Jan 182021
 

People say your attitude about money comes from your parents. My father made good money and spent it. His battle cry was, “It’s only money, Ri, I’ll get more of it!” (Ri is my mother, Rita.) She would have a conniption fit when the man she married, raised in abject poverty and now making it, came home with a new toy. My mother’s battle cry was, “We can’t afford it!!!” Even when we could, we couldn’t. Scarcity Mindset.

Children of the Depression

My parents were children of the Great Depression. Dad grew up in a large family that didn’t even have enough to eat most of the time. Mom grew up in a family that had enough; nothing extra, but enough. My Grandmom (Mom’s Mom) was one of the few people steadily employed during the 1930s. My Mom always told me that Sundays brought folks to the front door who needed a meal because my Grandmom never turned anyone away. She would just water down the soup a little bit more. You would have thought my Mom would have picked up this generous spirit, but she didn’t. She just developed a very advanced scarcity mindset.

Affording It

As my Dad educated himself and took on bigger and better employment, becoming one of the top salesmen in the USA selling portion-controlled food to restaurants, his paychecks went up exponentially. All of a sudden we had nice homes and there were a few more dresses at the beginning of the school year. We went on vacations. New appliances and furniture began to appear. Life got decent and then it got nice because of my Dad. Yet the constant cry of, “We can’t afford it!” never stopped. But we did.

Proof, right?

Now you think that would have been proof positive to my developing mind that she was wrong and he was right. Yeah, you’d think. My husband and I worked our asses off when the kids were little. Could we afford everything? No. Did they always have enough? Yes. But even when things eased up a bit, every time I needed to lay out some money, the Rita in my head screamed, “We can’t afford it!”

And the Torch is Passed

So all through my formative years there was this battle between we CAN afford it and we CAN’T afford it. Why, oh why, didn’t I believe him and not her? I took on that scarcity mindset. My adult life became, “We can’t afford it!” The problem was that although there were some times we couldn’t, there were many times we could.

What it Really Meant

Now here’s the real problem. “We can’t afford it!” meant we couldn’t afford to give either. Donations? “Hey, we’re poor, too.” No, we weren’t. That family needs help! “Oh well, they can get on assistance.” Meanwhile, there was an extra $20 burning a hole in my pocket that could have bought food. Not a lot, mind you, but it could have made the difference for someone.

Selfishness

So it made me selfish. I never in a million years considered myself a selfish person. I gave freely to all. . . of myself. But when it came to opening up the purse strings, well, that was a different story. I would tell myself things like, “Money isn’t everything. They need your time and attention.” Maybe they did, but if someone has a hungry baby they need money for food first!

I. AM. SELFISH. That revelation hit me hard. I broke out in tears with all the years of, “We can’t afford it!” hitting me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I feel like a total failure for all of those years. But guess what? I’m Scrooge and it’s Christmas morning. There’s still time to fix things.

It’s Different Now

Today I give freely to those who need it. I can’t do it all for everyone, obviously, but there are many I can help and I do. I don’t want to be selfish anymore.

This is NOT to say that you should be a spendthrift and give everything you need away to the detriment of your own, not at all. You take care of your own first, of course, but if there’s a few bucks left, trust me when I tell you someone in today’s world could use it. And then. . . more of it will come to you!

And in the End

So the moral of this tale is to not let a scarcity mindset make you selfish. We still don’t have a helluva lot but we have a helluva lot more than many others do. For this I am grateful. And every now and then, when Rita and her damned, “We Can’t Afford It!” starts to infiltrate my brain, I take a deep breath and listen for my Dad. “It’s only money. I’ll get more of it.” He always did. I will, too.

“Magic Penny” by Malvina Reynolds

It’s just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They’ll roll all over the floor.

 


Aug 292020
 

This is Chelsie Kenyon, a phenomenal brain trainer and marketing coachDear Chelsie,

I don’t remember how I found you, but I believe I was on You Tube looking for something motivational. Not sure why I clicked on you, but I did. The last thing I thought I needed was some glamour girl Barbie doll telling me what to do. As I was about to click out of there, you said shit ton, one of my very favorite technical terms. 😉 Then you started talking about kicking ass. Somewhere down the line you dropped an F-Bomb. Blonde bombshell or not, dare I think I found my tribe and its name is Chelsie Kenyon?

A Little About Me

I am short and round, an old Nana who is way past her glory, if I ever had any. I have a self-esteem problem. My mother didn’t like me and, to her, I was fat, ugly and good for nothing. She repeated it till her dying day when I was 61. She’s still in my head, but I’m fighting. So your California Golden Girl look was the last person I thought I wanted to listen to. You could have Bobbi Brown do my makeup, dye my hair, carve the tonnage off of me with a chain saw and put me on a rack for a year or so. Not a snowball’s chance in hell of looking like you or even close. But, hey, I’m old enough to be your mother, so. . .

Chelsie, You Kept Getting In My Head

After that first video I looked you up on the net. I found this massively impressive website, chock full of glamour shots. I cringed. But I listened, too. You were real. I found the link to your Facebook group and clicked the join button. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I was still having trouble with the glamour girl look. Jealousy? Not at my age. Maybe regret for what never was and what never will be. After a day or two, I was hanging on to every word you said. And then I did the unthinkable. . . I bought a course from you, Ms. Barbie Doll. Okay, okay. It was a small course, but I bought it.

That First Course

Your course came in two parts. The little second part about building a Campsite link I did first as it looked like something this technoeejit could handle. And I did. I was so pumped! So I tackled the other part, “Quick and Dirty Funnels.” Of course, I didn’t tell anybody that I didn’t know what the hell a funnel was. But I figured I was still teachable, even at my age. So I went through the course once. I went through the course twice. In the middle of the third time I broke down in tears. I had no idea what was going on. Should have saved my money. Every negative voice came rushing back.

But Your Group. . .

I was going to get out of your group, but. . .I couldn’t. I was like the proverbial moth to a flame. Then I jumped in another group with you. And then. . . the photophobic that is me purchased your Fauxtography course, you know, the one that makes you look like you’ve done a pro photoshoot but using just your phone and some props. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

When I look in the mirror all I see is an ugly old lady with wrinkles and a huge nose. Yeah, I know that’s not technically true, but it’s historical conditioning. I’ve done a lot of work in breaking out of that, but WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU, MA’AM. . . . taking a photography course brought it all slamming back like a sucker punch to the gut. The voices in my head told me I was an idiot, a fool, stupid, yada yada yada. But, hell, I paid for it. So I opened it up.

Fauxtography

At first I had every excuse in the book why I couldn’t do this. There isn’t any white space in my house. The tripod doesn’t work right. I don’t know how to use the camera in my phone all that well. I’m gonna look ridiculous. I’m just gonna open up old wounds. And on and on it went. My usual self-hatred. But I kept clicking on the lessons. And a strange thought started appearing, one that said maybe I COULD do this. Every time I closed the course, my brain snuck right back in and snickered, “FOOL!!!” But. . .but. . . but this was really good information. No, I was NOT gonna look like you. I was gonna look like me. That had to be okay. Me is okay. I kept repeating that over and over and over again.

And a Selfie Started It All

The course is not about taking selfies, but I decided to try a few things. I had to dig deep and figure out what was actually fueling my camera fears.

First one was hair. I have very little of it due to medical conditions. And right now what’s left is plague hair, not cut since February. But hair is easy. I have wigs. In fact, I have a wig almost the exact color my hair was in the olden days, kind of like a bright shiny penny. The second thing is I have next to no eyebrows. Then what did I buy the damn Anastasia eyebrow powder for? I went to work. Eyebrows on. Check. Wig on. Check. And here I sat, feeling like a foolish old lady who was playing dress-up.

I started clicking away. I took some ridiculous-ass pics at first. Thank God you can erase them. I would have had to cut up the negatives in the old days. Remember when you had to wait two weeks to discover your photos sucked? LOL But then I got a few good ones. And then I got one that made me sit here with my jaw on the desk. That can’t be me! I sent it to my husband. This man who has loved me for 52 years texted back, “Who dat?” with a heart on it.

“THE Selfie”

Me with a red wig and happy

And Now Push Comes to Shove

Now it was time to do what scared me the most. Me. On Camera. Front-facing. Me and the tripod. Hoo boy!!! I chickened out several times. I repeated several sections of Fauxtography, all the while seeing Chelsie’s beautiful smile and hearing her encouraging me to pull a Nike and Just Do It. So I did. Again, the ridiculous-ass pics showed up. Delete works nicely. But then there were a few. . . I’ll let you be the judge.”

Thank You, Chelsie!!!

I can’t thank you enough, Chelsie Kenyon. You pushed me, you shoved me, you kicked my ass hard. You. Someone I normally wouldn’t even give the time of day with a broken watch only because of how gorgeous you are. How ridiculous is that? But the substance behind that gorgeousness came through loud and clear, even to this faded and jaded old lady. I am so glad I stayed. You now see me all over your groups. I may be the oldest one in there. I absolutely don’t care. I’m in. And guess what? You’re stuck with me, woman. I’m not going anywhere. Oh, and I just bought two more courses. 🙂

Love,
Carla

P.S. Wanna go check Chelsie out? Her name is linked to her site at the beginning of this blog post. Her FB group is The E.P.I.C. Woman Collective – For your Brain and Business. Just click and knock on the door! And for a hella good marketing technique, try The Daily Prompt. You will NOT regret it!!!

Aug 082020
 

When you live in a rural area and there is no power, you lose your toilets, too.Hurricane Isaias came barreling up the Atlantic Coast earlier this week after walloping parts of the Caribbean. Storms happen all the time in New Jersey. Sometimes, we get nailed; other times, we don’t. We got trounced by a derecho (a severe vertical wind storm) in 2012 in my neck of the woods, to be followed up by Hurricane Sandy which mostly missed us but almost destroyed the northern end of the state. So when the power went down on Tuesday morning, it was ho-hum. It’ll be back on in a few minutes. Except that it wasn’t.

Living in The Boonies

I live in a rural area. No power means no nuttin’ honey, including the bathrooms. Yes, we have our own well, but you need an electric pump to get that water up out of the ground and into the house. When my kids were little, we had a big swimming pool in the back yard and we used to run a bucket brigade to flush the toilets. The pool’s been gone for ages. During the derecho and Hurricane Sandy we had these huge industrial barrels which we used to take to a friend’s house who had city water and fill them up. It got to be quite a drag. We also used to stockpile gallons of bottled water for taking showers.

For Want of a Generator

We sat in our 105-degree living room for almost a month without power back in 2012 when the derecho hit. We were totally cut off. We had to make sure we could get out to get gas in the cars so we could pull them up to a window and run a charging cord out to power our phones. This was our only connection to the outside world. Telephone lines were out, too. We lost the food in the fridge and freezer. Everybody smelled really good (NOT). We had a camp stove out on the back porch for making coffee and elementary cooking. A friend eventually loaned us a small generator and it was such a relief. Right then and there I made a vow that I would do whatever it took to get a generator of our own.

It took me a while to save the money, but we waited for a deal at Harbor Freight and eventually got one. Armed with saved cash and a 20% off coupon, we proudly brought home the generator that has been gracing my back yard ever since. It doesn’t run the entire house, but it runs enough of it. We had it for a year-and-a-half before we needed it. I thought. . . all that money and those storms were a one-off? And then I remembered. Hey, this is New Jersey. So it got use. Not a lot, but it was a relief to know it was there.

But Life Without Power in Today’s World?

We waited for quite some time for the power to come back on the other day, thinking. . . “Any minute now it will be back.” The electric company always puts estimates on their outage line. No estimates. Hmmm So after waiting for 5 or 6 hours (yeah, we’re stubborn), hubby went out to hook up the generator. That at least gave us lights, water pump, fridge and freezer. It also gave me back a computer.

That’s good, right? Yes, it is. Before the computer got back online I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll just do this, this and that.” But I couldn’t do this, this and that without power. Banking? Need the computer. Business? Need the computer. Letting people know we were okay? Need the computer. And the computer needs. . . power. So we were effectively stuck. It took me a while to get things caught up and, truth be told, a day later I’m still not totally caught up. As they say in the Disney movie, it threw off my groove.

Where Was My Phone?

Well, yes, my phone was operating, but. . . it wouldn’t load much of anything. No weather reports. Facebook? It loaded from the cache and wouldn’t update. The only thing reliably working was Messenger and texting, so at least I could let a few people know we were okay. As far as keeping in contact in other ways, forget it. And we have good phones on a decent network. Well, at least I thought we did.

So. . . Back to That Generator

If you live in a heavily-populated area you probably won’t ever face any of this. When I complained after the 2012 fiasco, the electric company told me that they complete repairs by population of districts or some such garbage. My *district* has a whopping 16 homes in it so guess who gets last place? Yep, you’ve got it. But as rural as we are, there are other areas around here who get last minus one or two. I have friends still waiting with no end in sight.

Our generator is a must for this type of life. Without it, we would have been much worse off, a mini version of 2012. Yes, it takes gasoline to run. We keep some gas cans full for the tractor to mow the grass and the generator. As soon as that last can got emptied into the tank, we ran for more gas. Hubs fixed it so I could take a shower. I was grateful. Sure beats pouring gallons of bottled water over yourself, lathering up and then pouring more to rinse.

So How Did YOU Get Through This One?

If you live on the east coast, how did you weather Isaias? What do you do when the power goes out? To me, it almost seemed to be adding insult to injury on top of the plague we’re going through. But this is Hurricane Alley. I know there’s more coming. I’ve lived with hurricanes almost all of my life. They never seemed quite as bad as this one. I think I’m just getting old.

(This is too close to home. We were lucky. No damage.)

Jul 102020
 

Today a woman's worth or talent hinges on her being able to wear an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikiniThe words *hot bikini bod* can cause my hot (not so) bikini blood to boil. Everywhere you look these days, all folks want of women is a hot bikini bod. Cut me a break!!! Men can have a beer belly, hair sprouting everywhere and be bowlegged, yet they will still be reviewed based on their talent. Women? No hot bikini bod, no talent. Sadly, in our society a woman’s talent depends on size.

What They Want

You would think that Carrie Underwood would fit the bill of what they want perfectly. She’s young, gorgeous, ripped after two kids and can tear up a song like nobody’s business. Looks? Check. Brains? Check. Bod? Check. Talent? Well, depends on if she bulges in that bikini or not. As long as she has that hot bikini bod, yeah, she’s talented.

The Older Folks

Melanie Griffith, a talented actress, is 62. Want to know what’s the only headline I’ve seen on her recently? “Melanie Griffith, 62, stuns in sports bra.” Forget the talent. Let’s gawk and gape at that sports bra. Yes, she looks good for 62 and, yes, she was wearing a sports bra. Stuns? She looked fairly ordinary to me. And just in case the question is burning a hole in you, she had on a rather plain pair of khaki shorts under that sports bra.

Elizabeth Hurley. She was a model. I don’t expect her to have instantly morphed into an old hag. And like most models, she’s skinny skinny. Headline, please. “Elizabeth Hurley, 54, stuns in sexy Versace dress from 21 years ago.” Here we go with that “stuns” crapola again. My first thought when I saw this was. . . why is she wearing an old dress? If you guess it’s because I’ve never owned a Versace, you’d be right.

Almost Old Folks

Let’s move into some folks who aren’t quite old yet, but are old for today’s society. If you watch the Real Housewives (yeah, right) TV shows, you’ve probably heard of Kim Zolciak. She doesn’t impress me, but she’s a mom of six and still has a pretty hot figure. So here’s the last headline I saw: “Kim Zolciak celebrates her 42nd birthday in a tiny pink bikini.” Kim may have had on a tiny pink bikini, but all I saw was boobs. Let’s just say the gal is well-endowed by her creator.

Another old lady at 42 is “Mad Men’s” January Jones. Headline: “‘Mad Men’ star January Jones, 42, stuns in nautical-inspired bikini.” And, yes, she DID look phenomenal in that bikini. I’ll admit it. But forget about her character on “Mad Men.” What acting talent? Just look at that bod! And what is it with that word “stun” these days? I think some of the so-called reporters gawking at these bods need to get hit with a stun gun!

Young Stuff

And now on to someone I had to look up. Never heard of Francesca Farago. She’s all of 26. What caught my eye, though, wasn’t the headline. . . “’Too Hot To Handle’ star Francesca Farago shows us her new bikini line”. . . but the fact that her entire arse was hanging out of that line! I mean the whole thing. Could that be what people were looking at? Ya think?

THE ULTIMATE

Okay. I admit I’m jealous here. The girl is only two years younger than me. I’m speaking about the incredible Christie Brinkley. She’s always been beautiful. You won’t get any arguments from me there. She’s taken to showing off pics of herself in bikinis with her much younger adult daughters to prove she’s still got it, so. . . “Christie Brinkley, 65, flaunts incredible bikini bod.” (That was last year, BTW. She’s now 66.) Okay. We get it. She’s got it. She has fandamtastic genes. She will never look her age, but she’s still 66 and, if she ever allows a pic of herself without makeup, unretouched and close up, you’ll see it. However, I’d bet the house and the dog on the fact that she’ll never look really bad or really old.

So How’s YOUR Hot Bikini Bod?

Oh, you don’t have a hot bikini bod? Sure, you do. It’s said that to have a hot bikini bod, take your bod, put it in a bikini and go out on a beach where it’s hot. HAH! But seriously, if you’re a senior and don’t look quite like Christie Brinkley, it’s okay. You’re YOU and there is no one else out there like you. Got wrinkles? You’ve earned them. Got gray hair? You worked for it! Got rolls? You’re a busy woman who doesn’t live in the gym and likes the occasional snack, so of course you do. And I’m sure you have many talents that may never be spoken of.

This country needs to get real. Nobody focuses on a woman’s talent, only her body. And if you still don’t believe me, have you seen Adele recently? This girl can SING!!! She was an extreme talent when she was bigger than what society wants to see. She’s always been an extreme talent. But the world went gaga when she dumped a ton of weight recently. No mention of her extreme talent, just her body. It’s sad really.

So. . . get that bikini, that tankini, that one-piece, that swimdress or whatever you’re comfortable in and take your (OLD) hot bikini bod out on the beach. Nobody’s really looking anyway. They’re too worried about their own hot bikini bod and, God forbid, if any flab is showing. Enjoy yourself!

Hard to believe this was 60 years ago, right?

Jul 032020
 

Do you set goals? If not, you're hurting yourself.Do you set goals? Or do you go off half-cocked and what happens happens? I know many folks of both persuasions and I’ve seen success and failure in both groups. While some folks do better intensely focused on a goal, others throw it all up in the air and work with what hits the ground. It’s been the fight of my life, setting goals or not setting goals

A Little Background

I was never a goal setter. I’m not even sure why. I was an expert at tossing it all up in the air and working with what came down. I did pretty well. . . most of the time. And it seemed like every time I DID set a goal, I didn’t make it. So I stopped even trying.

The Teacher

And then I met a wonderful woman who became my mentor for 13 years in a business that I was pretty successful in. She was a BIG goal-setter. She really tried with me. I’m more than a bit of a hard case. She explained, cajoled, taught and begged me to set a goal and follow through. So I did. And I blew every last one of them, thus proving my point that my balls in the air method was better for me. She never bought it. She has now passed from this earth and she kept trying to focus me until the day she left us. She didn’t succeed.

Failure and Settling Become the Norm

I tried a succession of things, not setting goals except for wanting to succeed. Did I? Mildly. But it wasn’t the type of success I wanted. I would get into trainings and they would tell me to *identify my strengths.* I was like, “Hmmm, procrastination, no concentration, a mind that constantly yells SQUIRREL. . . you mean like that?” No, that’s not what they meant. I could not focus on a goal and, therefore, I didn’t make much. I didn’t entirely fail, but I was far from successful. So I settled for what I got and called it a day.

New Passion

And then I found something I desperately needed for my own health. I was NOT going to make a business out of it. Nope, no way. I was happy with things just the way they were. But I wasn’t satisfied. There IS a difference.

And Then Things Changed

One day I sat up and said, “Hey, why not? I can do this.” But still no goal. Toss it up in the air and see what falls out. As you can expect, the answer to that is not much. But I was getting my name out there. And all the while, there was this voice whispering in the back of my mind, “You need a goal to meet, woman!” The other voice argued back, “NO!!! No goal. I’m going to fail!!!” And then I heard a third and wiser voice that said, “You can’t even fail if you don’t try.”

So Now There is a Goal

I dragged myself kicking and screaming towards a goal. I set one. Still didn’t work. Why? Not specific enough. I figured it I made it broad enough, it would give me some wiggle room. You don’t need wiggle room. You need a goal to reach for. A specific goal.

So Now There is a Specific Goal

Okay, okay, I did it. Did I want to? Hell, no!!! But. . . I couldn’t avoid those meddling voices in my head any longer. The one voice said, “Set a goal and you will fail once more!” The other one yelled in retaliation, “Don’t set a goal and you will fail once more!” Since I had more experience with not setting a goal, I decided I owed it to myself to try the other one. So now, would you believe, I have TWO goals? One short-term and one long-term. They are both specific, the short-term more so than the long-term goal. But they are both workable and they need a sense of focus that I hope and pray I can still pull out at my age.

What Next?

Work towards that short-term goal. What happens if I don’t make it? I refocus and try again. One thing my goal-oriented mentor of long ago taught me that DID get through my thick skull is that it’s okay to modify a goal. I intend to keep that in mind.

How About You?

So which one are YOU? Are you setting goals or not setting goals? If you’re a goal-setter, please leave me a comment and tell me what works for you. This old dog intends to learn new tricks. But maybe I should have said old cat. Watch this guy. He knows how to set that goal and SCORE!!! 🙂