the most relaxing thing I have ever done, and it is now a repeat action.

As someone who specializes in stress management, I highly recommend bath time for any adult who is stressed out. Ok, my tub is officially as full as I love it, and that bottle of sweet red is calling my name. Toodaloo!

International Women’s Day

Facebook is celebrating International Women’s Day today, and inviting everyone to share moments of inspiration in their lives. I had a bit to say, so I did, then I thought, why not throw it into my blog? There are a lot of shifty, shady women out there. Women who are waiting for you to fail, waiting for their in with your man, waiting for you to tell them secrets so they can share them with other shady women. These women offer backhanded compliments, or just go for blood with vicious and cruel comments about anything and everything. Some women are just so cold. But then, there are other women out there. Women who know their own strength and use that strength to build others up. Women who offer a true shoulder to cry on and keep their lips zipped. Women who are truly the backbone of our sex. So here is what I said on Facebook.

When I was a kid I would tell you the women who inspired me were Amelia Earhart, Katherine Hepburn, Wonder Woman. Well known faces with well known accomplishments, however real or imagined. When I was a teen and in my early 20s, I would tell you my mom was my hero (she still is, no worries) because she exercised strength during incredibly adverse moments and I was lucky enough to witness that. In my 42nd year of life, through all I have seen and experienced, I am inspired by a new group of women. I am inspired by every woman who has managed to pick herself up from the depths of disparity to rebuild her life. I am inspired by every woman who is raising strong, caring sons who would never rape or abuse anyone. I am inspired by every woman who has worked to get what she has, and by every woman who works what they got to get what they need. I am inspired by every woman who has spoken out, truthfully and with genuine conviction, against their abusers. I am inspired by any woman who can walk through this savage life clean and sober and still with integrity intact. I am inspired by every woman who does what it takes to make it through the day, even when they wish they could just die. Oh yeah, I am also inspired by Angela Bassett because that woman is just an all around badass.

I Wasn’t Going to Say Anything, But…

I was trying to keep mute on this subject; I wasn’t going to say anything, but I can’t seem to keep it to myself anymore. A glance at social media, a snippet of the evening news; it’s everywhere and we all have an opinion on it. Right now it’s guns. The real problem is so much deeper than that; the real problem is people. People suffer, are suffering, and in their suffering they hurt and destroy others. This condition is not specific to my culture, or any one culture, in fact it is a global issue. It’s labeled terrorism, domestic assault, sexual abuse, mutilation, poverty; it is all a hindrance to the progression of healthy, happy lives. People suffer. In the United States, people fear. They don’t talk about their fears, they hold them inside and deny their existence, but the fears persist and express themselves in the stereotypical ways.

Why are people so adamant about guns? Usually cited here are 2nd Amendment rights, but there is an underlying fear present. The fear of the government. If taking guns is even remotely hinted at, we see a vivid reminder of the Hitler era in response. Fear of government. Why are we fearing the people in our employ? Because they make the rules, the laws, the punishments, and it is natural to seek to avoid punishment. Years, generations even, of this bowing to our masters, of accepting rule after rule, law after law, prison after prison; this is why people here horde guns. The inherent need to be ruled over mixed with the determination to not be trespassed upon.

Fear is just one facet of the suffering, but it is present in nearly every culture in one form or another. Fear of struggle. Fear of deconstruction of carefully constructed ways of life. Fear of losing everything. Fear of imprisonment, fear of confinement, fear of commitment, fear of death and at the same time, a fear of life. One of the more spoken/unspoken predominant fears in the United States revolves around mental health. The ever present stigma attached to ensuring the mind is as healthy as the body. The barrage of medications available to alleviate symptoms of whatever is deemed as abnormal. The heinous side effects associated with the medications, or worse, ending the medications prescribed.

In regards to the mass shootings over the last 3 decades, some commonalities have been pointed out by other writers and bloggers. One is the majority of those who act to end the lives of others in such a violent way are male. The other is the prevalence of mental health issues, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, and the presence of or abrupt ending of medications used to treat varying degrees of mental illness. One could say we are allowing our sons to lay to waste, while at the same time building up our daughters and teaching them how to be strong in today’s society. In fact, a few bloggers already have said that. So now the real question is, how do we overcome our collective fears in order to make the changes we need to meet individual needs to create a safe, sane society?

Product Review: Free Makeup

Who doesn’t like free? Especially something used on a daily basis? I certainly do. I recently joined Influenster, a social app that allows you to review products you have already purchased to help others decide. This company also decides if one qualifies to try free products. Well, I won’t lie, I’ve been interested in being a makeup product tester for some time now. I received my first vox box recently, and it contained foundation and primer to try. These are not flimsy little samples, it was a full sized bottle of Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+Smooth Foundation and a 1oz bottle of Maybelline Master Prime by Face Studio. I was impressed.

Now, I am not one to wear foundation on a regular basis, but I have seen the new wave of makeup tricks and am interested in learning how to make my already youngish looking face even younger using the power of makeup. I decided to try out the foundation and primer for a few days before carrying on with my review.

Maybelline Master Prime by Face Studio, primer & base, hydrate + smooth, 050, is an excellent product. I like it because it is light and makes my face feel smooth and hydrated. No lie in advertising there! I also like it because I can wear it alone or under the foundation. This is an important feature. In fact, I only gave the product 2 stars in my Influenster review specifically because of this primer.

Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+Smooth Foundation with Octinoxate Sunscreen SPF 18, for Normal to dry skin, in 115 Ivory was the perfect shade. That is as far as the good goes. It went on heavy, had decent coverage, but created or enhanced fine lines and wrinkles on my face that are not normally noticeable. If I am going to wear a foundation, I certainly do not want it making me look older! The dewy is also too much for me. My face was super shiny, and my 12 year old son made a snide remark about how it looked like someone slathered bacon grease over my face. Definitely not a bonus. I was also painfully aware that I was wearing foundation because of how heavy it felt. The worst of it? After three days of wear, I ended up with a few pimples!

In the end, 2 Stars for this product. I wouldn’t purchase this foundation on my own. Also, I recently learned that Maybelline is on the list for animal testing, so that’s a bad thing. Dear Maybelline, test your products on humans please, the prison system is full of potential test subjects!

We Were Warriors Once

It is in my blood to fight, we were all warriors once. We lived in a savage, cruel world where you had to fight to survive. Well kiddos, the world is still savage and anyone who thinks they shouldn’t have to fight to survive is operating under the misguided notion that we are civilized. You must fight. You must learn how.

Why you ask? Because there are too many victims in this world. Too many people who cannot fight back. Too many people unwilling to fight back. What is it? Fear of punishment? Fear of shame? Fear of retaliation? Whatever the fear is, kill it. The world loves victims, and makes so many to feed that love. Don’t be a victim.

I don’t care who you are, you, as an adult, should know how to defend yourself. Dare I say you should know how to kill someone if it comes down to it. It really does make a difference in how life around you cycles when you are fully aware that you could kill someone who intends to harm you. This is not me telling you to kill people. This is me telling you to train yourself to be stronger, to be more confident in your on abilities, to feel powerful. Because too many do not.

Too many women are under the assumption pounded into us from generation after generation that we are the weaker sex. We are not. History shows us that women are just as savage and deadly as men. So stop being a victim. Don’t allow your children to grow up to be victims. We live in a culture of fear. Women can’t go out alone, or travel at night by themselves, or be left alone in a room of men, or visit other nations without an escort. Why? Because we have made ourselves victims. Strike that. I am not a victim. But the female population in general has a victim mentality, one that has been handed down from their mothers, who got it from their mothers, who got it from their mothers, and so on. Because at some point, women stopped being warriors and turned into pretty flowers. Well, guess what sweety? You can still be pretty and deadly. Be like a Larkspur.

Take mixed martial arts classes. Train with cage fighters, but take the oath not to fight in a match and learn all the dirty tricks they know to get over on others. You will never feel as empowered as the day you successfully throw your 200lb trainer off you and follow up with your foot on his throat.

They say a rapist is going to rape, no matter how strong you think you are. I say that is wrong. If a rapist encounters someone who has been trained to kill another, they won’t be raping again. And if we, as a collective sex, train ourselves to be warriors, eventually the rapists/abusers/assaulters of the world will die out.

I am a Larkspur.

Time’s Up

Time’s up. No longer will we allow others to bring us harm. No longer will we stay silent about the travesties of another. No longer will we accept substandard treatment. What does time’s up really mean?

Can we force all those people to act appropriately? Absolutely not. Try it. You’ll see. You can’t even force a child to act appropriately. You have to teach them early on and hope there isn’t some sort of malfunction or defect that causes them to behave offensively later in life. You cannot control the behavior of other people. You can’t. What you can control is your own behavior, your own responses to situations and people. Yourself.

What does that really mean? That means you need to stop behaving as though we live in a civilized era, among civilized people. We have neither. We have technology and modern conveniences that provide a mask of civility, but it’s all just a mask. A cover for the truth, an ugly truth that no one is willing to admit. We are all a bunch of savages.

Our clothes and shoes and other what have yous do not make us civilized. Our education does not make us civilized. Nothing does, because children are still being molested and abused. Men are still raping women. Humans are still being sold into sex slavery. WE ARE USING SEX AS A WEAPON ON ALL FRONTS. A powerful weapon indeed. I won’t ponder the “why” of it though, that’s something that would take years and millions of dollars in research and quite frankly, I don’t care why it’s being done. I’m more concerned with how to stop it.

How do we stop using sex as a weapon? Wives withhold sex from their husbands to get things they want, men force sex upon women to satisfy some sick need. Grown ass adult use sex against children, and scandalous teenagers use sex against adults. We use sex to dictate fashion and dress codes. Sex is even a significant part of religious texts, using it as a weapon. Women know they can destroy lives with sex, and have been known to do so without a second thought. People with money and power know they can impose upon others in a sexual way, our illustrious POTUS gave us the prime example when he told us when you’re rich and powerful you can do what you want to a woman, including going up to her and grabbing her by the pussy. And he is right.

So, how do we remove the effectiveness of this weapon? How do we take back power once it’s been taken from us?

Life After 40

I am almost 42. I have one adult child, and one child on his way toward adulthood. I’m single, have never been married, and live in an apartment in a state that makes it hard to breath a few months a year. And I am mostly ok with all of this. I’m down for a change in location, but that has to wait until my lease is up.

When I was 14 I couldn’t even imagine what my life would look like right now, because back then I thought 40 was soooo old. Now that I am here, and the majority of my friends are here as well, old is not the right word. Some days I am more tired than others, but my love for wild hair, high heels, and sexy bikers hasn’t changed or faltered. What has changed? My sex life! Dammit. Being single had so many perks in my dirty 30s, sex whenever and with whomever was one of them. The closer I got to my 40s however I noticed something happening. I’m pickier now, which is saying something because I was rather picky to begin with.

What was the biggest trigger? Drama. Why does there have to be so much drama attached to dating? Everyone and their dog has something to say whenever the dating starts, and most of it is negative or said with trouble making in mind. Why do people do that? Why on earth do other people find it necessary to interject on someone else’s love life? I could write a book just on the underhanded things that others, both male and female, have pulled in the name of “cockblocking” and still I would be no closer to discovering the why part of it all.

So now I take a step back, and hesitate. Do I want the drama in my life? Is this guy worth all that? Are his friends shady? How many exes are going to come out of the woodwork? Allow me to share this one story. A few years ago I reconnected with a guy from my past. He seemed so excited to be talking to me again, we texted, talked on the phone, made plans. He even flew across the country to spend Valentine’s weekend with me. Then, as soon as the weekend was over, I started getting emails from his exes. Long, drawn out emails, full of threats and pettiness. First one woman, who exposed all the crappy things he has done. Then another, who claimed to be still sleeping with him. By the third woman, I was done. Actually, I was done after the first one, but for some stupid reason I cannot recall I allowed it to carry on. How the hell did they get my email anyway? Oh. He gave it to them. He perpetuated the drama! WTF??? Who does things like that? A person who thrives on drama and loves women fighting over him, that’s who. Sorry bub, not worth my valuable time. This may be why I’m single, but my dignity and self-respect are worth so much more than a mediocre lay. Yeah, I said that.