Y2R Adventure 10: Adult Halloween Party

What I did:  Go with my husband to an Adults' Only Halloween Party

When I did it: Oct. 26, 2013

Notes:  Oh, were there all kinds of obstacles to overcome.

  • The transportation from the official hotel to the party fell through. 
  • We had to hire a taxi; the driver dropped us off at the wrong party.
  • We had to recall her, only to have her almost run over the parking attendant at our party's dropoff. 
  • Attendant delighted in sending us the wrong way. 
  • Our taxi bill TO the party was over $30, split with another couple. AND 
  • We ended up having to walk in another mile.
  • We almost got turned away because we couldn't "walk" in. 
  • We waited in a long line to get into the event because there were 2 happenings at this location.
  • Then it took a while for the party to really get started.
  • Our hotel's transportation back was nonexistent. We paid the whole fare back not to get puked on by all the sh#$faced attendees. (We'd only had 1 drink a piece. Not so for most people.)
  • As for the hotel, not our usual fare. 
  • The circus crew stayed at our hotel. 

The Takeaway/What I learned:   Getting TO the fun can take all the fun out of your adventure IF you let it. We decided to have fun anyway and make it worth the time and money we'd spent.

Do Again?:   No. 

Rant:  Don't assume the Official accommodations are in any way near the event that it's sponsoring it.

Rave:  We rocked it and we looked cool. 

Words of Wisdom:  Don't get so wasted that you don't know if you had a good time or not.


The party was part of the Kersey Valley Spookywoods attractions for Halloween. http://www.spookywoods.com/


Sickness Taught Me...

By New Year's Eve day, I felt all the energy and color drain out of me with each coughing, raspy breath in and on each gurgling, crackling exhale.

Not again, I thought to whomever was listening. I just got better. 

"Did you? Get better?" I heard in my head.


"So that's why we're here, again."

I picked up the phone and drove myself to the doctor's office. When she mentioned the cocktail of prescription drugs I'd be put on to knock out this lung infection/bronchitis so that it wouldn't turn into pneumonia, I almost said no, again. But what had the "healthier" route of antibiotics only gotten me?

They allowed me to push past my body's distress from the multiple sinus and ear infections and the broken toe to go on about my daily activities as if nothing was wrong. Less than 3 months later, I couldn't breathe.

"Fine," I told the doctor. "Whatever it takes to get better this time."

I have one dose left. Time to crank up the dial and make up for lost time...

But I can't do that again. My life has changed. I'm learning new metaphysical and spiritual things that require energy. I embrace my roles of wife, mother and individual roles that make life so blessed. I have chores and duties, but my priorities have to change. My health and wellness after my asthma diagnosis means I must change how I do things, to honor the extra labor involved in tending to breath as I go about my daily activities and find the optimal combination of medicine and exercise that I need to stay healthy for the long run. I can't do that if I'm off running blindly. Truthfully, I don't want to run the maze anymore.

Since I've scaled back to accommodate my illness, I have:

  • Meditated more
  • Breathed with intent
  • Appreciated more (being awake, breathing without coughing, hearing a little less muffled, reading between TV commercials without having to push my glasses on top of my head, thanks to my new progressive lenses I finally filled during my slow, pre-sick month)
  • Read more
  • Slept more
  • Played board games
  • Prayed more
  • Snuggled more
  • Let the housework go below my ideals
  • Said "No." more
  • Lightened up on "exercising" while moving my body in fun fresh ways
  • Culled out old habits, thoughts, patterns, clutter, books, etc. that no longer serve this current version of me
  • Written when compelled, instead of by a timetable
  • Listened to my kids' subtle clues/hints/daydreams
  • Watched movies, esp. feel-good and children's movies
  • Talked on the phone
  • Taken a bath
  • Used my good shower gels and scrubs
  • Said "I love you" to many people who wouldn't normally hear it
  • Eaten more whole foods (I've never craved boiled eggs, until now.)
  • Cooked from scratch as soon as I could stand steadily on my feet.
  • Made any day a celebratory day
  • Refused to accept things by default
It feels like I've aged considerably since my asthma diagnosis, which tells me something isn't quite working right yet. If I acknowledge the additional struggles, I can make it better; if not, I'll have these long episodes where I'll have to sit my life out. 

Now that I'm fully in my spiritual self (out of the psychic medium closet, you might say ;) ), I know my physical self will rebound. 

My sickness? I don't want it back. I will do whatever I can to prevent such sickness again, as long as it means honoring my body, but not at the expense of any other part of me. 

So there's my new year's resolution in a nutshell:  

Be the best me I can, physically within the limits my health puts on me while allowing spirit to draw me closer to those things that fill me with passion, life, love and vitality.

May you, too, find those things in your life this year.

Donna, GodGirlGoth


Y2R Adventure 9: Wear a Bikini

What I did:  Wear a Bikini in Public

When I did it: While on vacation in Key West

Notes:  Even when I was skinny, I didn't wear a bikini. So although this picture is not flattering, it took a tremendous amount of willpower to get me to put on the bikini instead of the one-piece, take off the cover up, paddle in the illuminated group wearing nothing but my bikini (most had on normal clothes--shorts, tees, etc.) let my hubby snap this shot for this blog and post me in a barer state. 

The Takeaway/What I learned:   Really, we all have body issues. Be thankful your body works and you can move freely if you can.

Do Again?:  I'll try. I would like to buff up first.

Rant:  I wish I hadn't set this as a goal. 

Rave:  The freedom from other's expectations and my own felt good.

Words of Wisdom:  Get over it. Not even the celebs have knockout bodies without PhotoShop.


Wednesday Wisdom - Good Housekeeping

A roundup of science, tips and hints to make your life easier/better.

December 2013 Issue

Good Housekeeping, December 2013

  1. Select a target range for weight loss, not a specific number. (Page 75) "People setting 'high-low' goals were more likely to stick to their diets than those chasing a single digit."
  2. Work your optimism muscles. Optimistic people "tended to have higher (good) HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides, a risky form of fat in the blood." (Page 80)
  3. Hard luck family stories are good for us. "They let us know where we came from and reassure us that we have the ability to survive and thrive despite the fact that life is hard and people sometimes disappoint you," says Janet Simmons Claytor (page 88.)
  4. Fill in the gaps in your family's history using the scale at goodhousekeeping.com/20-questions (Page 95).
  5. Start shopping for Christmas and birthdays NOW! "The earlier you begin your shopping, the less you're likely to spend," approximately $250. (Page 111)

So, do you like Wednesday's Wisdom column? Let me know in the comments and tune in weekly for more. 


Delicious, Nutritious - Quinoa, Oat Pumpkin Porridge

I tore the original 5 Ingredient Recipe for Crockpot Maple Sweet Potato Oatmeal from Working Mother Magazine and modified it for what I had on hand.

I had a few problems.

  1. First, I didn't have enough steel-cut oatmeal to make the original recipe. Then, I wanted to double it for my bigger crockpot so that I'd minimize the potential burning of a too-shallow pot and have leftovers for another day.  
  2. I didn't have regular milk in the house. 
  3. I didn't want to peel a sweet potato.
  4. All 4 cans of canned pumpkin from my mom had spoiled. 
  1. I needed something that took a loooong time to cook so that it would stand up to the 8 overnight hours. Note:  I don't like mushy things like oatmeal; I eat it because it's good for me. I chose quinoa for its long cooking time and its high nutritional value.
  2. I had Carnation Evaporated milk, Silk Almond Milk and Land O'Lakes Low-Fat Half & Half.
  3. I had a can of Libby's Pure Pumpkin.
  4. Trashed it all and took it outside before I barfed. Must sanitize the jars today. I must say I've never known any of my mom's canned stuff to go bad like this. A bad batch, I guess. 
I am an amateur crockpot cook, because of stated dislike of mushy things. Still, the convenience appeals to me, especially when I can send everyone off with a hot, healthy meal. 

Here's the recipe & approximate measurements. Enjoy!

Crockpot Quinoa, Oat and Pumpkin Porridge 
(approximate-I'm that kind of cook)

2 cups total of quinoa and/or steel-cut oats 
1 can of Libby's Pure Pumpkin 
1 can Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups of Silk Almond Milk or regular milk
1/2 cup of low-fat Half-and-Half 
2 cups of water
1/4 -1/2 cup 100% maple syrup 
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Additional Nutritional Add-Ins:
Flax seed

Grease inside of crockpot with coconut or other oil. Add liquids and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to make sure everything is mixed well, cover and cook on low overnight for 8 hours. The edges should turn crisp, but not burn. 

Top with nuts, bananas, apples, honey, Craisins, flax seed meal, more cinnamon, etc. 

We topped it with Butterscotch Sauce, made from Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book, leftover from ice cream night.


Puzzle Peace & Tips

It takes planning, persistence and attention to detail to solve the bigger puzzles. Here are my best tips so you'll have fun.

  1. If it's been a while, start with a 200 pics puzzle. You should be able to choose a puzzle this size that has enough detail and an interesting picture to work with. 
  2. Pick a picture that you'd like to see in more detail. The finished puzzle is like the prize in the Cracker Jack box. You want to look forward to seeing it because if you get stuck, that's your motivation.
  3. First technical step: Separate the corner pieces from the interior ones. They're easier to see on the side without the picture.
    Can you find the 2 frame/side pieces quickly?
    **The exception: For puzzles of 1000+ pieces, you probably want to quick sort into the lid to find the serious/framing pieces. Then take the time to double-check and right pieces that aren't picture-side up. 
  4. Spread out. A yoga mat can serve several functions:
  • The sticky, smooth texture that will help keep puzzle pieces from falling to the floor and into obscurity.
  • The contrasting color can help with the puzzle's clarity and let you see mistakes.
  • You can roll up the incomplete puzzle, rubber band both ends and put your work away until you can complete it.
    5.   Make puzzle time's quiet time, fun. Turn on the tunes. Grab a drink. Get a cushy chair and sit a spell. 

NOW, I'm over my head with a  2,000 pc puzzle. Please comment with your best tips to help me complete the NYC skyline, pre-9/11, before the summer. I can't even get the outer frame pieces to fit together!!


What I got from doing a 2000 piece puzzle:

Living in the country, with few neighbors and fewer playmates, I learned to play in solitude. Among word searches, seek and find puzzles, Pick-Up Sticks, etc., I fell in love with puzzles.

If you worked hard and consistently, your prize was...a pretty picture, a piece of art.

The frugal me loved that I had something pretty and tangible at the end of my endeavors. I could frame it or redo it another day.  My creative side needed the colors to survive the utilitarian factory and farming cultures; my attention-deficit brain needed the training so I could learn to finish something to completion.

Not much has changed.

Here's the evidence for why I should buy more puzzles.

  1. The time I spend putting a puzzle together is me time...although I might have converted my youngest son into a puzzle fan. I don't mind the company at all. :)
  2. I love working both sides of my brain at the same time.
  3. Claiming my working space declares this activity's importance, a skill that I need for bigger endeavors.
  4. I get to intimately learn a picture by sight and touch, a sensual pursuit.
  5. My young angels, or spirit guides, love it when I play.
  6. I believe many of my psychic and medium messages may come through during these quiet grounded times. I much prefer these times for spirit to come through, instead of disturbed sleep and standing on a stool to quiet the fire-alarm-in-the-middle-of-the-night messages I tend to get. Yes, beloved spirits, I'm listening. 
  7. Ravensburger Puzzles are high quality, sturdy works of art. (I have no affiliation, except I'm a huge fan. They make something for everyone.)
Now that I see the benefits of these small activities, I understand why I was forced off the "small business owner" path--I needed the quiet times to further me down the right path--> mine!

I'm giving this gargantuan puzzle 3 months to come together. Then it'll be time to order more, smaller puzzles. 

My current work-in-progress: a monster, 2000-piece Ravensburger puzzle


Y2R Adventure 8: Night Kayaking

Illuminated Standup Paddleboards

Fish below the boat
Casting Off from Ibis Bay 

Horseshoe crabs as seen thru clear kayak bottom

Crab, as seen thru clear kayak bottom

Crab, as seen thru clear kayak bottom

What I did: Go Kayaking at Night, in an Illuminated Kayak 

When I did it: October 6, 2013, while in the Keys on vacation


  • I am a nervous, beginner kayak. I think I've paddled maybe three times before. 
  • Night & water? No, usually. You know, Jaws, and that whole thing.
  • I was very sick on this whole trip. I almost didn't go across town for this adventure because I was so feverish.
  • These illuminated standup paddle boards and clear bottom, illuminated kayaks are very rare. Make it a must do when in the Key West area. 

The Takeaway/What I learned: 
 Then I decided that the cool air and the night diversion was the best medicine. I'm so glad I didn't let a setback keep me from experiencing this once in a lifetime adventure. I'm glad I pushed through.

Do Again?:  Absolutely.

Rant:  It's too far away to experience this beauty more often. 

Rave:  Maybe I'll try night kayaking in NC with spotlights & flashlights to see what's swimming around here.

Words of Wisdom:  If possible, push through any and all barricades to accomplish those lifelong dreams.


I challenge you to go have your own adventure this weekend!


"This too shall pass."

Biblical, right? No. Still, good advice.

I woke up tired. A restless night with the polar arctic winds blowing down our exhaust vent, flap, flap, flapping in all that cold air had cooled off our bathroom. Too much. The pipe running into the toilet seemed to be frozen.

Product of WeatherChannel.com

I hate water problems, more than you could ever know. A lifelong fear of water/drowning and the inestimable damage hidden water problems can cause wreak havoc on my peace. We'd suffered a water main brake that drained water back into our fully-renovated basement. We found out when we sent the kids down to clean the play room. Thank God--seriously, thank you, God!--that they weren't hurt, especially considering that the floating floor had floated up to the baseboards.

Seriously, I lost it. Not my proudest Mom moment.

So I hate water problems.


This morning was different.

The other bathrooms worked fine. That toilet actually flushed fine. We had heat in the whole house. Our vehicles started fine & the school gave the kids a two hour delay.

Every house has problems. Big ones, small ones; luxurious mansions, one room shacks. Green, environmentally friendly ones, old ones, new ones.

Nothing lasts forever. 

Not the good times nor the bad.

By this weekend, unlike most of the United States, we will be in the 50s. I will call in another insulator to try to seal up the crawl space better, especially around the pipes.

I took all the preventative measures I could take. I'd gotten the professional's opinions on the crawl space after we moved here. I did everything reasonable & realistic.

Things fail. Humans fail. We'll get back up again.

So while I wait for the pipe to thaw and the plumber to call, I'll take stock of all my blessings. Heat, food, family, love, better health, etc.  A true list should take me...all of forever. 

So on these cold days, bundle up in all your wonderful blessings and stay warm. And if you find yourself feeling "lack", ask for blessings on your life. 

Stay safe and warm. Do what you can and take care of the rest as best as you can.



Update:  2 plumbers have told me to wait it out and all should be well. If not, we'll deal with it then. Patience!


Happy New Year!!

I'm back.

2014 started off less than ideal:

  • I got sick on my hubby's NYE birthday.
  • I got sent for a chest x-ray after a doctor visit for the gurgling and crackling-fire sounds in my lungs and a nonstop coughing.
  • Luckily NOT pneumonia, but a bad, bad case of bronchitis.
  • So I didn't argue the 5 rxs to help my lungs recuperate.
  • I missed celebrating my hubby's birthday on any meaningful level.
  • I did stay up to ring in the new year watching the Unexplained Files with my youngest.
  • I had to shift the joint family birthday party from my house to elsewhere. Luckily, it worked so the celebration could go on...
  • without me.  I had to miss the party. I elected for a short, pity party, a long phone conversation, a good book, a long bath and at-home mani & pedi. 
Since I was on a narcotic cough medicine, I wasn't able to drive; I barely left my home because I was unsteady on my feet. 

I went through my cupboards while I was recuperating, in my eternal quest for decluttering and made quite a bit of progress. I have a box of magazines to take to the retirement home I've "adopted" and my kitchen organization has never been better.

Today, school started back. I dropped the cough syrup so I could walk and drive. I hit the store early for fresh groceries and walked the dog wearing my new heart monitor. As I suspected, the burning in my chest was not too high a heart rate, just another lovely side effect of asthma. So when I'm back to normal, I can play with my asthma meds so that I can get a great workout and get healthy once and for all!!

Best wishes to you in the new year.

May you start where you are and end up where you want. 

Love, GodGirlGoth 
(Let's get back to the adventures on my next post, shall we?)