Minimalism – What is it?

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. As always, I thank you for stopping by and spending a few of your moments here with me. I have always maintained that the most precious thing we have, is our moments. Once they are spent, they are gone. So I appreciate you. And I mean that.

Remember always……you are enough. You always have been, you always will be.

I was out visiting my son a couple of years ago, in Denver, and he suggested a Netflix show. Honestly? It didn’t sound too interesting to me, but I trust my son and went with it. Minimalism. What the heck was minimalism and what was I about to spend my next who knows how many moments on? He told me “think you’re really gonna like this one mom”. Trust took over. Cue up the show. Get comfy. Press play.

The opinions in this blog are simply my own. Just how I choose to live my life. No more and no less. Keep an open mind!

Little did I realize my life was about to change.

This documentary touched on so many things I believe in. Primarily consumerism. The rat race. The hectic race to get to nowhere. The thought that when we get that house we can be happy. When we get that raise then all will be well. When I can afford that new car life will be better. Keeping up with the insanity of fashion that is programmed through advertising and social media to change literally every seven days. So good luck keeping up with that. We need to afford better food, a nicer garden, a club membership, new furniture, the latest makeup break through, that new work out program, that vacation way over THERE. Bigger and better. Keep up! Keep up! Don’t be left behind! Keep the hell UP!

Exhausting. And what is it all for? You work hard, get the house, the car, the membership, the wardrobe, wearing the latest makeup, going on the vacation that you are too exhausted to enjoy, freak out at the balance on your credit card, and repeat. By this time, the newer versions of your car are advertised, the fashion has changed and your closet is outdated, the makeup is taking up enormous room in your bathroom, and the race……..the race continues. You see? It’s created that way. To be an ongoing race. So that we are made to believe we need more. We deserve more. So we spend more. Get an extra credit card, I mean, we deserve it right?

Wrong…….so wrong.

img_1716Minimalism. A new concept for me. Living with less. What does that mean? I watched the Netflix documentary at least a dozen times. And it resonated with me in a big way. Why do we need so much “stuff”? Why is it that when I go into a store I come out with ten more things than I went in there for? Shrinking my life down sounded really good to me.

I had already given up my rented home, stored my belongings in a 10×10′ storage unit, gave my car to my son, took a job traveling to different locations (mostly outlying as I like to treat the poor and homeless), they put me up with somewhere safe to live, and a rental car to commute back and forth to work. So I felt after learning more about minimalism, I had a good start without  even realizing that was what I was doing. The next big thing I did was get rid of every single recurrent payment, membership, and bill I possibly could. I cancelled my makeup monthly deliveries (most of it I was giving away or using once and it found its home under the bathroom counter) cancelled Netflix, gym membership, several other monthly memberships I had myself convinced I “deserved”. Everything. I am proud to say the only bills I have now is a cell phone bill, my storage bill, and the IRS (thats another blog, don’t get me started on how corrupt the American IRS is……..)

So? It began. I started really thinking about what I NEEDED. Different concept. I started with the concept of going through almost everything, every little thing, and ask myself “will I use this in the next 30 days?” If the answer was honestly “No” I put it in a box. What was left I asked “will I use this in the next 90 days?” Again, if the answer was “No” I put it in the box. Everything that was boxed was either sold, given away to charity or pitched out. And I mean I went through everything. My clothes, makeup, books, (bought a Kindle and store all my books on it) personal items, everything down to my sock drawer. Do I really need a full drawer of socks? Nope. I kept my four favorite pair, the rest went.

After that I did “30 in 30”. On the first, I got rid of one thing. Perhaps a pencil or a pen. On day two I got rid of two things. And so on. It got pretty difficult after the 20th. But I finished the month.

The next thing I did was pack up like I was moving. By this time, I’m traveling and living in each location for 3-6 months. I packed like I was moving. I didn’t realize how much crap I brought with me! I packed everything. And I took out what I needed. After 30 days if I didn’t wear it, use it, or need it. It got donated. I have to be honest and say that parting with some items was difficult. But not impossible.

Now what is the purpose in this. I will tell you. I learned that there is an ocean of difference between “want” and “need”. I don’t need eight coffee cups. I don’t need twelve pair of jeans. I don’t need fourteen boxes of stationary and forty pens. My life has been recreated to have what I need. And every item I have I love. Everything. Down to my coffee cup. My shoes. Every outfit. My limited make up collection that I actually USE. For me? I feel free.

I buy what I need at the store. I use what I have. I don’t have “fluff”. And so what has this done for me?

No debt.

Lots of money at the end of the month instead of too much month at the end of the money.

Ability to help my kids, with life, with extras, with whatever.

I can travel. To those far away places, enjoy every moment. As Im not spending time figuring out budgets and payments and cleaning dishes and putting stuff away etc etc. I am going to be able to take my daughter to Greece for two weeks in December. Who would have thoughts a single mom could travel like that?

I have more time for me. That down time. That Me time. It’s always there. Because I’m not spending my time with clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. It has shrunk down to a crazy busy chaotic existence to a place of peace where I have time to choose. To invest. To spend the way my heart desires to.

I have learned that living with less is more. I realize this isn’t for everyone. But I’m so thankful for that day when my son mentioned some random documentary that I watched. And watched it again. It truly changed my life.

Im not a perfect Minimalist. There is no recipe or right or wrong way. It is simply a different way to think. To live. To use. And to step away a little bit from consumerism and its hold on most of us.  It definitely is a process. But my journey is well on its way. I am planning on getting a Tiny House built. As I won’t need more than that and it will be perfect for my simple life, All I need is a place to write! When I travel I don’t buy a ton of trinkets but one postcard from every city I travel to. It will serve as great wallpaper for one of my walls in my tiny home. Call it a goal.

Highly recommend watching this. Netflix. They have books out as well. Worth the read for certain.

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No, I’m not crazy. Well……not that crazy! I have adopted a different way to live, and it is a beautiful thing. I hope you have been able to grab a pearl somewhere within this blog to save for yourself.

Until the next time……..be kind……always,

Polley93

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Paradigm Shift

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world.

This blog post will be a little different. No photos, or trips, or any of the other random things I post about.

Let me tell you a story.

A man climbed onto the train to finally go home after a completely exhausting and discouraging work day.  He slumped onto an empty seat on a primarily empty train. He didn’t realize he was heading home so late, Good God the wife won’t be happy, as he never called to let her know. He settled in, as settled in as you could get on a train, and anticipated the hour commute home. He had no thankful bone in his body. He grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket only to see he had 4% battery left. Perfect. He tucked it into his worn and weathered briefcase, next to the four packages of sweets he reluctantly bought from one of his colleagues, which he internally was NOT happy about. Who does that? Sells useless crap at work that you feel obligated to buy as you don’t want to be THAT one. He could have spent that money on a hundred different things. He looked out the window, as the sky darkened and it started to pour. Can this day get any worse? Leave a job where you are unappreciated, with a briefcase full of sugar that he never even wanted, to a cold dinner and an angry wife in the pouring rain.

The train stopped and he was startled by loud singing, and not even GOOD singing, at loud and awkward laughter and the train doors opened. They opened to let four little children run SCREAMING onto this train. His train. His empty train car that he had to himself to wallow in his well deserved self-pity. The children seated themselves in random seats, not even together. They were disheveled and unkempt, almost dirty. They could all use a good scrubbing! The youngest little girl had matted hair in the back and he wasn’t altogether sure it wasn’t gum!  And a very tired stranger. sat down in the seats opposite of the man. The children were throwing things and singing that damn song! They would screech out words and then at the loudest and highest parts, they would all be quiet for eight, nine, ten beats and then continue on. The noise to his aching Brain was almost intolerable. They repeated the song over and over. How could this tired looking  stranger allow his children to behave in this ill manner? Wasn’t he going to say something? The man shifted in his seat and made an obviously disgusted groan that got the tired strangers attention.

The tired stranger leaned in and quietly said,

“Excuse me sir, I apologize for my children, and the noise. I’m sure you didn’t expect this on your trip.” You bet I most certainly did not, the man thought in his head and felt he was about to pop off and give this gent a piece of his mind. Seriously! He had a horrible day and just wanted a quiet commute home! Was that too much to ask? But the stranger continued.

“You see, their mother has been very ill. We have been at the hospital for five straight days, and she passed away this evening. The last thing my wife said to them is “Never forget to play. Never forget to sing. Never forget to sing our song. I will always be singing my part right along with you, even if you can’t hear me, I will be singing”

“So you see. They are just doing what their mother asked. A little loud I realize, but they are doing the best they can.”

The man almost choked on the tears that he felt streaming down his face. He looked down feeling very selfish. He slowly looked up at the children. They looked different. now. They looked tired. They looked sad. They sang that song, and they let their mother sing her part. They were coping, and doing the best they could in a situation they did not understand. The song was no longer loud and irritating. Instead it sounded like grief.

His stop came. He reached down in his brief case and handed the man the four packages of sweets that not only an hour ago were another reason to wallow in self-pity. The children all thanked him for the sweets as he went toward the door of the train. Before he left the little girl, with the gum in her hair, hugged his leg, and smiled faintly.

He was  never so glad to have bought sweets in his life. He looked forward to a cold dinner. The rain felt cool and cleansing now. He would hug his wife and say he was sorry and be so very thankful she would be waiting there in their little house on the corner. Oh so very thankful.

Paradigm Shift.  A fundamental change in underlying assumptions. Walking a mile in another’s shoes. Viewing from the other side of the line. A new view.

It can change everything.  So before you believe you have it all figured out. Before you judge a situation, an event, a person, I hope you will remember this story. Remember how in a split second, the whole understanding can be changed, altered, improved.

We ALL have a story.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Networking & Friendships for Bloggers – Follow Up Friday!

Greetings and welcome to Follow Up Friday!

Two weeks ago both @RachaelHope90 and myself reached out with a Networking idea. A way to connect, learn, grow, and promote. A “Follow Train” that doesn’t move only to get lost in the twitter feed. Something that will stay here and keep growing. Leave your name, blog, and content description and join us! We grow stronger, wiser, and better bloggers by supporting each other!

Thank you to the following TEAM PLAYERS!! Who have already seen the value in this and have joined together to follow, support and promote each other.

T- ogether

E- veryone

A- chieves

M- ore

Here we go!!

Thank you to the following – The “founders” of our group! Make sure you give them all a follow, check out their blog, Comment and RETWEET!! And, of course, ADD YOURSELF!!

BECCA BLOGS IT OUT

http://www.beccablogsitout.com   “I blog mostly about parenting (I’m a twin mum) and mental health.

MY BEST FRIEND ADELINE

http://kindness-conpassion-and-coaching.com   “I’m Joan and I blog about all things positive – providing support and reassurance especially to those who may be facing mental health struggles.

RACHAEL HOPE

I’m Rachael and I write about blogging and social media tips! I also design notebooks and such.  https://rachaelhope.co.uk

LEE

HI, My name is Lee and my blog talks about my journey with Mental Health. I have been living with Anxiety and Emetophobia for 11 years and have learned how to accept it as a part of me. I hope to spread awareness, positivity and help others. http://www.worrynotdotblog.wordpress.com

STEWARTLUWAWA

My name is Stewart and my blog posts are all based on travel, lifestyle, mental health and general tips about life through my own experiences. https://www.stewartluwawa.com

JO

I’m Jo and I blog about all sorts at https://www.arosetintedworld.co.uk

NATALIE BATES

I’m a UK travel blogger, on a mission to visit all. 50 states of the US. http://www.backinamerica.co.uk

BRUTALLY HONEST BLOGGER

I blog about literally anything tbh. https://www.mranythinggoes.com

NIAMH R BLOGS

My blog started as a music/film blog for one of my uni modules but has evolved into a blog of all of my ideas to date. http://www.niamhrblogs.wordpress.com

FINDINGSATORIBLOG

I’m Astoria. I talk about my experiences with my mental illness and self help as well., http://www.findingsatoriblog.wordpress.com

LIFEATHOME

I am Sana. I mostly blog about self care and parenting. http://www.lifeathome.co.in

BEXA

I blog about crafts, creativeness, travel and lifestyle. http://www.hellobexa.com

POLLY THOMPSON

I am a midlife crisis survivor working my way through a bucket list and trying to sort my house so I can finally go traveling. https://www.pollyspad.blog/blog/

OUR CARPE DIEM

It is first and foremost a travel blog, but it also includes money stuff, blogging frustrations and a side of multiple sclerosis. http://www.ourcarpediem.com

NANCY MULLIGAN

I’m Nancy and my blog challenges you to grow thru self awareness and daily challenges. http://www.myeverydaychallenges.com

ITSNADIANELSON

Ia write about my travels, food, life, photography and books. http://www.nadianelson,com

SCYLLATERMINUS

I’m Scylla. I primarily focus on philosophy, law, books and general musings. https://www.seeinginthetwilight.wordpress.com

HEALTHYABSBLOG

I write about food, fitness and lifestyle at http://www.healthyabsblog.wordpress.com

SAMANTHA WRIGHT

I’m Samantha, and I post about anything and everything that I can. I like writing about my tinder tales and dating dilemmas! http://www.somesilverlinings.blogspot.com

And again, I encourage you to join us. Leave you info in the comments.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Networking & Friendships for Bloggers

Greetings And Welcome!

I have been asked by the exceptional Rachael (@RachaelHope90) to share in the endeavor of helping our fellow bloggers to Network, build friendships, and help each other grow.

Let’s face it, we are all busy. I love the Twitter follow trains. You can meet new bloggers, make new friends, I mean, it’s really pretty awesome. But for me, it’s ten minutes later, I can’t find the thread again, frustration ensues. (But I will always try!) With the pockets of time that I have, some things don’t work out too well for. me. I am not one of those lucky enough to be a full time blogger, or be able to be at home.   I have to fit my blog in where I can and do my best. I am managing to post three times per week and it is definitely a challenge!

Enter……a Networking Idea. We ALL need to network. Whether we are blogging for fun, for profit, for creative or social reasons. You try to do it alone? Good luck! WE NEED EACH OTHER! So enter this “Networking and Friendships for Bloggers”…..

This is sort of like a “Follow Train”, however, the train is parked at the station and it is easy to find! How it works:

Leave a comment with the link to your blog and a brief description of your content. Let’s build this together and help each other! I will share this weekly, as it is bound to grow. When you have done that, be sure to check out the other bloggers that have commented as well. Read their content, leave some love. THIS is how blogging grows! I will market this weekly, with my infamous Retweet obsession!

 

THE POWER OF THE COMMENT AND THE RETWEET

I put significant time every single day here on Twitter to read blogs, follow, leave comments and especially Retweet. Spending the time to read someones blog and leave a comment is by far the best part of blogging. That someone is reading what you have created! Comment often my friends. Comment often.

By Retweeting the material that you have read gets shared with your followers, if it gets RT’d again, it gets shared with all of their followers and so forth. This is the secret to growth. Retweeting. I see a million likes compared to Retweets. Retweet!! Retweet! This is the key!

So, leave your comment, with your information so that I can help get the word out there in Blogger-land and we can successfully grow together, get to know each other, and move forward together!

Until next time………be kind………always,

Polley93

My Undying Fascination with Trees

Greetings! And thank you for spending some of your moments here with me in my little corner of the world. Seriously, thank you!

My fascination with trees. Not sure where it started, but I do remember being on Bourne Park, in Ipswich Suffolk, and there was this one tree. I remember even as a little girl, I would have to touch it. Once on the way in, once on the way out. I have always been attracted to trees. They are majestic, living creatures. I have always wondered the stories they save. Everything about trees is fascinating to me.

So this is my blog post on the random subject of trees. I always photograph them (along with other random subjects such as keyholes, locks, doors, bridges and gates…….) All photos on this blog are mine. Some I can’t even remember where I took them but as memories creep in, I will post what I can recall. Each grouping of photos is preceded by a quote, another one of my random collections.

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” (Warren Buffett)

Photo on left is my dad, on one of his and mums summer adventures. The one on rat right is my son Joe, on his hammock somewhere near Flagstaff Az.

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. “(Robert H. Schuller)

This is one of my favorite photos, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. It was in Yellowstone Park, one of the seasons first snows.

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“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves not the breeze of a morning the flutters the leaves, but is own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

All these were taken at Sequoia National Park in Western California. I went twice in six months as I found it surreal.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.”  (Albert Einstein)

(Left to right) Hwy 20 from Ukiah to The Coast in Northern California, next is same, sidewalk near Budapest, Hungary. The bottom two is some random drive on the California Coast.

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” (Chad Sugg)

Left is in Charleston, SC. The right is on the Cali/Oregon coastal walk.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now, “(Chinese Proverb)

Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Some forest I found. Sequoia, Sequoia and this was the tree I was talking about (bottom right) is in Bourne Park, in Ipswich

Random post I realize. Who writes an entire blog post about trees? I guess I do. Hope you got a smile or some small pearl you can take with you on your journey.

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

The South – Birthdays – Breakdowns – Beauty – Food and a Broken Arm

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. As always, I thank you for stopping by and sharing some time with me, it is truly appreciated. 

The South. I have never but driven through and it is one area of the US I would love to fully explore. My sister did her “Time Share Magic” as we have been trying to spend our birthday week together every year. Life gets hectic and we have purposed to spend this week together no matter what. I told her I didn’t care where we ended up, I can literally go anywhere for the first time and make it an adventure. She found an availability at Hilton Head, South Carolina and we decided to go to check out the Island, Charleston and Savannah Georgia. Mum *the little British gnome* was invited as well, so there you go. Girls trip!

Hilton Head

Our place was lovely, nice and big and water right outside the window. The island was easy to get around, very pretty and lo and behold, a couple we met last year on our Budapest trip lived there! So our stay included a quilting bizarre and a home cooked shrimp boil….southern style. We went to the water (pretty nippy that day but lovely!

We were there for a week, and I am not kidding when I say we had seafood literally every single day, combined with jambalaya. (Did I spell that right?) The food there was to die for and we could not get enough of it. Tried it all, then tried some more.

Exploring the Cities

I found the cities, especially the architecture to be fascinating. There was old mixed with new. The preservation was really exceptional. We took a trolley tour through Charleston and loved every minute of it.

Walking Through History – and a Major American Scar

This next part was very difficult for me. I am an empath, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with that, I will be posting about that soon along with the many challenges that come with. I tend to be drawn to historical sites, and walking in the footsteps of those who walked before me sometimes can be very emotional. Sometimes disturbing. Sometimes both. This one was both.

We visited a plantation. Now the antebellum south is extraordinary. It is truly “the south”. It is beautiful with trees that are etched with time and memory. The history of this place was in the breeze that would catch me off guard and stop me dead in my tracks. I broke out in silent tears, many times, not understanding why. I can only imagine that I stood in the same place as a child back in the day, or the same area that something inexcusable took place. I was surrounded by breathtaking beauty. It was everywhere. But my heart felt like a piece of lead in my chest. And I had a huge lump in my throat. I spent a good deal of time shaking. I got nauseated. Very. It was something out of my control. I stood in a few places where the feeling was so overwhelming, that I couldn’t move. I was thankful that I was separated from mum and sis. I’m not sure they would understand. This happens to me a lot.

The beauty in the place was obvious. You could smell the “old money” in this place. The mansion, was exactly that; a mansion. The entry road getting to the mansion was very long, and tall trees stood proudly, or perhaps sadly, I’m not sure which. I am sure those trees have stories to tell. They lined both sides of this road. I can only imagine the thousands of feet that walked on this road. The horses, the armies, the fancy carriages. The stuff you see in those movies. But this wasn’t a film set. This was real. Real shit happened here. A lot of it.

img_1148And the mansion stood proudly, perhaps arrogantly,  at the end of this long and very dramatic entry road. The photos don’t do it justice. It was large, ornate, preserved well, but definitely smelled of old southern money.

The grounds were gorgeous. The miles of green. The interesting footprints of history sprinkled throughout the endless walkways and stops along this wonderful property.

But with every positive, there is an equalizing negative. There is a forward and a backward. There is a winter to every summer. A north for every south. An ounce of love for every ounce of hate. And what I experienced next, truly shook me to the core. I get emotional again, trying to create this post and trying to do the next piece of this story justice. I fear that no matter how pure my intentions are, no matter what words I choose, it just won’t be enough.

It is one thing to read about slavery. We read books. We read blogs. We see marches. We see injustices. We listen and we learn, I hope anyway, that we learn. I have read many novels about that time. About this place. Being a white woman, it is impossible for me to understand. Impossible. I remember standing in the crowd eager to walk through this mansion. The original furnishings were inside. It defied reality. And reason. And I remember feeling physically ill over it, knowing what was outside just a few hundred yards away. It was hot and I felt ill. It felt smothering. Beautiful, yes. But I felt like I was being suffocated. Get me some air!!! I lasted one room, didn’t even get upstairs and had to get out. I just couldn’t breathe. My mind was filled with visions of fancy balls, and gorgeous dresses with hoops and food and drink for days. But my mind kept being pulled to the area a few hundred yards away.

I knew I had to go. I knew I had to see. I knew I had to walk through those doorways and FEEL the anguish and fear. The confusion and pain. But also the incredible sense of unity, of family, and of faith. All in the slave quarters.

The Slave Quarters

There is no way with my mere and lame verbiage, that I can do this experience the justice it deserves. I can only describe what I saw. What I felt. And how it affected me. That is all I can do.

The slave quarters were heart wrenching. Simple. Preserved. Disturbing. But real. I took my time. I walked up makeshift steps and crooked wooden doorways. I stood in the middle of one roomed “homes”. My eyes traveled slowly across the floors. Over the walls. I sat in the chairs. I looked at every little detail. Every one. And I walked through every single one. My fingers ran across the bricks. I felt the ghosts. They lingered in the air. Hung there like the heavy feeling you have in your head after a good cry.

I spent a lot of time here. Alone. I was separated from mum and sister. I cannot fully describe the cold and almost painful chill that repeatedly crawled up my spine. Simple is an understatement. It was bare minimal survival. I sat on one of the beds for what seemed like forever. I pictured too many people in this small cramped space. I imagined being thankful for something hot to eat, made in a big iron pot on an open fireplace. I imagined too many bodies cuddled on this rock hard bed I sat on covered by a blanket of some kind. I thought of winters where the bitter cold must have traveled through the ill-fitting wooden door. I thought of how safe this oddly comforting room probably felt to those that lived here. Perhaps died here. Bore babies here. Raised children here. It was safe in here. But not outside that door.

And a few hundred yards away. The endless food, and drink, and fancy ballroom dresses with hoops.

Warm tears, and lots of them, rolled down these cheeks of mine. I am not sure why I felt pangs of guilt. I have never been one to see color. I have always looked at heart. And character. So, this whole experience clashed with that. Just clashed. Like a ten car  pile up on the freeway.

I will not ever forget that day. Ever.

The Random South

Plenty of “random” in the south……with accents……..

Honesty and a Total Breakdown

I am not one to hide behind a curtain, and not every trip is rainbows and unicorns. It was my birthday and I just simply broke. Broke. Into a million pieces. I believe it was because of a few major life events over the past year and I just broke. Spent two days in bed. Felt hopeless. Cried two oceans worth. Didn’t eat. I worried my sister and mum so very much and for that I am very sorry. I got through it. Worked hard when I got home, and am happy to say I’m good. I did salvage the rest of the week. I guess life happens. Life happened.

And a Broken Arm.

I wish I had a great story for you. But I didn’t jump in front of the car to save the child. I didn’t save a kitten from a tree. And I didn’t slip on some amazing hike.

img_1229-1I tripped on a carpet. Yeah……that happened.

All in all, it was a great trip. Loved it for the most part. Learned a lot. Brought a few memories I will tuck away in my back pocket and keep forever. Our girls trip. We learned a lot about each other, some good, some bad, but all real. The bottom line here is family. You either are born with a good one, or you create your own, but it’s family.

FAMILY

And after just one week. The food, the quilting bizarre (me? at a quilting bizarre? Who would have thought that?) the coast, trolleys, a broken arm and a major emotional collapse, feeling ill at being white in a southern mansion, and spending quality time with the ghosts of my brothers and sisters of the past, we came home to this.

img_1242-1Daughter, dad, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, family friend, from 3 different cities, and we landed after 9pm, with signs and flowers and hugs all around.

Now THAT is what I call blessed!

Hope you enjoyed my post on the South. I didn’t expect it to be more than a week without work in a nice place, but came away a better person. And for that? I am truly thankful.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

Who Is Polley93?

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. I thank you so very much for visiting and spending some of your moments here with me.

I have become enamored with the blogging world and all the different personalities that share their stories. I particularly enjoy finding out about the actual author of the blog, to put a personality with the content. And with that realization, I thought it was time to introduce myself to those of you who choose to visit.

CHILDHOOD

I was raised in a Military family as my father served in the US Air Force and was stationed in England where he met my mother who is as British as they come. I spent my childhood going back and forth between the UK and the US. I was born in England and spent a lot of my childhood in Ipswich, Suffolk. I was in a different country or state every school year until I got to middle school. So I was raised very used to being in places temporarily. I believe this is why I have a serious case of “restless feet” and “wanderlust”. I have no issue picking up and going. I’m hoping to settle down one day. But that means a driveway and a mailbox ….. right?

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I am a mother of four, and raised them on my own for the better part of their childhood. When I divorced, they were 9, 10, 11 and 12 years old. Divorce is hard on children, no matter how peaceful you believed the divorce was. I believed in my heart I was doing the right thing. Sadly, their father resigned the responsibilities of parenting and I traveled the parenting world solo. My family truly is my passion, my children are grown and finding their own way in this crazy life. They are my true purpose for me having a place on this earth. I have remained single without regret.

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PROFESSION

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner by trade, comparable to a GP in the UK. I haven’t always been the girl in the white coat. I started as a basic nurse. And alongside of my children I educated myself and earned my bachelors, Masters, went to Med school and got about halfway through my PhD in Public Health. I worked nights in ICU and fit my classes in where I could. I am happy to say that all four of my kids are college educated through a lot of will, determination, and overtime.

An FNP is a complex career and sadly, our healthcare system is very fractured. I work in family practice and treat patients from birth to death, and every ailment you can imagine. A lot of Mental Illness, a subject near and dear to me, which deserves multiple posts of its own.

WHAT I LOVE

The #1 thing I love is to take off, to anywhere, for any reason. I love road trips, plane trips and train trips. I travel solo for the most part, as I have been single for more years than you would believe. By choice. I love love love being single!! I have a heavy work schedule, so I cannot travel full time like I would absolutely love to. I don’t see how so many do that! I do what I can and go where I can. I feel fortunate that I have been able to travel as much as I can at this point. I have an endless list of where I would like to go, I would have to live two lifetimes to be able to get to them all…….but I’m sure gonna try! There are posts here on this blog about some of the places I’ve gone if you’d like to scroll back…..

JUST SOME DETAILS

I love tulips and daffodils. I’m a Minimalist and gave up my rented home, most of my belongings, and my car and travel to wherever they send me to treat patients in need for 3-6 months at a time. (Hence, my blog name, “Life in a Suitcase” as yes….it’s literal) I have done this for several years now and can’t see myself doing anything else for awhile. I love basketball, March Madness and The OKC Thunder. I love writing, have aspirations to finish my first novel, and have fallen in love with blogging. England will always own a big chunk of my heart. I am a tea drinker, PGTips of course.  I have a wicked sense of. humor, spend most of my day laughing, mostly at myself, I practice self care as I have learned that the feeling when you break doesn’t feel good. My child within is alive and well, I love Winnie the Pooh, Bill and Ben, and my nickname has always been Tinkerbell. I have one tattoo, would love to get more. I love to teach, but I love to learn more. My driving force, and the thing I believe in most of all…..is kindness. And I do what I can, with what I have, where I am. One thing I do know…..is that kindness is contagious. And this world needs more of it.

I try to live with intention, and not just habit. I keep things as simple as they can be. I work hard, and when I’m off, I write, read, and sporadically take off in whatever direction is whispering my name at the time with my camera. I like a peaceful and calm life. I have seen enough turmoil and have dug myself out of more challenges and situations to fill up ten lifetimes……and so now I have learned to just slow it down and take a breath and appreciate all the life I have around me. In a nutshell, I am thankful.

Well, I feel a bit naked, but thought I would put a little of myself out there so you can know a bit about the person that authors the blog posts you read.

Until next time……be kind……..always,

Polley93

Top 10 Binge Worthy Shows

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. Here in my blog, you won’t find perfection here. What you WILL find however…..is real. Just me, my thoughts, opinions and experiences. Everything in this blog is my own, and if it’s not? I give credit where credit is due. At the end of the day…….I just do me.

With the advance of media and the plethora of streaming, downloading, and subscription services, watching shows that last seasons has completely changed. One no longer has to wait for your beloved show, to see what happens next and then wait an entire week to solve the cliff hanger you have been left with. We all have our “go to’s” for one reason or another and I definitely have mine. Life gets hectic at times, and I have never been the person who can do something every single Tuesday at seven o’clock. It is that afternoon I take for myself where I can binge to my hearts delight.

So…..here you go. My all time top ten binge watchable TV shows. Choose any one of the following list, and you can bet I have watched them through, from beginning to end, more than once.

 

#10 LUTHER

img_1697(2010) 16 Episodes (thus far)

A British cop show that my sister asked me to watch after several reminders! I’m so glad she won this battle! Idris Elba plays an emotionally impulsive detective that is tormented by a past and choices he has made which result in a cascade of consequences. You immediately fall in love with this detective as he is as human as can be and adds surprises around every corner. This is one cop show that you will never figure out, which makes it very addictive to watch.

#9 DOWNTON ABBEY

img_1689(2011)  Six Seasons

A British drama series featuring the Aristocratic Crawley family and their devoted domestic servants This is truly addicting as the character development is done so well  The viewer almost takes for granted that the rich would be the bad guys and the poor would be the good guys. But it truly comes down to character, as there is a mix on both sides. You come away feeling very attached and this alone keeps you watching. True historical events of the time are interwoven into the story

#8 THE SINNER

img_1700(2017) Six Episodes

This one was the dark horse of my ten. I wasn’t expecting this to be so intriguing but this was one time I truly set an alarm so I wouldn’t miss an episode, as there were only six. The beginning sequence sets the tone for an unbelievable and thought-provoking series. An obviously happy couple, with a young child, on a beach blanket on the shore. The woman, played by Jessica Bell, is carving up a piece of fruit, when al of a sudden she leaps up from the blanket, holding the knife, and attacks an unidentified man on a blanket about 20 feet ahead of them. She killed him. Over and out. Then the story begins There is no doubt who did it. She absolutely did. But the story here is WHY she did it. Intriguing and a very different take on a show such as this.

#7 SHARP OBJECTS

img_1696(2018) Eight Episodes

This was just on, and I literally just watched an all day marathon that was repeated on HBO. Wow. This is a total of eight episodes. Amy Adams plays a journalist who is asked by her editor to go back to her home town of Wind Gap Missouri to cover a story of a missing girl. There was a murder of a young girl four years prior and the question was were they connected. She obviously has some dysfunction and an extremely dysfunctional family. Without a spoiler alert, this covers so many important subjects, Mental Health, cutting, psych wards, healing, friendship, manipulation and deceit, the list goes on. You must find this and watch it. It has a lot to say. under a very dark story.

#6 BREAKING BAD

img_1699(2001-2013) Five Seasons

Walter White is a high school teacher, married with a disabled son and a baby on the way when he receives a diagnosis of terminal cancer. It is when Walter decides the he has to make as much money as he can to take care of his family before he gets to sick to work and eventually dies. He is a science teacher and hooks up with Jesse Pinkman who is portrayed somewhat as a loser. They decide to cook and sell Meth. This is a journey through right and wrong. The line between rational and irrational. Legal vs Illegal. Conscience and the lack thereof. It takes you on a journey justifying something that is socially unacceptable, but the writers are so good that you feel like you are on the side of the wrong doers. This is definitely worth the journey. Again, many underlying subjects that cause you to think.

#5 24

img_1695(2001-2010) Nine Seasons

Ahhhhh. Jack Bauer. Love him or hate him, Keifer Sutherland was the man in this long running show. This was a political show, a lot of action Jackson kind of stuff, sprinkled with relationships, good guys and bad guys. This show was truly different, as the entire show was in real-time, and each show covered one hour. Different story lines but all falling within the same hour. Was a very interesting way to watch a show. I found watching it when it was on weekly was very frustrating. But fast forward some years later? When I could binge watch it? You bet! I most certainly did.

#4 THE TUDORS

img_1688(2002) Four Seasons

This was the first show I have ever binge watched and I watched it with my mum (who I affectionately call my “little British gnome”…….we quickly became obsessed!) The story of King Henry VII who took the throne of England when he as an 18-year-old wild child. The four seasons cover his entire life, all of his wives, a few wars, and a wonderful period piece complete with the language, costumes and castles. I truly loved this and then there’s Jonathon Rhys Myers……..yeah……that.

#3 – LOST

img_1694(2004) Six Seasons

This series was in a word, brilliant. The premise of the story was a plane crash occurring on an island and the survivors.  Each of them has a past of mistakes or unresolved issues. There is so much hidden in this story it is unbelievable. There are bible references, Mythology, Magic to a mild degree, and so m any questions that linger just below the surface. To try to explain this is absolutely impossible. There have literally been books written about this and what it all. means. Life, death, afterlife, and do we really die at all? Very highly recommend.

#2 – DEREK

img_1687(2012) Three Seasons

Ricky Gervais. Love him or hate him, you can’t argue with his creative genius. He created this series from experiences and memories from his own childhood  The story is about Derek Noakes, an extremely simple man who works and stays in a nursing home. The staff is small and very connected. Derek loves animals, is nothing but kind all of the time, and his simple ways make very big statements. He thinks or speaks ill of no one, and he literally lives Kindness. This one truly touched my heart, have watched it several times, and highly recommend for any and all ages.

#1 – SONS OF ANARCHY

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Number one with a bullet! This is not something for the faint of heart. It can be violent, has sex scenes and definite language. Basically it covers the lives and lifestyle of a Motorcycle Gang in Northern California. The character development is done so well, and you are drawn in so deep to these characters, that you are always on their side, even though when you step away to think about it, they are doing some pretty bad stuff. The hero of the show is Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam, and the main characters are the love of his life, Tara (a Doctor and a love story about two being from opposite side of the tracks) his mother Gemma (don’t mess with Gemma……) and the rest of the gang that you get to know along the way.  Jax struggles with the good vs evil. Which one was he? The husband and father trying to do good, or the man embedded in the illegal activities, guns and bodies along the way. It takes seven seasons to answer that question. I won’t give any more away, some of it was difficult to watch, but in the end, it was truly the BEST binge watchable show I have ever seen, And if truth be told, I have watched it through, three times. yes, all seven seasons.

Do you agree? Disagree? What would be on your top ten? Leave your list in the comments!

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Suicide – Chester Bennington – And Linkin Park

Greetings and thank you for stopping by.

This is a tough one for me to write, and for many reasons. Suicide. One of those subjects that is not easy to face, accept, talk about, or understand. But it is. And it’s everywhere. It’s final. And leaves those of us left behind filled with questions, pain and a hole never to be filled. No closure. None.

Suicide is everywhere at epidemic proportions. It does not discriminate. The recent overwhelming press in Hollywood has been horrible, for sure. But it does bring something that is all too often silent, or taboo to talk about, on the forefront of conversation. Sometimes blessings come out of dark times. With Robin Williams, Anthony Bordein, Kate Spade, Chris Cornell, and my beloved Chester all being gone, suicide is in our faces  They all chose the method of hanging, which to me is very disturbing. Each of them was in the best part of their lives according to those around them. To anyone onlookers, each of them appeared to have a perfect life. But each had demons hidden within that overtook everything. Mental Illness in varying forms. They seemingly just got tired. Tired of the fight. Tired of the struggle. My heart physically hurts thinking about all of this. Thinking that there are tens and hundreds and thousands and millions of souls out there that struggle. That don’t have that Hollywood life and financial security. That feel they don’t have that voice. It’s overwhelming. But the change has to start somewhere. There just has to be a way. I won’t take no for an answer. I believe in the kindness of people. And I believe we can make a change. Make a dent in the madness.

Chester Bennington. The goofy looking frontman of the band Linkin Park with far too many tattoos and one of the. most recognizable voices in music history. You read any interview, comment or publication about him and it was always positive. He did much philanthropic work, as did the band, and was described as the “nicest guy” ever met. He loved his fans, fittingly called the Linkin Park family, made time for them, reached out to them. He was married, had six children and was adored by his family. He was open and honest, ALL the time, Especially with the tough subjects. He drew no lines. He talked about it all. You can research any of the thousands and thousands of public interviews he did, and he spoke of his struggle with Mental Illness with candor, honesty and grit. He wrote about it, sang about it, talked about it.

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Linkin Park. Broke records and had an International following that few bands have ever reached. I think I was such a fan because of the subject matter they continually wrote about and sang about. If you listen, a large majority of the band’s music is all about the struggle of Mental Illness. They somehow put words to what millions and millions felt every minute of every day. That, in itself, is remarkable. I believe this is the only band in my music junkie’s life, that I owned everything they put out. They gathered a worldwide following of misunderstood souls. Because, by listening to the lyrics of the majority of their music, they were connected. Someone understood. Someone “got it”.  Profound.

Chester suffered with diagnosed and severe depressive disorder and anxiety. He openly admitted his music and the brotherhood with his band was his therapy at times and a rock solid support system.Over the years he sought professional therapy and was medicated. He struggled off and on, mostly off, with alcohol, which is very common as it dulls the pain. At the time of his death, his life was at an all time high. He was appropriately medicated and in control. The band had just released a new album and was one week away from starting an international tour. His interviews were positive.  Disturbing  is that two days before he ended his life, he was on vacation with his family. He returned early to do an interview, and took his life when the family was away.

This is what Depression looks like. Then 48 hours later? He was gone.

img_1730What is the answer? I’m not sure the actual act of suicide can be actually prevented. AT that deciding moment. After the journey has gotten that far. The actual physical act. I think it comes way before that. It sounds too simple, I’m sure, but it comes with having a voice. To using your voice. To quit being silent. To know the signs. To educate ourselves. To cross the line of being politically correct and bring it up! Ask! Support! Be Present! Get active with an organization! As bloggers, invite someone to guest on your blog. Provide a platform, give someone a bigger voice. Share their story. Learn.

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Don’t be part of the problem, by scrolling past, by keeping quiet, by conveniently ignoring so you can pretend everything is ok. Remember, that love is a verb. It’s an action. Reach out. Send that text message. Write that letter. Ask that question. Keep inviting. Be present. BE THE CHANGE.

Chester Bennington. We never stood on the same carpet. But July 20, 2017 changed my life. I heard. I froze. I was one of those who took for granted he would keep making music and be around until hall of fame days. I could press play and hear his one of a kind voice and sing along to every word. And now he was gone. Forever. Just gone. I’m not sure I will ever truly get over this. As it makes no sense to my brain. He was just so…..Chester. Never to be replaced. I watched one of the last concerts he ever performed, it was in Germany, just a few weeks before he was gone, every night on my ipad for six months. No joke. I cannot even explain now why I did that. If you ask me, I couldn’t honestly answer.

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I’m not sure that I have done this whole post justice as I sit here with warm tears dripping down my cheeks. But I can tell you this. Because of this, and many like him, I have become a better person. I have stopped being silent. I have found my voice. And I am committed. I am the change. And you should be too.

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This is a journey. For all of us. Suicide is at an all time high. For all age groups, genders, races. One in four. One in FOUR. We all know four people. It is with my sincerest of heart that anyone that is reading this, will keep that number tattoo’d on your brain. FOUR. One in FOUR. We all know more than four people. BE THE CHANGE.

One of Linkin Park’s final songs both written and performed, kind of sums it up for me:

If they say who cares if one more light goes out?

In a sky of a million stars – it flickers, flickers

Who cares when someone’s time runs out?

If a moment is all we are, we’re quicker….quicker.

Who cares if one more light goes out?

Well……I do.

It is with a heavy heart that I sign off on this one. And from my heart to yours, thank you so much if  your eyes have read this far. I appreciate you.

I really need some comments on this one folks, please share.

FOUR.

Until next time…….be kind……always,

Polley93

 

 

 

 

 

Multnomah Falls, Portland

Greetings! And thank you for stopping by.

Waterfalls.

There is something purely magical about standing before a waterfall. The water just keeps coming and coming. You hear the power of it’s force. You smell the crispness of the air surrounding the spray. It’s Mother Nature at one of her finest moments. Oh yes, there is something special about a waterfall.

I have been fortunate enough to have been able to visit this waterfall three times in my life. Multnomah Falls, right outside of Portland Oregon. I suppose it takes about 45 minutes or so to drive to the area. The drive is gorgeous, but then again, its Oregon.

Its greener than green. Beautiful moss covers the tree trunks in blankets of calm. Birds chirp, and the sound of the waterfall surrounds everything and fills your soul. I simply love it there. It would be a perfect place to write if you could be there by yourself. Which is impossible……

This waterfall towers at 620 feet. It is the tallest in Oregon and second tallest in the United States.

Sending at the bottom and any doubt of the strength and force of Mother Nature disappears. It pounds like an earthly hammer from 620 feet above into the deep pool below. Fantastic to stand there!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to be in the Portland area, for any reason. Carve out the time to find this magnificent place. It is magical there, for many reasons. Make a point to go. You will not be sorry.

Until next time………be kind………always,

Polley93