Where in the world is…?????

•January 26, 2016 • 23 Comments
Eye sea ewe. Due ewe sea mi?

Eye sea ewe. Due ewe sea mi?

You’ve played this game before, right?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? No, we’re not playing that game, although that one was fun.

Where in the world is Matt Lauer? Nope. Does anyone even care?

This time, we’re playing Where in the word is Edwin Covarrubias?

What? You’ve never heard of him before?

Well, I’m going to remedy that.

Except I’m not sure precisely where he is and I’ve never exactly met him, but I’m not going to let essential important minor details get in the way of our fun.

Let's just say he's a man of mystery in a land of mystery and we're going to try to solve a least some of the mysteries. Sounds fun, huh? Oh, just play along anyway.

Let’s just say he’s a man of mystery in a land of mystery and we’re going to try to solve a least some of the mysteries. Sounds fun, huh? Oh, just play along anyway.

I first met Edwin (his real name, I think) a few years ago on his quirky, funny blog That Was Awkward. He talked about awkward situations, kind of like this one in which I explain a very obvious blog to my intelligent readers.

Anyway, Edwin (or whatever his real name is) decides one day, week, month, or full moon, to change his blog and his life (probably in that order).

Because I am such a wildly wonderful person and supporter of people I really don’t know, I encouraged him.

So now he’s somewhere else (not that I knew where he was before) doing something else (ostensibly very different than what he was doing before). And he’s happy thrilled exuberant about it.

I told you. This is the face of a happy guy.

I told you. This is the face of exuberance.

Edwin (let’s just agree to call him Edwin, okay?) isn’t only exuberant. He’s excited about what he’s doing and he wants to tell the world about it.

While I can’t offer him the world, I can offer him an interview. And here it is.

Lorna: So Edwin (wink, wink), you had a blog. A life. And you decided to shake everything up and start on this new path (which I’m still not clear about). What were you thinking?

Edwin: Hi, Lorna. Thanks for inviting me. And, you know, my name really is Edwin. As for your question, I like to consider myself somewhat normal with a dash of awkward.

Lorna: Let us be the judge of that, okay?

Edwin: Well, um, okay. Fair enough. I grew up in Los Angeles, in a Mexican-American household. I got into an engineering school, did what I had to do and it was all great until I landed my first internship in an aerospace company at age 19.

There was a path to follow, right? Go to school, get a job, retire, and then die. That was just as depressing to me as it sounds. I remember sitting in my cubicle thinking, holy crap this is going to be my life. And then it started becoming my life. I started feeling anxious all the time, thinking about my future as a 9-5 drone. I got depressed.

While lying in bed not, I realized I really wanted to travel, to see places, to do non-engineer things.

I used to read a lot of self-help books back then, and they actually helped. Eventually, I came across a business book called “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau and it changed my life. That was my call to action. A man who has never held a job before was talking about starting your own business, from scratch. So I did what I had to do: I started a website with $20 in my pocket, made a notebook (a regular paper notebook that I thought people would like), took a photo and posted it. It sold the next day.

Two years later, I earned enough to pay my way out of California, leaving everything behind and staying with my family in Mexico while I worked on another website. I sold ad space and earned money through affiliate marketing.

Now I’m 26 and living in Ecuador, tutoring Spanish and doing web projects. I used to be scared, but now I know I that I can make a living by doing what makes me happy–anyone can.

Lorna: That’s quite a story. At least now the mysteries are solved–at least some of them. How is the “old you” different from the “new you?” 

Edwin: I used to be lost–indecisive, scared and anxious all of the time. I felt like a failure, knowing the expectations my parents and others had of me and that I just could not live up to them. I felt like life sucked. Now, I know that life doesn’t have to feel that way. We all deserve to be happy all the time. It’s our right! Now, I feel like I’m here for a reason: to learn, teach, and be authentic.

Lorna: That’s quite a transformation! Are you sure there wasn’t something toxic in the water back in California that made you feel yucky? It happens.

Edwin: No, I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m following my heart.

Lorna: Yeah. That’ll make a person feel less yucky, too. So what has been the most challenging aspect of your journey so far?

Edwin: Being away from family and friends is tough, but social media keeps me in touch. Then again, some people get in touch and tell me life should be hard and to get a “real” job. They don’t understand that loving what I do doesn’t mean that I don’t work hard at it.

Lorna: And you wonder why I don’t do Facebook. Nothing worse than getting lectures on FB. Well maybe there are worse things, but let’s not go there. So what’s the most rewarding part of being on permanent vacation, um, er, living your dream? Sorry, I had a “Mother Moment.”

Edwin: That’s okay, I’m used to it. And I know you’re just kidding, Lorna.

Lorna: (attempting to raise one eyebrow, but failing because I never can just raise one–infuriating) Am I?

My eyebrows work as a team. There is no eye in team, unfortunately.

My eyebrows work as a team. There is no eye in team, unfortunately.

Edwin: Achem. The most rewarding thing about what I’m doing is the freedom I have to work when and where I want to. I work enough to meet my needs while allowing me to travel to places I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m a digital nomad.

Lorna: I’m way too much of a homebody to want to travel that much, but I’ve got this little terrier/poodle mix who would love to do what you do. He loves to explore! Oh, back to you…What one thing surprised you most about making this change in your life?

Edwin: I didn’t know how easy it is to live abroad. We can trust people in this world way more than we think given what most of us see on the news. Every day, I see the goodness in people.

Lorna: That’s good to hear, Edwin. Thanks for telling us that. One last question before I let you go. A lot of people consider “change” a four-letter word. Convince them that it’s not (other than the obvious fact that it has six letters).

Edwin: Being afraid of change will only hold us back. Everything changes. We can decide if we want to change with everything or if we want to be left behind.

Lorna: Wise words from one so young. May all the best come your way, Edwin. You certainly are doing all the right things to attract goodness and prosperity into your life.

Edwin: Thank you so much, Lorna! You’re one of the few people who can make me chuckle at my computer screen with your writings. For your readers, I’d like to add a little bonus. On a page on my website, JourneyFeed.com/Lorna I made a short video for your readers if they would like to find out more about this journey to becoming a digital nomad, along with some other cool stuff.

Lorna: Great! I love starring in movies!

She learned her subtle ways from me, you know.

She learned her subtle ways from me, you know.

Visit Edwin’s new website JourneyFeed.com and listen/subscribe to his podcasts at JourneyFeed.com/Podcast (available on iTunes).

The website is for people who are interested in location independence while working online. You can find real, actionable advice and resources for digital nomads.

The podcast features interviews and advice from people who are living like nomads all around the world.

The Fat Chance Theory

•January 21, 2016 • 40 Comments
It's almost February. Do you really expect me to remember what I said way back on January 1st?

It’s almost February. Do you really expect me to remember what I said way back on January 1st?

It’s about that time of year when most people have given up on those New Year’s resolutions they so earnestly pledged while liquored up.

And the most common resolution? Lose weight.

Since I never make resolutions, I don’t have to worry about abandoning them. I do, however, have to worry about the 10 pounds I gained since I moved to the Pacific Northwest.

I’m not really sure what’s going on. Except I’m taking up more space than I did on the East Coast.

This is supposed to be a very health-conscious part of the country.

I’m conscious all right. Conscious that I need more comfortable yoga pants and looser tops to float around a few too many curves in not the right places.

Um. Yeah. Could you show me that Spanks in an XXL?

Um. Yeah. Could you show me those Spanks in an XXL?

And the 10 bonus West Coast pounds seem to be so much in love with me that they simply won’t let go. Think 10-pound psycho stalker. I would be flattered if I wasn’t so miffed, disgusted and desperate to get rid of the tiny, but surprisingly noticeable, creep.

What’s a dizzy blonde to do?

I tried fasting. But I don’t like fast things. I’m a take-it-slow-and-easy kind of gal.

I tried eating only fruits and veggies. But I’m vegan. That’s apparently what got me into trouble.

I tried a food diary. But apparently you have to log everything you eat. Every day. And evaluate it. I mean, seriously, who does that?

My guy got me a Fitbit for Christmas. Think about this for a moment. He got his OCD-ified partner a device that helps her obsess over shizzle like the number of steps per day (I’m averaging over 10,000 and if I’m not quite there, I march around the house until the thing buzzes telling me that I’m there), miles walked, heart rate and sleep quality, plus it has a food and water log.

No danger of this happening here, People.

No danger of this happening here, People.

The Fitbit is both my dream and nightmare strapped to my wrist.

Since Christmas, I’ve lost and gained the same two pounds. It’s a flipping Christmas miracle.

Maybe I'd lose some serious weight if I did this all day.

Maybe I’d lose some serious weight if I did this all day.

As I’ve been walking to make sure I get my 10,000-step per day minimum, I’ve been thinking.

I know. Never a good thing for me to do. But here goes.

Clearly I need to walk more and think less.

Clearly I need to walk more and think less.

I gain weight when I’m content. I lose weight when I’m either sick or distraught.

So my ten-pound persistent psycho stalker is a sign that I’m happy and that life is good. Too good.

Can life be too good?

Plus, the older we get, the harder it is to lose weight. It’s our bodies way to protect us from dying too quickly if we develop a debilitating illness or get kidnapped.

We’ll hang in there much longer if we can’t eat (or aren’t fed) because we have all these reserves at the ready on our hips, bellies and upper arms.

It’s called the “Fat Chance” theory. Don’t laugh. It’s a thing. It has to be, right?

On second thought, it's okay to laugh. Laughing is great for the abs and burns some calories, too. Hey, is one of those guys Bernie Sanders?

On second thought, it’s okay to laugh. Laughing is great for the abs and burns some calories, too. Hey, is one of those guys Bernie Sanders?

Do you think I’m on to something here? Are you struggling with your weight? What are you doing about it? And if you’re struggling to put weight on, please keep that to yourself.

De-OCD-ification: It’s a Thing and It’s Not Going Well

•January 4, 2016 • 60 Comments
Golly, what should I wish for? I'm perfect. The cake is perfect. My life is perfect. Hmmm.

Golly, what should I wish for? I’m perfect. The cake is perfect. My life is perfect. Hmmm.

Back in the day, I used to be called a perfectionist.

That was a label I could embrace; it sounded so, well, perfect.

Who wouldn’t want to be a perfectionist? Doesn’t it sound so, help me out here, People…perfect?

But somewhere along the way, the medical-industrial complex got their grimy gloves on just about every facet of human quirkdomery and turned my tidy perfectionism into something dreadfully scary and unpleasant sounding: obsessive compulsive disorder. Of course, it has an acronym (what self-destructive psychological condition worth its medication would be without an acronym?): OCD.*

So, the former perfectionist is now an OCDer.

Hey, wait a minute! What changed? I'm still the same little sweetheart but now the rules have changed. No fair!

Hey, wait a minute! What changed? I’m still the same little sweetheart but now the rules have changed. No fair!

All those behaviors that used to bring praise and appreciation from my mom, teachers, and adults who needed to keep hoards of young people in check are now evidence of my need for therapy, medication, or ridicule.

Oh yeah, you heard me. Ridicule. All those imperfectionists out there are having a high old time, flaunting their slap-happy, good-enough-or-not-at-all, half-baked approaches to important life issues and telling me I should  relax a little.

Well, my OCDisms are practical and could come in real handy in an emergency.

Perhaps some examples will convince you.

Half = empty

This translates into me having to make sure everything I own that can be full is full. I have to make sure that the batteries on my iGadgets are never below 80% charged. My gas tank must be full for me to feel comfortable. The closer it gets to half, the edgier I get. Even my Brita water filter needs to be full. I’m constantly topping that sucker off.

Panic time!

Panic time!

This all may sound silly, but if there is ever a power outage, my phone, computer, water filter, and car will be ready for the long haul–although I may turn everything off to conserve the full battery status, not drive, and hide the water filter jug. Being without power is bad enough, People. Watching the life drain from my gadgets would unduly stress me.

Straight lines and symmetry

Whether it’s hanging pictures or quilts on the wall or making the bed (which, by the way, must be done every day without fail in case someone stumbles into my bedroom and can report that I am not a slob), balance is paramount. Pillows must be placed so they are equidistance from the edges of the bed. The quilt on the bed must be lined up so that it hangs perfectly straight and is balanced (same distance from the floor on each side of the bed). Rugs must be lined up to be parallel with the walls or the lines on the wood/tile floor.

This is serious business. Imagine if you enter a space where everything is cockeyed. You might think something is wrong with you…or that there has just been an earthquake. Imagine the distress you could unnecessarily cause by having crooked or asymmetrical furnishings.

See what I mean? Quite unnerving.

See what I mean? Quite unnerving.

Clutter Cutter

There are probably some OCDers who collect all manner of things.

I’m not one of them. I’m the opposite. I abhor clutter. Think minimalist.

There is a place for everything and it’s usually not in my home. If it has to be in my home, please let it be neatly placed in a labeled box in a closet.

If you need to find something in my home, I know where it is. I know if I have it and can put my hands on it within a few minutes. Okay, so I maybe throw away some things that I don’t think are useful that, say, a man I’m living with might think is very important. Is that a reason to suggest therapy and medication?

Cozy, huh?

Cozy, huh?

That’s it. Not so bad, right?

Oh, all right. I am unnaturally concerned with Fozzie’s bowel movements (that he hs them and their quality) and the toilet paper simply must be put on the holder so that the sheets are facing down when you reach for them. Work with gravity, People, not against it!

How could you make the bear poopie effect if the roll went the other way. Case closed!

How could you make the bear poopie effect if the roll went the other way. Case closed!

Oh, and I pride myself on my beautiful penmanship–something that those credit card signing machines make very hard to do.

But, because I’m Buddhist and should be better at letting things go, I really should try to de-OCD-ify myself. Of course, because I’m a Buddhist, I should not be placing expectations on myself (or shoulding on myself), but everyone knows being a Buddhist isn’t as easy as it looks.

I simply don't have room in my house to meditate like this. Does this make me a bad Buddhist or just one not into soup?

I simply don’t have room in my house to meditate like this. Does this make me a bad Buddhist or just one not into soup?

I’ve tried the de-OCD-ification thing on my own and, let me tell you, it’s not going well.

My batteries are all charged up.

My gas tank is full.

The Britta water filter is full.

My bed is made and the sheets/covers/pillows are perfectly aligned.

No clutter to be found in my house.

I'm

I’m a mess.

 

If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need your help.

Which OCD issue do you think I should start with? And what techniques should I use to de-OCD-ify myself?

I'm sure you know the feeling. Paddling to beat the band and getting nowhere...fast.

I’m sure you know the feeling. Paddling to beat the band and getting nowhere…fast. A little help is all I need.

*I realize that many people suffer with OCD (2.2 million Americans). This post in no way belittles or negates their real condition and the debilitating effects it has on theirs lives and the lives of those they love. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

Only in Portlandia

•December 23, 2015 • 51 Comments
I had to do some digging, and it wasn't easy; but I didn't want to let you down.

I had to do some digging for the best stuff, and it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t want to let you down.

I’ve been at it again.

I’ve been scanning my local newspaper, avoiding real news while looking for fun items to share with you.

And I found some doozies.

How about we escort 2015 out with these little gems?

Yup. All this doctor has to do is make you pass out. Your blood pressure drops like a rock!

Yup, she found the cure for hypertension. All this doctor has to do is make you pass out. Your blood pressure drops like a rock! Nevermind that the doctor in the picture is a man.

Trespassing is annoying enough. But, golly, do you have to moan the whole while you are skulking about? No one respects the value of silence anymore.

Trespassing is invasive enough. But, golly, do you have to moan while you are skulking about? No one respects the value of silence anymore.

Do you remember our friend who was running for city council? The guy with the criminal record? Well, he pulled out of the race due to lack of funds and support. But he's obviously committed to remaining in the public eye. The last part of this article mentions his plan to run for office again next year. Or was that run for cover? With criminaliticians, it's so hard to tell.

Do you remember our friend who was running for city council? The guy with the criminal record? He pulled out of the race due to lack of funds, support and attention span. But he’s obviously committed to remaining in the public eye. The last part of this article mentions his plan to run for office again next year. Or was that run for cover? With criminaliticians, it’s so hard to tell.

Okay. Two things. These olives look mighty slippery just to grab. And a “finger-wiggling party” sounds kind of snarky to me–as if I’ll be getting a stern talking to the entire time (probably about olive etiquette).

I go to these finger wiggling parties all the time. Stick with me. I'll show you how to give as good as you get.

I go to these finger-wiggling parties all the time. Stick with me. I’ll show you how to give as good as you get.

It's been decades since I've eaten meatballs, but I don't remember having to order them where I buy rugs and stools. It's really hard to keep up with modern times.

It’s been decades since I’ve eaten meatballs, but I don’t remember having to order them where I buy rugs and stools. It’s hard to keep up with modern times.

I know people get really excited about cheese plates, especially when there's smoked meat nearby, but, come on. Nothing beats kielbasa on a cheese plate? I'm just taking a guess here, but I'm thinking that cheese is pretty important, right?

I know people get excited about cheese plates, especially when there’s smoked meat nearby, but, come on. Nothing beats kielbasa relish on a cheese plate? I’m just taking a guess here, but I’m thinking that cheese is pretty important, right?

I never enjoy reading about violence and I'm just sick about all the gun violence. So this story struck me as, well, a nice change of pace. I still hope they stick it to the assaulter, but at least his weapon was made from all natural ingredients.

I never enjoy reading about violence, and I’m just sick about all the gun violence in this country. So this story struck me as, well, a nice change of pace. I still hope the justice system sticks it to the assaulter, but at least, his weapon was made from all natural ingredients.

I had to read this advertisement several times. I'm happy that Purple Hair Woman found her life's calling. I'm worried that crickets have become the "other white meat."

I had to read this advertisement several times. I’m happy that Purple Hair Woman found her life’s calling. I’m worried that crickets or some other (and more disgusting bug) have become the “other white meat.”

Men, please don't heed this article's advice. No matter how you interpret it, it's probably not that kind of holiday party.

Men, please don’t heed this article’s advice. No matter how you interpret it, it’s probably not that kind of holiday party.

Well, that’s all the news from Portlandia for now.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season–Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Festivus for the Restovus.

See you in 2016 for another year of shenanigans!

I'm using all my moves for peace, harmony, and a whole lot of laughter in each day ahead of us. No wonder I feel too pooped to pop most days! Maybe if all of you join me, we'll start something wonderful that can't be stopped.

I’m using all my moves for peace, harmony, and a whole lot of laughter in each day ahead of us. No wonder I feel too pooped to pop most days! Maybe if all of you join me, we’ll start something wonderful that can’t be stopped.

 

There’s a new man in town

•December 8, 2015 • 61 Comments
What could she possibly have in store for us today? This Lorna person is full of surprises.

What could she possibly have in store for us today? This Lorna person is an unpredictabully.

It had to happen.

I should have known never to say never.

What can I say? (Except not never?)

I’m just a gal who can’t resist unconditional love.

How many time do I have ta tell ya? I love ya, all right? No, whacha call it, conditions. Just make sure you keep these here pillow fluffed up good, okay? And how 'bout some Fig Newtons and milk? On the double, Baby...

How many time do I have ta tell ya, Baby? I love ya, all right? No, whatcha call it, conditions. Just make sure you keep these here pillows fluffed up good, okay? And how ’bout some Fig Newtons and milk? On the double, Baby.

Since I was 18 (I’m now 58), I’ve had at least one puppy-pal sharing my life.

Mr. Scrappy died in January and, since so much had already changed in my life, I thought I’d give doglessness a try.

How could she ever replace me? I mean, really?

How could she ever replace me? I mean, really?

And try I did.

  • No more multiple daily walks armed with poop bags.
  • No more worrying about dog-sitters when I left town.
  • No more watching the clock if I was running errands because I didn’t want to mess up the dog’s schedule.
  • No more crazy-happy jump-up-and-down soul to greet me when I came home.
  • No one to follow me around, making me feel as if I was the most fascinating person on the planet.
  • No one to teach silly tricks to.

I knew doglessness wasn’t working out for me when, while walking, I paid so much attention to other people’s dogs that those other people began to avoid me. I think they were concerned that I was the canine equivalent of a child molester. Not good.

What a nice dog! I really like your dog! Can I bond with your dog? I really miss my dog. Your dog is so sweet...

What a nice dog! I really like your dog! Can I bond with your dog? I really miss my dog. Your dog is so sweet…

So I had to find me a puppy love of my own.

Every pal I’ve ever had has been a rescue. All were over a year old. That means they all came with baggage. Some with baggage bulkier than others, but all had issues.

For me the joy is being part of the transformation from a pup with luggage to a well-adjusted pal.

In early November, I found a guy who is a permanent and perfect addition to my home.

Taken the day I brought him home.

Taken the day I brought him home.

He’s different from any dog I’ve ever adopted.

He’s young–about a year old. But, in his mind, he’s very much a puppy. He’s the bounciest, silliest, goofiest guy I’ve ever known. He’s a terrier mix, but I believe that he’s part Tigger.

Yup. Definitely part Tigger.

Yup. Definitely part Tigger.

He’s the smallest dog I’ve ever had–weighing only about 22 pounds.

Because of his size, he’s the best lap dog I’ve ever known. He’s a pure cuddle bug (when he’s not bouncing around chasing or chewing on a toy).

He’s a stray from California. I’ve never known a California guy before. Are they all this loveable and goofy?

Playing with one of his many new toys.

Playing with one of his many new toys.

We’re in the process of learning basic manners. I’m happy to report that he’s a quick study.

I’m taking longer walks now–even though it’s now the rainy season–and loving it. Poop bags? Bring ’em on!

We recently went on a hike around Pitlock Mansion in Portland.

We recently went on a hike around Pittock Mansion in Portland.

Life feels good again. I have a reason to get up and get going. And I laugh A LOT more these days.

Oh, yeah, the shelter in Portland named him Tumbleweed. The name just didn’t seem right, and they only had been calling him that for a week, so I named him Fozzie.

Doesn't he look more like a Fozzie Bear than a Tumbleweed?

Doesn’t he look more like a Fozzie Bear than a Tumbleweed?

Most people want to call him Fonzie. Whatever. He comes when he’s called and that’s what matters!

You can call me Fonzie if you like. Hey, just call me and I'll come a running! I don't want to miss any fun!

You can call me Fonzie if you like. Hey, just call me and I’ll come a running! I don’t want to miss any fun!

So how about you? Anyone or anything adorable come into your life lately?
I hope so!

 
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