Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What do you do if you have no health insurance? We go to Mexico!

{Cabazon Shopping Outlet near Palm Springs, see the Brighton store}

Oh, Sweet Hearts...
You are, without a doubt, the dearest friends anyone could ever have!! Your comments from my botched soldering post had me smiling & laughing, feeling encouraged & supported, but mostly feeling 'Not So All Alone' in my sad attempt at this new art technique I'm trying to master. Thank You for all your sweet words, they always mean so much to me!
I loved how Teresa from Attic Rat put it... 
"I think soldering is almost like learning to write beautifully with your left hand when you are right-handed. With lots and lots of practice, you can eventually master it."
Do I hear an Amen? Amen!

Back to the subject at hand...What do You do, when you have No Health Insurance? I'm not being flippant or anything, I really am curious! You see, my family is one of the millions of Americans that are uninsured. It's not because we don't work hard, my husband & I are both self employed. My hubby is probably one of the hardest working men I know. Hard, physical, back breaking work in weather that you wouldn't even want your pets to go out into, that's what my man does everyday...it brings tears to my eyes. And yet we can not afford health insurance. Well, what we have done, is learn to make due & that's just what we did this past weekend. So, here's Robert & Susie's guideline's on how to 'Stay Alive' in America without health insurance in the Southwest. LOL {It's really not as bad as it sounds}

I'll start with eyes, since mine just seem to get worse & worse with age. Anyone who wears glasses knows, frames are outrageously priced. I mean CRAZY, right! Well, a beautiful thing has happened in America & it's called Outlet Shopping. One of my favorite Outlet Malls is CABAZON in Cali, heading South before Palm Springs. The thing that makes this mall special to me is it has a Brighton Outlet...Oh Yeah! I got two pairs of glasses there this weekend, my sunglasses were $29.99 & my regular glasses were $5.99...now can anybody say Great Deal. I have been using Brighton frames for my glasses for years now, even at full price they run between $60 & $70.  

Now with designer frames in hand, we drive to the newly built Quechan Casino & Resort located 2 miles from Yuma, Arizona & 1 mile from Los Algodones, BC, Mexico. Usually we take our Vintage Trailer down with us & camp for free on the BLM, but hubby has been working so hard since spring & we were only staying 2 nights, so we decided to treat ourselves & it was really FUN! ;) You see, we go to Mexico for most of our medical needs. FYI...an American Passport is required to return to the US. As the Border Patrol Officer told me on one of my last trips into Mexico...anybody can come in to Mexico, but not everyone can come back to the US. Well put!

Los Algodones is probably the only place I would enter Mexico right now. Kidnapping Americans is on the rise, the drug wars are out of control, our borders are locking down tighter & tighter {which is a good thing}, but Los Algodones still has the feel of a sleepy little border town, filled with white haired seniors trying to make ends meet on Medicare. It cracks me up cuz when I go down, I'm actually the Young Hot Chick. Everybody there is 20 years older then me! {maybe I should buy a condo? lol}

Everything you need for any medical purposes are within the first 3 blocks of town. My optometrist is on the second block on the left, Optica Algodones. It's a lovely little office with ac & a friendly staff. They sell designer frames there too, but I always bring my own. The eye exam is $10 or you can bring your prescription from the states & for standard glasses it costs $80 for 2 pairs. Since I wear bifocals & get one pair tinted black for the sun, it runs me $100 for both pair & with my gorgeous new Brighton frames, I'm always jazzed when I get my new glasses!

Now for medicaciĆ³n! We go to the Big Purple Pharmacy on the left hand side of the 1st block. We get ALL our medication there & have for about 8 years & we have NEVER had a problem with anything. An example would be my shoulder arthitis medication, Voltarin. It costs $35 a month here in the states & $4 there, so for a 3 month supply we pay $12 instead of $105...I'm just sayin, for us, that's a huge savings & that's just 1 medicine! It is not the same name brand as it is here in the US, it is a Mexican brand, but for the medications we take, we have never noticed a difference.

We have gone to the Dentist & Dermatologist there & have been very satisfied with the outcome. We make a day of it. We eat a few tacos, have a couple of Corona's, make small talk with the vendors, buy a few trinkets to bring home & then head out threw the gateways & mazes, customs & border patrol, to get back into the US. Look, another Adventure! {but this one, not so accidental}

Would we do this if we had health care? No. Do we do this cuz we think it's fun? No. Is Mexico a safe to place to visit right now? No. Do we have any real alternatives? No. Am I suggesting anyone else should follow our lead & use this as their alternative heath care? No.
I'm just sayin, when life gives you lemons...make lemonaid or when 1 door closes, another door opens.
Again...it's all in the SEEING!
Have a Frightful Halloween Week Friends...I can't believe it's almost HERE!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soldering 101 & a Rainbow

Look what I woke up to this morning...
do you think it's a sign??
Or maybe just the start of something unexpected & new.
Whatever the reason for it's appearance, it made me smile & GRAB my camera! ;)

I have been afraid to try something new for quite some time now. You may say to yourself..."Is this the middle aged woman who drove half way across the country by herself so she could see some coooool junk & the largest ball of twine?" I'm sad to say, yes, it is.

For years now I have longed to solder. I ADORE double sided, glass pendents with awesome vintage images in them. With sayings & lace & cool tiny elements. I bought a wonderful little starter kit a while back with a cute pink iron & all the components needed to start creating, but it sat on my shelf in my studio at the shop for wayyyyy toooooo long. Then I moved & voila, here it sits in my kitchen waiting for me to be brave & just TRY!

And so with the rainbow & all, I thought today should be the day. I knew exactly what I wanted to put inside my glass pendent. A favorite tin type I got at Round Top, with the image of a sweet little girl from the civil war era. I found a great vintage photo to put on the back & trimmed them both, ever so carefully, using the glass as my pattern.
Easy Peasy!

Next comes the copper foil, which has tape on the backside to stick to the glass & hold everything in place. That was fun, although I was a bit disturbed that it wasn't completely even on all edges & sides. This is where my OCD & anal as a rooster with a stick up it's butt, comes into play. {I have no clue where that disgusting analogy came from & I'll try to never use it again! lol} 

OK...here comes the hard part!!! I have the iron holder together, I have the iron plugged in & warming up, the solder & flux are ready for me to get down to business, when suddenly I realize...I need 3 HANDS to do this job & I was only born with TWO! 1st hand to hold the soldering iron...2nd hand to hold the bottle of flux...3rd hand to hold the glass piece I'm working on.

At this point, I'm stumped...truly, I was stumped. While standing there, staring at all the things I'm suppose to be holding at the very same time, looking completely, STUMPED, in walks my remarkable & talented hubby. Off he goes to the garage & comes back with a small suction vice for me to use as my other hand. Yeahhhh...I can do this!!!

Well, maybe not! I did try my friends, boy did I try. I soldered this for hours, which is probably why it looks so awful. I couldn't make it flat, I couldn't make it even, I couldn't get the jump ring straight or even to stay on, I somehow got flux under the glass & it was now on my treasured tin type from Round Top, it smelled like smoke probably from burning the copper foil & my OCD'ed, anal self, just couldn't take it another minute.

Quietly, like a robber in the night, I snuck into my bedroom & took the whole thing apart! I cleaned my little civil war girl & told her how sorry I was for the abuse. See the charring on the glass? Obviously, I need a lot more practice before I use something I love in one of these pieces. But, I will try again...

I'm not afraid to fail...

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
Mary Anne Radmacher

So, I will try again tomorrow...

& I only hope by the next time I wake up to an amazing rainbow, I will have mastered something that today, I can not do. Sweet Friends, here's to the learning curve & in knowing that, 'The journey is the thing.'



Saturday, October 16, 2010

rosa & josie's, diane cook at marburger farm

It's Saturday Sweet Hearts...what do you have planned for the weekend??  :)

I'm off to Kai's soccer game & then to my little shop, 'Lambs & Ivy Boutique', for my final weekend of sales. I can truly say I have absolutely NO REGRETS. I am thrilled with the idea of being able to travel this winter with my sweet hubby looking for JUNK & livin the Gypsy Life!

I thought I'd share some of my photo's of my dear friend Diane Cook's awesome booth at Marburger Farm. She is an amazing jewelry designer, my inspiration in my own jewelry creations & if not for her, I may never have even known about the fabulousness of the Texas Junky Lifestyle!

I ADORE her postcards & hang tags...

Who created these gorgeous designs? Silly me...I did, what am I thinkin?
{a shameless attempt at self promotion, lol}

Everything Diane touches is done with perfection & class, including her beautiful booth at Marburger!

Here she is the morning of opening day, she's so dear to me. I came to Texas for many reasons, but meeting my friend was at the top of my list!

This fabulous banner looked great as the entrance to her booth!

The image we used is from one of her family cabinet cards of two little sisters holding hands & she had the original photo in her booth. I was excited to finally get the chance to see it in person, it's so precious!

Her designs range from bracelets of leather & lace to necklaces of vintage crystals & beads.

Her Etched Layered Cuffs are beyond beautiful & were published in this Belle Amoire Jewelry magazine.

I LOVED this dress form bedazzeled with her designs...

Soooooo Yummmmmmy!

I was overjoyed when Diane gave me one of her ice resin necklaces that says, "Face Your Journey"!
How perfect is that sentiment for my 'Great Texas Adventure'...Thank You friend!

And then I had to have another one that said, 'Marburger Farm' with the cutest image in it. I wear them together ALL the time!

This is a new design she's come up with & will be teaching a class on how to make them. It's a sterling silver thimble filled with loveliness.

To find out more about Diane & her classes & jewelry designs, go visit her blog, rosa & josie's . You won't be disappointed!

And for me, I'm off to complete a portion of my
life's journey.
One door closing, as so many doors open.
Life's adventures are always unfolding, if we are only able to be brave enough to SEE with new eyes!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

home again means Disneyland!

Happy Hump Day Sweeties...
Well, my Texas adventure is over, but my real life adventure is just beginning! I'm in the mist of closing out the shop, which will lead me to yet another fork in my road called life.

But, as seems to be a pattern in my life, along every path comes unexpected detours. My beautiful daughter Courtney was given 3 free passes to Disneyland & California Adventure for last Sunday, which she joyously asked me to share in with her & Kai. Now having just gotten back from my trek & knowing I needed to sell some merchandise...I told her I should probably not go & work instead. She responded, "What?? Mom, free passes to Disneyland, have you lost your mind?"

Anyone who knows me knows what a ridculous answer I had given her. I would NEVER pass up a chance ANYTIME to go to Disneyland, it's my Home Away From Home...Courtney grew up there!

Awakening from my self induced stupor I shouted out, "OMG, what am I thinkin, of course I want to go with you to Disneyland!" I don't care if I have to pack everything up & just bring it home...do you know how much a hopper ticket to Disneyland costs these days?? You don't want to know! Let's just say I could probably buy 2 Magnolia Pearl tops with that money.

So last Sunday, I was at the Happiest Place on Earth with my daughter & grandson! {you can read about why Disneyland means so much to me here , from an earilier post}

The sun was shining, the sky was blue & it couldn't have been a better day to enjoy the park! Kai got to see soooo many of his favorite Disney characters.

And the best part was that it was all decked out for Halloween & they turn the Haunted Mansion into The Nightmare Before Christmas, which we all just LOVE!!!

Here's Jack & Sally with Courtney & Kai...

Oh yeah...I almost forgot. Another perk she got with these tickets, is 4 front of the line passes for each of us. So we could pick the 4 most crowded rides, use our pass & go straight to the front of the line...that ROCKS PEOPLE!!!

We used them on Space Mountain & The Haunted Mansion In Disneyland...

& Soarin Over California & The Tower of Terror in California Adventure.
{ps: check out the hat & tank & ring I wore, The Junk Gypsy's were represented by Moi}

Here's Kai with his Jack Sparrow sword which he loved! It's soooo easy to  please a kid, a $6.95 Jack Sparrow sword & it was like GOLD to him, you gotta love it.

Mommy & Kai...

Monga & Kai...

Woody & Kai! :)

Because we are such a Disneyland family, if having to choose between Disneyland or California Adventure, the Big D will always win. Courtney had never been before, I had been once when my friend took me for my birthday & Kai had been with his Daddy a few years back. When spending that kind of money, you just have to know you are going to have the most amazing time & I just don't get that at the other park.

I do adore the Soarin Over California ride...you sit in what looks like a row full of swings & once safely secured, you start to fly up into a movie of Yosemite, the ocean, San Francisco, orange groves that you can smell the sweet aroma of their blossoms. Totally cooooool...

Kai had fun looking at some of the Cars movie props & went on a couple fun little rides & then he & Mommy braved the Tower of Terror, which I was too ascared to go on so I waited out front for them to finish. They both really liked that ride...but our overall consenses was that if we had paid full price to get in, we would have been really disappointed.

Moral of the story...
Stick to the CLASSIC'S & you'll never be disappointed!!!
Happy Halloween month friends & I hope you enjoyed our little excursion to The Happiest Place on Earth.
I never leave empty hearted, my memory banks go so far back with this one...everytime I go it's like