Jana Says

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Reshaping my pioneer project

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of my pioneer project. When I dreamed up the idea, it was to develop self-sufficiency skills that are in short supply in my arsenal and to prove that, if need be, I could survive a prairie winter (or summer for that matter). I still refuse to ride a horse or shoot a gun, but I’m slowly working on the rest (except for crocheting. I’m done with that shit. I can get by with my sewing skills and the knitting loom and I have a date later this week) and I think that, at this point, I could survive a prairie winter. While my project is far from over, it’s nice to know that in just a few short months, I’ve come so far.

Fleetwood Mac, speaking the truth.

Fleetwood Mac, speaking the truth.

I think I can attribute that not only to working on my skills but also, an attitude shift. Because the more I work on my project, the more I realize that being a pioneer isn’t just about what you can do or having self-sufficiency skills like sewing a dress or baking bread or raising chickens or building a fire. Being a pioneer, at its core, is about your feelings and attitude towards work, family, rest, survival, faith (not necessarily organized religion), productivity, and a willingness to keep trying and fighting even when your whole body, heart, and soul tells you to quit.  It’s also about committing to things that matter, forgetting those that don’t, connecting with your family, friends, and environment, and doing something that’s never been done before. It’s about doing what you think is right for you.

To the last point, I fully believe that everyone can pioneer their own life. You don’t have to do something groundbreaking that changes the world. You don’t have to be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Amy Poehler or Sheryl Sandberg. Being a pioneer is about doing something new, adventurous, and groundbreaking in YOUR world. Whatever that entails. No matter how big or small it may seem to someone else.

To the point about working hard on the things that matter and the things that don’t, that, to me, is the crux of being pioneer. After you’ve decided what you’re pioneering, of course. Because once you’ve decided to focus on that, that’s where your time and energy needs to go. Goals you set should be tied directly to your pioneer efforts. Your free time? Same thing. And if you don’t think you have the time or you can’t make the time, then whatever you’re attempting to pioneer is really not that important to you.

That’s been the biggest shift for me. Realizing that there are just some things that aren’t worth the effort (cough-crocheting-cough) but other things that are (hello, essential oils. Nice to meet you). I’ve been placing more emphasis on putting down the social media, giving up a business or a project that didn’t produce results enough to justify the effort, using some of my time in way that makes me happy instead of obligated, and trying to construct my life in a way that is new for me. The intangible things that, when we think of the simple life of the pioneers, we want to have. Because, if you think about it, the pioneer life really wasn’t that simple (I keep meaning to write a post about this. I think I should get on that). 

For me, though, obtaining that romanticized simple life means not only developing those all important self-sufficiency skills. It involves putting myself outside of my comfort zone and connecting with people, friends and strangers. It that involves slowing down. It involves having one full day per week where no one in my house does any errands or chores and we just have family time. It involves letting go of the things that won’t get me closer to a goal and embracing more of the things that will. It involves digging deep and developing a work ethic and spirit that I’ve never possessed. 

It involves taking the attitudes and core beliefs the pioneers had, internalizing them, and making that the focus of the project rather than just whether or not I can make something from scratch. Believing in my own efforts and realizing that just because 39480 people have done it before me doesn’t make what I’m trying to do any less awesome or special and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve the same success. The pioneers didn’t let other people’s raging successes (or perceived successes) deter them. 

Because now, I’m pioneering my own life. And I don’t give a shit who does or doesn’t like it. In the words of the wise Billy Joel “I don’t care what you say any more, this is my life. Go ahead with your own life. Leave me alone”.


Click the picture and read the whole post this image came from. It's really good.

Click the picture and read the whole post this image came from. It’s really good.

I used to believe that this experiment was about how anyone can be more self-sufficient. Now it’s about how anyone can be a pioneer. 

They’re not the same thing. 

They don’t need to be.

P.S. This is the unintended beginning of a three part series coming your way starting next week and lasting for 3 consecutive Mondays. 

Friday favorites, volume 6

Friday favorites. This week’s is a quickie because I’m a slacker and didn’t get it done last night and now my daughter is on summer break and I can only hide from her for so long. 

Favorite song

Black Stone Cherry is a relatively new to me band, and I just love them now. They’re songs are fun, rockin’, and honestly, who can’t love a band with a song “White Trash Millionaire?” And let me just say that when I first watched a video, I was NOT expecting the singer to look the way he does.

Favorite frugal find

Remember how I said earlier in the week that my fat ass needs to lose some weight? Well, I found a coupon for 50% off Weight Watchers for 3 months. Now, I’m not a huge advocate of paying for weight loss services since there are so many good, free ones but I lost a ton of weight with them once before so it’s worth a shot again. As a balance, I no longer belong to a gym and workout for free at home. 

Favorite TV thing

This. Only this. 


 Favorite book thing

Last summer, I read Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. It is a well written, kind of weird, completely creative story about the environment in an ad agency at the end of the internet boom, and it’s written in the first person plural. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and when I realized that the author had written two more books, I jumped on that wagon train. I just finished The Unnamed and have started To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. I am troubled that he only has these 3 books but if you’re looking for something to read this summer, any of those come highly recommended. 

book cover
Favorite celebrity doing something good instead of being a dickhead

Apparently, Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind, went on a tirade at one of their concerts, STOPPING their set to yell at a bunch of lecherous, disgusting assholes who were, by all accounts, molesting a 16 year old girl who was crowd surfing. When you think about all the crowd surfing he’s seen, to stop a performance to yell at (and threaten) these dudes, it must have been bad. Like really, really bad. But kudos to you, Mr. Lewis, for stopping it.

Favorite funnies

bathtub dog cookies eLazYHq


Have a great weekend, y’all!! 

Linking up, as always, with Amanda:

Friday Favorites

It’s my birthday and other stuff

Today is my birthday!!! It’s kind of crazy that I’m 37 because on a good day I feel 12, maybe 14. 

And since it’s my birthday, I get to do whatever I want. Which will probably mean taking a nap and watching a movie all by myself. I might buy lunch for myself, too, since I never do that. Treat yo’self, amirite?

I’m also linking up with Kristen which is something I’ve been meaning to do for months but keep forgetting. I blame the fact that I’m getting old. 

I belong to a Bichon Frise group on Facebook (because I have 2. Not because I’m crazy obsessed with the breed. Although that, too). Anyway, a lady in the group has been sharing photos of Josh, a Bichon mix who was brought to a kill shelter at 48 hours old because the breeder thought he wouldn’t get enough money for Josh. You see, Josh has a cleft palate and also, the breeder is an asshole. And some amazing lady rescued him, bottle fed him, and now Josh is in the running to be on the cover of Modern Dog magazine (totally sounds made up but it’s not). If you could vote for him, that’d be amazing. There’s no registering or anything. Just clicking a button.

I have become completely obsessed with the show Longmire. It’s not really even that good. I mean, it doesn’t totally suck, but it’s kind of like Law and Order: Wyoming. So dead sheep and horses along with the dead bodies. But it has Lou Diamond Phillips and he was in La Bamba and that’s enough for me. It’s also on Netflix so binge watching is possible. Which is pretty much how I pick shows now.


Speaking of TV, can I just express for a minute how upset I am that SouthLAnd was canceled and I can’t even watch reruns on Netflix or anywhere? Get your shit together, Netflix. This show needs to be on your service. Now.

I cleaned my desk and my office yesterday, except for my husband’s desk. Now I’m just sad that all my stuff is clean and organized but I still have to sit at his to use his laptop since mine has the blue screen of death and I’m too broke right now to buy a new one. 

I have the Oregon Trail app for my iPad and every time I try to play it, the damn thing crashes. I’m pretty sure I can fix the problem somehow but I’ve become too lazy to figure out how.

I mentioned Netflix twice in this post. Well, I guess technically 3 times. I need something else to talk about. Clearly.

I love that my computer’s Google doodle is a whole bunch of birthday stuff. I guess their complete invasion into my life and privacy has some benefit. Thanks, Google!

Have a great Thursday, y’all! You have my permission to do whatever you want today in the name of my birthday. 


Linking up with Kristin:


Friday Favorites, volume 4

Yay for Friday! And the start to a long weekend! Which is made even longer with my daughter having today and Monday off from school. Nothing like a 4 day weekend 2 weeks before summer break starts. Because everyone needs a small break before an 11 week one, right?


And while that not be my favorite thing, there are plenty of other things that are. Like:

Favorite song

I had a hard time choosing one because too many good songs. But I have a major obsession with Halestorm, and Lzzy Hale is just plain badass, so I went with one of theirs, Freak Like Me. Have a listen while you read the rest of the post:

Favorite frugal choice

Someone I follow on Pinterest pinned a post “9 Frugal Things I Did Last Month” and I am not above stealing good ideas so I am using it for this, a new regular weekly favorite I’ll be adding. This week, my favorite frugal thing was taking advantage of my free 30 day trial for Amazon Fire TV. I can’t wait to figure that shit out. And, living near an Amazon shipping facility is awesome because things get here fast. Like one day fast. It’s pretty spectacular.

Favorite funny #1

Tiny Vulgar Unicorn wins the internet this week. Maybe even this month. I don’t even know how to describe this except to show you (warning: it might be offensive but it is freaking hilarious). And make sure to read the rest when you’re done.


Favorite funny #2

Because farts are always funny. ALWAYS. And it also just occurred to me that I inadvertently made a shit joke as a prelude to introducing farts. I’m almost proud of that.

Favorite thing that happened to someone else


Congrats to my girl Steph from Life According to Steph on her Huffington Post Live segment! I’ve known Steph a LONG time and she’s always been one of the most well spoken people I know. I’m glad she got a chance to share that with even more people.
Favorite new product


I am on a constant quest for a good body lotion. There are some Body Shop ones that are great and Bath and Body is hit or miss and some of the drugstore brands aren’t so great. Then I tried Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil when we were visiting my in-laws a few weeks ago and I liked it and it’s totally for adults I think and bought some and now I probably won’t use anything else. Hands down, best lotion ever. And Johnson’s people, if you’re reading, I do accept free stuff. Just sayin’.
And that’s all she wrote this week, friends. Enjoy your long weekend!
Linking up with Amanda from Meet at the Barre

Friday Favorites

Friday favorites, volume 3

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for another round of Friday Favorites with Amanda from Meet at the Barre (which has quickly become a must read around these parts)  

Friday Favorites
Favorite song

Of course, we’ll kick it off with my favorite song of the week. This week’s honoree is Theory of a Deadman’s The Truth Is…(I Lied About Everything). You know how people love to talk about Taylor Swift and her ability to shit on her exes in a song? Well, this song bitch slaps Taylor Swift’s attempts because this? THIS is how you do a breakup song. Warning: it uses some expletives and graphic language so if you’re at work, turn the sound down. Unless you work somewhere really awesome and they don’t care about that kind of stuff.

The Truth Is… (I Lied About Everything) by Theory of a Deadman on Grooveshark          


Favorite blogs

I wrote about a few of my favorites once before and now it’s time for the second installment. As a relatively new lifestyle blogger, many blogs that have been around awhile are brand new to me, and it makes me sad that it took so long to discover them although better late than never, right? Here’s this month’s list:

  • Another Housewife–written by my dear friend Jenniemarie whose ass I will kick if she doesn’t start working on her memoir soon, it’s a blog about her faith, her family, her struggles with depression (which I completely understand on a level I wish I didn’t), and her life in general. 
  • Voyage of the Mee Mee–I adore Amanda’s blog. She makes me laugh a lot and most of her posts have me blurting out “I wish I had thought of that” because she’s just so damn entertaining. Also, her use of GIFs is spectacular and I want to know where she finds them.
  • Vodka and Soda–another one who makes me laugh out loud and often. Plus she’s from Toronto so we can just add her to the long list of awesome things to come out of that place. Like Rush. I’m thinking there’s something in the water or some shot they give them at birth that just generates awesomeness. (Incidentally, the band featured in this week’s favorite song is also from Canada. The other side of the country, but still. What the hell, Canada?)
  • Eternally Wanderlyn–Lynsey’s series on Love Every Body is worth checking out her blog, and the rest is worth sticking around for. She’s another work from home/I hate pants/wannabe hermit so I feel that she and I are kindred spirits.
  • Life by Nadine Lynn–If I lived closer to Nadine, I feel that we’d hang out on a regular basis. We both love beer, have similar taste in music, and I think maybe her little dog Mac is a breed cousin to my crazy dogs. Plus, she has a 40 X 40 list and I’m totally going to steal the idea even though I have way less time to 40 than she does.


Favorite TV Show

We just got HBO back ($10 a month for a year? Yes, please) so we’re finally getting around to watching True Detective. Holy shit, y’all. That show lives up to ALL the hype it got and then some. I’m sad there’s only 8 episodes and we’ll be done by the weekend but O.M.G. What a well spent 8 hours. 


Favorite shoes I would wear if I could

As a short person, I enjoy a nice pair of heels. You know, so I’m basically the same height as everyone else. But once the heel gets higher than, say, 2 inches, I can’t walk. You might as well throw me onto a pair of stilts. Which eliminates a whole lot of shoes. Sadly. However, I’m seriously contemplating not caring because these are amazing.I mean, just look at them:



Found these on Rebel Circus. A site I like to visit often and one day hope to buy shit from.

Found these on Rebel Circus. A site I like to visit often and one day hope to buy shit from.


However, there is no way I’m paying $93 for shoes that will kill my feet. You can’t tell from the picture, but that’s a 4 1/2″ heel. No, thank you. I’ll stick with being short in flip flops and flats.


Favorite quote

I happened upon this as a temporary tattoo (I don’t know how. Pinterest is a weird little animal) but it’s a great quote anyway.

Have a great weekend, everyone! What were some of your favorite things of the week?