Monday, December 31, 2018

There's Something Phishy About This Email

Happy New Year, Folks! I have a fun activity for us to do together to start this year off right.
So I received this phishy email when I was scouring my spam inbox for something I actually wanted but don't appear to have received yet.
Let's spot the problems with this bad and wrong email together.
The source address is a dead giveaway. Walmart is not based in Russia.
Then there is the fact that I haven't ordered anything online from Walmart in more than six months.
Walmart does not deduct a percentage of what you paid if they refund money for an order. If the hinky Russian email address didn't scream BOGUS, this statement should.
"Walmart is wishing you a happy day."
Yes, I'm sure they are.
Never reply to an email like this. First, they will want you to "update your address," followed by updating your credit card number or bank account number.
Here's wishing you all a pleasant 2019, minus the Russian phishers.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Cie's Year-End Wrap-Up 2018

I love the above image. Back in the late 1990s, I went to school for one semester for graphic design but dropped out. I didn't know it at the time, but I had untreated type 2 bipolar disorder, OCD, and borderline personality disorder, three exciting co-morbid conditions which happen to feed each other in ways that are just, shall we say, really special. I wouldn't be properly diagnosed until 2004.
When I think of how many years were wasted mired in shame and stigma because I had no idea in this Universe what was going on with me, I thought I was just an attention-seeking fuckup, it makes me very angry. Granted, some of the tools available to me now simply didn't exist when I was younger. E-commerce was in its infancy in the 1990s. There were no smartphones. 
Hell, even GPS was still in its infancy. (I still have my TomTom Go.) The job I have today could not have existed in the 1990s. Back when dinosaurs and Ronald Reagan roamed the Earth in 1984, I delivered pizzas. Even the TomTom Go was as yet unheard of. How the hell my dyslexic ass didn't get lost more often, I'll never know. When I think of trying to do my job without Waze, it gives me that feeling of waking up with a start after a terrible dream and praising whatever powers there might be that the dream isn't real.
So, I didn't initially come here to talk to you about type 2 bipolar disorder, but now that I've thought about it, I want to talk about it. This is how people tend to think of bipolar disorder, and it's a reasonably accurate depiction of type 1 bipolar disorder.

The post that the image comes from is worth reading.
The late Patty Duke had type 1 bipolar disorder. She is a personal heroine of mine. Her book, Call Me Anna, helped me understand better the things that I had gone through and to help me forgive myself for some of the truly awful decisions I made while hypomanic. 
Being diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder helped me understand why I had seen some features of bipolar disorder in myself but was convinced that I didn't have it because I'd never experienced a full mania. I tended to go from crushingly depressed to positive and overly functional. I never flew off to Vegas and got married to a guy I barely knew or anything of that nature, although I did convince myself several times that the Universe wanted me to be with guys who raised red flags like nobody's business and who, unsurprisingly, turned out to be horrible and abusive.
When I was hypomanic, I would take on second jobs and be the world's greatest employee that everyone loved until everything came crashing down and everyone ended up thinking I was the world's biggest flake and fuckup. I would be mired in depression which felt like being at the bottom of a dark pit that there was no way out of. 
When I would finally, miraculously, find myself pulled out of that pit, I would admonish myself that from now on I would be positive and productive and would never go back THERE again. When I inevitably went back there again, I would shame and berate myself for being a worthless fuckup.

Click to enlarge. 

This is a fairly standard bipolar disorder screening questionnaire. It tends to miss people with type 2 bipolar disorder.
Was there ever a period of time when I wasn't myself? No. I was always myself, although I often didn't like it very much. 
The late Peter Steele of Type O Negative, who had type 1 bipolar disorder, describes reflecting on occasions following a manic episode where he felt that there was something he could have learned from the time in question if only he could remember it. I never experienced anything like that.
I've never presented as talking extremely fast or seeming particularly hyper. I've never slept well anyway, so the "sleeping less than usual" criteria didn't send up any red flags. The late Julia Lennon described having periods where she wouldn't sleep for a week at a time, and doctors didn't know what was wrong with her. She was institutionalized on several occasions.
I did get involved in ill-advised relationships with abusive guys, but I never flew off to Vegas to do so. I took on multiple jobs and then crashed, often losing all of my jobs. When I was good, I was very very good, and when I was bad I was nonfunctional. 
I speak openly about my mental health struggles because I would be very happy if no-one else ever had to fight the way I've had to fight. I've been told that I should keep my psych problems hidden because people would avoid me if they knew I was one of THEM. I was told I would never find a job if people knew I'd been to a therapist. 
I was also told that I was "just being dramatic," that I needed to "stop seeking attention," that I was "just being lazy," and that I brought all my problems on myself with my "negative thinking." I can tell you that none of these criticisms did a damn thing to help me improve my life or to do anything except hide my problems and hate myself because I was never able to develop any decent coping skills for dealing with them until I was in my middle years. At this point, I'm still cleaning up the messes made by attempting to hide my problems, such as a storage unit full of stuff and a mountain of debt.
We've come a long way when it comes to mental illness in Western society, but we haven't come far enough. There is still a tendency to see people with mental issues as less intelligent or less capable or as loose cannons just waiting to explode and harm others. The truth is, people who live with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than to perpetrate violence.
There is a tendency to see jobs such as mine as "lesser" and to believe that the working poor, unemployed, and homeless "deserve" to not have basic amenities or a living wage. This needs to end. Everybody deserves the basic amenities, whether or not they are capable of working a "normal" job or at all.
I heard the term "lazy" so many times that I ended up with a terrible complex about taking breaks or doing things that are purely enjoyable and will never turn a profit. I once read a statement from a counselor which said that the term "lazy" should be replaced with "demotivated," because asking a person why they are so lazy shuts down the conversation and thus any chance of helping the person, whereas asking them why they are feeling demotivated leaves the conversation open and may help create a plan for helping them.
Exploitative shows like "Hoarders" should not exist. Like, at all. Capitalizing on people's illness for entertainment is twisted and barbaric. Hoarding is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is the symptom of malfunction in a certain area of the brain. It is not "laziness." Dealing with hoarding tendencies is exhausting, time-consuming, and life-destroying. People with hoarding tendencies need help from a compassionate professional, not a bunch of lookie-loos seeking schadenfreude at another's expense.
My son is helping me deal with the lifetime of hoarding without help contained in my storage units and the closets and spare rooms of the mobile home that I hope to have in a condition where I can think about selling it by the end of next year. With his help, the storage unit, which is about the size of a one-car garage, is 1/3 of the way clear at this point, and we are hoping to have it entirely clear by June of 2019. 
My late father attempted to "help with cleaning," but his help really only traumatized me and made me feel more ashamed, which didn't lead to me keeping up with the process. My son is understanding when I tell him that I can't deal with a certain item at the moment and we'll need to put it aside. We move on to the next thing. He also suggests creating scrapbooks and art from my vast collection of images from magazines, unlike my father, who told me that "anything that lands on the floor needs to be thrown in the garbage."
My father had piles of papers and magazines all over his house. He had OCD with hoarding tendencies too, but he came from an era when one locked their mental health issues in an attic and never spoke of them. This helped nothing, which is why I have come out of the attic and am speaking openly about my struggles.
For years I refused to make New Year's resolutions because I had learned to equate them with "new you in 52" crap, which really benefits no-one but the billion-dollar diet industry. I refuse to have or promote weight loss as a "health goal." 
I spent 33 years in yo-yo dieting hell trying to hate myself thin. There is no way I'm going to endorse that behavior. I'm going batshit at this point with all the blogs in my sidebar promoting "get paid to lose weight" garbage. You'll never see me promoting these things because dieting inevitably fails for everyone but statistical unicorns.
Diets don't work. Health at Every Size works. If you want to start exercising, increase the amount you're exercising, or eat fewer processed foods, great, but do it for overall health, not for weight loss.
We'll all be a "new you in 52" anyway. We'll have new experiences behind us, and many of our cells will have been replaced by new ones. Don't buy into the "new you in 52" crap. It only leads to frustration. Instead, pursue things that will lead to a more authentic you. 
Your authentic you has nothing to do with a number on the scale or even the amount of money in your bank account. It is the you who is true to themselves, which has nothing to do with looks or status at all.

Best wishes in the coming year,

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Are Brand Names Really Better?

Are brand-name products really better than the in-house version of the same item?
The somewhat unhelpful answer is "it depends." The only way to find out is by trial and error.
For instance, I have truly never found a better dishwashing detergent than Cascade Platinum. I stock up on this shelf-stable item while it is on sale, because the difference in quality between Cascade Platinum and the store dishwasher detergent packs, or even other brand name packs, is clearly noticeable to me.
Another example is Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. I'm not saying these are the most nutritionally complete products in the world, but they are tasty. The store version of similar items was disgusting enough that most of them went into the trash.
Red Baron pizza is miles better than the store brand pizza, not that I consider either one to be premium pizza by a long shot. I stock the freezer with Red Baron when it goes on sale.
However, when it comes to items like canned vegetables, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. I haven't noticed any difference in taste between the store brand and the national brands.
Similarly, the store brand of items such as crackers tends to be comparable. I noticed virtually no difference between the store brand of thin wheat crackers and actual Wheat Thins, except that the store brand is not endorsed by Brian and Stewie of Family Guy. I can live with that.
With sandwich and storage bags, Ziploc has better quality than the store brand, but not enough to justify the price difference. Similarly, with trash bags, Glad or Hefty have somewhat better quality than the store brand, but not enough to justify the price difference.
If you have a brand name item that you prefer, stock up when it goes on sale. My preferred store, King Soopers, tends to have "buy 5 items, get $5 off" sales fairly often. Sales like this are the best times to purchase extra shelf-stable items. I have not had to buy laundry detergent in close to three years because I stocked up when Sun detergent was on sale for 99 cents per a half gallon, and I still have several bottles remaining.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Microtask Sites

You may have heard the term "microtask." These are small freelance jobs such as checking web pages for broken links, data entry, or proofreading. The microtasker will receive anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars for each task completed. 
Amazon's Mechanical Turk is probably the best known microtask site. To sign up, simply go to the Mechanical Turk worker page and sign in with your Amazon account.
A lesser known source to earn money doing microtasks is Clickworker. Clickworker has been around for a long time. In fact, I signed up with them years ago but hadn't done any tasks through them for a long time. Fortunately, your earnings never expire, and you can cash out at five euro via Paypal or ten euro via direct deposit.
Microtasks are a nice way to earn a little extra money on the side. They aren't exciting or high-paying, but they don't tend to be terribly demanding or stressful either.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Games that Pay

Hands down, Cash Crate rises to the top when it comes to GPT sites that pay you to play games

This post was originally created on December 25, 2018. I'm here to stuff your stocking with a classic holiday combination, fun and money. I spent two hours playing games on Cash Crate last night before it was time to head for bed so Santa could stuff my stocking with coal.
All the GPT sites listed on this page have games you can play for pay, but Cash Crate opens a can of Whoop Ass on the other sites and puts the smackdown on them where games are concerned. The little fella may look happy-go-lucky, but don't let that chummy grin fool you. He's a powerhouse!

Here are the best sites for making money playing games, featured in alphabetical order.

Cash Crate gets the hat trick where games are concerned. Their games are beautifully designed, of similar quality as you would find with Facebook games. They have so many games that it would be easy to spend literally hours playing on Cash Crate. Plus, instead of being tempted to shell out for microtransactions so you can level up, Cash Crate pays you to play!
You make one cent per game played on Cash Crate. Or you can pay ten bucks to get power-ups so you can level up in other mobile games. I know which one I'd rather do.
I'm going to make it easy for you to give Cash Crate a try. Just fill out this simple form. It's free to join and it's one of the best GPT sites out there.

As games go, Fusion Cash has rather meager offerings. Still, you might find something there that is to your liking. The games are via GSN, which can be problematic if you forgot that you signed up for GSN elsewhere.
Fusion Cash is a respectable GPT site in other regards. I tend to save it for other activities and play games elsewhere.

Inbox Dollars
This longstanding favorite GPT site has some nice games. The bubble monkey game remains among my favorites, although I will never touch Level 23 again. Two stars is an acceptable score for this hell level. You receive scratch and win progress for playing games with Inbox Dollars, which earns you real money. Cashout for Inbox Dollars is $30.

Irazoo *
Irazoo has a similar selection of games to Cash Crate. You are limited to five minutes per game and 500 points per day. This GPT site has a lot to offer. Enter code R7RPQG when you join, and we will both get points. You earn points on Irazoo which can be spent on great items like Amazon gift cards.

The games on Swagbucks are also via GSN, which means you run into the same potential problems as you might find with Fusion Cash. I prefer to reserve this otherwise excellent GPT site for activities other than playing games.

Treasure Trooper
While Treasure Trooper is one of my favorite GPT sites, their selection of games is limited to half a dozen of their own in-house games.

Unique Rewards *
Like Cash Crate and Irazoo, Unique Rewards has an excellent selection of games to choose from. They pay via Paypal. Cashout is at $20. They also have many other activities to choose from.

I recommend making Cash Crate, Irazoo, and Unique Rewards your starters for earning money playing games. They have a great selection of games and many other activities to choose from as well.

Having fun + Earning money = A winning combination!


Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Xmahanukwanzyule 2018

(This post was written on the Deliver Me blog and cross-posted)

Happy holidays if you celebrate them and best wishes for prosperity in the approaching year!
It has been an eventful and not terribly lucrative year here in the World of Nether, but many of our efforts are still in their infancy and I like to think that things are looking up and that perseverance still counts for something. To a degree, these are uncharted waters that we are navigating with the rise of the gig economy. So, what can we do to make this unprecedented situation work for us?
For my own part, I have a knack for speaking my mind, such as it is, and for telling it like it is from my point of view. This has tended to get me in trouble, but the older I get the less fucks I give. 

However, I do not intend to use this so-called skill only to bitch about everything that pisses me off. I would also like to use it to help others. 
For many years, I worked as a nurse's aide and then a nurse. I helped those who were too infirm to care for their own needs. This included the elderly and special needs children. However, my own constitution declined sharply in the past couple of years, and I can no longer do the physically demanding jobs that I had been doing since 1988.
My income declined sharply when I was no longer able to work as a nurse. Between 2015 and 2017, I was pulling up to $1000 per week if I worked 60 hour weeks. However, I was constantly exhausted and always in a mental fog working this many hours. In some ways I'm amazed that I never made any critical errors.
I am unable to work full time at this point, and my disabilities put me out of the running for most "normal" jobs. Because of my health issues, I need Medicaid. But if I make more than $1100 a month, I lose Medicaid. To me, it seems as if I'm being punished for being disabled. I think that punishing people for being disabled is one whole steaming load of crap. I also think that Charles Dickens would have a field day writing about the current political climate in the era of Lord Dampnut. In fairness, being British, he might be more inclined to write about Brexit and Lord Dampnut's British soul twin, Boris Johnson.
In any case, I am trying to piece together a life that works. Other than being broke and physically unable to do certain things that I used to be able to do without issue, there are many ways in which I like my life after disability better than my life before disability. I like not being enslaved by a time clock. I much prefer soft deadlines to Draconian ones.
Overall, I am a creative rather than a practical person. If I could, I would spend my days writing, learning to draw, engaging in Photoshop Phucquery, hand crocheting, loom knitting, woodworking, making soap and candles, and whatever other artsy fartsy crafty wafty pursuit happened to strike my fancy. I attempt to keep my artsy fartsy side separate from the Deliver Me blog, but there is inevitable bleed-through, and I'm not going to fight the tide too hard.
If you are interested in opportunities for writers or occasional shares of poetry and prose, visit the Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood page.
If you are interested in WAH opportunities, recipes, and suggestions for saving money, visit the Deliver Me blog.
If you are interested in reading high quality Kindle smut, visit the Naughty Netherworld Press blog. This blog is safe for work, but some of the places it links to aren't. 
If you are interested in obtaining a Tarot reading to help you kick-start the new year, click here.
May you and yours have a pleasant holiday if you celebrate, or a good day in general if you don't.

Best wishes,

This offer is valid through December 30, 2018

This offer is always in season

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Low-Tech Kitchen Miracle You'll Wonder How You Lived Without

The item above is a pastry blender. It's inexpensive and easy to use--but what does it do?
It makes the task of cutting butter into biscuits (scones) or cookies (biscuits) simple and quick.
If you've spent years trying to smash butter into your dry ingredients with a spoon or power it in with a hand blender, those days of frustration are over.
Mind you, I never did that! Somebody else did it. Not me. I discovered the pastry blender years ago, not just this past year!
In any case, if you haven't yet discovered the simple joys of working with a pastry blender, check out the offerings at the end of this post. You're sure to find one that works for you!

Who isn't a real chef and doesn't play one on TV either, but she does like to cook

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Apps that Pay: Podcoin

Hi folks!
If you find yourself thinking "I'd like to listen to (insert name of a podcast) but I never have time," I've found an easy way that you can listen just about anywhere and get paid for listening too.
There is an app called Podcoin available from both the Apple app store and Google Play store. There are thousands of podcasts to choose from. You earn one Podcoin for every 10 minutes you listen, and you can spend them on prizes like Amazon gift cards or donate your earnings to charity.
If you decide you'd like to try Podcoin, please enter this code when signing up:
I have earned 140 Podcoins so far.

Happy listening!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Trying It On for Size: Blogpros Promotional Service

Disclaimer: I am not an employee or affiliate of Blogpros Promotional Service and I am not being compensated for writing this post.

I just signed up for a 30 day free trial with Blogpros Promotional Service. If I feel the service is benefiting me, I will pay $27 per month thereafter for Blogpros to do these things for me:

Max 1 blog post per day shared to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest 
Automatically retrieves new posts
20-40 minimum shares per post  
Real shares from real people 
Manually promoted by Blogpros team 
Track progress in your dashboard

I will be looking for more hits to this blog as well as increased income from my Amazon and Google ads and more signups for the PTD sites that I have promoted.

I discovered Blogpros Promotional Service through Treasure Trooper Search.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Paid Search Sites

Hello Delivered Ones,

After scouring the web, I have declared these the best Paid Search sites. I will add more as I discover them, but this core group provides a great place to start.
I recommend opening each of these Paid Search sites in a new window so you won't go koo-koo bananas trying to remember which tab contains which site. At least this method keeps things a little more organized for me.

Sign into with your Microsoft account. If you don't have a Microsoft account, it's easy to create one.
Do your Bing searches from Microsoft Edge and you will earn an extra 20 points per day. When you accrue enough points you can trade them in for nice prizes such as gift cards or donations to charity.
I don't get any sort of referral bonus for telling you about I am doing so out of kindness from the bottom of my butt or something.

Any time is a good time for a Beavis and Butthead reference

Inbox Dollars (4 per day)
Next on the list is one of the oldest and best PTD (paid to do) sites, Inbox Dollars.
You can earn from four searches per day and four sets of four searches per week.
Another great way to earn passive income from Inbox Dollars is through referrals. My son signed up under my link two weeks ago. He has earned $6.40 in two weeks, and I earned $1.40 from his activities without lifting a finger. If you're a big social media influencer, put your charisma to work and refer your followers to Inbox Dollars!

Irazoo is one of my newer discoveries. Check it out, and if you decide to sign up, do me a solid and enter the referral code at the end of this paragraph so we can both earn points.

This is another of those bottom of my butt suggestions, as I don't get anything for referring you to this site except your undying gratitude if you win big. If you do win big, please do me a solid and click the little green Ko-Fi banner in my sidebar and buy me a bunch of coffee!
PCH also has various phone apps. If you're one of the lucky winners, you could be set for life.

Not only does Swagbucks let you earn points for using their search function, there's plenty more for you to do, like completing surveys and playing games. Swagbucks is one of the best PTD sites.

Treasure Trooper (3 per day)
You can earn points for three searches per day with Treasure Trooper, and there are a lot more things you can do there. Some people are reportedly earning up to $180 per month from surveys alone. The site is approximately ten years old and has a fun format and no shortage of PTD opportunities for you.

These sites are a great place to start earning, and there is no charge to sign up for any of them.
As a friendly reminder, never pay to sign up for survey sites or for information such as I'm providing here for free. I get legitimately rewarded by the above sites if people sign up through my affiliate links. 
Anybody can create a web page with official looking "bank statements" claiming huge earnings right out of the starting gate, and they will tell you all the "insider secrets" for a fee. Keep your money. These scammers will not be telling you anything different than legitimate Work from Home bloggers like me will share with you.
I may have an irreverent style, but I don't like seeing people get screwed over. I  have learned a lot over the years and want to share the knowledge, but I will never pretend to be some kind of Ultimate Expert. I have made plenty of mistakes and learned the hard way about way too many get rich quick schemes. It is my goal to keep others from wasting their time and money on empty promises the way I did.
Stick with me and check out the sites in my sidebar for opportunities to earn more and keep more of what you have. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 


Seal of Approval

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Prime Pantry Product Recommendation: Gevalia Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

I love iced coffee, and, let's face it, sometimes the only way I can make myself get the lead out and go deliver food is if I bribe myself with a premium iced latte from Starbuck's or Caribou Coffee. But that can get pretty expensive on a daily basis.
Enter delicious salvation to satisfy both your coffee cravings and your wallet.
Gevalia Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate is super easy to use. It is measured in a 1:1 ratio with water. So, for an 8-ounce iced coffee, use 4 ounces cold brew concentrate and 4 ounces of water. Use a big enough glass or travel cup to accommodate your ice!
I like to make a bottle of ready-to-drink cold brew to keep in the fridge. I simply fill the half-empty bottle of cold brew concentrate with filtered water and top off with Nut Pods creamer. I appreciate having a tasty pick-me-up at hand, and my blood sugar appreciates the fact that this is a tasty enough combination that I don't feel the need to sweeten it. 
Gevalia Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate is available from Amazon Prime Pantry and, if you decide you like Nut Pods creamer, you can subscribe and make sure you always have some on hand. That is how I roll!

Happy Caffeinating!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sly Speaks: Why I Noped Out of my Hysterectomy

I'm 53 years old and I have a history of sexual trauma and issues with my endocrine system including my reproductive system. I have PCOS. I have a degree of endometriosis, and I have polyps and fibroids in my uterus. The fibroids are small, not some grapefruit-sized thing.
I avoided having pelvic exams for close to 30 years because of past sexual trauma and fear of being shamed for being a larger person. I finally found a doctor I could trust to be honest with about my plumbing problems, so to speak. I see her quarterly because of my endocrine issues. When I told her that I had my "annual period" and was hoping this would be the last year for that mess, she said that wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist.
The gynecologist was a very sweet person who made me feel at ease. She never shamed me for my size. She did a D&C, which sucked because I felt like someone had been up in my business with a cheese grater, but I wanted to rule out cancer. The biopsy showed that I have simple endometrial hyperplasia with no cellular atypia. My risk of developing uterine cancer is 1.6% greater than the risk for someone who has no hyperplasia.
Hyperplasia is par for the course in someone with diabetes and PCOS. I produce too much estrogen. My primary care doctor is having me try a bio-identical progesterone, which may reverse some of the issues with my plumbing. One can always hope.
I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy, but I canceled the night before. Let me be clear that I'm not fanatical about women keeping their uterus come hell or high water. My son's best friend's mother had such horrible endometriosis that it had invaded her digestive tract. Some people have fibroids the size of a full-term fetus. There is no reason that these people should be forced to keep an organ that is malfunctioning to that degree. But this is not my case.
I always had miserable periods from hell and was glad when they came to an end. Initially, I was gung-ho to get rid of my reproductive organs, but after doing some research I realized I might be trading one problem for another (i.e. my incontinence could get significantly worse) and the inside of my hoo-hah could turn into the Great Southern Desert for the remainder of my life. In the end, it didn't seem worth it to undergo major surgery for a 1.6% higher risk of possible uterine cancer down the line.
Although two of the doctors involved in the process are women themselves (the person who would have done the surgery is a man) and they were all respectful to me, not a single one of them said a thing about the downside of having a hysterectomy. I think that doctors are taught to have this attitude that post-menopausal women are no longer able to have children, so why not just take the uterus out? But major surgery comes with risks. For me to agree to it, the risks have to outweigh the benefits, and they simply do not in this case.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright Juliahenze

Monday, December 17, 2018

Try Treasure Trooper

Dare you click the chompy crocodile and see all that Treasure Trooper has to offer?
Actually, doing so is not a bad thing.
Treasure Trooper is a survey and offer site which has been around for about 10 years. They are highly regarded among online survey enthusiasts. I haven't been a member for very long, but I just earned $2 for taking a survey about health care in my area. You can set your own payout amount for $20 or higher.
Come try Treasure Trooper. They add new surveys and offers daily, so there is sure to be something for everyone.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Unique and Unusual Gifts: I Heart Guts Plushies

Cuddly Uterus by I Heart Guts

This is not my uterus. My uterus resembles a Lovecraftian horror, which is why it is being removed.
This is my gift to myself for undergoing the procedure to remove said eldritch horror.
They have a lot of other viscera and offal made adorable as well, a perfect gift for your weird friends and family members who may be having to endure miserable medical procedures and need a little cheering up, or for aspiring medical students.
I have been enduring a range of unexpected emotions regarding this procedure, even though I have been putting up with issues caused by the eldritch horror for quite some time and it's time for a resolution to those issues. Anxiety about the surgery is to be expected, but I have also been experiencing feelings of remorse and anger as well as bouts of weepiness, which is not par for the course for me. So I bought myself a cuddly uterus to cheer myself. It is due to arrive on Christmas Eve.
Get your own friendly viscera and offal by clicking one of the links below!

Your Hostess Soon To Be Down One Womb,

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sly Speaks: Me Too: The Work Edition

Copyright Tara O'Brien

I was thinking back to a "wonderful" incident which happened while I was working as an assistant district manager at the Denver Post in 1986. One of the carriers became friendly with me, initially in a perfectly acceptable and professional way, and I enjoyed our little chats. But then one day he said to me: "I'd like it if I could give you a hug sometime and maybe a kiss."
A lot of you ladies, particularly of my generation or older, will be able to relate when I say that I was trained from a young age to "be a lady" when a situation like this arises and to "not hurt his feelings," so rather than asking him in what the hell universe hitting on his supervisor was appropriate, my first response was to say "I'm married," so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. As if doing this sort of creepy thing would have been appropriate if his target wasn't married.
My initial reaction is to think what a doormat I was for reacting this way. Plus I never even told my supervisor, because I didn't want to get the guy in trouble. But my next reaction is to be angry that I believed his feelings were more important than mine, which was disgust and betrayal.
So, yeah, not going to be angry at my younger self for being taken aback and not behaving in a more assertive fashion in this lurid situation. The guy displayed not only gross sexism in having zero respect for my position of albeit mild authority just because I was a young woman, but he displayed zero respect for me as a human being in seeing me as an object that he could potentially grope and slobber on.
For some reason, when I was younger I seemed to draw a lot of creepers like this to me, probably because I tried to be nice. I'm honestly not at all sorry that my current age tends to render me invisible to this breed of asshole most of the time.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Graphic copyright Juliahenze

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Super Easy Dessert Recipe: Creamsicle Cupcakes

Did I hear you say you wanted a super-easy, fast, delicious and different cupcake recipe? Well, I have the answer you seek. 
These easy and tasty Creamsicle Cupcakes require only two ingredients:
A 15.25 ounce box of yellow cake mix
12 ounces of Fanta or other orange soda.
Yes, that really is all you need. 
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the soda into the cake mix.
Spoon into lined muffin tins to about half full.
This recipe makes 12 large or 24 small cupcakes.
Cook for 15 minutes.
These cupcakes will be flat or slightly sunken and cracked on top rather than rounded. If you like, you can frost them to compensate for the appearance. However, once tasted, no-one will care what they look like. They are delicious!

Happy Eating,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cheesy Cinema Review: The Christmas Chronicles Would Have Been Better Without the Side Order of Size Shaming

I may be a curmudgeon, but I'm not unrealistic. I expect holiday movies to be trope-laden and sappy. Unless you're watching Santa Slasher 666 or, as Beavis would say, a "Christmas Classic" starring such fine quality thespians as Tiny Johnson and Bob Scratchit, you can expect either barf-inducing heartwarming romantic drama or family-friendly drama probably involving cute but weird elves somewhere in the mix. Knowing these things, I steeled myself for whatever extra helping of syrupy sweetness might be lurking in the Christmas Chronicles to raise my blood sugar levels.
First, the positives. The kids are adorable and the young actors performing the parts of Katie and Teddy did a marvelous job. Kurt Russell really hits the mark as a slightly grouchy, no-nonsense Santa. However, I was dismayed by the amount of size shaming and diet culture promotion.
Had it happened only once, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. However, it happened multiple times, including a scene where the sleigh hits a billboard advertising Coke products with the image of a portly Santa enjoying a Coke. Santa shouts: "take that, Fat Man!"
Shaking my damn head. Not only was the size shaming not necessary, but the levels of at the very least subconscious vehemence and hatred towards larger people was absolutely uncalled for. Also, do the writers really thinks that Santa is so vain that all he cares about is being perceived as slim and sexy? I honestly find such people quite a bore and I would hope that if Santa were real, he wouldn't be a self-centered dullard.
As a curmudgeonly adult, I found the size bashing dismal and enraging. I can only imagine how it would seem to a big kid watching that movie. The inherent message they will take away is not "family needs to stick together," but "fat is the very worst thing you can possibly be. Even Santa hates fat people."
Hollywood really needs to stop with the lame-ass fat jokes whenever they find themselves at a loss for comic relief. If you can't include larger people in your story in a positive way, at the very least don't include them just to make them the butt of mean-spirited "humor".
Every kid deserves to feel like he or she is okay just as he or she is all year 'round, but I feel that a positive, family-friendly holiday movie needs to take a bit of extra care to make sure they aren't alienating and shaming certain already stigmatized populations.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Very Personal Post: My Hysterectomy and Sub-Par Treatment of Women and Larger Patients

Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat, a blog which people of every size should read

I normally try to keep my money-saving and life hacks blog confined to products, recipes, and apps which can help put money in your pocket and keep it there. However, sometimes I feel it is important to share personal and societal issues. This is one of those times.
I have blogged recently about having my eldritch horror of a uterus removed on December 17th. My uterus is full of polyps and benign fibroid tumors. There are other treatments for this (ablation, breaking up the tumors with ultrasound, hormones), but they tend to have to be repeated down the line. I no longer have a need for my uterus in this life. I feel that the most efficient course of action at this point is a once and done option: take it out and be done with it. Then there will be no future ablations, no future d and c's, and no more pap smears ever again in this lifetime. Weighing the pros and cons, I believe this to be the best option in my case.
Reflecting on the situation, my uterus probably should have come out ten to fifteen years ago. I always had brutal periods. I do not joke when I say I didn't bleed, I hemorrhaged. However, due to past trauma (sexual assault) and fear of being shamed for my body type (I am built similarly to Ragen, but am nowhere near as beautiful and graceful), I avoided having any sort of "well woman" type of exam for close to thirty years.
I feel like the current approach to focusing on a patient's weight first and, often to the exclusion of all else, is lazy medicine. Doctors fail to take into account that weight is only one part of the equation and correlation is not causation. There are multiple factors at play in a person's body type. DNA is the first and most powerful of these. 

Repeat after me: a rhino is not a unicorn. A rhino does not even know what a unicorn is. I doubt there is a rhino anywhere in the world that dreams of being a unicorn. Also, unicorns aren't real, much like the ridiculous appearance ideals that we learn to impose on ourselves from a very young age.
Dr. Oz (Oprah's pet snake oil salesman) once said that he never sees a fat person who doesn't have cardiac problems. What he neglected to mention is that he never sees a thin person who doesn't have cardiac problems either. He's a cardiologist. But there isn't a big market for weight gain products. There is a multi-billion dollar industry built on convincing people that their bodies are wrong and it's their fault that diets fail time and time again.
Doctors don't tend to see (or notice) healthy fat people, because when a person avoids the doctor's office like the plague for fear of being shamed and lectured about their weight, they tend not to seek medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic. Further, poor people regardless of size often can't afford medical treatment and thus avoid seeking medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic.
Teaching doctors to shame and scold patients for their physique (or anything else) leads patients to avoid seeing doctors. This is counterproductive. The Western medicine focus also tends to be on treating illness rather than maintaining health. This is counterproductive. The U.S. medical system is broken, and the definition of insanity is insisting on doing something that doesn't work and hoping it will work this time. It doesn't work and it isn't going to work this time. The dead horse needs to be replaced rather than flogged and shocked in hopes that it will wake up and gallop around the pasture like a healthy young colt.
In any case, after many years of going to a doctor who wasn't the worst but seemed to be burned out and going through the motions, I was doing a search for doctors with a Health at Every Size approach. I hope the future will present with many, many more such doctors, but currently, such a search can be extremely frustrating. I happened on a doctor in my general area who stated that she provides a safe space for patients of any race, sex, orientation, or size. I made an appointment right away.
Even though I got on well with this new doctor and trusted her, she had a difficult time examining the plumbing, so to speak. However, we got through it. The results of the dreaded pap smear were normal. But there was more to come.
I see my doctor quarterly because of my endocrine problems. During my April visit, I told her that I'd had my "yearly period." I said it was frustrating to me because I thought I was completely done with the blasted thing, but every year for the past couple years I had a really dreadful, heavy, but fortunately painless period. 
My doctor said that this wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist. I was extremely worried, but this incredibly kind and wonderful woman never once shamed me about my body. She focused on the issue at hand and was compassionate about my fears. After performing a biopsy and examination of the inside of the troublesome organ, I was informed that it was housing numerous fibroids and polyps and was sent for a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in gynecologic surgery.
My case is a walk in the park for this fellow. He has a lot of patients dealing with various cancers and severe pathologies. I present with a straightforward, uncomplicated condition, and the surgery should take less than an hour. I'm still terrified and want to run screaming. I hate going under anesthesia. 
The doctors involved in this chain of events have all done things right. They have treated me with respect and not shamed or scolded me for having a body which does not fit society's definition of "ideal" by any stretch of the imagination. This means that I listen to them rather than saying: "well, fuck this shit, I guess I'm going to just have to live with my problems because I don't want to deal with these assholes."
I worked in the medical field for most of my working life. There are patients who are frustrating to deal with. They are noncompliant and expect miracles. There are patients who demand antibiotics for the treatment of viruses. There are patients who seem to believe that doctors are hiding secret cures in their doctor arsenal. There are patients who can't stop smoking even though it's killing them. All of these people need to be treated with kindness and respect, even if the medical staff feels the need to headdesk repeatedly following a visit with said patient.
I've known more than one person who was so addicted to smoking that even though it had serious negative health consequences, they were unable to stop. One was my maternal grandmother, who died in 1992 at the age of 75 from complications of alcoholism. She had emphysema and couldn't make herself stop smoking. She successfully stopped drinking once, but then my cousin (a very broken person) brought over a six-pack one night, and she was right back at it. 
My grandmother had a hard life. It would be frustrating to treat a patient who is committing slow suicide, but it would never be appropriate to belittle or berate such a person. My grandmother only had an eighth-grade education, but she was by no means a stupid person. She had a lot of "horse sense." She was also deeply conflicted and had a very low self-esteem and untreated mental health issues.
I don't know the other person's backstory. She was a customer who came into a restaurant where I worked as a bartender and waitress. She would get coffee and stay for a long time in the afternoon, chain-smoking, reading, and drinking her coffee. She was a social worker who was getting ready to retire. She had a daughter who had borderline personality disorder.
This woman eventually had to have part of one lung removed. She tried to quit smoking, but people would see her around town hiding behind buildings for a puff, even though she had to carry an oxygen tank at that point. She died within a year of the surgery.
Scolding this woman would not have made it easier for her to quit smoking. She wasn't stupid. She knew that smoking was causing her health problems. Addiction is a complicated and misunderstood issue.
Some people equate having a large body type with addiction. This is erroneous. Some people with larger body types have binge eating disorder, as do some people with slender and medium body types. Binge eating disorder is not an "addiction to food," it is a pathological relationship with food. Even if it was "an addiction to food," scolding and shaming a person suffering from said disorder will do nothing but make that person withdraw and stop listening. Nothing good ever comes from scolding and shaming a patient.
What I am getting around to is that I have a health issue which should have been dealt with years ago, but I avoided exams that might have revealed the problem sooner because I was embarrassed and afraid of being shamed for my body. This should never be the case. All patients have the right to compassionate, respectful treatment. 
Pathologizing certain body types doesn't work. Health at Every Size does.
This is why I am committed to never deliberately advertising or promoting weight loss products on the Deliver Me blog. I struggled for 33 years with disordered eating and low self-esteem because of society's attitudes towards people with larger bodies. I went on diet after diet and "failed" every time. Any weight lost always came back with friends. I literally had to stop dieting so I wouldn't gain more weight. 
It wasn't until I discovered size acceptance and Health at Every Size that I realized I hadn't failed, the diets failed. The diet industry thrives on two factors:
Diets don't work
Dieters believe that they, not the diet, are at fault for the diet not working.
I will never knowingly sell snake oil or false promises. 
I will only promote products and services which I believe can be helpful in some capacity. Diet and weight loss products never are.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

This Week's Spending Breakdown

J. Money of Budgets are Sexy asked his readers to break down their past week's spending. Here is my write-up in all its...uh...glory.

Really gross sobbing ensues.

Let’s do an exercise today where we look back at what we spent this week and see how we feel about it all… It’s good to do a surprise check-in every now and then!

Fill in the blanks below:

Money I loved spending this week:
I like to cook, and I got the goods to make some nice food this week. Not all of it was a hit with my son, but he's hard to feed. He's high-functioning autistic, and it can be tricky to find foods with textures that don't seem bothersome to him. I'm pretty much a gourmand. As long as it isn't offal or raw squash (I love cooked squash, can't stand it raw) I'm probably good.

Money I hated spending this week:
That sumbitchin' overdraft charge. I haven't had one of these in a while. I'm on an extremely short leash, being that I'm not allowed to make more than $1100 a month, or I lose Medicaid. I try to be careful, but sometimes, something gets by me.

Money I was surprised to spend this week! 
See "that sumbitchin' overdraft charge."

I quite literally think that exorbitant overdraft fees should be illegal. They only harm people who are already in difficult financial straits. Don't let the damn payment through if the money isn't there. If you must charge a fee, keep it reasonable, in the $5 range. The only reason banks charge these sickening $35 plus fees is because they can. 
Again, they are only harming the poor and working classes. The one percent certainly never gets hit by these fees.

Money I knew I’d spend this week and am okay with: 
Money for groceries. I'm basically okay with this, although I tend to feel groceries are, overall, overpriced. 
I have a tip that I like to pass along whenever I can. If your preferred grocery store has an "ugly produce" section, take advantage of it! My preferred store has an ugly produce section. It's hit or miss, but it's a hit more often than it's a miss. Everything in the section is 99 cents for a bag, and the bags are generous. Yesterday I got a nice bag of red potatoes, in the two to three-pound range, for 99 cents. The potatoes were on the small side and oddly shaped, but they are perfectly good potatoes.

Money I spent towards my goals/dreams: 
I checked my balance before spending this money. I bought some yarn on Amazon for my hand-crochet blanket that I'm making. I don't sell these blankets because I could never legitimately recoup the money spent to make them. They are strictly gifts or for personal use. 
In any case, the money I spent on my yarn (approximately $31) crossed with another payment, and I ended up with disgusting overcharges.
I was hoping to use some money to enter my poetry manuscript in a competition hosted by a non-profit literary group. The entry fee would have been $25. However, the deadline was November 31, and I was not willing to take the fee out of my savings. Maybe next year, or maybe I'll just self-publish the thing on Kindle.

That's my breakdown for the week. What's yours? Join the conversation on J. Money's blog, Budgets are Sexy.