Life... Health... Reviews...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Check out, a site that was created by moms, for moms, is an excellent resource for moms that is designed as a sort of online magazine. The site posts recipes, product reviews, giveaways, tips about deals, information about moms and their businesses, beauty and style information, and a myriad of other links and information. One of the best features about Mom Fuse is that they help to promote moms. Whether you have a business or just want to connect with other mom-run business and sites around the web, check out and judge for yourself.

No compensation was received for this post. It is a spark post I accepted from SocialSpark.

Finding, releasing fears

Getting to know, care for and better myself is an ongoing theme for me, but as I begin this new year I am determined to take serious stock of some of my "issues." To make a marked improvement in who I am as a woman. I'll delve into the negative, the positive, the scary... feelings, likes, dislikes, deep-seeded whatchamacallits and all of that. The result, I am hoping, will be the woman who I've always wanted to be and that will filter over into being the mother and being that ... well, that satisfies me. I'm not going to say to be a person that meets XYZ expectations or reaches some specific goal and I am going to avoid being too hard on myself. I think the self realization I'm seeking will improve my business, emotions, health, self esteem and my world as a whole.

One of the things that hit me in the face most recently is my fear of abandonment and rejection. Gosh, just telling that to someone else (like the whole entire virtual world) makes my heart thump. Of course no one likes that, but not everyone has a deep-seeded fear of it.

I guess beginning from the past and working up to the present would make this easier to relay: My father died when I was 10 years old so I think this was the event that unknowingly to me caused an unconscious fear. As a young adult, I was what I label as abandoned and eventually rejected by my first love. Repeatedly. (Dummy me.) I've also experienced sudden abandonment where I was seeing someone who one day told me he loved me and the very next day (no exaggeration) fell off the face of the earth.
Image was found at through Google Images

Note: Those are the only three instances I care to share. With 41 years behind me there isn't enough time, space or brain power to include every instance of rejection in my business and personal life. Trust me... they're are more. Unfortunately.

In each of those instances, I've experienced the most intense feelings of distress and loss. The pain of it runs so deep that my eyes still well with tears. In the last two circumstances, I went through anger that they would do that to me, grief that it happened, fear that something happened to them and back to grief. It's a weight and it's like I still pull it behind me to do this day.

The grief swirls around me and turns my uncertainty or displeasure in certain situations into fear of being abandoned. It isn't a strong feeling when, for example, my daughter goes out for most of the day leaving me to "fend" for myself or my best friends get busy with life and don't get a chance to talk to me. I have grown to trust them exponentially so I know that they won't just leave me... that does not - sometimes - alleviate the fear that something happened to them. But then I just know that my imagination is running wild and I send a text message or get a brief hello for comfort. Then I am okay. There are only about five people IRL, maybe less, who I trust not to just abandon me.

It becomes a problem when I meet someone new. Yea, a man. If we talk on the phone and maybe go out or something then I don't hear from him, I have to talk myself into not assuming I've been dumped or that he didn't like me. I have to remind myself that people get busy. No, they may not be with someone else or they may be with someone and it's okay. They probably weren't in a fatal accident and on and on and on.

I often joke that I need to take my imagination and brain power to finish writing my books. Put all of that energy into something constructive like organizing my home or painting a room. Well, although that might be true, I still have to address this. I'm addressing it within myself, but how do I address it with other people? The temporary abandonment of not calling me or checking on me causes me to shut down. It causes me stress. So, if they (for instance, the guy) call me back a week later or even a few days, I may not be as receptive. Protecting myself from the up and down emotions of my fears.

Does any of this make sense?

The walls I build around myself and around my heart specifically are firmly in place. The problem with that is when they're in place then there's no opening up, no revelations, no sharing of feelings or releasing and feeling love. Maybe I'm dealing with two entirely different situations: fear of rejection and abandonment and .... hmmm... something to do with love and feelings. I'll save that thought for another day. One thing at a time is all I can deal with.

So... don't you want to help me get over my fears? In that case, leave me a comment so I know you were here. (Yea, that was a dirty trick.) Thanks for listening to me ...

Making memories... replacement sofa bed mattresses

More than 18 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child I bought my very own sofa to put in my little dark apartment in Rome, New York. The couch, which was tan with cream and brown-colored threads intertwined in the material, was a sofa that pulled out into a full-sized bed. When I first bought it the mattress was surprisingly comfortable. It accommodated friends, family and even me when I gave up my bed for visitors. I thought it was so smart of me to buy a sofa bed - it was like a welcome mat to guests, whether expected or not, to stay, sleep and visit.

About 10 years into its existence the mattress of the sofa bed loss a little of its spring. Well, honestly, the flat thing was just uncomfortable. I had a couple of different tricks to plump it up a bit including using a mink blanket on top of it then covering that with the fitted sheet. It survived another five years - give or take. It probably would have survived a bit longer had I replaced the mattress with a Deluxe Sofa Bed Mattress with Memory Foam. has a memory foam sofa bed mattress that is designed to replace existing uncomfortable sofa bed mattresses.

The memory foam is said to cradle the body and relieve pressure points, and it doesn't look half bad either. It's cool to the touch and breathable, which definitely makes for comfortable relaxation. To top it off the company says, "You'll never feel that steel bar again."

I wish I still had my sofa bed today because I would definitely replace the mattress with one of the memory foam ones. It would also be a perfect solution to my not having a guest room. I miss the convenience of inviting friends and family to stay overnight and visit with us. Not only would the mattress save the memories, but we would too.

Contemplation, consideration

happy new year Pictures, Images and PhotosThere are about 30 minutes until January 2, 2010 is here (well, it'll probably be here by the time I finish writing this). Not only am I having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it's 2010, but I have a little brain battle going on. It's a condition that I have at the beginning of every new year, but I was hoping that this year would be different. I didn't think about it in advance. I didn't prepare for it and, for some reason, I didn't expect it. You see, I'm not that fond of New Year's Eve and New Year's day. I'm sure you're wondering why, but I'm not sure I want to share why. In my effort to be happy and positive by not thinking about my discontent I have almost forced myself into a state of irritation and discontent.

Isn't that crazy? It's just one day into the new year and I am ... Well, I am hesitant to use the word unhappy. Wait, I know: I'm dissatisfied. Yes, that's it. Dissatisfied with what? SIGH... Let's just say that I am. My thoughts of how I believe others should treat me or respond to me or be there for me or whatever it is is always sadly and most disappointingly lacking.

Moonlight thoughts... Pictures, Images and PhotosI guess one of the things I need to commit to doing this year is ensuring that my only expectation lies within myself. That whatever outside factors swirl around me they will not affect my mood, my thoughts, my ability to operate, create and focus. Whatever it is I will attempt to be in the moment, work through it in my brain and address it. Write it down, come up with a solution. What do I do when there isn't a solution? That's a great question. I can commit to not angrily ignoring whatever is bothering me and lurking just below the surface of my consciousness. I hope that whoever is most likely unknowingly contributing to my dissatisfaction will not be an issue for me. Uh, well I know what I mean. I think I'm talking and thinking around what's really bothering me. Trying to keep my true thoughts to myself  'cause even despite my habit of revealing my insides here at It's a woman's world there are still some things that I hold precious. Secret.

There are things that not everyone should know and when I want them to know there are ways that I don't want them to find out. Yea, think about that for a minute.

Rainbow Match Case Pictures, Images and PhotosI am pleased that I didn't let this - the feeling, the thoughts - take away from some of the things I wanted to do for myself today. I washed my hair, dried it and straightened it. I painted my toenails and piddled around on the Internet. I procrastinated some and didn't do any homework, but had a chance to veg on the couch, watch some tube and clear out some of my email.

There are still things hiding in the dark, there are thoughts reaching for the light and I'm hoping that the light leads to a rainbow, sunshine or stars... there is a battle within my brain that I think I can win. By the end of this year, I expect to have experienced change, growth, knowledge, peace, comfort, happiness and way more love than I've ever known. Oh, and I can't forget more money! All the things I wish for you.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about what I want to tell friends and family as the old year leaves and the new year arrives, but I can't seem to get it articulated. What? You think, a writer can't think of something to say? It's not the something; it's the feelings. I often have a difficult time expressing - or putting into words - my feelings. That seems to be a deeper part of me that I'm not always willing to tap into. The good thing is that as the year ends I have at least been touching those feelings within myself even though I may not express them.

This post is one of the ways I hope to express how much you all mean to me. It'll be specific and vague, it may be funny and corny, and it even may be sentimental. The most important thing to remember is it's not all encompassing. I also hope to write some actual personal letters and email them or mail them. But given the significance of this day, as an ending and the beginning being only hours away, I wanted to get this accomplished.

Dear Munchkin,
Having you as a daughter has been amazing. You have made me so proud and I love you with the very essence of my heart. As you merge into your adult life, go out on your own and explore everything the world has to offer you, I hope you reach your goals, embrace love, find peace and comfort as well as relax and enjoy your life. You've become more than my daughter; you are a true friend. Always remember my "lectures" and learn from mistakes; respect yourself; do your best, but don't be too hard on yourself; say no when you need to without guilt and live your life to the fullest. Here's to a wonderful new year of growth, opportunity, happiness, joy and all the silliness we're able to conjure up together and apart. I'm always here. For you. Forever. More love than you can imagine, Mommy!

Well Franklin... JFG,
What is there to say? Actually what isn't there to say? Twenty-three years is a long time. That's more than half of our lives and I must say I am glad you "bugged" me in our English class when I kept falling asleep. Thank you for always being there. For flying in to save us from rats. For helping me to celebrate birthdays when no one else was there. For listening to me yell about him, me, them... just for listening. For the flowers no one ever sends; for reminding me not to give up and even for getting on my nerves. LOL... couldn't resist that one. Thank you for saving me from myself and for believing in me when even I have given up. You deserve more love, happiness, joy, peace, compassion, giving, living, fun and non-dairy ice cream than you can ever know. May the new year bring you that and so much  more. Believe. Signed: Dear. :)

To the Scarecrow:
Since you are the most non-mushy person that I know this will be short. It was 22 years ago that I walked into your room in the barracks just because I saw someone in there that I knew and I haven't stopped bugging you yet. Thanks for putting up with me. :) Thanks for being a great dad to Amber. You are lifeline that I never want to lose and that I can never replace. From Guam to Alaska, Rome to Georgia and all around the world through Arizona and Mississippi, you have never forgotten about us. My wish for you is that you'll get your island so people can really leave you alone. ROFL! Smooches, just Pet.

Kell Bell,
You're the sister I've always wanted. It's funny how we're so much alike and so different, and I totally believe it was karma, God, the universe, kismet... whatever you want to call it, that brought us together. You're the aunt my children have never had, the family I always wished was near, you're a shoulder and an ear. We may not always agree, but that does not a relationship make. My heart goes out to you every time you're hurt, scared, angry and miserable... I hope in the new year you'll find the path you're supposed to follow and embrace it with joy, peace and happiness. May prosperity and love overflow in your life. Love and smooches, your sister. 

Ahhh MAH!
I am hopeful about the new, about ready to let go of the old, respecting your thoughts and ready to take hold. One day at a time, is all I need; here's to a New Year and planting new seeds.

Lin, PJ, Stacey, Liss, Shaunalynn, Heather, Valerie, Tammy, Tina, Renee, Don ... and everyone who slips my mind:
I have no idea what life would be like without my blogging buddies. You guys have kicked me in the pants, loved me, encouraged me, checked on me and been there for me virtually and IRL. You've made me laugh and cry... Two years ago, honestly, I felt a little hopeless. Not only has this blog fulfilled something that I love doing, but it's been a gathering place, a community and a family I never thought I would have. No matter where I am or where I go, I know I can click around and find you guys here. I see you at different sites, commenting on different blogs and read what goes on in your world. I'm thankful and pleased to have known you all. You're an inspiration to me. Thank you for your time, words and love! ~Petula

Happy New Year to my friends & family. Let's bring in the year with hope, love, peace, joy and prosperity. Here's to beginning anew, letting go of the old and feeling good while doing it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mental and physical health

I'm feeling a little tense and I have been for a few days now. Despite the immensely satisfying relaxation, goofing off and time spent with my oldest daughter, a few things have been lurking around in my mind. Plaguing my subconscious. Maybe getting them off of my chest will help.

  • Money issues including budget and bills.
  • Money issues including income.
  • Relationship thoughts including liking and not liking.
  • Relationship thoughts including wanting...
  • Home maintenance concerns.
  • Vehicle dilemmas.
  • Changes in the new year.
  • Self improvements.
  • Organizing, minimizing and efficiency of my home and processes.
  • Medical stuff.
Ahhh... medical stuff. Yes, this is my health and weight loss journal.

I normally post my health and weight loss journal on Tuesdays and if I don't get a chance to do it I save it for the next week. I'm not going to do that this time. I figure it's my blog (and my world: Check the name!) and I can do what I want to, right? Yup.

Today I had a follow up appointment with the GI, which I fondly call the tummy doctor (elementary, but effective), and my blood tests have not revealed anything new. One would say that is good news, right? Well, kind of. You see for quite a few years now they've been trying to figure out why my liver enzymes are elevated. Every once in awhile the levels go down some, but not to normal and then they rise again.

I've always posed the question, "What does this mean long term? I mean, I only have one liver."

No one has had an answer. The key may be in the lupus strain... uh, you know, the sjogren's disease, but they just aren't sure. So, today I had more blood work taken - a ton - and the request was put in for me to get a liver biopsy.

I actually said that to the doctor. Her response? It isn't.

The worse part, she said, was the actual numbing process. She explained the possible risks, which aren't pretty at all: Possible piercing of lung, excessive bleeding, extreme pain and accidental biopsy of gall bladder. Luckily, I don't have a gall bladder! It's an outpatient procedure and afterward I'll have to be monitored for four to six hours before I can be released. I consented to do it.

I think if it was a kidney or something, I may have passed. But this is such an unknown. The problem - so to speak - is this is somewhat of a last resort. If they don't find anything then I have a condition of an undetermined nature. I've had ultrasounds, tons and tons of blood work and a variety of other tests. It would be nice to have a reason, an explanation.

Maybe my chronic pain has something to do with my liver. Maybe the sjogren's is the problem. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe... Maybe one day I'll feel normal. More like be normal. Yes, that's it. Maybe one day I'll be normal. I'll wake up one day, fix myself breakfast and go about my day without popping five pills. I'll get through the rest of the day without the next three and before I go to bed I won't need the last four or so.

I won't have to worry what I'll feel like if I sit too long or stand too long or walk too long. There will be no looming threat of "attacks" or days of forced inactivity. There won't be any concern about whether I sleep well. I won't wonder if I'll fall asleep on my own or if my mood is because I forgot to take a pill. I won't have to think about what type of damage my stomach is enduring, or any of my other organs, as a result of all the medications. The mysterious pain in my thigh won't come and go, and I won't feel like I have to explain when I don't feel well just because I look just fine. I won't think that every twinge, every jab, every hurt has something to do with my liver, my fibro, my sjogren's.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not necessarily upset. I'm just... pensive? Frustrated? Concerned? I don't know what I am. I'd like to not have one other thing rolling around in my head that I have to think about, consider, schedule, concern myself with. Being a single mother of four children and a self-employed freelancer is enough to take up the majority of my brain power.

It's brain power I could be using to finish my books. Develop my inventions. Learn more effective marketing techniques. Work toward another degree. Get my feminine powers to work more effectively.

Yea, you read that correctly.

It's power that I can be using to come up with the ultimate and complete organization system for my home office that doesn't involve spending one thin dime. I know, wishful thinking.

Somehow something good has to come of this, right? Uh... right? Somehow this experience, my experiences, will make me a better person, help someone else, teach me something... I really want to think this is okay. Instead of the thought that this problem has already been determined the cause of my demise. Maybe not today. Tomorrow. Ten years. 50 years. But with it hanging over my head - looming high above - it's a knowledge I could do without.

So, yea, I'm getting it off of my chest. Sharing it with you here and hoping you understand where I'm coming from. Hoping that this release will lift the weight off my shoulders. Just for now. Today... Tonight, I can be normal.

Wordless Wednesday: What is it?

There's more Wordless Wednesday participants at 5 Minutes for Mom. Oh, and here's one of my most recent WW posts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stopping Male Hair Loss Early is Key

This is a sponsored guest post written by Louis Dobbs on behalf of Procerin for Men. Post powered by Sponzai.

    For many men, hair loss in an unfortunate fact of life. Whether you are going completely bald, or have just started to notice some thinning of your hairline, odds are good that you will be one of the nearly 65% of men that experience some loss of hair in their lives. For those of us with prematurely bald fathers or grandfathers, the future is even more bleak. Genetics plays a powerful role in a man’s susceptibility to hair loss, so if you have a family history of male pattern baldness early action is essential to keeping your hair.
     Scientists have known for over a decade that male hair loss is the result of a combination of genetics and the effects of di-hydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone. It is created when a chemical reaction mutates testosterone, and converts it into DHT. DHT latches on to receptors in the hair follicle, eventually killing it off and causing the hair to fall out. The higher the levels of DHT in the scalp, the more “under attack” your hair follicles are every day.
     If you want to save your hair, stopping the effects of DHT is your top priority. The active ingredients in Procerin for men work with your body chemistry to block the formation of DHT in the first place. Procerin provides a powerful 2-part approach to battling DHT-related hair loss with a daily capsule and a convenient topical foam. If you are concerned about losing your hair, you owe it to yourself to try out Procerin before it is too late. Procerin is available without a prescription and backed by a 90 day money back guarantee.

Rip up the checkbook!

Overall, I think I am a pretty bright individual. Above average intelligence. Mostly rational. Sort of level headed. Skilled in tricking small children. And seducing grown men. Uh, ahem!, did I say that? Able to leap tall words in a single bound.

But when it comes to balancing my checkbook, I feel like a complete idiot. I mean how hard is it to write down all of the transactions, pull out the little calculator and tally everything? Not hard, right? Then why does the calculator, the check registry and the bank statement ALWAYS say something different? Three different totals. Each.and.every.time. Okay, that's just a slight exaggeration.

This hasn't been a problem my entire life. When I opened up my first checking account at the tender age of 14 (when I got my first job in a library, of course), my checkbook always balanced effortlessly. Okay, well not so effortlessly. But my mommy would help me and all would be right with the world. In my late teens, I took on the task of figuring it out myself each month and it always totalled out. On the off chance it didn't, I drove to the local bank, sat down with the bank person and reviewed what I assumed was their error. Sometimes it was - well, one time - and sometimes (uh, mostly) it was mine.

This was back in the day when customer service really meant customer service. As a matter of fact, I remember the first time I went into a bank in the mid to late 90s and requested that type of assistance and the lady politely said, "We don't help you balance your checkbook or go over your statement."

Uh... okay. What if I think it's a bank error? Well, never mind. Not important. I digress.

If I were kidnapped and tortured to garner information from my overfilled brain, all the terrorist/kidnapper/bad guys would have to do is make me do math - with or without a calculator - and I would totally spill my guts. I would fall to the floor with snot dripping outta my nose, tears streaming down my face and scream the secrets at the top of my lungs ending with, "Please, please don't make me look at another calculation. I'll tell you everything!"

Deep breath.

None of this helps me get my checkbook balanced, does it? It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't so many transactions that I've let get behind over the course of this crazy month. Normally there are very few transactions, which makes it easy to keep up. I guess the multitude of transactions is a good thing, but I think I need a different approach to keeping track of my money.

Withdraw cash at the beginning of the month and insert in appropriate envelopes? Use a spreadsheet, some type of software, marry a millionaire?

I like that last one.

An-t-way, guess I better stop complaining about it and get to calculating. Eventually someone is going to want me to pay a bill and I refuse to rely on the bank's calculation 'cause they steal pennies. What? You didn't know?

Better keep a close eye on your account.

Luckily, everything is still in the green so I don't have to get too worried as of yet... I'm off to plan my next undercover mission. You know, children to trick and a man to seduce... damn, did I say that aloud again!?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Discount Jamaica vacation packages

One of my favorite places to travel to is Jamaica. I've been to Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and, of course, breezed through the towns getting from one place to another. I would not mind taking several more Jamaica vacations because I enjoyed it so much. There's something about the culture, the climate and the people that I can't get enough of.

Years ago I did quite a bit of travel writing, which afforded me the opportunity to see a variety of places, and I learned that the best - and most convenient - way to travel is to book all inclusive. When you choose an all-inclusive vacation package you don't have to worry about budgeting your food money from your souvenirs and activities money. You can decide everything up front before you arrive at your destination. With an all-inclusive package, you can choose the number of meals, activities and tours so the only thing you have to do when you arrive is participate and relax.

Choosing all inclusive family vacations is especially convenient when traveling as a family because there's no last-minute decisions about where you're going to eat and how you're going to pay for it. Most parents know that eating "off the cuff," or without planning, can result in going over your vacation budget by quite a bit of mullah.

An ideal, and highly popular, location to visit while in Jamaica is one of the Breezes resorts, which have several discount vacation packages available for travelers. It's a great deal for a magical location. For instance, the Breezes Grand Resort & Spa in Negril all-inclusive package includes: meals, late night snacks, drinks, entertainment, tips and gratuities, lots of land and water sport activities and much more.

Consider an all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica the next time you're planning a trip.

LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis.


Being good...

Did I ever mention to you that my three younger children went with their dad on Christmas Eve and won't return until this Thursday? Ahhh... well, let me tell you I have enjoyed the semi quiet. I say semi because I've parked my booty in the living room in front of the television for so many days. Now, I'm in the office, but I'm still managing to stay relaxed. No rushing before someone yells or wants something. No forgetting what I'm doing. Just a constant stream of activity (including my morning of watching a little boob tube) and getting the house in order for the New Year.

Today, I've stripped the linens in the children's room and threw them in the wash. I've begun getting all the boxes and things in order, and I am trying to regain control over my desk. I am organizing my errand to-do list and my oldest daughter and I will branch on into the cold, windy world before it gets too late. Off to the bank, searching for a laptop (still!), exchanging some jeans, stopping by a friend's then returning to continue the at-home work and freelance work.

Gotta keep the wheels turning, right?

See... I've been good.

I even did 30 minutes of yoga today. I know. I rock, right? LOL

Once I get a little more organized and get back in the swing of things I'll share some pictures of the holidays with you. We didn't take many, but I think what we did take are pretty cute.

For now, I'll let you enjoy the photographic skills of my 4-year-old daughter Amareah who received a VTech Kidizoom Camera for Christmas. Now I don't have to see her pouty face when I say she can't use mine.

She loves taking pictures and has quickly learned how to use a lot of the functions on the camera including adding design elements and playing the games. I've been talking to her about making sure it's clear and that she's not too close or if it doesn't look quite right then she can zoom in or zoom out. At one point she was trying to take a picture of me when I was sitting in front of a window. I said, "Can you see me?" At first she said yes then she said no. I told her, "Try standing over there. When you take a picture of someone in front of the window the light behind them shadows their face."

She took the picture from where I stated and smiled when she looked at the screen. "I did it."

A little while later I noticed her return to her original spot to take another picture of me. I think she snapped it then she says, "Oh, I have to stand over here." Off she went to find a spot where she could get a better shot. I've definitely got a budding artist on my hands. She also draws really well so I'm hoping that by encouraging her creativity... and not telling her to stop taking pictures of dolls (LOL)... that it's something she'll continue to enjoy. I think I may have to teach her a little "protocol;" I didn't realize the Barbie was half naked until I posted the picture and I also realize she needs some male dolls like Ken 'cause that picture looks weird to me. ROFL... When I said that my teenager just gave me a look -- to wish I still laughed.

Stay tuned for more stories and photos of the other children. Look out for Anna's photos 'cause she won't leave Amareah's camera alone and pictures of Andre transforming and fighting little good and bad guys.

Don't forget to leave a comment telling me about something fun or interesting that happened to you over the Christmas holiday. Have a great week.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Too much relaxing? ... Happy New Year!

This is the first time I've been on the computer in about two days! Can you believe it? I'm pretty proud of myself and only a bit behind, but at least I'm relaxed. Is there ever such a thing as too much relaxing? I don't think so... Especially since it's something I hardly ever do.

I stopped by here to wish you Happy Holidays and, if I forget, Happy New Year. May the end of your year be productive and the beginning of the New Year exciting, filled with hope and positive beyond your wildest imagination.

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