Things My Mother Taught Me

Sharing everything my mom taught me would take several volumes of books, but I wanted to share a few points I use on the daily:

  • We have the strength to get through.
  • Whatever you’re feeling right now, it’s okay to feel that way.
  • Communing with nature is important.
  • How to do my own laundry.
  • My body is my own to control.
  • I will always be loved. I will never forget when she said to me, “I will love you no matter what – you can come home pregnant, gay, with AIDs, it doesn’t matter. You can always come back home.” This was very important for me to hear. It took away a lot of my fear of failure – of which I had a good amount, and still do – and helped me to take risks later on.

Please share the wisdom your mothers passed onto you.


An Earth Day Challenge.

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. To show your support for environmental protection, consider trying out some of these easy ways to reduce your footprint.

  • Use cloth towels and rags instead of paper towels.
  • Pick up every piece of trash you see for the day.
  • Put all your recyclables into a bag to be taken to your local recycling center.
  • Take reusable bags to the grocery store.
  • Save energy by taking a shorter shower and turning off lights when you leave.
  • And last but not least, plant a tree!

Catching My Dinner.

If you already have a pole and line and a place that you can go, fishing is an inexpensive form of recreation and a great way to get free meals. It’s also a relatively easy hobby to learn, as long as you get casting down – I have tried teaching it on multiple occasions and all it takes is a little practice.

Fish are a great source of protein and are low in saturated fat. If you catch your fish straight from the water, you don’t have to wonder about where your fish came from. Fresh wild fish tastes very different from frozen, canned, and farm-raised fish. By different, I mean better. I also sincerely believe that knowing what it takes to get food on a plate by yourself is a valuable life lesson.

A white bass.

A white bass.

With all that said, here is the first white bass I’m ever going to eat. Unfortunately, the fishing was slow today and I didn’t catch anything. I was lucky that my partner landed this one and was generous enough to give it to me. One fish is barely enough to make a meal for one person but I didn’t want to waste it.

photo 2

Fillets in the jar – the jar was previously an applesauce jar that I’m reusing for food storage.

I managed to get two decent fillets out of this one. Filleting fish is probably the only other learning curve to catching fish but there are a myriad of instructional videos on the internet to help. For white bass, they recommend removing the red section of meat – apparently it doesn’t do much for the flavor – but I hated wasting all the meat so I left it on. The guts went to Gunther as a treat and the rest of the fish went into my compost bin. To store the fillets until I’m ready to cook them tonight, I put them in a jar with water and placed it in the fridge. If you have a decent catch at the end of the day, any meat that isn’t going to be immediately used can be frozen for another night.

If you’ve never fished before, here are some steps you can take to start:

  1. Get some fishing gear. Don’t make things complicated – all you need is a fishing pole, some lures, some hooks, and a stringer to keep your fish on. You don’t have to buy bait – lift up a couple rocks, gather some worms, or catch crickets and grasshoppers. Fish actually prefer the latter and it’s cheaper.
  2. Find a place to go. Lakes and rivers are public waters and most have accesses you can fish from.
  3. Learn the regulations. Buy a fishing license. There are rules about what fish you can keep, how many, and what size. Learn these or you may be paying off a citation in the future.
  4. Just do it. Experience is the best teacher. Cast the bait in the water and wait. My advice is, if you’re a first time angler, find someone who already knows the sport so they can show you the ropes. Seniors are invaluable when it comes to things like this. Plus, you will make a new friend.

In conclusion, save money on food and entertainment and go fishing.

“You know when they have a fishing show on TV? They catch the fish and then let it go. They don’t want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.”

– Mitch Hedberg

Apps I love; Leaving 2016. 

As we prepare to leave 2016, I want to do a quick review of the apps I enjoyed this year. 

  • Wunderlist. Aside from being the perfect list-making app there is, Wunderlist lets you share lists with anyone. I currently share grocery lists, movie lists, and books lists. From their website: “Keep your life in sync. Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.”
  • All Trails. This app shows you the hiking trails in your area. The best part about this app is that it lets users comment on the trail. You can see the distance and difficulty of every trail listed. It also lets you know whether your canine companion is welcome or not. That’s very important for Gunther and I. You can save and rate your favorite trails. 
  • Snapseed. Over the past year, this has quickly become my favorite photo-editing application. It comes with a variety of filters and photo tuning options. This app will vastly improve the quality of your social media images. 

What were your favorite apps of 2016?

My Favorite Quotes; Running. 

“Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet.” – Doris Brown Heritage

“Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.” – Sarah Condor

“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.” – Priscilla Welch

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” – Jesse Owens

“Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself. ” – John Bingham

“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck

“Life is short… running makes it seem longer.” – Baron Hansen

“Running is one of the best solution to a clear mind.” – Sasha Azevedo

“Fitness if like the blade of a knife; you want to sharpen it without ruining the blade.” – Sally Jenkins

“I’ve always taken the philosophy that you have to dream a little in this sport. If you stay in your comfort zone, you’re not going to do anything special.” – Deena Kastor

“The freedom of cross country is so primitive.  It’s woman vs. nature.” – Lynn Jennings 

“Even if you fall flat on your face at least you are moving forward.” – Sue Luke

My Favorite Quotes; Nature.

“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” – Terry Tempest Williams

“Nature is not human-heared.” – Lao Tzu

“The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest.  It is one thing that all of us share.  It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.” – Lady Bird Johnson

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something in”One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!” – Dr. Jane Goodall

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker

“Modern science says: ‘The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future.’ From an incandescent mass we have originated, and into a frozen mass we shall turn. Merciless is the law of nature, and rapidly and irresistibly we are drawn to our doom.” – Nikola Tesla

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” – Anne Frank

“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.” – E. O. Wilson

Facing Your Fears: Minimalism.

Even before I knew what it was, I was striving for minimalism. As a very organized, anal retentive person, I hated clutter. I was always throwing things away, giving things away, and reducing the stuff I had. Every time I organized a shelf, cleared a corner, or straightened items, I felt like my mind had also been organized, cleared, and straightened. While that was helpful to my psyche, my minimalism didn’t have a purpose or a direction – until I realized, stuff is not good for me, my bank account, or the world.

I found that minimalism was never-ending. Rewarding, sure, but I would be continually striving against buying useless things and collecting stuff. I also could not reach what I considered ‘satisfaction,’ a state of being content with very few things. What was stopping me? What was in my way, and how did I keep ending up with even more things? Here I’ve outlined reasons that we are holding ourselves back from contentment.

  1. What If. This is likely what most people struggle with when it comes to getting rid of stuff. We keep things because we imagine a scenario where the item could be helpful in the future. Let’s be serious. Look at your junk drawer and ask yourself how long those items have been in there untouched. If it’s been more than two years, you can stop fearing the what-if.
  2. Just In Case. Similar to the what-if scenario, you keep things ‘just in case.’ Unless your just-in-case item is a first aid kit, think real hard about the importance of the item.
  3. But I Spent! This is the one I struggle with personally. I hang onto items I intend to sell or items that I spent money on. If I spent money on an item and I remember it, it’s very difficult for me to let the item go. I’m throwing money away, after all, and reminding myself how often I buy unnecessary items.
  4. Other’s Opinions. We are afraid of what will happen when we explain to house guests why we don’t have paper towels, aluminum foil, or napkins. We are scared they will judge us, be displeased, or inconvenienced. Guess what? All of these are true. People will be inconvenienced by your life style. Not everyone has become accustomed to living a non-disposable life – but we can meet this with our earth-friendly solution and show others that how we live isn’t really that inconvenient.
  5. Going Without. Sometimes being a minimalist means going without and every human knows that is hard, no matter what it is.


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