Daily Prompt: Clinging Desperately to Any Branch of my Family Tree

Was going to write a pleasant, congenial blog post about trees so I didn’t have to be real about what I have been feeling as of late.  I have decided to go another route completely and make this “branch” prompt about branches on my family tree.  The heck with trees, I just want to talk some truth today.  I’m actually allowing my brain to “regurgitate” all kinds of krap that I hold inside of myself.  I think getting my DNA tests back and researching various family is causing me to feel things that I usually choose to push way back as I live my life on automatic.  I was in such a bad mood yesterday after a distant relative “innocently” made a very thoughtless and incorrect comment about my life to me and I flew off the handle.  My mood has not improved as I have had time to reflect on many things.

Some of you might have read some things I posted about a year ago when I was finding out more things about my family that I had not known or was not sure about.  That is when I received a few things from a family member regarding news coverage of the vicious crimes my father was involved in before I was born and that he was only captured when the police shot out their stolen car and stopped he and his “gang.”

My parents marriage was a freak show that lasted 19 years with many hiccups along the way.  They were separated many times for various reasons such as other women or incarcerations.  There was that one time that my father was actually one of the Detroit 59er’s but that was a complete “bust” as well.  A person with a positive brain would concentrate on this story, but that’s not what I’m going to do since my father decided to get drunk and give up as usual.   He has so many opportunities I could only dream of and threw them all away for whatever reason.

My mother had a chance to divorce him when she was incarcerated while pregnant with me as a possible accessory to his criminal actions and a few times after that but she wouldn’t let go.  It wasn’t until recently when I heard someone explain the psychological make up of those that choose to stay with narcissists did it make sense to me.  They were a perfect fit.  She hated herself and he agreed with her.  He continued to commit various crimes in between infrequent employment, running around with other women, drinking and brain operations to help ease grand mal seizures caused by scar tissue received falling from a horse as a young teen.

Never heard any stories about my father because neither of his parents cared about him or their grandchildren.  I never knew either one of them.  I met his alcoholic father a few times but he never said a word to me the times we were down to their farm years ago. His mother took off because of his father’s drinking and refusal to hold a job and she never looked back.  She didn’t want her son, because he cramped her style trying to find another man.  I don’t really know what she was doing but she managed to move all over the country for a while until she came back to Detroit to fulfill her dream of marrying a wealthy man.

I saw her for a short time while we lived in an old farmhouse in the country nearby owned my her new hubby.  He owned a number of businesses and homes in and around metro Detroit.  My father was running one of the businesses until he began stealing from his own father in law because whatever he was being paid and living in a free house was not good enough for him.  He was fired and we were kicked out, forcing him into yet another mediocre job to survive and moving into a very run down, rat infested home in Detroit.

My dad was nice looking and could be very fun and charming when he wanted to be.  I will say as abusive as he was when he was drunk, I still preferred him over my mom.  He taught me to play the guitar, banjo and the piano, loved animals and shared everything he had with me like his collection of records including John Lee Hooker and Johnny Cash and his only guitar.  With my mother everything was “you don’t need this, no you can’t have it.”  My father was never good with money and sometimes even at our poorest, he would say “hey kids, let’s go down for some ice cream.”  My mother would say “they don’t need ice cream” because she knew we couldn’t afford it but my dad would say he knew we didn’t “need” it but he wanted to get it for us anyway.

My mother was an odd, inhibited, beaten down person that didn’t like to cook or clean house and completely ignored her family unless she was fighting with my father about something.  She had to be suffering from depression but was never treated for it.   She would vacillate between being lost in books and newspapers completely ignoring us to lashing out if you provoked her and we loved to provoke her just to get any kind of reaction.  My brothers still talk about how we knew our mom was not paying attention to us so we would ask or tell her outrageous things to hear her pat answer of “that’s nice kids.”  Stuff like “mom, Bryan just set the house on fire.”  “That’s nice kids.”  We would laugh!  “Hey mom, Bob just stabbed Bryan.”  “That’s nice kids.”  Course we stopped laughing when he actually did it one day.

My mother was also a victim of a closed head injury when she was hit by a Trolly in Detroit as a teen, suffered a severe concussion as well as fractured skull.  She was is a coma for quite some time according to my grandmother but fully recovered having to relearn some things which put her back a year with no memory of the incident.  My mother’s intellect never appeared to be affected and she love to put the rest of us down or laugh at my dad because he was not very bright.  Can’t imagine why he chose the company of other women to her and always spent as much time away from the house as possible.

As I write this out and edit so many things are becoming clear like why the chip on my shoulder is so large and why I have so much pain and emptiness inside of me.  I never had the love that I needed so desperately.  Many of us don’t.  I was never invited, never felt welcome, was always considered a misfit or an outcast, just like the rest of my sad, loveless family.  I never meant for this post to develop as a bitch fest about my parents but folks have to realize we are all victims of circumstance no matter what our station in life.

Years ago I finally told my mother that I never felt loved by her or anyone in my family.  She was half-assed defensive about it but I told her our family was unGodly.  The Word of God was NEVER spoken in our house and where there is no God there is no love.  I truly believe that.  I believe the only reason I survived this freak show somewhat intact was that I did get to live my first four years with my Christian Aunt and those years are the most formative even if you cannot remember everything that happened.  My sister and I used to stay with her and my maternal Gram on weekends after that because it was too hard for my parents to take care of us all.  I am not a well-adjusted person nor do I cope with things well because I feel every slight or disappointment that happens is just another reminder that I will never win in my life and I am right.  It’s not a good feeling.  When I was younger I could convince myself that things were going to get better.  I was wrong.

I can pray all I want but I know the spiritual truth of this evil world because I’ve lived it.  The more good I do, the worse things that happen in my life.  God only knows why because sometimes good things do happen to good people but more often than not “no good deed goes unpunished.”  That saying came about like Murphy’s Law, from real people living real lives and seeing certain things in action, not in wish-fulfillment.  I believe in praying to God to thank Him for each day and for strength and mercy but I have given up on the dream that I will ever have things the way I think they should be in my life and in the world.  I have seen such suffering and pain in others as well as myself that defies any logic of spiritual reciprocation.  The great thing about that is that is does not discourage me because that’s not why I do things.  God knows my heart that when I do it, I do it freely for Him, not for a favor from Him.

Those that have many trials have to decide to how they wish to respond to those trials.  I just saw something the other day about the load some have to carry is not about the weight but how you choose to carry it that will break you.  I know some alcoholics that bitch and moan and cry about the same thing all the time because for some reason they cannot mature enough inside themselves to understand that this is life and sometimes there’s not a damned thing you can do about it no matter how hard you try.  Which means grow up and deal with it instead of feeling sorry for yourself.  Develop a grateful heart, a heart for God.  A heart for revenge if you must.  Revenge against evil and that is in doing good.  This type of thinking helps me cope with my reality.

 

 

Healthy Living for 2016

I apologize for my website not being all it should be.

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My plan was to advise people how to get the most bang for their buck, hence the “Po” in Girl and that’s real poor.  I’ve lived in poverty and near poverty most of my life and actually have done alright.  I’m not some yuppie trying to look cool making things up as I go along of what might work.  I wanted to be writing relevant things to really help people in their day-to-day lives trying to get the best price for various things as well as what to look out for, especially nowadays.

General

Most of my life, I ate very sensibly and healthy.  My childhood was near starvation but after I was married I made healthy meals that were good for my family, a lot of it from our own garden, and it wasn’t until I hit around 50 years of age that I began a slow decline into the typical American diet in some ways.  Fighting hormonal mood swings and unhappiness with my life, which was completely different from clinical depression.

I describe the difference with feeling bad and clinical depression as this.  Clinical depression is someone with a wonderful life.  Loving husband and semi-normal kids, good report from the Doctor.  You live in a nice neighborhood, belong to the PTA and drive the latest car and something’s missing inside of you, you are miserable, maybe even bitchy and weepy, to me you have an ungrateful heart.  The Doctor would say depression, maybe.  Or maybe you don’t know just how bad, bad can be.

The unhappy person is the one that was born to a severely dysfunctional family, neglected and abused, they are not welcome or invited to hang out with higher society than the drunks that live in their neighborhood.  You end up marrying someone else from your side of the tracks and he stays out all night drinking and you don’t have the money to pay the rent, your car breaks down when you walk the rest of the way home the landlord is waiting for you.  You don’t have enough money to buy your groceries, let alone pay the rent.  You are not depressed to feel like shit.  You should feel like shit, this is normal.  In fact if you felt good with a life like this, you might be ready for the nut house.

The latter of the two scenarios best describes my life, but my ex-husband was not a drinker and I will leave it at that.  Suffice to say to those that live in dangerous neighborhoods or with dysfunctional family members usually have a hard time shining.  Ugly angry people do not like anyone that shines.  Their very nature is to try to put that light out.  Why do you think evil does what it does on a grander scale nowadays?

I try to keep my pogirlshines.me site lighter and more about the financial or social welfare of the individual and musingsofamenopausalmaven.com is to cover deeper issues of the day.

I am debating if I want to keep both sites or even blog at all lately.  I was forced to move to an area I am not that familiar with because of a pending foreclosure on my home.  I could have stayed legally until the 16th of this month, but was out at the beginning of October of last year.  I had to jump at the first apartment that was available so I would have somewhere to go that I could afford and wanted to live in.  There are lots of cheap places in bad or dangerous neighborhoods, but thankfully, now that I am older, I have more options with government subsidies and found all the cheap places in small towns.  Even though I still have friends that live in Detroit, my actual hometown, I don’t really like to go there anymore.  I won’t say that to them, but nowadays you never know what’s going to happen and I steer clear of areas where there is a higher incidence of robberies, shootings and jackings.

Healthy living is not just about eating right and exercising, not doing drugs, smoking or drinking to excess, it’s about thinking before you act.  Not driving with someone else who’s had a few too many, not texting and driving, not going to bad areas where you may or may not come out alive.  It’s also about being aware of your surroundings shopping near your home in a good neighborhood.  It’s about seeing what’s going on in a store or building you are working in or doing business in.  You need to look around for people that are behaving oddly or maybe where they shouldn’t be?  Any bags or packages left where they don’t belong?  Some became aware of this after the Boston bombings, but I was made aware of that when I worked in the branches of a bank years ago a mysterious, unmarked packages were left in the lobby once in a while.

I mentioned about looking around when you are shopping because of an ex-employee of a Family Dollar Store in Dearborn Michigan that I lived near and worked part-time near that was robbed and the two kids there were both murdered in 2013.  Not sure how many heard of this story.  The young man was shot in the store and they found the young woman manager’s body a couple of days later not far from there.  This was a store I shopped at and I could have walked in the night this was about to go down, anyone could have, and been involved or shot ourselves.  I think they believe he came in when the store was still open for business.  I worked that day and broke my glasses.  I was going to stop at that store on the way home to get another pair, pretty good price and decent quality for reading glasses.  I forgot to and didn’t remember again until after my dinner.  It was about 7:30 pm and I was about to get dressed and drive down, but said forget it, I’ll do it tomorrow.  That was around the time, or right before, that murderer entered the store.  You just never know

Food

Now onto nutrition.  When I was a child we didn’t have sweets and junk food sitting around our house, thank God.  They didn’t even have fast food places until I was a young teenager, not that we could have afforded such a swank place as McDonald’s.  My mother did the best she could with what little she had.  My dad had to have his drinking money.  That’s the one common denominator with most of the poor I’ve known.  They got to have those vices.  I don’t know if they have poor impulse control or they have such deep issues, they don’t believe they can overcome so they numb.  There are some like me that don’t have these issues, but they were kept down by their history of abuse which destroys the self-esteem as well as what I think of those that think they are better.  I don’t care for people who are like this and therefore it did not make me want to work my way up to their ranks, even though I did because of my good work ethics.  I did not live their lifestyle but put my money to better use in savings for a rainy day and helping others.  Not what so many do when they earn the big bucks and get a fancier car or waste it on expensive clothing or jewelry.

Christmas1960

Christmas Breakfast 1960. I was nine sitting center back. Judging by how happy we all look, my dad was probably drinking and acting up as usual.

My entire childhood our meals were cold cereal for breakfast with milk, our mother packed our lunch which consisted of a sandwich, one piece of fruit, usually an apple, and two cookies.  My mother could make 5 sandwiches with one 5 oz. can of tuna spread thin with mayo.  Either that or peanut butter and jelly.  We used to ask mom if she was going to be making us peanut butter and jelly casserole for dinner, we got so sick of them.  Our dinners were sometimes Chili or Spaghetti but most of the time she took one pound of ground beef and made 8 patties, there were 7 of us and dad could have two, she deep-fried in oil and fried sliced potatoes the same way with way too much salt added.  No desserts.  I can remember once in a blue moon we were allowed to have a few potato chips in a bowl and a small glass of pop for a treat.  Odd treat, but my dad liked this stuff.  Pop and chips were really marketed to the American public.  I know that I was very shocked to see just how many families that paid with food stamps did not have pop, chips and all manner of junk food in their carts.  I thought they either have the worst diet on the planet or they are using this free money to buy their snacks here.

As a young teen, I pretty much stopped eating breakfast altogether.  Later, in high school, I started skipping lunch.  They opened a coffee shop almost next to the high school and some of us went over there at lunch, even though we were supposedly not allowed to, for coffee and a cigarette.  Yes I used to smoke for about 5 years, ages 16-21.  As soon as I became pregnant with my first child, I quit permanently.  About the only meal I ate was my tiny dinner.  I never liked food and for good reason.  I didn’t really have any, not anything to enjoy.  My mother was never a good cook and later on I was sure that she deliberately burned and over salted everything to show what she thought of us.  Nothing was ever done with love in our home and hence we never equated food with pleasure or love.  Later on most of my siblings became morbidly obese because in a sense when they finally tasted good food, they began killing themselves with kindness.  The only time I overeat is when I am angry and frustrated.  I’m sure they may feel the same.  Severely abused children really never get over it.

Most of my meals as an adult were fairly simple and I was always one to shop on the “outside” of the store.  No one had to tell me to do this.  That’s where the meat and fresh produce usually are.  Also the bakery if they have one.  I’m sure someone will finally realize they need to redesign the grocery store to put the real food in the middle, or better yet, at the end of one long isle where you have to pass all kinds of unhealthy temptations first.

My husband wanted eggs and toast for breakfast.  We sometimes had bacon or sausage with that.  Sundays were sausage and pancake day before church.  Later when I divorced, I gave my children an egg once in a while, but we mostly had cold cereal and toast.  For years I had 1/2 C cottage cheese and a hard-boiled egg with some oatmeal.  I later changed the cottage cheese to plain, nonfat yogurt.  I only eat one egg 2 or 3 times a week instead of daily.  I love peanut butter on low sodium toast and add a little tera’s whey, plain unsweetened, to 1/4 C plain nonfat yogurt for added protein.  Never more than one scoop.

My lunch is anything left over that needs to be eaten.  Sometimes I will put chicken into a sandwich that I pile lots of lettuce leaves and sometimes tomato on.  If no leftover chicken, I will used salmon or tuna.  I do not eat peanut butter and jelly and stopped making my own jellies and jams many years ago.  Even with my backyard berry bushes, I either ate them fresh or made a sauce with much lower sugar.  I love peanut butter on toast or a spoon or in one of those Reese’s cups!

My dinners are almost always around a piece of meat, 3-5 oz of usually chicken or fish.  Sometimes turkey meatloaf.  Once in a great while I eat beef.  Not a fan.  Love chicken or salmon.  I would serve baked potatoes or plain rice and numerous vegetables and salad, much of this from our garden.  My late mother-in-law taught me to grow all kinds of interesting things.  She let me use her yard to grow peanuts because she had sandy loam and my soil was amended thick clay that I hand dug the first year when my husband and I won the bid on a repaired HUD home.  Didn’t want to bother bidding on the cheaper ones that needed repairs of all kinds.

Suffice to know healthy eating is lower fat, sugar, sodium and any kind of additives that are not naturally in a food.  Common sense, right?  Don’t fry your foods, bake or roast them.  Some experts say the charring from grilling can cause cancer.  It just tastes bad to me.  I have typically steamed my vegetables or I will stir fry in part butter or olive oil and water.  I eat almost all vegetables fresh, sometimes frozen.  I have almost never used canned unless someone gave it to me for some reason.  I put very little dressing on my salads and sometimes none.  Taking any good food and adding too much stuff to it will defeat your purpose.  I do defeat my healthy diet all the time by having a big bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake after dinner.  I love cake now.  Didn’t used to.  Cake is high in both sugar and sodium.  I have managed to find some healthier alternatives to ice cream with frozen yogurt and gelato.  Always, read your labels.  They are very different and some much higher in sugar than others.  This is with all food that has them.  I cannot believe the difference in nutrition in foods that seem the same.

For this reason, recipes are a waste unless you want to use one for fun.  Most foods do not need recipes because they should be cooked and eaten as plainly as possible.  All these television cooks are for the birds.  I see the salt and sugar they put into their dishes.  Spices and some herbs are a whole nother story.  They can be great.  Give your food a good flavor and some believe in added health benefits of ginger, turmeric and so on.  I am not an expert on herbs anymore and I don’t like making claims that this is good for that and so on.  I eat things that make sense to me.  I regularly add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric to many of my dishes and my favorite herbs are thyme, marjoram and sweet basil.  I have many others I use on occasion and like to make curries.  For me curry is not as hot as when I try to eat peppers.  I don’t care for black pepper either and never add this to my cooking.  It bothers my stomach.

Exercise

CarolBellyDancing2

I am not going to waste your time on this site by posting any actual exercises.  There are many of them and most movement is good for you.  The main thing to remember is walking is the best exercise and most natural. We need to be sure to use the upper body to maintain strength as we age. Exercising with small weights can help. As an ex-dancer and dance teacher, I know what a great work out dancing is.
Anyone who has seen Dancing With The Stars can see how many of the contestants lose weight while on the show.  Belly Dancing is a sensual way to become attune to your body as you tone it! It is important not to overdo any exercise and check with your Dr. if you have any health issues or are obese before you try anything strenuous.
Working out with others gives people more incentive. You might try checking out your local school’s continuing education programs for any dance or fitness classes that seem reasonable.  Don’t become obsessive about the latest diet or exercise, you need to find a way to move in everything that you do, to incorporate exercise, so you don’t feel like it is something you have to do, it is something your body wants to feel.  The glorious feeling of being stretched and relaxed, not worn out.  Something like yoga is good.

When you go out looking for a gym or a class, don’t let anyone high pressure you into signing any contracts.  Some will.  See if they offer at least one free or low cost class to see if you like it first.  I know so many that sign up for gyms and never end up going.  What a waste of money!

Exercise can never be overrated but it’s not something you have to rigidly schedule.  You do need to be regular when it comes to moving.  Just sitting around for a day or two causes your body to weaken.

Your overall fitness and health depends more on exercise or lack thereof, then your diet when it comes to weight loss and muscle tone.

As long as you are not actually overeating, taking in more calories than you burn and eating really bad, fatty foods, you should be able to eat what you want in reasonable portion sizes and be able to lose or maintain your weight if you move enough.

I knew people that never did structured exercise in their life, but between gardening, having very clean houses, taking occasional walks
and going out dancing once a week, they had great figures even with their healthy appetites.  You never want to be sloth-like, laying or
sitting around all the time.  It is dangerous to lose so much muscle tone, as well as potentially causing blood clots to form.
The more muscle you lose, the more cellulite appears in its place.  Ask any ex-dancer!

“Exercise” taken from pogirlshines.me “Come On, Move It” January 2, 2013.

I recently took one of those Cardio Drumming classes that are all the rage.  Be careful of jumping on any popular exercise craze.  Didn’t stop to think that I have mild arthritis and that holding large sticks in my hands and beating them on those rubber like balls would take its toll on my wrist as well as finger joints so be careful.  Try to think out any exercise plan well.  It was a lot of fun, but never again.  It’s not for me.  Plus I swear I could taste residue from those beaten balls, which would make perfect sense.  We all got pretty dry.

Running is another craze for the moment and give it some time before fewer people will injure their body by this form of exercise.  Running is hard on the knees and feet especially.   Nice cardio, but brisk walking does the same, with less joint damage.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Another “New” Year

Instead of filing bankruptcy in the beginning of 2014 as I should have, after losing my part time job at the end of 2013, I tried to hang onto my house just so I did not have to go through all the stuff I am now having to go through which is bankruptcy and foreclosure, having to downsize and pack up what remains and start living a completely different way of life.  So that kind of explains why I chose to try to find another job that never materialized and drain what little savings I once had to almost nothing in the vain attempt to stave off the inevitable as long as I could.  I can’t see any reason to stay here any longer since my balloon payments are due to begin this year and I would be paying an additional $450 or more a month.  I will be able to just make most of my bills, since I stopped making my mortgage payments now, with the small social security income I had to start drawing on earlier than I planned to.

I didn’t bother to rent my home out due to the amount of rent I would have had to charge this year and I was advised against just signing the house over or wasting my time seeing if a short sale would fly considering that I have two mortgages.  I will have to see how my foreclosure plays out to see where I’m actually going to be living when I leave here.  I have managed to get some applications in cities where I wanted to live, so depending on how soon I have to leave, and who has an opening at that same time, determines where I actually move to.  There is a place a few blocks away from my house that has a month to month lease option that sounds promising, though eventually I want to get out of this dirty city and all the memories.  Some of my family is still trying to talk me into moving to the upper most part of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan where they are now currently 20 below in wind chill and have already had over 2 feet of snow.  Snowfalls are beautiful, within reason, but I am no fan of winter.

Still no lotto wins, but I never give up hope and keep buying one for each major drawing in my area.  The Lottery is the carrot that dangles before the working rich and poor alike and the fact that I once knew someone who shared in one of the bigger jackpots, keeps me playing cause I know people can actually win it.

I can choose to move into a cheap apartment for people over a certain age that are income based because they have them all over.  I could also take out the remaining pension I have and purchase some little fixer-upper like one of my brothers did many years ago.  He made some low offer in cash that was accepted and it was his.  He did have to put a lot of money into it once he moved it though.  Money that I don’t have.  One of my other brothers could have done the same thing when he moved up by him this year, but decided to just rent a cheap but nice apartment with all utilities included in these, his declining years.

Tough call for me.

I am very handy myself and would have help from the rest of my family to make most repairs.  By draining my small pension I will only be short $150. per month as a monthly annuity that I would be applying to apartment living should I rent.  The taxes in some areas of the Upper Peninsula are super cheap, like $300 to $600 a year.  So I figure my monthly payment for my tax, insurance and utilities would be approximately $300 per month, which is cheaper than any apartment.  If I happen to get a money pit, then it will cost me a lot more than that and after a bankruptcy, if I needed credit for any major repair, my interest would be through the roof.

Or I could move to an apartment, like my one brother, in an area that is very popular with tourists and it will feel like I’m on vacation all the time.  I could really be free to do any free or cheap thing I feel like with no maintenance or responsibility and absolutely no snow-blowing all winter long!  Sometimes that sounds great to me, but I am so independent and used to love living creatively.  I guess if I go apartment, I might actually think of stopping Po’ Girl Shines since I have not been using it to make the kinds of posts I planned on initially and it does not look like many people see my posts.  I guess I really do have to blog or get off the spot this year.

I don’t want to just post an occasional pretty picture or a recipe.  I really wanted to be providing information that people could use.

I will see what happens.

Few examples of various art projects from years ago to current.  I love experimenting with various computer software on my photographs.  A couple were just fooling around on blank part of 35mm negatives and then scanning/printing them to see what they look like.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

Ta Da!

My creative ideas are all mine (well sorta), til I decide to give them away. I do give the glory to God for all I know, see and do.  Posted a photo of my Po’ Girl Shines logo that was created with some of my photos.  I love doing graphic arts and working with mixed media and fabrics.
Po’ Girl Shines was an idea I got years ago when the economy began to tank and more people began to appreciate living the way I choose to live.  Some had to find out the hard way that living in poverty could actually be cool if you put the right spin on it.  If you decide that you are not born to be a consumer, but actually want to live.
My poverty is mine, my faith is mine, and my life is mine while I have it.  All the photography and art work is mine on this site and pogirlshines.com.
Most of my information on pogirlshines.com came from living sensibly and frugally my entire life. I believe that we should use as little as possible and give as much as we can while we are here in regards to the earth and how we treat one another.

The “ta da” was added because I have been saying this since I was a small child and began putting on performances for my captive audience known as family.

Peace

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