Tag Archives: Blogger

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

Advertisements

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

img_1692

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.

img_1733

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.

img_1724

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.

img_1732

img_1731

img_1723

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.

img_1734-1

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling a Change in the Wind

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world.

Blog direction. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have seriously struggled with this. I started this blog back in 2014. It was truly hit and miss. I knew I loved photography, travel, impromptu road trips and writing. So that is where I started. It was mainly for my family and friends, had a few that read it, and I wasn’t consistent at all.

Fast forward a couple years.

I started my first book, again a little hit and miss. Much going on with my family and career and the blog wasn’t a priority. I did become more active on Twitter and found many Indie authors and I kind of “went to school” as I had no earthly clue what I was doing writing a book! I just knew I loved writing.

Fast forward again.

Now I am active on Twitter daily and committed to that end. I have also committed to my blog, as I love writing more than just about anything. I have re-energiazed my book and am focused on that again. I feel I have “grown up” so to speak and am ready to commit and see it to its completion. I’m thinking first draft should be sometime early next year, It really has become a labor of love, and somewhat of another child of mine.

As for my blog, I’ve heard about choosing a niche. Making it an income. I just know I love to write. I have thought long and hard about a niche. And up to this point, I cannot do that. I love writing, I am writing a book, I am passionate about Mental Health both for professional and personal reasons, I will always love travel, road trips, and my amateur photography, I am a busy healthcare provider with many opinions, and have an opinion, thought, or experience on just about everything.

So I suppose?

My “niche” is just doing me.

So my blog won’t be focused in one area. I had considered making a certain day a certain topic, but trashed that idea as I felt pressure and restraint. I have committed to blogging three times per week (if it doesn’t kill me) and the subjects will be what they are. I am also very passionate about supporting and promoting my fellow bloggers in this wonderful blogging world.

I have always believed that we all must be true to ourselves. And so I have decided my blog will be exactly that.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

Understanding the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. I thank you sincerely for visiting here and my hope is you can bring something away from your time away here to tuck away in your pocket. I call them Pearls. I am continually adding to my pearl necklace.

The subject being broached today is very near and dear to my heart, and for many reasons both personally and professionally. Mental Illness is everywhere. All around us. In those who we know are struggling and those who we don’t – as it is sometimes hidden so well. Mental Illness is a very broad subject with many pieces to it, all with their own symptoms, challenges, and specifics. But with all of these pieces, the struggle is real. It is relentless. It is sometimes non-ending.

It can also be deadly.

img_1676

The stigma that surrounds Mental Health Issues is world wide. What is stigma? Stigma in greek or latin, was a mark or brand, especially one that marked a person as inferior. When the word “Stigma” began to be used in English, it usually meant the kind of mark you cannot actually see. In our Current society, this stigma is everywhere. This silent “attitude” if you will held by those who have not either experienced anything like this themselves, or have not been close to someone that has. It is simply ignorance. A lack of information. A lack of knowledge. A fear of the unknown. A fear of asking or discovering. With some, it is just easy to ignore. After all, if you don’t acknowledge something, well then……it’s not real then, right?

img_1680

The above statistic should alarm anyone that reads it. One in FOUR. Do you have four friends? Do you work with four people? Do you ride the bus or train with four people? Do you have neighbors? Think about that above statistic. One in FOUR. Mental Illness does not discriminate. It can affect any gender or race or age group. A very alarming statistic is this:

From 2000-2016 the biggest increase in successful suicide incidence, related to Mental Illness, usually undiagnosed,  (by SIXTY PERCENT) is females between the ages of 45-64. Grandparents? Seriously?

For those that have never experienced, I have been told that the following description is close to what it could feel like:

img_1669

Also this:

img_1679

So what can we do? How can we as a caring society, help to curb this ignorance? How can we start to bridge this gap?

The first thing is NO MORE SILENCE. Start talking about it. Ask questions so that we might all know more about the struggle. Discover ways we can be of service, ways we can support those we love, those we know, and provide the kind of support that is NEEDED. Do not be afraid of the words. There is no harm in verbalizing “have you ever considered hurting yourself?” Don’t be afraid and be quiet. Be strong. Ask.

For someone struggling with the lengthy list of ailments, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Schizophrenia, PTSD, and a plethora of others, a simple day can be overwhelming. Sometimes an hour can be overwhelming.

Also, a word, a gesture, a genuine smile, a moment taken out of your busy day filled with clutter, and details and lists and chaos…..

Can make a difference. It takes small steps to conquer a big journey. Small steps.

The bottom line here is don’t wait. Reach out. Be kind. Send a card, Send a text. Be present. I think that is the most important piece. BE PRESENT. Don’t ask “how are you feeling today”, or “How are you doing today?”, how can one answer that when one doesn’t even know themselves?

How about, “I’m thinking of you and just wanted to remind you I’m here” or “You are enough” or a simple “I love you”.

 

img_1670-1I remember the horrible stigma and misinformation when HIV and AIDS became an issue. It took two decades for this to be adult conversation and erase a lot of the fear. This epidemic and the ensuing stigma surrounding Mental Illness reminds me of that time. Let us be a better generation. Let us speak up. Educate the ignorant. Embrace the afflicted. Let us be the people we are.

I am looking for those who are comfortable telling their stories. It is heavy on my heart to allow you to have a voice. We all need a voice. Any and all mental illness, therapists, parents, children, or interested people wanting to learn more, share more, learn more, educate more. I will be highlighting these stories every Friday. Please consider! My email is Lifeinasuitcase2014@gmail.com or DM me on twitter @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

 

 

Why I Love Arizona

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. I have been asked over the years (by people of course who have never been here) why on EARTH would you love Arizona? Its “just” a desert. I was born and raised in England, I  have lived in New Mexico, Texas, California, North Dakota, Connecticut and have visited and experienced every state in this Union except for a dozen. So? Here are the top reasons why I absolutely love this beautiful state of Arizona and keep finding myself coming back here.

The World’s Greatest Wonder

I have heard some call this “just a big gaping hole in the ground. Well, if you consider a color filled, mile deep, 277 miles long, carved over millions of years by a single stream of River “just a hole”…..

Then you obviously haven’t been here. It takes your breath away.

The Majestic Desert

The desert is a unique environment. It appears rugged at times, but at the same time, very welcoming and beautiful. I think the one main vibe I get from Arizona is the feeling of strength. Of survival. It amazes me how gorgeous the views are and how much can grow here considering…….well…….it is a desert.

Sedona, Arizona – A Living Postcard

This place is…in a word….magical. Everything about it. To the quirky coffee shops to the endless hikes to the jeep excursions to the postcard views. This place really should be on your bucket list. (photo cred to bottom right picture to my son Joe)

The Saguaro Cactus

Arizona is the only place in the WORLD that these proud creatures stand, keeping watch over the land. They can grow to over 40 feet tall and live to over 150 years. It takes at least 75 years to grow one arm. It is illegal to harm these in any way, and they are home to several desert dwellers.

IMG_0427

You Just Can’t Beat Arizona Skies

I think this may be my second most favorite thing about Arizona – the sky. Talk about blue! With sunny days over 325 days out of the year, you can just look up and “Ahhhh”. The Monsoon season (rainy season, in the summer) turns the skies all kinds of purple and the lightening storms are something to behold.

It’s Got A Quirky Side

From Native American historical dwellings, to haunted hospitals, to old western preserved towns, to towns each with its own unique style, personality and flavor. There is something for everyone in this state. It is not only desert……you have forests, mountains and even snow in the north. This is the only state in the union that has every type of land and landscape short of a coastline,

Endless Adventures

If you love weekend road trips, or a grab your sandwich, your keys and go kind of personality (like me) then this is your place. There are so many things to explore. Slot Canyons, the Petrified Forest (yes a forest made of stone), three separate and definitely distinct main cities, professional or college sports of any kind, rivers to tube down, lakes to boat in, mountains to scale, A Grand Canyon to stop and take in, and many places to “find”. Arizona is………endless.

The Best Part of Arizona? FAMILY

The #1 best thing about this state is my family. My brother and parents are here in Tucson, my sister is in the Phoenix area as is my daughter, and the rest of us keep being pulled back here for one reason or another. No matter where I go, or where I end up working for a few months, one thing is for certain…..

I will always end up back here in Arizona!

Thank you so much for visiting today. My blog site will be changing in the next week or so. And here are the. changes:

Sundays will be like this, random trips, adventures and stories. Wednesdays will be lifestyle topics. and I will be starting coverage of Mental Health Issues on Fridays including a 12 week expose with guest bloggers and guests sharing their stories, experiences, and insight. I am hoping to do my part to end some of this stigma and open dialogue. If you are interested in taking part, please feel free to email me at any of the folowing:

Lifeinsuitcase2014@gmail.com or Twitter: @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Living With Intention: Meal Prepping Ahead of Time

Greetings! Welcome to my new installment of Wednesday Lifestyle blog posts. I thought it may be helpful to my readers for me to share some things I have learned along the way on this journey we all call Life. Weekly posts every Wednesday,  starting today.

For those that know me, you know how much I value time. I truly value moments. All of the moments that connect together to create our days, weeks, months, etc. Moments are incredibly important. Once they are spent, they are gone. Invested in whatever you have chosen to spend them on. Time is fleeting, it can be very quick, and it is important that we all spend our moments wisely.

With that being said, I am incredibly busy! My weeks are borderline insanity with heavy patient loads and complicated people with various problems to solve. I am usually at my clinic at 7am and don’t get to go home until 7pm. It is the last thing I want to think about in the morning is making three meals for me to bring along with me to my job. The only thing I think about in the morning is COFFEE!!

So I started “meal prepping”, and have perfected it to get the whole thing done in 2-3 hours on my last day off before I start my workweek again. It has freed up so much time, I eat better and more healthy, and it actually has saved me money.

Are you ready to learn? Good! Here we go!

The first thing you need to do is pick out some recipes, that are cost effective, easy and/or quick to make, and that will last a few days in your fridge. I find the website “skinny taste.com” very helpful. I usually choose at least one new thing per week, and have a few “go to’s” that I love and that meet the requirements I am looking for. I make a grocery list, and buy exactly what’s on the list.

You will need storage containers. I don’t use anything special. You can get great containers on Amazon, and some you can freeze which is very helpful. Here is an example:

img_1627

You will need to get organized, chop all that needs to be chopped, boil what needs to be boiled etc, and then start creating and storing your meals.

PASTA SALAD

This is definitely one of my go to’s. To make it you will need:

Pasta – any kind, I like Mini Penne, it cooks well, and lasts nicely in the fridge.

You can add anything you like. I usually use cherry tomatoes, black olives, grated cheese, a little feta cheese and sometimes a protein like chicken or pepperoni or whatever you heart desires. You can add salad dressing on the day you will be eating it, Makes for a really nice lunch. Each serving about 3/4 cup. Approx 350 calories.

img_1634

TURKEY CHILI

Another favorite. You will need one pound of ground turkey or ground beef, whatever your preference, and the rest of the ingredients are pictured here:

img_1628Brown the ground meat of your choice, mix it and the above ingredients in either a crock pot or slow cooker (4 hours on low) or a big dutch oven or pot on the stove (low 4 hours on slow simmer) Each serving is about one cup, plenty of protein! And again, about 350 calories per serving.

PORK LOIN

You can find these on sale, and when you do, pick one up! 45 minutes in the oven with some veggies drizzled with a little Olive oil and Wha La! You have delicious ready make and healthy dinner!

Use the rest of the loin and chop up in small cubes, add a couple small tortillas and cheese and you have some delicious street tacos! (Pictured later)

GARBAGE SALAD

This is a great way of using everything in your fridge or cupboard that you are not really sure what you will do with. Lettuce of your choice in the center, and then about 2-3Tbsp of whatever you like surrounding the lettuce. I usually use chickpeas, corn, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and some kind of a protein. YUM!!

img_1632

PROTEIN PACKS

A quick go to for those busy days you just need something extra. Hard boiled eggs peanut butter crackers, single serving cheese, and I love Craisins! This is an excellent quick and healthy snack that boosts your energy and helps you feel full on those busy run around like crazy days!

img_1630

THE END RESULT

I mix a variety of fruits I find on sale and take them for breakfast along with a yogurt. I have my turkey chili, my pasta salad,  bunless cheeseburgers (super easy) protein packs, street tacos, and a garbage salad or two.

img_1635

This really is a time saver. It’s easy and what a treat to come home after a very long day and have so many choices to heat up and make for dinner! All of the above is plenty for two people, you can accommodate and tweak a little to meal prep for families.

I hope you found this helpful, and even more so, I hope you try this out for yourself. You will personalize it to your own lifestyle and needs, but I can promise you this, you will LOVE the time it frees up for you!

I would love to hear your ideas, recipes, and thoughts on the information I have shared with you. Please leave a comment, it is very appreciated! Subscribe to my site if you would like to share in my Wednesday Lifestyle posts, they are sure to either be interesting, informative and entertaining!

Until next time…….as always……..be kind.

Polley93

Prague – I Could Live Here!

Greetings! And as always, thank you for spending some of your moments with me. Moments are important, as once they are spent, they are gone. So I genuinely appreciate the moments you have chosen to spend here with me.

This is basically a part two of my “have to go somewhere” time where the first part was in Budapest (post on that earlier if you would care to check it out) I went with my sister, and from Budapest we ventured to Prague. Wow! I wasn’t expecting what we found!

The city is in a word WONDERFUL. Everything. Public transit, the food, the people, the architecture, the cobblestone side streets and the surrounding areas. The more Sis and I explored, the more we knew we just HAD to come back for a longer amount of time. I truly believe I could live here. I loved everything about it.

Every view was magnificent.

The St. Charles Bridge was like walking through history.

IMG_0562

We made a point of getting to the main town square to see the infamous Astronomical Clock. Amazing.

Clay colored rooftops everywhere.

We took a side trip and I wasn’t quite ready for what we were about to experience. Picturesque church looking building with adorned grave sites in the garden. Walked down a wooden staircase to this:

Yes, everything made with human bones. The church was to be built on a graveyard and instead of building over it, the graves were gently dug up and the remains adorn the inside of this building? Seriously? I found out that this is world famous and after I got home I actually saw a piece on this very thing on National Geographic. Honestly? My visit was brief……….

The colors were fantastic. Everywhere.

I felt like I was in the middle of a painting. The skies were perfect, the wind was crisp, the views were never ending. It literally took my breath away.

Quaint cobblestone streets were hidden but easily discovered and it was the perfect afternoon just meandering down them. Quaint shops, fantastic doorways, friendly people.

“The City of a Thousand Steeples” is a perfect name for this fabulous city.

I found not one thing I did not literally love about Prague. It is an expensive city to explore. A nice hub for traveling to other major cities by train if you so desire. An adventure awaiting literally around every corner. Pilsner beer galore. I could go on for days.

Prague. If you haven’t been there, put it on your list. You will definitely not be disappointed. Next time I go, I definitely want to go for more than a few days. t feels like a perfect city to write in, so spending a month there and finishing my book is something I want to seriously consider.

Even though I simply could not do this fantastic city justice with. simple blog post, I hope you enjoyed my snapshot of Prague, Czech Republic.

Until next time……….be kind……….always,

Polley93