Tag Archives: live life

Where’s Penny Been?

**Long Post Alert** I thank you now for indulging me as I answer the question, “Where’s Penny Been?”

Coming up with a focus word for 2019 was a big challenge. Before I found a word I had to do some soul searching…

…I’ve been absent for a while now. Life became overwhelming and I finally stopped most everything for a bit. I took a few months off to rest and regroup. I stopped participating in anything that wasn’t necessary for me and my spirit. A new year can be a fresh start. I just had to figure out what I needed to restart.

You may or may not know that I have two direct sales businesses as well as a virtual assistant gig. All three are part time while I work a full time job in the retail industry, which quite honestly, is kicking my ass. Having to be on the sales floor two days a week (sometimes more) as a “sales person” is doing me in physically and emotionally. I hate it. It’s a necessary evil so I can enjoy the other part of my job.

The VA work I do has grown to a 10-15 hour a week gig. Add that to a 40 hour a week job and that’s a lot of hours worked. Add to that working two direct sales businesses and that balance thing becomes tricky.

I learned in August that I had let my drivers license lapse, and it took four frustrating months to get the paperwork I I needed to renew it. A stupid accident threw me into a tailspin, and the whole thing was kind of the final straw for me.

Friday, January 11 marked the three year anniversary of my fall from the ladder. If you don’t know the story, I fell from the top of a six foot ladder, through some metal shelving, landing on the cement floor of my garage. My head literally fell 11 feet. Miraculously, I was able to get up off the floor and seek help. My head injury was mis-diagnosed and I spent the next two years recovering. My doc says that I’m actually still recovering, which I can’t wrap my head around.

Life changed in a big way that day.

If you touch my head in the right place, you can feel the now healed skull fracture. I am still afraid to put my head directly on a pillow. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow behind my neck to protect that spot from touching anything. I still feel the tingling in that area now and then, which I’m told is the blood flowing through the uneven area under my skull. I named that sensation Herman, as when it happens, I know it’s going to be a hard day. That damn Herman, messing with my head!

Some days I battle between how things are now and how things used to be. It’s difficult to describe, as the “changes” appear somewhat subtle on the outside looking in.

You can’t see that I can no longer tolerate my beloved spicy food. There is absolutely no medical reason for that. My doctor says it’s a coincidence. But since that day, my body no longer tolerates hot peppers, sriracha, and any form of heavy, spicy, hot goodness. I miss it.

You don’t really notice my inability to multitask as I used to. I will ask you now and then to hold a thought while I try to finish something. Other times you may see me staring at nothing, trying to complete my thought. I still lose my words, but not as often. I keep a lot of notes in notepads, scratch paper and an online to-do list program I found. It’s taken three years, but I finally have a system that works for me.

Most importantly I think, I lost my confidence and I haven’t regained it. I’m not quite the same person I used to be. That bothers me. A lot.

I’m battling lower back pain more and more, and I’ve developed plantar facialitis, both of which leave me drained at the end of the day when they are bad. I am pushing through it. I will happily take a migraine any day of the week than deal with that pain. This makes exercise a challenge, and I finally gave up. Now it’s a catch 22. I need to get back at it, as doing nothing is…doing nothing for me.

2016 also brought the passing of the parental units. I still hold much anger and resentment where they are concerned, though I don’t yell at them as often as I did. The mother’s passing was pure selfishness. The acts of her sister, unforgivable. I try not to let the anger surface too much. I am angry for myself and my brother. We were shortchanged, and I’m thankful we both have people in our lives to help fill that void a bit.

I’ve learned a great deal the last three years about my “other family”, the one I was not allowed to know. Of how the parents went to extremes to ensure no contact, and what I call the miracle of them pulling it off when we lived in a small town. My biological father lived less than seven miles away most of my life. He was best kept secret ever! I’m still amazed that people simply went along with it, never revealing the truth.

It was mostly the mother’s doing, but the father was not blind to what was being done and he supported her in the great cover-up. Choices were made, lives manipulated, lies told. I truly wish I’d known the truth of it decades sooner. I was so blind. That makes me angry.

I recently saw a photo of the grandparents I never met holding me as a baby, the bio father I never knew in the background. It took the wind out of my sails. The people I had heard about were real. They didn’t look like the monsters I was told they were (over and over and over.) They didn’t look like people I should have feared. They were simply…human beings who were also hurt in the crazy that was the mother. It’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m grateful for an incredibly patient aunt who answers my questions while never saying an unkind word about the parents. She’s helped me fill in many blanks. Maybe one day I will meet more of them. Maybe not. It’s not easy.

I began using a human growth hormone gel about four months ago. I got on an antidepressant around September because my doctor and I decided it couldn’t hurt the exhaustion and edginess I was experiencing. I am feeling “better” these days. That edge is gone. I am calmer, I don’t get my feathers ruffled as easily as I did, and I feel my mood is much more even.

I had no idea how the HGH was helping until I stopped using it. It’s expensive, so I slowed down the use then kinda stopped. But damn! I was SLEEPING at night, and there were other things it was doing for me that complimented the other. The two together had me experiencing a calm I’ve never known. As I lay here on the middle of the night writing this, I miss the sleep part. Yes, I’m “back on the gel” (sounds funny, huh?)

If you can’t yet tell, I’ve been overwhelmed for a while and spinning. What I need to do is find my balance again, as well as my confidence. Develop a plan. Decide what I want out of my businesses and choose a path that I can grow with. Get that balance back. Grow my confidence. Disassemble what’s not working and rebuild.

I enjoy the products I sell. I have struggled with some of the internal things associated with the companies, but I keep those feelings separate. The products are amazing.

I have decided I need to build a business strategy this year and work it. There’s great potential there if I can simply get past all of this. Where will that lead? I don’t know. Will I still have three side gigs this time next year? No idea.

So, what word did I choose?

Metanoia. The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

It’s a word I stumbled upon a few years back. I’ve kept it tucked away, and after weeks of struggling to find the right word or phrase, I stumbled upon it again.

It’s fitting. I need to be consistent, find balance, be brave. In doing so, the other things will fall into place and my path will come into focus.

My Skin Care Regimen – Part 1

Wise words from a dear friend. Once upon a time my friend and I went to a New Year’s Eve party. We had some tasty beverages, toasted the new year with our friends, and then went back to her place, as it was close and we had a sober ride. I decided to spend the rest of the night on her sofa rather than drive home in a slightly intoxicated condition (always a good decision!)

That was the night I learned the joys of the DVR and was introduced to a great new show called Sex in the City. I’ve had a DVR ever since, and lived vicariously through Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte for many seasons. Those gals had great skin.

My friend and I sat up for a bit chatting, laughing, catching me up on SITC, enjoying another tasty beverage, having some water. We solved the worlds problems and then called it a night.

As my friend headed to bed she mentioned that she needed to wash her face. What? I could barely get off the sofa, and she was determined to wash her face? I asked about this and she said she washed her face every night, no matter what. It was the main part of her skin care regimen. Well, she did have fabulous skin (and still does!)

Looking back, I should have paid attention. 

I’ve never had a skin care regimen. I’ve tried many, many products over the years, but never consistently. I’ve spent thousands on this system or that, only to try it for a week or two and give up. I was young, impatient, I had plenty of time…

I began worshipping the sun as a pre-teen, using cooking oil as my tanning blend. I am fair skinned with blue eyes. I wasn’t allowed suntan oil, so Wesson worked in a pinch. If I’d known then what I know now.

By my 20’s, I was covered in freckles. Nor the cute kind. The sun-damage kind. I continued to work on my tan. In my 30’s, the lines began forming around my eyes, but my tan was awesome. In my 40’s, I began avoiding the sun and drinking water. Water? Turns out that one is as important as washing your face every night!

Drinking water instead of soda has done wonders. My lips are less chapped. My dry skin requires less lotion. Overall, I feel better when I drink my weight (in ounces) in water each day…or darn close.

My current regemin is embarrassing.

It truly is. Now that I’m in my 50’s (barely) I am concerned about my previous choices. I want to get it right. I want to make improvements to my skin.

Look for the details of the embarrassing regimen and what I’m doing to remedy it in Part 2…

Hello April! 

New month. New business. New Opportunities. Spring is in full swing, unless you’re in Florida. If you’re in Florida, summer has begun! Mid-high 80’s this week. I am not mentally prepared for summer, but it’s here.

April is usually the time I change the color on my toes to something springier. When I take up walking…again. When I enjoy the long days and cool evenings. The cool evenings will be gone soon enough. New beginnings.

April it always a transition month for me. As a child, April often meant an Easter week trip to camp on a beach near Mendocino. Last April my mother passed away. One April, a thousand years ago, I walked out on an abusive relationship. See? Transition.

This April brings new adventures. 

I WILL begin walking again. It’s time. I have a brace for my ankle, and I may even have a couple pair of good socks.

I WILL give yoga another try.

I WILL begin my Willing Beauty adventure.

I WILL take better care of myself, and my skin.

That’s a whole lot of adventure kinda stuff I’ve thrown out into the universe!

– Penny

A Numbers Obsession


The Willing Beauty pre-launch ended at 11:59pm CT last night. That means that anyone who signed up had the option to change their mind up until that point.

When I signed up, I was #2282. Over the last few days, I’ve watched that number drop a bit as people ahead of me said, “Ya, this sounded good at the time, but…”

Yesterday the numbers changed every few minutes! I started watching about 9am. I couldn’t help myself. I was fascinated.

By the deadline, I had dropped to #2086. That means since Sunday morning, 196 people ahead of me changed their mind – 95 of which was today. WOWZA!

I never had a second thought about joining. I never had the oh-crap-what-have-I-got-myself-into moment. I’m all in, and I’m excited.

In a few weeks I will have my product. I truly can’t wait to dig in and try it. Why? The affordability of the products plus the proprietary HG+5 Complex plus the fact that I have a BIG secret.

I have no skincare regimen!

What? More on that later. For now, yay me! Counting down the days…

Herman’s Return from Vacation

(If you’re new here, I first introduced Herman in Derailed on May 31. I talked about him again a few times, including in Yearly Doctor Visit on January 27, 2017.  Herman is the area of my head that began as a concussion, but I now know is a skull fracture. It’s fascinating to me how the brain and body works. Making him a person in my life has helped me cope with much better than when he was simply “the lump”.  Don’t fall of a ladder and you won’t have to worry about having a Herman in your life!)

Herman has been quiet for a while.  He behaved, he let me sleep at night (with my head on a pillow sometimes!) he didn’t bother me during the day, in fact, I kind of forgot about him…I figure he was on vacation.  Maybe a cruise, or a trip abroad.  Wherever he was, I was happy for the solitude…

…He’s back.  He’s back and he obviously doesn’t like what I’ve been up to!  Herman needs a new hobby. It began on Friday when things got really crazy and hectic at work.  I was working the register, ringing up people who had just finished their fabulous experience at our shop. The rest of the staff was working on helping them get packed up and re-configuring our space to accommodate a class of 18 people the next day.  It was a huge undertaking.

As luck would have it, I got too many questions from too many people, plus the phone began ringing and customers needed attention.  Suddenly, it was as if I was moving in slow motion.  Everything around me was moving at super speed and I was unable to do anything but observe.  I quickly realized that this was not good, and removed myself from the chaos.  I went back to the register, ignored the phone and focused on one customer at a time.

Within about twenty minutes, the store was cleared out, the area re-set, and Herman was bothering me.  The tingly sensation was back, and the dull throb began.  He’s been with me for four days now.  He doesn’t want me putting my head on a pillow, he’s a bit sore, and he’s reminding me to slow the heck down!

Herman really amazes me.  This fellow who lives in my head and reminds me to step back, slow down, and behave.  I had a hectic week last week, and he stepped in.  It’s a love/hate relationship I have with Herman.  Most of the time his timing stinks.  I have a lot on my plate right now and need to keep a pace. He loves me enough to make me slow down and not keep a pace.

Oh Herman.  Whatever will I do with you?

A Yummy Lunch!

I can’t help myself.  I love to take pictures of my food.  I love to write about my food.  Perhaps I missed my calling.  Perhaps I should be a food critic!

Today was all about what to do with the organic avocado that looked SOOOO tasty at the market this morning.  I had to have it!  I bought an organic potato to go with it.  My rationale?  An avocado MUST be healthier than butter and sour creme, right?  Then I knew I’d need a little more umph with my lunch, so I grabbed a can of Amy’s Organic Medium Chili.

(Note, I don’t always do organic, but I was at the healthy food market and that’s all they had!)

I cooked the potato in a handmade potato bag in the microwave.  Yes, you can make these, and they steam up a potato really well!  Mine has been used and abused, and is not very pretty, so no photo.

Next I mashed up the avocado with my potato.  Mmmm.  Then I topped it with half a can of chili and heated it up a bit more.  That was my lunch.  That and my water with lemon and I was a happy girl.  (By the way, the avocado was WAY better than butter and sour creme!)

For my birthday, one of my besties gave me a neat gizmo that holds my water.  The lid has two parts – one side is a juicer, and the other a sealing lid!  I grabbed a jug of alkaline water and an organic lemon, and had me some yummy water!   I need to up my water intake, so this will help a lot.

So there you have it.  One simple, tasty, delightful lunch.  Bon appetite!

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Happy Birthday!

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I had a birthday this past week.  51.  5-1.  I lived to tell the tale!  I had a very nice week, filled with friendship, excellent wine, fabulous food and celebrations.  I received some nice gifts too!  The best one might have been a home cooked meal.  Seriously.  A meal that I did not have to cook, complete with dessert!  mmmm…Happy birthday to me!

It’s a Bright, Shiny New Year!

2016 goes down in the history books as being the most emotionally draining year ever!  I am happy to wear a “Survivor” badge and be done with it!

Falling off the ladder was the easy part. Who woulda thunk it?

Brain injuries take time, and I have little patience.  There are many things I now have to do differently.  That’s ok.  I can still do things!

The mother died in April. The emotional aftermath of that was (still is a bit) trying.  Both my brother and I have suffered much anger.  For a long time, I allowed myself to yell at her once a day. I do that a lot less often now.

My sweet niece went and had herself a baby a few weeks early in September.  A little boy named Leo, who has the cutest little smile and giggle.  My brother and sister-in-law are amazing grandparents, the kind we really didn’t have.  Although our grandparents weren’t old when we born, they were.  We as society are much younger at our age than they were at our age.  Leo is the bright, shining light in a year of…2016.  For everyone.

The father died after Thanksgiving.  Another shock.  I was sitting at home on  Saturday evening when my brother called about 9:30.  I had talked to him earlier that evening, so the horrible sense of dread washed over me.  Apparently he died at dinner.  Truth be told, he did love to eat.  So that’s a good thing.  He managed to hang around long enough to meet Leo.  That’s a good thing too.  His years of bad health are now behind him, and he and the mother can live in peace.

I didn’t get back to walking, and I took one yoga class.  Now I feel like I didn’t get back to walking and took only one yoga class!

My direct sales business is still part-time.  I go back and forth between low and high income producing months.  I really am not consistent.  Gotta work on that!

I saw 2017 in with a bang…actually, sound asleep.  I feel asleep at 5:30pm New Years Eve, woke around 8pm, was asleep again by 10pm. It left as quietly as it came, and I let the door bang it on the ass on the way out.

Here’s to 2017!  A bright, shiny new year full of promise, hope, love, and peace.  I have great plans.  I will become physically active again.  I signed up for a 5K in March, so I’d better!  I will grow my direct sales business.  I will make new friends to invite to my cool Facebook group.  I am doing the 6-Week Intentional Action Course, and while I’m behind a week, I’m still in.  I will go to bed earlier and get up earlier so I can get more done in a day.  I will lose some weight before my niece’s wedding.  Yes, we get a wedding this year!  I will blog consistently and figure out all the other social media stuff that baffles me.  I will re-brand myself, relaunch my biz, and relaunch ME!

2017 will be amazing!

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Happy Birthday

Friday morning, a reminder popped up on my phone first thing:

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Yes, that was, and still is, my pet name for my mother.  I said the “F” word and threw my phone down.  Then I cried a little.  I’m not really sure why I cried.  Sadness at what was never there?  Anger for what was?  I’m not sure.  I promptly put it out of my mind.

Saturday morning I got a message from my brother:

“First thing when grabbing my phone I check FB. 1st notification: Today is (insert mother’s name) birthday.  Help her to celebrate it.  70 years old.  Fuck.”

I laughed.  I messaged him back that I got a reminder yesterday.  Then I called him and told him I’d never heard him use that word before.

We laughed about how the reminders made us react.  I guess that’s healthy?  Are we healing?  He said he always remembers hers and the father’s birthdays because they are double digits.  Hers is 10-22.  The father’s is 11-11.  Then he realized that 11×2=22.  We laughed some more.  Then I said, “This takes their whole co-dependent thing to a new level!”

We then decided that we were going to file this and get on with our days.  His daughter had just arrived with his new grandson, and he was going to go be the amazing grampa that he is.  I relaxed, snuggled with the cats, and had a nice day as well.

We have now survived the first Mother’s Day and first birthday.  We’re getting better at it I think. I try really hard not to let her have any of my glitter anymore.

PS, anyone know how to disable a FB profile that no one knows the login or password to?

Dusk

Dusk.  That special time of day when the sun is not up and not down.  When the sky and the horizon are almost the same color.  When it’s darn hard to see when you have a double astigmatism 😀

Last week Hurricane Matthew visited the east coast of Florida before taking a toll in Georgia, South Caroline, and North Caroline.  This photo was taken that Thursday evening, when we had some clouds and a bit of rain and wind on the west coast of Florida. 

It was dusk, it has been raining, and through the pink clouds there was a rainbow.  Since I can not pass up a good cloud or rainbow photo, especially at dusk or sunset, I snapped a pic.

Thank you Hurricane Matthew for not bringing harm to any of my friends.  I know a few people in the Carolinas who will be dealing with loss of power and flooding for a while, but homes, pets and persons are safe.