Posted in Writer's Workshop

Better Living Through…Nature!?

This week I opted in on the Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and chose option 3 – Tell us something that fascinates  you.

I used to say, “Better living through chemistry”, as in just hand me a glass of wine and this will all be okay.  No wine? Okay a cold beer will do the trick.  Or a shot of whiskey.  Or chocolate, just give me the darn candy bar or cookies and I’ll let everyone live another day.  And of course there is the good old Lexapro because the ex said I was overly emotional and had anger issues.  He is the ONLY person who ever told me this, even my kids now tell me that no I really wasn’t that bad.  But what the heck, I’ve got myself down to 20mg and it probably has kept the body count down while I went through the divorce and these 2+ years after.  My clue that I really don’t need it, for depression or anger is when I go to take it, from the daily pill container, and discover that I haven’t had it in a week.  And no one is saying, “yikes have you had your meds today???”  I was on 40mg but honestly I was border line zombie material so I backed myself down from it.  I think having a full range of emotions is the intent, without slicing throats.  Only one throat I have had any real desire to slash and that one divorced me.  Well okay, the soon-to-be-though-not-soon-enough-former-sister-in-law, but honestly I think it would be better if she suffered.  Sorry, inner voice took over there for just a minute.

Chocolate makes my butt huge, and well so does beer.  Wine is all good but there is that whole  “in moderation” thing, and the risk of a DUI and well that would suck sour grapes really.   Honestly I do not care for taking medication of any kind.  I have grown more and more skeptical of chemicals.  I think modern medicine is amazing, but I think the less drugs we take the better.  Not to mention side effects and those lovely little warning labels that say not to exceed __ number of doses in a specified time period.  That is just dandy but what if my nose is stuffed up and I’m only 3 hours into the 12 hour period of the nasal spray???  Or  it has only been 2 hours and I cannot exceed 4 doses over a 24 hour period of some pill??

Recently my skeptical self encountered essential oils.  100% pure, pharmaceutical grade oils.  I bought into herbal teas after finding success with ailments, then discovered oils.  In struggling with allergies I allowed myself to ‘try’ spraying Eucasol from SwissJust on a tissue and laying it across my face and holy mother of sinus clogs I discovered that my head cleared right out and I could breathe!  I’ve gone through almost every drop of the stuff I have and will be buying more.  And unlike that famous vapor rub, this doesn’t leave greasy stains on anything.  I love it.

Then came Lavender Oil.  My friend had trouble sleeping, suffering from insomnia issues.  She put a few drops in her hands at bed time, cupped them over her nose and inhaled a while, then rubbed her hands on her pillow case and spent her night inhaling the wonderful scent and she SLEPT!  I was in a short struggle with brain scramble, when the ADD just won’t settle down so my mind could shut off and I could sleep, so I tried it.  I again was shocked beyond my skepticism when I found myself sleeping like a downed tree.

The granddaddy of them all is the Body Balm.  I was told to put it in a spray bottle and spray it down my chest and back a pump or two when hot flashes hit, thanks the menopause trying to elbow its unwelcome self into my life.  The primary ingredient is Arnica Extract.  There are 12 secondary ingredients including Edelweiss extract, Chamomile extract and St. John’s Wort extract.  I can tell you that it is said to be awesome for bruises, sprains and stings.  My sister put it on  a blister and it was gone the next day.  And with regards to those hot flashes?  Cue the angels singing and warm light from above, it works!

I have now taken a total fascination into essential oils and aroma therapy.  The Anti Stress Activator has 15 various oils, and 2  drops gently rubbed behind my ears and on the nap of my neck and yes, the Marvelous one is chillaxed.  Mind crystal clear and R-E-L-A-X-E-D.  Fascinated is so understated.  Call it mind over matter, the stuff of witch doctors and snake oil salesman, but I’m here to tell you that it works.  This stuff is essentially amazing!   Should you decide to try out essential oils, be certain they are 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade or they lack the necessary strength to really be effective.

Posted in Writer's Workshop

Ermahgerd! Plaid!


What comes to mind when you think of the word, “plaid”?

Hmm..well first off those lovely, pleated PLAID skirts we wore in Catholic school when growing up,  and for one year of high school.  And of course now there is the kinky side of it, as an adult, because many men like their female to dress up as a naughty school girl for them.  Makes me wonder at times about the psychological implications of that, but then let’s not go there.  I wasn’t a big fan of the skirts back when I had to wear them, though I’ll admit it was very easy to figure out what to wear to school each day…the plaid uniform skirt, white blouse, white knee socks, and a blue or green sweater depending on the colors in the skirt.  Still not seeing what is so sexy about that.

Next on the list is Christmas!  Whenever I see plaid in green, red, black and gold, I think the holidays for some reason.  Ribbon, table runners, all sorts of things during the holidays that are plaid in those colors start popping up around Christmas.  I love it.

I also think of my son, wearing his plaid when playing the bagpipes.  Since he was just 12 years old he has played the pipes with first our local Sheriff’s department band, and then the Cincinnati Emerald Society.  He is quite good, and I was always quite proud of him.  He has been known to pick them up at any Irish  pub he happens to be in and just play, like he plays them daily, which makes my brother slightly sick because it seems most folks have to practice.

My son playing on St. Patrick’s Day (his personal holiday he claims, as he has a big chunk of Irish in his genetic makeup) a number of years back.

My son a number of years ago when he played with the Sheriff’s dept. band

Then I think of my brother, who also plays the pipes now, with the Cincinnati Emerald Society.  He too is rather talented, and I love seeing him in parades and at events playing, as somewhere in us is decent size splash of Irish genes, enough to give us all a doozie of a temper when mixed with our German and Hungarian blood.

Baby brother with his pipes

Which leads me to nearly 10 years ago on my 40th birthday when my entire family met for dinner to celebrate with me.  It was wacky fun, and as we were leaving there were drive-by silly string attacks on each other in the parking lot while my son and brother are tailgating with the bagpipes.  Bet no one there that day imagined they’d see anything like this goofy bunch!

This year on St. Patrick’s Day, my son’s official, personal holiday, he married the love of his life.   I had hoped he would dress in his kilt but he opted for a tux.  However they did have a piper at the wedding and reception, a long time friend of his from clear back to 12 years old when he first started playing in the Sheriff’s band.  During the reception the piper spoke for a minute about my son, then handed him the pipes so we got to hear him play at least!  The wedding is probably my happiest ‘plaid’ thought to date!

My son clowning around before his wedding.


The piper leading the wedding party from the ceremony down the street to the reception.


My son playing his buddy’s pipes at the reception.

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This post was written for Mama Kat’s World Famous Writer’s Workshop:

Mama’s Losin’ It