Living La Vida Fugal

I have been looking for a challenge these past few months, and on the weekends I have been dabbling in watercolor painting. Drawing and painting is one of those hobbies I did frequently, then lost and now I am slowly bringing it back. However, painting is not so much a challenge but a stress reliever.

I really need a challenge. I challenged myself to earn a Masters degree. Done. I challenged myself this past year to an Executive job offered to me, while taking care of my ill, dying father. Done, yet not a challenge I recommend.

Now what?

In the mornings while drinking coffee, I scroll through Pinterest. I usually don’t pay much attention to what I’m looking at, but it helps get me out of my morning grogginess. I came across a pin about how to live frugal.

Ha! Yeah right. I was suckered into clicking it. I still laughed at what I was reading. Make your own laundry detergent it read. THAT’S not going to happen. But some things were interesting. Budgeting for a waste free menu plan, cutting back on certain expenses like lattes. We make our own coffee and have been for years. Cut cable. Already did this over 8 years ago. No T.V. for us. Little did I realize, most of what was recommended, my husband and I were already doing.

So what could I do to cut more? New challenge!

I looked at all of my expenses and thought most of my expense was food and beauty products. Oh Lordy this is going to be a tough challenge.

Step 1, biggest challenge heartbreak, no more wine. I haven’t bought a bottle in almost a month and literally have saved over $60. Ok, it was a tough start but so far so good and that extra $60 is now sitting in investmests.

Step 2, cheaper shampoo. Well, it just so happened I was out of shampoo last week and headed to the store to buy more. Then I stopped myself and thought, well more like pep-talked myself, now Robin, do you really need that $30 shampoo? Thinking of my new self-frugal challenge I stopped off at the Dollar Tree. Go ahead, laugh it up, but as I walked the shampoo aisle, reading ingredients, in fear of my hair falling out, I came across a shampoo my Granny used. So I thought, well, if it was good for her, then so be it. I bought both shampoo and conditioner, $2. Not only was it Paraben free, but it was anti-frizz to help save these crazy locks of mine.

Well guess what? I LOVE this shampoo and conditioner AND it smells good! $28 I saved for the month goes right into my savings.

Now I’m almost obsessed. I haven’t bought make-up foundation. I’m using just powder for now. Savings of $30 but we’ll see how long this one lasts.

I bought a more inexpensive face cream, I felt like crying, and my husband laughed. He said, “You don’t need to spend $300 on face cream”. Sigh. I really don’t. So, I bought a 2 pack of Olay at Costco for $40. A savings of $260. Surprisingly, my face didn’t break out or fall off.

I am onto now the shop from our pantry for food ideas. This is really difficult but I am up for the challenge. Menu planning is not my gig but I will keep you posted!

Until next time…

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Art and Tears

I’ve been doing it a lot, you know. Thinking about my dad. I am burying myself in my art, practicing in watercolor rather than pastel.

My dad would have enjoyed my mini paintings. He loved to sketch, to build, to paint. Oh how I miss him.

August 8th will be the one year anniversary of his death. I can feel it. I haven’t felt well for a couple of weeks now. I have been nauseated, anxious. Could it be this? Or something else?

I had a panic attack early the other morning at work. My folder for Tuesday morning of things to do was thick and I cried. What the heck is going in? Stupidity. This is not me, I love the busy work.

Lately I feel as though I am being swallowed whole. I can’t explain it, nor can I figure it out. I’ve given up trying. I have dove into my art, exploring new possibilities, new media.

I miss working in pastels but my gosh, talk about messy. My husband would have a fit. So I am resorting to watercolor. It is easy to clean up and there is no dust for the dogs to walk through and track throughout the house.

But the truth? I love this! Look at these beautiful colors.

Image by Robin Moreau

I have started my Christmas cards.

Here is a sneak peek:

Image by Robin Moreau

They are all different. Sigh. I hope to get through the next month.

I know dad would not want me to worry. I can see him shaking his head.

Miss you dad, love you ❤

Salted Xanax

My body is hurting today and I’m frustrated. I’ve been aimlessly wandering around the house, knowingly that if I start the project I intended to do today, I will likely and regretfully pay for it Monday morning and that isn’t acceptable.

So I’m relaxing.

I have the munchies and grabbed a handful of salted peanuts, raisins and two pieces of swiss cheese. Despite the cheese, I’m suddenly in a rewind of life, back to the days when the elementary school required state testing.

I remember on those hot days, the teacher would pull back my pigtails, clip them together and I would anxiously wait for the long strip of paper and instructions on how to correctly fill in the tiny bubbles with my sharpened, number two pencil.

Each student would be given a small handful of salted peanuts and raisins in a tiny, paper medicine cup. Do that now and the school is likely to get sued.

Supposedly the mixture would assist the brain in maintaining some form of leveled “smart” balance to get us through the test. Not me, those tiny nuts and shriveled raisins were nothing more than an afternoon snack I looked forward to.

I never did well on those tests, I had horrible test anxiety. If the teacher would have provided a cocktail of nuts, raisins and maybe a salted Xanax or two, I might have passed.

I would meticulously linger in popping the little snack in my mouth, chewing slowly to ensure I would not run out of those tasty treats before I finished that gnarly, useless government provided exam questions.

But now? I sit here popping organic raisins, salted peanuts and swiss cheese, savoring each as to not over indulge in fear of gaining weight.

What a pay off into adulthood.

Image by Robin Moreau

Pretty Little Pills

If I had a dollar for every time I sneezed this past week I could retire.

Image by Robin Moreau

Thank goodness for these little pink pills. The only allergy medication that actually works for me. Although I aimlessly wander around like a lost buoy in the fog, at least I quit sneezing for a couple of hours. I would rather my brain be clouded with the attitude of a dodo bird than deal with the never ending sneezing and water faucet drippings of my ever-so-sore nose.

I should have invested in toilet paper companies. Forget kleenex companies. I need 2 ply, 150 feet of paper bliss.

This is how I roll.

No Brainer, Tiny Umbrella

I have been trying to read the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo for months. Since January. I have wanted to read it for years and I purchased it at a church book sale for $1.00.

Image by Robin Moreau

I am officially on vacation this week and it is well deserved. Not to toot my own horn, but this year has been a flurry of emotions. Just as I started my new job last July, my father became ill and passed away one month later, 4 days before my birthday in August. I had one month of training, and within that month, I was learning a new job, commuting and driving to my parent’s home before and after work, to help care for my dad as he transitioned to accepting his demise. One month on my job. I cannot believe I survived through it without falling ill myself with all of the stress. I believe most of my hair fell out.

I cannot get into this book. Les Miserables. As I soaked up the sun first day of vaca yesterday, with book in hand, my husband laughed and told me “good luck.” He knows. How dare he, thinking he knows me all too well. I laugh in the face of his mockery!

Ha, ha! Ha, HA-HA!

Vacation is a perfect opportunity to read this book. Honestly, I haven’t read a book since graduate school. I had to read so many chapters, study so much, and write hundreds of papers that I swore it would be months before I could read or write again.

It has been two years since I’ve picked up a book for pleasure. I was going to go for my doctorate but three more years of reading and writing papers at that moment would have been challenging. Too challenging to accept at the time. My husband said he wanted his wife back. And I am disappointed in myself for not being able to pick up a book in two years because I love reading. But I swear to howdy, when I start reading anything…ANYTHING, my eyes glaze over like a factory glazed donut gone wrong on the belt.

I swear to you, I am trying. I fight the battle with my eyes and wandering mind and turn to something that doesn’t require me to think or concentrate. How pathetic is that? Maybe it’s because my work is all mental? Writing and updating policies, managing, going to meetings, editing, communications, and budgeting/accounting. All brain work.

But my gosh, I am officially on vacation! What is the issue? My collegues asked, “where are you going?” And I indulged in a list of potential travel places. As I sit here this fine morning, honestly? I truly believe this will be a stay-cation. I need to relax this year. The last thing I want to do is plan. I plan all day at work. I don’t want to plan. Not plan a drive or ferry, hotel or whatever….no itinerary. Maybe just a couple of day trips. Maybe.

Image by Robin Moreau

The thought of going across the border sounds lovely, but the thought of soaking up sun in the comfort of my own backyard without hearing the bussling of other hotel guests sounds lovely.

I will add the element of an umbrella in my fruity drink. And wear my feathered slippers.

Now that my friends, is a vacation!

Image by Robin Moreau

The Panic of Aging

Random action yesterday morning at 4:30. After a cup of coffee I jumped out of my cozy bed, dressed and grabbed my tennis shoes. My dog, heard the door of the shoe closet and peaked her head around the corner.

She looked up at me.

She looked at my shoes.

She looked up at me, then back to my shoes.

I said, “come on!”

She was puzzled. Until I grabbed her harness. If she could have talked, I’m positive she would have said, “whaaaat? Are you serious? We never walk this early! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!!!!”

It was invigorating before a long day at work. Too much to do and by the time 3pm hits, my brain says, “okay I’m done” and my eyes start fogging over, lacking clarity, fuzzy. But I have another hour, I argue. But my brain doesn’t care. “Nope. We’re done. Go file or something.” I wonder if it would be different if I slept in later?

Today, the morning walk is not happening. My eyes are partially swollen from allergies, the dang cotton wood. My knees ache. It is intermittently raining. 2 more days. I just have to make it 2…More…Days.

Lately, age terrifies me. The little aches and random pains. The realization after a long walk, I am truly tired the next day, rather than invigorated. My memory not as sharp as it was.

I’m not old, but it is creeping up on me. And I don’t like it. I struggle between the “I don’t care anymore attitude” and shear panic. No in between.

And it’s only Thursday.

Restless Dreaming

Dreams seem to creep into my sleep without warning and significant meaning. I never can figure them out nor understand the reason behind their demise.

When I was a little girl, I had nightmares of tornadoes. And when the cloud cover would roll in, my panic button would set in. Many, many tornado nightmares. I had a good childhood.

Then there was the repeating dream. Where the clouds would come in and I’d hear a rumble so loud I had to cover my ears. A steam locomotive would zoom toward me and I would wake up before it neared too closely.

Strange dreams without significance, awakening in panic. Here is a shortened version of the many I have had:

My mother was hit by bus, time era was in the 1940s.

A Native man behind corn stalks on a very windy day watching me closely.

A kidnapper ripping babies arms and legs off and tossing them out car windows near my grandmother’s home.

Wolves at my front door snarling and viciously trying to get to me.

And the one last night….walking around Roseville Square, a shopping center. It was busy, such as a Friday evening. I had a sun dress on, the back end tucked up underneath me and my underwear around my knees. Walking around exposed and no one said a word to me. I was wandering. Wandering around without purpose. I gracefully straightened myself, and woke up.

I haven’t dreamt in a very long time. My dreams are rarely pleasant. They never make sense and some are violent, others straight up creepy.

From last night’s dream, another senseless one. I hope this won’t be a string of them for the next few nights. Because dreams suck the restful sleep out of me.

Image by Robin Moreau