Friday, December 26, 2014

How About That Grumpy Cat ?

     One of the most darling Christmas television movies I've ever seen has to be Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. It premiered back at the beginning of this month on the Lifetime Channel and was shown quite a few times. I don't know about you but I've about had my fill of animated shows for Christmas no matter whether the message is humanist, animist, cubist, Buddhist, nonesuch or just plain old commercial. Charlie Brown keeps buying that same Christmas tree, the Grinch keeps trying to steal Christmas and gets thwarted and every year it's always Rudolph that comes through with his nose oh-so-bright.

     It was time for something new and something real. Grumpy Cat can talk so that gets the Christmas miracle out of the way but beyond the obvious this first movie is a cute romp for Grumpy and her new owner, Crystal (humanity's last hope on a dying planet according to Grumpy). Apparently, Grumpy doesn't have any church affiliation but she sure has a lot of opinions and they're about as honest as any cat can be given the circumstances which keep changing in this adventurous romp. Grumpy's talk is mostly along the lines of what Garfield would say but the viewpoint is definitely feminist. Are you surprised? Cute brunette Aubrey Plaza gets to be the voice of Grumpy and the feminine sound along with dry humor is absolutely refreshing.
     The plot ( and we're given various possible plot twists, one being incredibly short and sweet with Grumpy narrating the versions!) unravels rather slowly but once it gains momentum you really start to enjoy the cat quips from Grumpy which run throughout the two hour long show centering around a pet store in rent arrears and an animal cast of characters. The dastardly robbers aren't nefarious-looking which hooks the teenage viewing factor. If you watch every bit of this show you could wind up being young again. Ahem!

     Definitely check it out if it's still running on the Lifetime channel- kick back, drink some egg nog and try to bone up on all the new merchandise surrounding the Grumpy phenomenon. She's definitely irresistible and there may even be an Easter Grumpy special. Can you stand the wait ? I didn't think so. If you can take extreme cuteness, it's worth taking two hours to lounge around stretching, eating and enjoying being happy and not grumpy. Just don't fall asleep or you might miss something. Raowr !
 I wonder if Friskies would let me have Grumpy's BMW X5 since
it's been determined that she has not been properly licensed to own it ?
I can deal with the cat hair-
have dirt devil will travel, I always say !

Friday, December 19, 2014


I believe you are your work.
Don't trade the stuff of your life and time for nothing more than dollars.
That's a rotten bargain.
- Rita Mae Brown
     Thinking back to days when I could take income for granted, I marvel at how well I did in personal commerce without becoming overly ambitious or greedy. Enjoyment of what I was doing was every bit as important to me as the revenue. As a strong consumer I don't look back on any regrets in spending money, either. I'm more thrifty now than I've ever been but the amount of books, music, recordings and collections I own speaks of what I've treasured most through the years. It's money well spent in my estimation, particularly considering the content of those books. My non-fiction outnumbers the fiction three to one! Learning and teaching is a way of life for me even in the professional realm of nail technology. My mission was to educate consumers in my profession- not to keep aspects of my trade a secret as if that was my only stock in trade. To me, an educated client is happier by being well-informed and unlikely to fall for the pitches of unlicensed, uneducated upstarts. 
     Meanwhile, everyone is caught up in the money, money, money game no matter what they do or where they work. I once heard someone say that money is a great servant but a bad taskmaster yet it is the favorite subject for most of the world. I'd like to make it less important or even irrelevant, perhaps. The richness of life is in the quality of it, not the quantity of money to be made or even the specific content of our days. Peace of mind trumps a piece of silver. A good conversation beats a gambling table by miles. A sunset cannot be purchased but one must take the time to savor the changing landscape of its beauty to understand its value. Enjoying life is a core value for me and it is the priceless aspects of life  which I center on most of the time.
     Call me a romantic or a dreamer but my opinion is that this is the way life ought to be. When we focus on such things as acquisition, competitiveness or how much money we have in the bank we impoverish all the areas of our life that make it worth living. You'll never see me off to the races trying to get ahead of everybody else. If I ever did that I certainly don't now and it's best behind me. That's the way it should be for everyone. Most of the world suffers from the greedy mentality to one degree or another, however. It manifests itself in a myriad of ailments- passing or serious- which the drug ads on T.V. expound on with a repetitiveness that will jangle your nerves before an hour has passed. If you actually take any of that crud you can bet that you might find yet another side effect that they didn't mention. It's called futility.
     The best of life resides in our priorities and true desires. When the day is done what do you do ? A lot of single people will head to the pubs, bars or hangouts but if they were honest with themselves they probably just want someone to come home to and relax. Married people get comfortable at home or they get ambitious and the priorities they pursue outside the home either unite the couple or drive them apart. The modern mentality is nearly always in the future. I've personally spent a lot of time constructing a life that most people envy. I have achieved many of the goals I've set for myself and I continue to do so. To be honest, however, no one can do it all. Most recently I've wondered when it was that I stopped trying to do all the things in a day that would normally require ten people to accomplish. This year I pushed myself way past my limits and paid for it, believe me ! I've learned to really focus on being one person and it keeps me humble and happy. I'm one woman doing her best and that's enough for me.
     I have written in the past about becoming a millionaire but that is not one of my priorities- just one of my ideas of embracing possibilities. They are endless you know. Prioritizing requires discipline, however, and being realistic. Also, it's easier than you might think if you are true to yourself. Doesn't everybody know the difference between their needs and their desires? If they don't then prioritizing in their life will be a challenge and they are most often one of the victims of the money, money, money mentality that is epidemic in our country. Money won't bring back your health. It won't mend a marriage or stop divorce. Although many people think otherwise, money won't give you peace of mind. You'll never hear George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Andrew Jackson saying "I love you" from your wallet ! 
     Living the life you want will be more attainable if you stop looking over the fence at what is going on (or what is sitting) in your neighbor's yard and simply focus on what you really want out of life. My goals always center around prioritizing and simplifying. It's best to set goals that are attainable and then if you decide you want to challenge yourself and go a bit higher you'll have the confidence to continue up another level. Small successes always lead to bigger and better things even if it's only coming home to a suitable atmosphere or spending time with the people you love the most. Priorities center on you and no one else. Take stock and then plan- you'll get there.
     By the way, if you don't hear from me again before- have a wonderful Christmas, okay ?  


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Three Months in a Time Warp

     I really cannot tell you how three months zinged past me while I was trying to finish Sudeley Castle's entry. It's almost like I woke up two weeks ago and remembered that I've been nearly done with Sudeley for more than three months. Did I get caught in a time warp? I cannot really say. All I can convey at this point is that it's good to be back in the chair with the P.C. in front of me and surrounded by my books in what is now my office and not my bedroom. I'm not done with all my changes and moving yet but all the pertinent books needed for my castle projects are close at hand and there'll be no more running all the way down to my nearly empty underground studio ( bka the catacombs) to look up something in a book. I suppose it would all be worth it if I was actually finished with this constant state of flux called 2014. By the way, 2015 will probably bring more surprises than I can handle but at least it won't be boring. (Not that my life ever is but it sounded like the right word to lay down.) 
     To explain this big time gap, I can tell you exactly what I've been doing but I can't explain why it amounts to so much time loss. There are so many things to do in a day it almost seems impossible to get to time for writing. I know that's usually just an excuse but I'm not one for sitting around and making excuses for the reason why something didn't get done or executed in a timely fashion. I have one piece of advice before I really get into this: Don't ever hire or recruit a volunteer who is known to procrastinate as a regular profession. Mr. Tom Orrow never knows what day or time it is or how he ended up in the current predicament he believes he's stumbled in on. He's full of stories but not an ounce of energy and he'll waste your time like no other. You save time when you do it yourself unless you happen to be me. I get caught up in details.
     If you've been tapping your toes and drumming your fingers wondering when my next installment on Gloucestershire is going to arrive online you have been sated for now. I'm always working on the castles but my time per day on the work has been greatly reduced due to the 1,001 things I have to do in a day just to keep life and limb going in a healthy manner. Did I say details?    
     Most of this year I have been planning and organizing a Garage/Moving/Estate Sale and on nearly every weekend in September I finally ran it. I did make some money on the sale but all the key beauty salon items remain which is a shame because those are the true bargain items. It did occur to me that I needed to alert the beauty shop stylists and/or beauty school students but somehow I didn't reach my target demographic for the bulk of the items for sale. I'm going to have to get strategic with this particular liquidation and I have a few ideas which I hope won't encroach on all my other duties on a daily or imperative basis. Determination didn't win this round so I'm going to have to work smarter on this particular problem. Know anyone that is planning to start a hair salon ? I've got a great deal for them !
     All through the month of October and clear into November I have been dealing with the grape harvest in my backyard which produced about 300 lbs of grapes this year and I picked nearly all of it by myself. Where is a migrant farm worker when you need one ? I have two gallons of grape juice in my refrigerator. Before I started reaping, the insidious invasion of inexplicable trees, little to medium, all over my property took my full attention and in October, on the 4th I managed to find someone to take most of the medium-size trees out. It was a relief to have that done. Now it looks like someone owns the property once again. All summer long and into Indian Summer and autumn I had yard work problems. Grass knee high to a giant, trees growing everywhere I wouldn't want them, beautiful rose bushes that were starting to look like wild roses and an unprecedented problem involving the butchering of my Russian Olive tree in my front yard...sigh. The list is endless and I don't think I ever want to carry another tree limb anywhere.  
     I saved the grapes too, Ma ! I gave a lot of grapes away to friends in my neighborhood but I suppose I really should start finding some winemakers and make money off these bumper crop harvests. I do sell some but not nearly as much as I could to say nothing of the fact that I could use the money! I lost about 100 lbs of grapes due to overripe fallout, insect and bee robberies (!) and underripe grapes because of paltry irrigation even though we had quite a few rainstorms this past summer. If I had gotten all the grapes and sold them I would have made about $400 to $500!
     All year long, all the way back from March, I have been dealing with moving a great deal of my possessions into other areas of my house. I turned what used to be my bedroom into a library/office/media room. My living room is now more like an entertainment/ rumpus room. I moved my entire bedroom into the room across the hall and my former studio that once housed all my worldly possessions will be turned into a spare bedroom shortly. The beauty salon is very, very slowly being turned into a nail salon. Except for moving heavy furniture I have been doing this all by myself. The reorganization alone is a really tough job. You must understand that I own about 10,000 books which I tried to weed out and it may be around 9,500 now. Don't laugh. I have tried to move them from a 12 X 12 foot space into a room that is more like 10 X 10. The entire project would have been better put into the hands of an interior decorator but I'm pleased with the results thus far.
     I'm sure other things suffered besides my writing this year. Mostly it was me. You have to understand that suffering doesn't come easy for me. I'm basically a happy person and I do well with what I have. I'm grateful for many things but mostly I'm just grateful to be alive and have something to work with and I'm content when I have done my best without complaining. To be completely honest, however, I hit my lowest exhaustion level since the beginning of the second half of this year and I'm only recently starting to feel like my normal self. Without entirely knowing what 2015 will bring I'll try to bring you the  rest of England's castles in a more timely fashion- as is possible. If it's any consolation, I'm always working at it- no matter the pace or stride and I'll always love writing about and finding new castles whether they be intact or just a motte covered with trees. Bulldozer anyone ?
This slope will do nicely,

Friday, November 07, 2014

Happy Birthday

Today, Billy Graham turned 96 which is quite an achievement in and of itself. He's a hero among heroes when it comes to preaching the gospel, of course but the preaching of the gospel straight from the hip is his special brand of delivery and I believe God still uses him in a mighty way and maybe he will for another decade.
      I send this out to him and his family and up to Ruth, his wife, who is now in Heaven....

 they live a long and prosperous life !
many more to come...
The Castle Lady

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Dark Side of Halloween

   When I think back to Halloweens of my youth I only remember being one character which I enjoyed to portray. I had this gypsy outfit which my Mom made and then altered several times for me. I wore the dress out and then I became disenchanted with the so-called holiday itself way before I began High School. I liked the candy and showing off for all the neighbors but I really didn't enjoy other depictions of characters. I thought that most of the costuming were plain lazy. Hobos were real popular in the early 70s and very easy costumes, of course. To me, a gypsy was special. She had powers but didn't flaunt them and she could be pretty or even beautiful depending on how much makeup and jewelry that Mum would let us wear. I even recruited gypsies; we could've been a gang.

     I became disenchanted with Halloween because I couldn't understand why people would put razor blades in apples and hand them to innocent children. Some kids found needles stuck into candy bars and/or laced with LSD. My mother had to sift through my candy and I was cautioned about where I could go and where I couldn't. Most times it would snow on Halloween and you would have to wear a coat over your costume. To me, a gypsy in a coat was a gypsy out of place. My mother did not discourage me from going out and my parents did not accompany me but my brother was expected to watch out for me and make sure I followed along. We would ditch each other after the second year and go around with our own friends.
     Looking back now I can see there was plenty of danger for me in going out but I don't remember being serious about it. Only my costume and the portrayal was important and now I know it was practically early acting training if nothing else. It's hard to get into character without the proper equipment, clothes and accessories. Once you had that going on you were unstoppable and invincible. But that is actually folly and probably not very healthy for children especially. I check out the adult Halloween party goers costumes every year and they get sillier as the years go by but they are not walking around with any illusions in their heads which can't be dispelled with a fast turn down in a pub.
     I can unequivocally say that people with children would be better off keeping to a home-based Halloween tradition each year rather than taking their children around for trick-or-treats. Applause to those who do accompany their children because times are rough for children and it can only send a positive message to the child when their parents want to be a part of any fun their children have in or outside the home. Most of the time I don't get trick-or-treaters but this year I had more than usual and was glad I had actually prepared myself for them. One of them was a tiny tyke which couldn't have been two yet. The costume was darling and the baby's eyes were wide as saucers and when I bent down to place a small candy bar in his tiny hand he had some difficulty grasping it. I was in awe. 
Suddenly I understood, after all these years, what Halloween trick-or-treating was all about and it made me smile. However, I am a decent person and I like children even though I've never had any. As a matter of fact I would probably take a jab at anyone who would hurt a child for any reason. I'm beginning to believe I'm the exception rather than the rule- I read the newspapers. Children may be at risk at home but it's worse out there in the streets. Ask some of the kids they take in at Covenant House- they'll tell you all about it.
     What's the answer? If you love your kids, as I'm sure you do, keep a close watch and let them know you care. Kids should have emergency alert systems which could be connected to the amber alert system. It works for old people when they get hurt. Why not put it to further use? There are a lot of people out there that want nothing more than to exploit any child they can get their hands on. We need to make their purpose a difficult one. Anybody with me on this ?

The Castle Lady    

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Lost Art of Forgiveness

If I have told you of earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?
John 3:12
One of the most often asked questions regarding Christianity is why we need to be forgiven and the other is why we should forgive others. Forgiveness is really not very natural for human beings. We remember so much when it comes to interaction and communication that, by comparison to what we read and write, researchers recommend learning done by rote in preference to all other methods. As a result we remember things we ought to forget and forget things we need to remember especially regarding communication. There is no perfection in our characters which protects us from feeling offended- regardless of people's intentions- and so we are bound to fall into offense one way or another. Even the kindest people will hurt someone especially in the hypersensitive world we live in now.
     Sin adds another dimension to this system which, for protocol, is still basically the same. We need to be forgiven for transgressions against natural and supernatural laws and we should learn to forgive others in the natural world and sometimes have to cull on supernatural forgiveness for what we often deem egregious offense. Exercising forgiveness shows the world that you have faith in God. If you have a Bible handy I want you to look up Matthew 18:23-35. This parable of Jesus illuminates what happens when you are forgiven by God but turn around and are unforgiving to others. Jesus closing statement was, "Then the angry king sent the man to the torture chamber until he had paid every last penny due. So shall my heavenly Father do to you if you refuse to truly forgive your brothers."
     Peter had just asked Jesus, prior to this telling, "How often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?" Jesus answer was, "No, seventy times seven!" This clearly illustrates what Jesus expected of a follower. That's a lot of forgiveness. I don't know if it's humanly possible but I could say the same about a man dying on a cross for the sins of the world. Was it humanly possible? Obviously it was because even though Jesus was the son of God he was also very much a human being capable of everything we are and able to feel pain, exhaustion and hurt feelings just like us. He was showing His faith in the Father.
     Are you puzzled by my assertion that forgiveness is in the divine realm and requires faith in God? Why ? Faith is the vessel you carry your blessings in and one of the true blessings of any overcomer in this world is being able to forgive totally and wholeheartedly. Forgiveness is taking power over a situation and turning it around. Forgiveness helps you move on and even frees you of further obligation where none is due.
     I can already hear you say, "But what if they don't apologize or make amends? How can I sustain forgiveness toward a person who has no remorse or is simply unapologetic ?!"
     You are in command of your physical and emotional life and you can do anything if you are strong enough, mentally and physically, to do so. No one can actually make you do something you do not want to do. So if you knew that forgiving someone would help you take charge of your emotional life and dignify your choice to simply forgive why not do so? It won't take away your rights if you forgive but it does release you from obligation to respond in kind. It can only empower you because you rise above the situation or overcome and, in so doing, take your powers back. It is worth that, isn't it?
     If you think you cannot forgive someone then try to imagine the process of our salvation which Jesus went through every step to achieve. He didn't get to skip anything. We have been riding the crest of a wave for centuries since his crucifixion. He achieved more than we can ever imagine by this act and was able to do it in human flesh. In order to truly forgive you have to imagine Jesus' walk on the Via Dolorosa and on up to Calvary. As you follow him remember that you are not alone even though you are helping him carry that cross. Let it be, let it go and then let God take over. It is that simple and freeing.
The Castle Lady
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Monday, September 29, 2014

See You in October

     It is incredible that September arrived and is fast running out ! Time seems to be running circles around me and I did not accomplish much of what I wanted to this year or this summer. In a perfect world it would be because I've been fooling around, however that is not the case (as usual) but working my tail off doing one thing or another than what I consider important work or what I wished to accomplish. Ever since the 12th I've been run off my feet with perhaps the biggest fiasco of my life. I think I heard someone say, "Have fun" and it was all down hill from that point.
     The weekend before last was my third round of an ongoing garage/moving sale started on the first weekend of this month. Escalating a garage sale to every weekend since the beginning of the month was not my intention at all but my persistence got some notice if nothing else. Regardless of what I called it- Moving Sale, Yard Sale, Estate Sale or Garage sale- every bit of what I put in it has to go- one way or another. Originally I wanted to do the sale on July fourth ! Why didn't it happen then? Well, for one thing, I cannot seem to light a fire under anybody to volunteer to help me out for anything except for my 80+ year old Dad who managed to mow the lawn one time this summer. I couldn't get my nephew to put four nails in a wall so I could put up shelving in one of my two bathrooms!
     As a result of the longest running sale in the history of garage sales, I have turned my house almost upside down. There's five days of my life I'll never get back. I got a lot of stragglers who bought mostly stuff that's been sitting in the garage for decades! One item was my first bike which I restored about fifteen years ago and I had no intention of selling it but this old guy said he wanted to give one of his grandchildren a bike for Christmas and basically he wouldn't take "no" for an answer. Another was my mother's original sign for her salon which Denver's zoning said was too large for an R2 zone and was replaced with two more signs which were much smaller but also more unique. The logo for the 'keeper' is still on display on my card:

     The items I must sell are actually a type of niche market even in the beauty industry. Her stylist chair was also a shampoo chair which was always seated by her shampoo area with several mirrors angled for a complete, one-woman salon station. Throughout the years that I have been a professional manicurist/ nail tech I have periodically worked on the other side of the salon at a desk which I had built to my specifications more than 24 years ago when I started my first storefront nail salon. As a result, I placed many items from her portion of the salon into the sale and when I look at the set-up I can see some person coming along which has a dream of owning his or her own salon. It's all here for someone with a dream and a passion to make women happy and more beautiful. The nicest part is that I can offer it to the right person at a mere fraction of what it would cost in most supply houses which offer such equipment for sale. Not all of them do. The stylist/shampoo chair alone can cost more than a thousand dollars !
     In the meantime, my dilemma is whether I will convert the salon exclusively to nails or just close it up and go work somewhere else. Converting the salon would be mostly a simple matter. If I put in a pedicure spa to replace the shampoo bowl that will be the largest expense for the conversion. With the amount of space increased  I could add nail techs to the salon but I'm starting to wane on the idea. There would certainly be more business in a high end nail salon. It's a real problem but one that is going to have to come to a real solution soon. Most of the time I feel like I am waiting for someone else to make a move.
     I believe I am looking forward to the future because it can only get better and I am ready for a real change. How about you ? See you in October, then...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Miracle Bank Account

     If someone were to make sure that you received $960 deposited into your checking account everyday how would it change your life? Would you continue working your job ? Would you go on a permanent vacation? Perhaps you'd take it as a chance to give to all the worthwhile charities that you've been longing to contribute to and could gift people you know and even those you don't know at will and impromptu. It sounds wonderful doesn't it?
     Now, imagine this: that bank account needs to be emptied each day or it automatically defaults to zero. You cannot transfer the money to any other account. It promptly starts again at the above amount each day. That means you would have to get cracking on spending that money as soon as possible every day and maybe spend to the exclusion of all other activities. What a concept, huh ? Perhaps you'd hire someone to help you spend the cash so you wouldn't lose out on your entitlement. You'd get very clever in making sure that you spent every dime so you didn't lose out.
     As a matter of fact we have that deal already in the form of time. That's right. Excluding the time we spend valuably resting up for the next day we have 960 minutes everyday at our disposal. Knowing that our time may be more valuable than money I wonder if you'll change some of your activities and put that time to different or better use. Perhaps the above concepts of making sure that the time was wisely and thoroughly spent will put you in a different frame of reference for your life.
     It's your time account. What are you waiting for ?
Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care
about time...
The Castle Lady 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Don't Diet

     As you all know, I am not a dieter. I don't believe in following someone else's idea of what I need to eat in order to keep my weight under control. It's not that I can't. I have plenty of willpower which I choose to use for other more important things such as exercise and patience . One of the reasons I don't diet is because I found that they throw your metabolism and physical being out of whack. If you want to really mess with yourself just go on a fad diet. The more trendy they are the worse they are for your constitution.
     One of the worst trends in dieting occurred in 1977 after a government subsidized study was finally unveiled. All the newspapers carried the story about how fat was making everybody fat. The truth is that the American public was much leaner, overall, before the report came out. I wonder why no one has ever noticed that before. Probably because they were too busy trying to figure out a new no or low fat diet. There have been a lot of crazy ones. I remember the Beverly Hills diet. It consisted mainly of eating fruit until you wanted to puke. I remember the sores in my mouth from eating pineapple! That's when I decided that diets were for lunatics and never went on a proscribed diet ever again.

     For about twenty years now I have become what most people would consider to be a nutritionist. I learned that you have to try everything- except for insects. I draw the line there. I never eat anything unless I want to eat it. I chew my food well even if I am ravenously hungry. I enjoy adding spices and seasonings to food instead of excesses of salt and butter but I don't avoid salt or butter. I don't eat substitutes such as trans fats, margarine, artificial sweeteners or diet anything. I have learned to enjoy steaming vegetables instead of boiling the life out of them. I don't eat packaged, processed food unless it's pasta, couscous or rice. I allow those as my staples- carbs to balance with protein and fat. I like fruit in summer as an addition to my meals and they are a great substitute for dessert.
     This isn't anything you haven't already heard I'm sure. Just eat a balanced diet and all that weight will just fall off. Easier said than done and also not quite true. All this sounds right until you get to the point of talking about calories, exercise, hypnotism and genetic predisposition. I've had all the conversations I'm ever going to have on those subjects and I can give you a fast rundown on my opinions on all of them without having to go into much detail. Be prepared to be surprised and amazed.

     Let's start with calories. Calories do count in summer unless you spend most of your time in air conditioning. Any other time of year you can forget about calories. They do exist but do you really know what they are ? First, I want you to look up the word calorie in your dictionary. You should have found two definitions that read something like this : 1. a unit for measuring a quantity of heat 2. a unit for measuring the energy value of food. How curious, huh ? You thought it was only for the second definition and have never heard anybody use the word for the first. Truth be told, there is no difference. The food value equates to keeping your metabolism to a certain rhythm and temperature which is expected to be 98.6 most of the time. Remember feed a cold, starve a fever ? That's where that theory comes from and it doesn't exactly work when you're sick. It holds true when your metabolism is basically normal. How will you know if your metabolism is normal ? If you don't feel like eating when you're overheated and you do want to eat a lot during the winter months, then you're normal. Get in tune with your body and basically decide if it is hungry or thirsty. Many times people will eat when they are thirsty and drink too much when they are hungry. Both contain calories that count but act very different on your system. After a workout or just plain work in summer heat, when you rehydrate, make sure you drink water that is half-chilled or straight from the tap without ice. It will prevent your body from going into shock and do weird things like drastically lower your heart rate or stop digestion for up to 12 hours ! 
     Exercise is another thing altogether. It doesn't have anything to do with a diet. Phil was wrong about that, okay ? My advice is find something that you will definitely take the time to do and make sure you do it everyday. Compound exercise is marvelous and you can do it at any level- from beginner to pro athlete. Just do it.
     Being hypnotized to lose weight has its rewards but remember that all you are doing is tricking your mind into making your body do something when what you really need to do is examine the problems which have either made you out-of-shape, obese or just out-of-control. A little bit of soul-searching could save you money, time and trouble. Don't leave God out of the equation when it comes to dealing with problems such as these. Jesus said, "I came that you might have life and more abundantly." He wants you to be your best.
     Genetic predisposition is just a very long word for saying you'll never change your basic body shape or anything else your parents ever had or didn't. People beat the odds on quite a few things everyday of the week and in all walks of life. Don't let something like inherited problems tell you it'll never work. Did your Dad die of a heart attack ? That does not mean you will. Examine his life and ask yourself what you will do different. Did he hold a lot of unexpressed anger inside ? Don't let yourself repeat those same mistakes. Take anger management courses and make sure that your story will be different. It's all up to you.

     Now, for my favorite subject. Food. Yummy food. Eating helps you lose weight. I'm not kidding. If you starve yourself to be thin you may eventually achieve ultra thin status but at what price? Haven't you ever seen anyone with anorexia nervosa ? If you experiment with eating good food and avoid stuff that is obviously going to cause you to have acquired diabetes you'll eventually have a healthy, beautiful body. Find out what food does to your body and make it work for you because food is one of the best medicines in the world and the only way to give your body what it needs to stay healthy. There is no health in a pill. When's the last time you saw an ad for a drug to actually make you healthy? Have you noticed that all the prescription ads on T.V. have at least five side effects that sound more uncomfortable than what the actual disease or condition causes ? Find out about food. Did you know eating asparagus will actually make you beautiful? It has a dynamic effect on your bloodstream that will literally give you the glow of health. Jacqueline Onassis would go to restaurants and only order asparagus. She was excessively thin but her skin was always radiant. Bananas are a type of super food. They are packed with meganutrients and the fiber in one banana is a sufficient amount your internal organs need each day to run efficiently and easy. There's more but I think you get the idea and now it's time for you to get out there and educate yourself on the most important element your body needs to help you have energy during the day and most importantly, will help you sleep at night. Have fun !


Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Is the living easy this year? Well, I wouldn't, as yet, put this period into the category of being exactly idyllic yet, especially since yesterday was, largely, one of the rainiest, gloomiest Sundays we've had yet for 2014. It was beautifully sunny real early and then...I'm not going to get negative here, though. (At least, I'll try not to, for sure.) Everything's green, blooming and getting all new again. You have to love that ! Instead of clearing off snow again, it's time to get that lawn mower out. There's no use trying to stop the effects of spring and impending summer. I'm sure I've already zapped about 200 weeds-easy ! My roses out front are a riot of lush blooms and that heavenly light rosy fragrance is permeating my front walk. Nice. Winter is OVER, whew !
I've been feeling more like my regular self for about two months now and I want to keep going with those feelings. I've been getting a lot of writing accomplished and am doing better than ever, overall, on my daily baskets. (Usually better than my average which is about two out of three!) Two turtle doves have taken up residence in the pine tree outside my office window and periodically they peer in at me like I'm invading their space! It just makes me giggle. Oh yeah, I've been giggling a lot more, too.
I've decided that I'm not doing much good burying myself in memories of days gone by- good though they may be. It's time to pick myself up, dust myself off, look around, see what needs to be done and just do it. As Obama said in the middle of his campaign, "It's better to light a candle than sit back and curse the darkness." Indeed. It's not so dark, though, and we all need to take a break from futility. Nothing is futile if you make a concerted effort toward goals and, incidentally, prayer changes a lot of things; More than you might think. I've been going over possessions and keepsakes with such buried thought that you'd think everything was priceless. I know better than that, of course, and you can't keep everything I keep telling myself. What I wanted to keep the most is now far away except in my dreams.

An estate sale is impending and I just need to find a couple of helpful volunteers to help me wrap things up, get things sorted and tagged and get it all out there where someone else can get a chance at some very nice stuff. All I've ever found myself deeply attached to is books and now that I've gone through and sorted about 10,000 of my own it's starting to look like audiobook city. There's nothing like getting your reading done while taking a walk, knitting or clearing up the dishes and straightening up a kitchen. I'm still looking for a change to come real soon. I can feel it in the air. Very soon no one will be able to hold me back and I'll be soaring the skies again and taking all kinds of calculated risks. It's good to be back with the human race.

 Racing with the stars...
The Castle Lady

Friday, June 06, 2014

Not Just Words

     All writers cope with the daily dilemma of living life fully or sitting down to write. If you aren't out there getting your feet wet in it, you won't have anything to write about and if you don't take a good amount of time sitting down and writing about your experiences you won't have a true impetus or drive for your craft and may lose perspective of your writing objective. It's called writer's block. Writer's block is a terminal disease I've never had and never will. I have quite a backlog of ideas just waiting for me to get to them. I'm afraid I'll never have enough time to finish all of them. Only writers will really know what I am saying and understand this entry at all. That's the main problem. We're the most misunderstood people in the world but most of the world is unaware of it. They think they know us. We're that lazy slob that won't get a job. We spend way too much time reading and writing everything down. We can't help it. It's in our genes and our blood. 
     In order for the writing life to work well, a balance must be prevalent which is tricky and, at times, fraught with peril, exhaustion and (most times) crushing frustration. Add to that, the drive it takes to succeed business-wise and you will have enough stress and tension to break stones! We don't show it on the surface, however. We're busy writing about the writing experience- or something else. There is always something to write about- it's inevitable.
     It may be very difficult for a world of non-writers to believe that a profession, in which it appears that you sit and type all day, to be anything more than a very cushy life. If they could see the inner workings in our heads played out in their own, they would run screaming from their own body- if that were possible. Most people would not be able to take it, I'm convinced. (All my fellow writers are saying, "Amen to that, sister!") All of this is the basis for a misunderstanding which has never been discussed well enough between writers and non-writers. To understand who and what the writer is you have to read between the lines and visualize. It is like staring through the bars of a cage to see a tiger. A good writer is well hidden behind his world of words and he likes it that way. We may not want to be found. We may not want to be personally understood. Sometimes, we don't care if you read what we write or not. Our motivations are the most mysterious aspect of our profession but not to us. Figuring us out is your problem- not ours !
     This may sound off putting but what I wanted to convey the most in writing this entry, has more to do with the complicated life of being a writer. We may or may not be antisocial but for some strange reason we prefer a blank page and a pen to all other forms of communication and enjoy the fact that we do this better than most people. Given enough time at the keyboard or writing pad, we are in our realm (our kingdom, if you will) and there is a whole world out there to illuminate through the written word. It isn't just's life.
and everyday at that....

The Castle Lady

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Don't Miss This...

If you love the game like I do 

you'll be there or be square, if you can stand that !


The Castle Lady


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Google Takes Over Blogspot

     This is literally what has happened in a matter of months. I figure that the minute we were enticed to add Google Plus to these accounts we'd been had by the powers that be. It was almost concurrent to the takeover of Blogger by Google. When I saw that in the news it sounded ominous then. Now it's just a pain in the drain. The powers that be are merely the machinations of Google trying to take over the planet. I remember when they criticized Bill Gates on the same premise. All I know is that I can no longer find two of my blogs on my so-called dashboard and the one Blogspot that I did not switch over to Google Plus tries to give me access to my dashboard but absolutely refuses to stop giving me error message pages blocking access to the dashboard that tries to come up. What we have here is a failure to make an upgrade an actual upgrade and a possible conspiracy.
     All that Google Plus nonsense is for all the thumb typers anyway and their teeny, tiny P.C.s which we could crush like bugs on a windshield. You can't write much of anything that way so what do they care about blogs? If you can get one sentence out of them each hour on those things you're getting more dialogue than they will ever convey to their parents, verbally or otherwise. A tweet may be sweet but a letter is better. You can quote me on that- and you'd better! Maybe I should copyright it right here and now so my rights won't be infringed by some half-wit trying to take credit where credit isn't due.
     Can you feel the sarcasm yet ? It wouldn't be so bad if I could call someone up and read them the riot act. They must be too shy for that sort of thing so we don't even get the pleasure of being given a wrong number. Perhaps we could take the planet back if we do one thing in particular that our competition would never do in a million years. Answer the phone. What do you think ? I think our First Amendment rights are being violated. I'll find out when I post this and I hope everyone understands that freedom came with a price. Someone had to stand up and tell someone off. I hope that whoever knows what's going on reads this and then feels ashamed. It's our only hope.

 P.S. Hmmm. Back to normal heee hee hee
It pays to tell people off. Trust me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Conceit: The Evil Invention

     Inventions capture curiosity and the keenest interest of humankind more than any branch of science and it has always been this way. Ask any applicant who's ever sat in patent office waiting to be the next approved. We prize the tinkerers and fabricators of our world because of the possibilities behind each device. All of it is fueled by great and complex imaginations. I'm sure everyone has, at one time or another, toyed with the idea of inventing something that will make a lot of money. Imagination is one of the most precious attributes we inherited from God, our creator and we, in turn, were his greatest invention because we were made as duplicates, capable of even greater inventions, according to Jesus. (John 14:12)
     However, these same attributes which contribute so much to our increasing cache of innovation can turn ruinous in certain instances, bringing to mind such thing as the A-Bomb, the fateful Hindenburg or the Titanic. Most of human manufactured disasters occurred because of error or misuse but there is also willful and wanton destruction at the behest of human imagination such as 9-11. Our world is staggering back from the glut of violent or greedy acts, increasingly.
     We stand back, even those of us who profess no allegiance to religion or God, asking, "How can such evil exist in beings who are also capable of great compassion, mercy and charity toward other humans and creatures suffering?" As a student of the Holy Bible and believer of God's sacrifice of His son, Jesus, for all our sin, I feel compelled to introduce you to another creation of God- His only failure- Satan. You may ask if this is possible for an omnipotent God. In this particular case it is but only because the failure began with Lucifer. If you read the 14th chapter of Isaiah you will get a true and faithful portrait of Satan. It illuminates what he was and what became of him.
     That event brought about the ruination of this once honored angel who, with words of plain conceit, brought about the first fall of God's creation. What he became is the archenemy to God and the rest of His creation. Lucifer's attempted act of usurpation brought about his sole invention; conceit. He uses it in continuity.
     Conceit is the catalyst to every weapon Satan uses against us. He generally chooses the path of least resistance when he comes at us and conceit makes his work easy. It is so prevalent that it's unusual for people to guard themselves against it. We often confuse self-esteem with conceit concerning ourselves and how we view others. It can be a dangerous assumption.
     In the verse James 4:10 we are urged by Paul to humble ourselves so the Lord can raise us to the level he desires for us. When we give into conceit, either by offense or ambition, we can easily become the tool of Satan. He loves conceit because he fuels himself and his minions on the momentum of it. As the quintessential bottom-dweller he will manipulate you through conceit and, he believes, bring you down to his level and that's where he does his dirty work on your true self-esteem. If you want to check yourself for this pitfall ask yourself how easily you are offended. Be honest with yourself.
     Getting control of your character and your self-esteem will require that you humble yourself. You can do this more easily if you will recognize and acknowledge God's sovereignty. Then, turn a deaf ear to Satan's dialogue which is demeaning or degrading and filled with lies and confusion. Thwart his attempts at putting you down by asking our almighty Father to lift you up. If you ask, He will do it. (Job 5:11)
     If this is a struggle for you, remind yourself that Jesus met with a similar struggle (read Luke, chapter 4) and came out victorious because he was given authority by God, the Father to rebuke Satan's words and still humble himself before God who had given him that authority. (Philippians 2:5-8) This displays true and proper self-esteem which will carry you with confidence. I cannot guarantee how others will perceive your new found assurance but you will please God and that is a blessed assurance. The best kind.
© February 6, 2012, Evelyn M. Wallace
All rights reserved by author
Be blessed,
The Castle Lady

Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter Woes

     I don't like to be negative for a new year but I think I'm going to scream if I see another snowflake or if I touch another thing that's as cold as ice. I have never experienced a winter in Denver like this one. To have day after day after day of freezing temperatures without a let up or change is just not Denver and more like Alaska! It's been like this since the beginning of December and January has continued the trend to the bitter end. You know the weirdest part? We still get sunshine nearly every day just like always. It's almost like a constant artic blast is coming through from the north pole of Saturn. Ever get one of those chills that no amount of warmed up bed buddies or fifty blankets can shake ? That happened to me around the end of December just before bed time. I'm considering moving south. South America that is !
     After the anniversary date of my Mom's birthday, which was on the 25th, I started thinking about how much she hated snow and cold. Winter has never bothered me until this recent two month bout but she never ceased to complain about it and I marvel that she never moved any place warmer. Her best friend, Willa, of whom I'm in regular contact moved to Arizona some years ago and now I wonder if she ever dreamed of packing her bags in winter and going to be with her friend before the first snowflake hit the ground. I'll bet she did but she never threatened to do so. I think she felt trapped in winter, as well.
     Today it didn't get above 20 degrees but I put on all my warm clothes, grabbed my basketball and hiking boots and took my trek into the winter wonderland that is now my home. I've always been in awe of how the world looks under a blanket of snow and if you're bundled up warm it's a bit refreshing to walk around in all that blowing snow and icy wind. However, it does get old and perhaps the reason why I enjoyed winter most of my life is because Denver's weather usually doesn't stay the same within the same day, normally. I have come to embrace the constant changing weather of my native locale and this just doesn't feel like home.
     Winter ? Bah, humbug !
The Castle Lady