As A Direct Result

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It’s also an evil life-destroyer.

I’ve decided that today is going to be a work-free day.

I went to bed this morning sick as a dog. I suspect my brief time out yesterday affected me more severely than it ought to. Within a few hours of coming home, I got my fourth migraine of the week. I took a brief nap and I wasn’t entirely okay afterward, but now? UGH!

Sadly, with migraines, you often question whether you did something wrong, ate the wrong thing, etc. All I did was go out in tremendous heat for an hour and a half and come home. It wasn’t a lot of physical exertion, but my body says otherwise. I had a mild headache upon returning, but it wasn’t until I actually felt pain in my head that I took something for it. By 7:30, as my neighbors attempted to power wash something right near my bedroom window, I contemplated outright murder. My ears simply cannot bear the noise, and what are they up to at this precise moment? Yard work. At 9:23 a.m. On a Saturday. When it’s already 85 degrees and a heat advisory has been issued for the entire area, AGAIN. Schools actually closed early yesterday, if they opened at all, because it was over 100 degrees with the humidity and people were experiencing breathing problems. But hey, dumb & dumbest need to make noise on a yard that requires no work at all this week. This is where I would like to point out that I refrained from putting #TheyNeedToBeShot. I’m not a violent person…just don’t make noise when I’m sick or on any day ending in a y.

As a direct result of this migraine/heat/stomach agony, I’m trying to decompress this morning. I’d rather be asleep, but I desperately need to hit the grocery store. Not a fun task, I do not look forward to this, but I am going to try going once it cools down. There’s no point in making myself any sicker by attempting to do it early on in the day. Everyone and their grandmother will be there to capitalize on the digital coupon extravaganza, which has already turned into an epic fail because 9/4’s of the coupons don’t come off at the end of each order, which means customer service is inundated with questions as to why they didn’t work and precisely “Where are my savings? Are you going to give me my money back?” Actually, the store is set up to make sure you actually loaded the coupons on to your savings card in the first place. If you didn’t use the physical coupons that were also provided for the week, chances are you didn’t get the savings on those four items. I clipped all of my mine last night and will print up a few others later on. I’ve saved nearly $1000 this year alone in coupons at one store. That is a small accomplishment, but it feels good every single time I look at my receipt.

I’ve completed all of my work this week (though I am seemingly still loosely on the consulting job), except for the manuscript, which I will devote more daily time to next week in my attempt to complete it. I’m not looking forward to that, I’m simply tired of seeing it and knowing that it’s not complete. I do NOT relish the line of questioning that will come with the delivery, but since I stated in the contract how much time I will spend on answering questions before charging again for my time, I hope that will make the client aware that I mean business. It’s in black and white, how hard is it to follow guidelines?

Before I forget, I want to thank Writerstream for featuring my work this week, and I’d also like to give a huge shout out to the dozen or so new Twitter followers in the last 12 hours alone. (Special thanks to Lillian for encouraging me to join Twitter. Hugs sweet pea!) I never knew I’d grow to love it so much. To the friend that reads my Tweets and isn’t afraid to joke with me and laugh, I appreciate it. (You know who you are, doll!)

If you need me, I’ll be here for the next few hours. Drinking coconut water. Praying that it helps. If it doesn’t, I’m seriously considering an ER visit because this level of pain is out of control.

Have a great weekend everyone! And please, stay out of the heat and wear sunscreen.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves

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Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves

October hadn’t even ended and the few stores I walked into were full of Christmas trees, decorations, candy, and “special, early shopper prices”. I hate this time of year.

I don’t do Christmas. You will not find green & red anywhere in my home and you most certainly will not see a tree, lights, tinsel, et al. I won’t even “celebrate” it at someone else’s home. I celebrate Chanukah (Kuddos to Target for the most awesome Chanukah decor. I could easily have bought all of it, it was truly beautiful stuff. The nicest I have seen in years.) & Yule. Chanukah is centered around family, treats, sweets, and the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights, instead of one. If you don’t know the story of the Maccabees, Google it. I can probably look forward to a box of much wanted books, but I do not expect anything else on the gift front.

Yule is the Winter Solstice. It’s also the day I buried my father, so it’s hard on me. The two holidays coincide this year, but because I’m having an especially rough year I am not doing gifts for anyone, including myself. This has been my commandment of the past two years: Don’t spend money on anything extra that is not truly necessary. I’ve done well.

Every retail outlet in America will have you believing you need new EVERYTHING, and that you need it all RIGHT THIS SECOND. Between TV’s, computers, cell phones, tablets, and a plethora of other gadgets, billions of dollars will inevitably be spent no matter what. I know way too many people who spend thousands of dollars they don’t have on gifts for everyone and their Great-Uncle, and they don’t even like 9/4’s of the people they’re giving gifts to, they simply feel obligated. When their credit card statements arrive in January, they are filled with shame, remorse, and the simple fact that they are now seriously in debt, and for what?!

I’m more of a gift card kind of gal. I like choosing my own gifts, unless you’re going to Sephora, in which case, you can’t go wrong on anything (I’m joking, sort of.), but when it comes to giving, I like to do something for a person that they probably wouldn’t do for themselves. I don’t ever put a price tag on my best friends, God-daughter, or my Aunt. With my brother, I do have to limit him into a reasonable category because he always asks me for insane things. I don’t remember what I got him last year, but I do know he got exactly what he wanted/asked for, and that I spent next to nothing because I found both items on eBay for a steal. It DOES pay to shop around for the best price.

I really enjoy the quality and uniqueness of gifts on Etsy. I have bought everything from hand-crafted jewelry, sugar scrubs, and laptop cases, all the way to homemade fudge & plants for my Aunt’s garden, and pretty much everything has been great. Several pieces of jewelry were for me, and I wear them religiously. I bought an amazing leather wallet one year, and I love it to pieces. It’s got a great rock ‘n’ roll edge to it that makes it so unique looking. I’m not the least bit embarrassed to pull it out of my purse. I highly recommend doing a very thorough search of that site if you want items that are unique and affordable. Most people are taking orders now in advance of the holidays to guarantee timely delivery, and I understand that because they’re one person businesses. That’s different.

Retailers are disgustingly greedy, and yes, people need their retail jobs, I respect that, but none of us need to go running to any of those stores on Thanksgiving Day and be taken away from our families/friends. The employees themselves should also be home with their families, not running to work the very same night to “prep the store” for a pre-Black Friday opening. It gets worse every year, and it makes me sick.

This year I’ve decided to buy of all my normal stuff in advance at Walmart. Basically, that means all of my paper products, garbage bags, and 8 bags of cat litter. This will help me avoid anything there, short of the pharmacy, during all the crazy madness.

If you’re giving gifts this year, give from your heart. I’d rather receive something a person has made (craft stores are AWESOME!) than an after-thought they grabbed while trying to trample over 20 other people. The only thing I asked for this year is a scarf. I do have a nice one that (sort of) matches my coat, but I’d like something in grey. I’m allergic to wool, so this should be a fun little search in an attempt to not get sick this Winter. Perhaps I will even find a matching hat. However, the only thing I truly WANT is my health (and prosperity).

Nothing on this planet is more important than one’s health. Without it, you cannot do any of the things you want to do, should do, or need to do. Without it, you forever feel like you’re living on borrowed time. There’s nothing inside any retail store that can restore it, so consider this closely.

I know a lot of people forgo their regular “diets” during the holidays because they want to enjoy everything offered to them. There’s a reason the word “die” is in “diet”. I’m a firm believer in balance. I’m also not subjected to countless gatherings and parties, so “holiday weight” is not an issue for me. January is not my “It’s time to get back to the gym.” resolution, which most people only manage to keep up with for a few weeks, or a month, tops. I do consider which vitamins I should be taking, if there’s anything new that might physically increase my health and resistance to illness, and I try to make small changes that can make meals healthier and tastier, but all in all, I don’t obsess much. The past two years have shown me that the simplest things can be the most delicious things, and that it’s perfectly okay to have the 2nd cupcake.

So, while retailers throw everything and the kitchen sink at you in order to get you into their stores right away, consider yourself, your families, your budgets, and make a stand in advance. If you started early, good for you. If you’re strictly doing Cyber Monday, you’re probably better off. If you’re hitting the stores to chase down bargains, do so carefully and safely, and make sure you keep all your receipts, just in case.

Personally, I’m going to be un-subscribing from every single retailer that sends me an early shopping e-mail starting today. I’m utterly sick of the bullshit, but hey, that’s me. We’re all entitled to how we feel in regards to all of this meshugas. (If you don’t know what that means, Google it. Yes, that’s one of the languages I speak.)

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED