Simple Pleasures

I have forgotten how to enjoy life. I dont see that spark, the fire of excitement that slowly builds into a roaring flame the closer something becomes. I miss it. Life seems dull without this inferno. I remember getting it when I would go horseback riding. Now I cant stop counting up the bills in my head. I used to play in the rain and soak up the scent of fresh earth. I used to float in lakes and rivers and frolic with bliss.
Maybe it is innocence lost? I feel as though the world is huge and small at the same time. We hear about bombings here and famine there, but it seems so far away. That is until you are seeing the photos online and feeling the pinch when you pump gas. When I was little I used to be fearless. I would wander the streets and fields of my small, rural and upper-middle class neighborhood and I would never think of being kidnapped or killed. I would play in the river and hike in the woods and I was never concerned with mountain lions eating me or getting lost. I never got lost. So why is it now that I cannot seem to leave the house and go somewhere by myself without feeling vulnerable. Going to the forest and sitting by myself is unthinkable. There could be some serial killer lurking around waiting for his next kill. Likely, no! But I think about these things and they worry me.
Riding horses is an example. I was never afraid of falling off a horse. I had fallen off before and I never got hurt. Then I fell of my fiances horse and I couldnt walk for a week. I felt the effects of the fall for about 3 months afterward. I havent ridden more then 2 times since the fall. I am scared I could break my neck like Chris Reeve. I could get seriously hurt and have 22 surgeries over 10 years like one of my friends. Do I want to risk it?
Why is risk so difficult? Why do we stay safe in order not to risk our safety. My mom refuses to get on a plane because it might crash. But more people get attacked by sharks and die then people dying in a plane crash. What about auto accidents? They are a huge killer. Or heart disease. Why do we forfit a trip to Paris, but it is okay to drive to the store?

I was origionally going to write about Simple Pleasures so let me get to that. I was saying that I cannot enjoy like because I am too afraid of everything. So here are a list of things I find to be simple pleasures.
1. The smell of rain- I smell the rain and I am immediatly calm and excited at the same time.
2. Thunder and Lightning
3. The smell of the ocean
4. Catching a fish
5. Taking care of a beloved animal. I like to comb my dogs hair or even scrub the algae out of the horse trough (Yes strange I know)
6. Gardening- growing things in particular. I think it is the creation aspect of it.
7. Photography- finding beauty in simple things and bringing out the beauty in things that are old or ugly.
8. Seeing a herd of cattle or sheep in pasture. This is also true for wild horses.
9. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
10. Green Valleys- I am thinking Ireland green here.
11. Waterfalls
12. Lavender
13. Hot Cocoa
14. A new hair cut
15. The perfect outfit
16. Reaching a goal I didnt think I could meet
17. Walking barefoot in soft grass
18. Watching my daughter smile, talk, grow
19. Seeing my fiance laugh
20. Cooking
21. Cleaning- I expecially enjoy cleaning the stove. I find it very relaxing.
22. Making everyday things from scratch- like butter, jam, bread, ect
23. Knitting and sewing
24. Finding treasure- whether it be in an archaeological dig or at a garage sale.
25. Spending time with family I havent seen for a long time.

Thats all for now.
A small update- I got a job at a petstore and I love it. LOVE! Everyone I work with is great and there is room for promotion. Things are looking up!


Today's Chic Role Model

Audrey Hepburn was one of the most chic women of all time. She was the epitome of poise and grace. Here is a famous photo of her.

Audrey was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 4th to a wealthy banker and a Dutch Baroness. During World War Two Audrey and her mother were on vacation in Holland when the Nazi Regime took over the town. During this time Audrey suffered from depression and malnutrition. After the town was liberated Audrey moved to London and went to Ballet School. Soon after she began her modeling career and it wasn't too long before film producers were knocking on her door. The author Colette picked Audrey to play in Gigi, the movie written for her book.

Audrey was also a humanitarian. She was a special ambassador for UNICEF and she traveled to third world countries attempting to spread the word about suffering and starvation of children everywhere. She was truly dedicated to her cause. Audrey visited Ethiopia, Turkey, and South America in 1988; Central America, Sudan, and Bangladesh in 1989; Vietnam in 1990 and Somalia in 1992.

Audrey died on Jan 20, 1993 of Colon Cancer.

Audrey was also one of only 9 actors and actresses who won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony Award.

Audrey was one of the most inspiring people I ever learned about. She is my role model when I think of sophisticated and chic. Audrey Hepburn... tres chic


Cleaning the Closet of Life

Yesterday Pumpkin and I went to my mom's house. Yes voluntarily. I didn't want to spend another day trapped in our apartment. You cant imagine how boring it is here. I am so sick of watching TV and surfing the net. Anyway my mom is a packrat. You could dress have the starving children in the world with the amount of clothes she has in that house.
So she said that she is finally ready to clean everything out. Yeah!!!! I have been trying to get her to do this for YEARS! I love to clean so I was all for it. My mom has little fashion sense. Sorry mom, but you know this. We first went through all the clothes piled on her dressers and then piece by piece we attacked all her clothes in her closet. You would not believe some of the stuff she had in there! We can start out with those horrible bulky yarn weight acrylic sweaters in cherry red and green with Christmas bears on them. I those went into the burn pile. There were the 80s tee shirts with puffy paint and fake mirror disks. LOTS of shirt and pant sets. Let me put it this way. Everything was outdated. But she did really well. I even think she got rid of the silver pumps that I have hated since I was 10. By the time we were done not only could she fit all of her clothes in her closet, but my stepdad could fit his clothes in the closet too!!

Ok so here is what you do when you want to clean out your closet.
Clear off your bed and pick up all the dirty clothes and put them in a hamper. You need a clean working area. A full length mirror comes in handy as well as a friend who will tell you whether the shirt you just tried on make you look like a chic London model or a blue whale.
As you take each item of clothing out of your closet there are several things to consider.

1. Does it fit you right now at this very minute? Don't keep those size 5 jeans if you are a size 9. If you are ever a size 5 again you deserve to go shopping for a new pair of pants.

2. Is it in style? Toss out those tie die tees and jeans with holes in them. Unless you really love these things then wear them in the house.

3. Does it make you look like a hooker when you wear it? Can you see more bra then shirt? If you were walking down the strip would you be mistaken for a hooker wearing this?

4. Is it torn, stained or missing buttons? Just toss these unless you are truly going to fix them. If you still haven't fixed them by the following week toss them or take them to a trusted seamstress (a great person to know well).

5. Have you worn the item in the last 2 years? If not, you probably wont wear it again.

6. Are you keeping it because someone gave it to you as a gift but its not your style, or because you have an emotional attachment to it? OkI believe that if you have a perfectly good article of clothing that someone gave you, but you don't like it and you are guilty to give it up that you should take it as quickly as possible to the nearest Goodwill or women's shelter and let someone else love it. Your friend will never know. Now, if you still have your first boyfriends sweater decide honestly whether you really need to keep it or if you can give it away to a thrift store. Don't feel guilty about keeping a few items that are meaningful to you. If you just cant part with it then don't.

7. Do you LOVE it? Do you even like it? Recently I bought a shirt from a certain worldwide retailer of everything, this was at a time when I had just had a baby, nothing fit, and I had to go to a wedding. I was in a huge hurry and I bought the first shirt that fit. After the wedding and I was home I looked at this shirt and realized that I hated it. I have never worn this shirt again even though I have had occations when it would have been nice. My mom was at my house and I told her how much I hated the shirt and she (of course) said she liked it. So I insisted that she take it. She loves it and wears it often. I am happy that it can be worn and loved by someone instead of despised and hidden away in the dark recesses of my closet. I actually have a few shirts like this. They were all bought in a hurry and I never wore any of them again. I plan on getting rid of them as soon as I have money to buy shirts I love to replace them. Only wear what makes you feel good and makes you look good.

Make 5 piles- Keep, throw away, give away, mend, maybe
~The keep pile is for the clothes that fit, look good, and you love them.
~The throw away pile is for the clothes that are torn, stained, or stretched beyond repair. Or for clothes that you wouldn't give your worst enemy (like those acrylic Christmas sweaters).
~The give away pile is for those clothes that are going to a second hand store or a charity.
~The mend pile you are taking right over to your seamstress. You can also add clothes that are too big for you and need to be taken in or clothes that need a little adjusting, a seamstress can turn an ok dress to a wow dress with a few pins and tucks.
~The maybe pile is for those items that you just cant throw away but they just don't belong in the keep pile. Usually if you go through this pile when you are all finished most will go to the give away pile.

After the sorting is finished, clean and vacuum out all the cobwebs and dust. Then put your keep clothes on PLASTIC (no wire please) hangers or fabric hangers. Hang them properly. Those little annoying strings on the insides of your nice shirts and dresses are there for a reason.

Separate summer and winter if your closet is big enough. Put the appropriate season away in plastic vacuum seal garment bags. These are great!

Separate the shirts, skirts, pants, sweaters, evening wear, work clothes and hang each group together. Its much easier to find things this way. Color code if you want to. Keep outfits separate. You will have 3 times the outfits that way.

After everything is put away you are done. Be proud of your work. Load everything up in your car and take it all to goodwill or the seamstress tomorrow. Then take a bath and read a sexy book you deserve it.


All About Moi

So you want to know who I am?
Well Strap on in and enjoy the ride.

I dont have any good pics of me but I will try to find some and put them up.
Where to start...
I am 23 and I was born and raised in Southern California. I have always lived in homes on acreage with dogs and cats. I still live in my hometown and I will probably be living here for another year and a half. Currently I am an apartment manager and I have a love/hate relationship to my job, but I get a free apartment and I dont have to pay utilities so I love that. I am trying to get a job at Petsmart currently. I just want something fun to do until I transfer to UC Santa Barabra. I currently have only one class until I complete my AA.

I am planning on studying Archaeology in school. I love history and I love studying how people live their lives. I have had a hard time picking just one thing to study. There is so much that I am interested in and I am afraid of making the wrong choices. I was going to go to Culinary School but I couldnt afford it. It wasnt meant to be though. There must be something else that I am supposed to do with my life.

I practice a religon called Witchcraft. Most people have heard of it. I would like to say that Witchcraft is not about casting spells on people or turning people into frogs. It is about enjoying mother nature and what she has givin us on this earth. Witches do not believe in hurting other people. They trust that the god and goddess (yes two and many more in some cases) will teach them their lesson in their own time. If you would like an example as to what I practice the movie Practical Magic is a great choice. Now we dont bring people back from the dead and we dont put needles in peoples eyes, but the tenants of witchcraft presented in the movie are good. I love the house in this movie too. A true witches house. This is a great site for more info about the witchcraft I practice

I worship nature, I take care of the earth and her creatures big and small. I am at home in the forest and in any body of water. I study herbcraft, and I like to make insence, teas, and I love aromatherapy. I believe in treating the cause and not the symptom.

Onto other things. I am a certified Massage Therapist although I dont practice much anymore due to my hands hurting when I give a massage. I am also a Reiki Healer. Reiki is a type of energy healing that comes from Asia.

I have a huge love affair with anything French. I think the french are a facinating culture full of family and tradition. I love many many things about the country of France from the way they live their lives and their views on the human body to the way they raise their children. I even love their food. I will probably be using this site to help document what I learn about French culture and also to write about what I admire and what I dislike. I am part of a Yahoo group called French_Chic. It is a group of women online who love everything french and admire the french Je ne sais quoi. The group is to help each other become more fulfilled in life and more secure in themselves using techniques learned from french women. Check them out.

I love Fashion. My mother never taught me anything about putting on makeup, picking out clothes, or even how to take care of my skin or shave my legs. She was never taught by her mother and she ended up being a tomboy so it wasnt important to her. So to remedy this I bought lots and lots of books and magazines about beauty and fashion. I am rebuilding my ugly plain wardrobe with quality clothing that I love. And I am learning how to be as belle and chic as the french country I so love.

I will probably talk alot about the books I read. I used to read a lot of fiction novels and classics. Then I got into non fiction books. I am now rediscovering classics and fiction novels. I love the world I can escape into when I dont want to be in this world. They are wayt better then movies and I believe that books helped my vocabulary and english when I was younger. Since moving to a poorer and therfore less educated neighborhood I have noticed a huge difference in the way I speak. I used to talk like I was in college and now I talk like an eighth grader with a bad education. I am trying to relearn intellectual speech. Hopefully reading will help me now like it did when I was a kid.

Other random things I like to do.

Cook, Clean, Shop, Paint, Travel, Photography (I used to be a portrait photographer and half of my family are photographers, but my good camera has been broken for a while and I cant afford to fix it.) Dancing, swimming, baking, Harry Potter, Horses, Glastonbury, Castles, fairies (yes I believe in fairies), knitting, sewing, I am a creator and I love to create new things, gardening, city building games like Sim City. I like to play DnD and watch National Geographic, I like the HBO show Big Love, and Road Rules and Real World on MTV along with The Hills.

Thats about all for me!

Introducing My Life

I am Melissa Darlene. I am 23 years old and I live in California. My life is pretty boring but also pretty dramatic. I will introduce you to our cast.

First and most important is my daughter. We will call her Pumpkin, I do.

That is the worst pic of her but its the most recent picture I have. You will be seeing lots of this rag-a-muffin. Pumpkin is very outgoing, knows what she wants, and will try anything to get it. She isn't one of those toddlers you can distract easily. She focuses on what she wants and goes for it. Just like her daddy. This picture is of Pumpkin after she threw a fit. Yes that is a graveyard in the background. My dad passed away in December of a heart attack. Very sudden and unexpected. Here is a pic of dad.

Wasn't he so handsome! The little girl in their is my niece. You wont hear me talk about dad much. Too Sad. :(

I will say that dad was a ladies man, very charming, he could dance very well and he was an excellent salesman. He could sell ice to penguins. Seriously.

The next most important person to my heart is my fiance. We will call him Cowboy. Cowboy is 28. He was a contractor, because his dad was a contractor, and guess what! He hates contracting so he quit. Now he is on his search to figure out what he wants to do in life. Much like I am. Cowboy is a terrific boyfriend, a wonderful dad and I love him very much. We have out share of spats however that you will be sure to hear about. Here is Cowboy and Pumpkin.

Cowboy is currently obsessed with Horse Archery. He is a total hick. He wears boots and a cowboy hat everywhere he goes. Which is fine unless you are going to a nice Italian restaurant.

Cowboy and I own 5 horses. They are an important aspect of our life so I will tell you a little about them.

The most important one is Meghan. She is my first horse and I just got her today! Meghan belonged to Tom's Best Friend Chris. I have ridden her a few times and I love her. She is so wonderful and easy to ride. I cant wait to ride her again. I don't have any pics of Meghan right now but I am sure I will.

Then there is Trouble. Trouble and Meghan are both retired Police Horses. Trouble was in the LA Riots with his previous owner so he is pretty hardy. However, Trouble wasn't ridden for 2 years before we got him. He has some issues with manners. I should mention that Trouble threw me the last time I rode him. He did it on purpose and I still haven't forgiven him. Luckily I just got a bruised tailbone, cuts and bruises. Trouble is Cowboys horse, since Cowboy is an expert rider.

Then there is Soquili. Soquili means horse in Cherokee. I apologize if I spelled Soquili wrong. I can never seem to get that one right. Anyway Soquili is a Bureau of Land Management Mustang. She is between 14 and 15 hands. Short for the average horse, but normal for a mustang. She is very shy and we have had trouble getting her to warm up to anyone. Recently Cowboys sister has had terrific success with her. We almost have the halter on her.

Sequoia is a huge horse that we got from a friend. He is a little over 16 hands. I don't know much about Sequoia because we recently got him. I think that he is a very gentle horse and well mannered. He will probably make a great beginner horse someday. He still needs training though. Cowboy can ride him bareback and he can get a saddle on him. He is learning well though.

Last but not least is Buck. Buck has a great personality but is horrible spoiled by Cowboy's dad. Cowboy bred Buck from his mother but he was breeding for a paint and Buck came out a Buckskin. Buck is about 7 or 8 and still hasn't been trained. I believe that Cowboy wont train Buck because his father would drive him crazy "trying" to help. More on Cowboy's father next. Buck is beautiful and if he were trained we could probably sell him for $3000-$5000 easy. He looks EXACTLY like the horse Spirit in the animated movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmeron.

Onto Cowboy's father. I hate Cowboy's father. You will probably find this out as he does more and more idiotic things to make me hate him more. I have many reasons to hate this man. We can start with the way he treats me. Then we can move onto the way he treats his son. I have never in my life had anyone treat me as horribly as Cowboy's father. Give me the benefit of doubt that I have my reasons to wish death on this man so we can get his negativity out of our lives. Granted everyone in a while he is nice but it is like bait to lure you in so he can poison you and leave you paralyzed so he can eat you later. Seriously, I hate him. Passionately.

The last few characters will show their faces often enough to be included. There is my mom and stupidity, who love each other but fight consistently. I am currently trying to get my mom to admit that she treats him like dirt. I think I am close.

There are my sisters. My sisters... They are successful, pretty, thin, and all that goes with it. They tend to "accidentally" leave me out of things. I don't have a lot in common with them but I wish them well.

My neighbor and the closest I have to a best friend that's a girl. She lives in the appartment next door to me, with her asshole alcoholic husband and four children ages 7, 5, 4, and 20 months. We will call her...well Jenn will work. Jenn writes depressing poetry that is actually pretty good. I might put some of it up here for you all to read. She is the typical bored housewife trying to keep her kids happy and out of trouble. She is also preparing to leave her husband so be prepared for fireworks. Jenn is a great friend though who always gives me comfort when I need it.

Finally, this group of women is my home away from home. They are my sex in the city, my sisterhood, my extended family. To protect their identities They will be C, K, D, and S.

C is pretty famous here in town because she practices Witchcraft (which is a federally recognized religion for those of you wondering), more on Witchcraft later. She owned a pagan store that was repeatedly harassed by some ill mannered Christians and the cops did nothing about it. Discrimination! I was present for the worst of these attacks and the Christians were grossly out of line. What they did would be equal to 8 or 9 pagans reciting rituals in the middle of church on Easter Sunday during services. They bumped into people, played loud music and were basically annoying. Anyway the hate crime hit the AP and other large newspapers and caused quit a stir. Anyway C is helping Cowboy and I work out some problems in our relationship, she is a great friend and confidante.

K is a total animal lover. She has pigs, horses, a herd of goats and kids (baby goats), chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, and who knows what else. They raise a lot of their food. Totally cool and organic. Yes, they eat their pigs, chickens and turkeys, eat the chickens eggs, drink the goats milk, and this year they will even have a cow.

D is a great friend and a person who seems calm and put together is every situation. We call her mermaid because of her beautiful long curly red hair. It is mermaid hair to a T. D is very sweet and I love her. I also found out that D's little sister used to babysat me when I was about 5. I never knew D until a couple of years ago though. What a small world!

S is the closest to me in age at 28. She is wild and beautiful. He role model is Bettie Page so that should give you an idea about her. She even looks a bit like Bettie Page. She has her nipples pierced and will show you if you ask her. She is also covered in tattoos and is bisexual. She brings lots of excitement into our group.

Well that's about all for now. Thanks for meeting my loved ones!