Live From 8200

A compilation of life, writing and other occurences that come up from day to day.

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To Begin this Series…A Fictional Story.



I have been having an ‘itch’ lately to do more fictional writing just for fun.  So, I thought that the blog may be a good area to release a little creative writing.  Please bear with me on this endeavor.  I have no idea where this will be going or how long it may turn out to be.  In any case, here is the story.  Well, the beginning of one anyway.  Hope you enjoy it!

When The Winds Of Change Blow

Every morning it was the same thing for Elizabeth McCauley.  She’d put grounds in the pot, shower and get ready as she waited for the coffee to brew.  But today, things would be different.  She didn’t realize that big change was coming at that moment but she felt it somehow.  Those times when you just know something isn’t quite right even though you can’t put your finger on why.  She would find out soon enough what it was that would hurl her life in a completely opposite direction.

The feeling of unease hit as soon as the alarm clock abruptly roused her out of a deep sleep.  Another Wednesday.  She had a meeting this morning with a perspective new client.  Not just a regular client either, but one that could mean the success or failure of years of work.  Being at the top of her game was her biggest priority this morning.

Her best business suit was already waiting for her.  She grabbed it from the front of the closet where she hung it the night before and brought it to the bathroom before getting the coffee ready to brew.  On the way to the kitchen, a small but persistent ‘mew’ was already heard coming from the kitchen.

It was already late spring, so even though it was quite early in the morning the sun was shining brightly through the country blue curtains that hung above the kitchen counter.  The light spilled across the smooth surface of the marble counter and onto the floor where a beautiful multi-colored tabby cat was patiently waiting next to her dish for a little breakfast.

With a sigh, Elizabeth pulled a new can of cat food out of the cupboard and opened it.  The mewing continued as she emptied the food into the dish and put it down on the feeding mat.  As soon as the cat received her breakfast a loud purr emanated from her as she got comfortable and began eating.

Elizabeth turned to her coffee pot and put the grounds in while looking out the window into the back yard.  The sun was shining brightly this morning and it looked like it was going to be a warm day.  She hoped the business suit she picked out for the meeting would not be overly warm.  Of course, she reasoned, she only had to keep it on long enough to get through the meeting.  She would be sure that the top she used under her jacket would be appropriate, but cool.

She finished getting the coffee brewing and headed for the bathroom to shower and get dressed.  The phone suddenly began ringing before she even got out of the kitchen.  She ran back to the bedroom where the ringing phone called to her and picked up the cell phone that she had left on the nightstand.

“Hello?’  Elizabeth inquired as she pushed the answer icon on the phone.

As soon as her greeting was uttered, she noticed that all she could hear was static.  “Hello?” She asked once more, a little louder this time.  Maybe it was just a bad connection and whoever was on the other end couldn’t get through.  She sighed when there was no response and hit the disconnect icon.  If it was an important call, whoever it was would get back to her before long.  As an afterthought, she went back to the recent call list to see if the number would be familiar.  There was no number for the call she just received.

While that was strange, she put it to the back of her mind.  Time was ticking this morning and it was important that she get moving.  With the meeting now at the forefront of her mind, she got washed and dressed for the day.  The rest of the morning went rather smoothly and Elizabeth even had a few moments to sit and enjoy a cup of the coffee she brewed before heading out the door to the office.

She locked the big red front door of her Victorian style two story home and climbed into her dark blue minivan.  It was not the car of her dreams when she was young, but she found that even without children to call her own the van did everything she needed at this point in her life.  It was very dependable, had enough room to transport almost anything she needed and she had sitting room if any of her friends wanted to take a day trip.  She was rather pleased with the practical choice she made when she purchased it.

She left the house early enough that the roads were fairly clear of traffic.  Not too many people had headed to work just yet.  That was a good thing, it meant that Elizabeth would be able to get her thoughts in order along with setting up for the presentation before everyone else in the office would arrive.  The extra time before an important meeting always made her feel so much more confident in herself.  Her name was finally getting big within her company, and she wanted it to stay that way.

She was fighting down the feeling of dread that was increasingly growing throughout the morning.  In her mind it was only there because of the anticipated meeting.  An irrational fear that should not even be there.  If only she had seen that it was a premonition, not of the meeting but of a sudden life change.  She didn’t even see it coming, it appeared on the empty road out of nowhere.  And all she could remember was the grill of the semi-truck heading directly at her before everything went black.

Well, that’s it until next time. I hope you enjoyed the beginning.

Carrie A. Watson








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Learning Basic Skills

When people talk about prepping for survival, you usually hear about purchasing guns and lots of ammunition in case of emergency.  You may need to protect your family or utilize the skills involved in gun use for feeding yourself and your family.  That is very true and a good idea to incorporate into a survival situation, but it seems that many people overlook the necessity of having knowledge of  basic skills once the initial SHTF situation occurs.  If you survive the originating calamity, whatever that may be, you will still need to learn basic day-to-day survival skills.

What are the most important skills that you need to learn for long-term survival?  We know that there are basic skills that anyone who wants to survive independently will need to know and develop. What each person considers to be the most important skills however,  will vary widely from one person to the next.  What is important to you and your family may be very different from the skills your next door neighbor would find important.  When looking at both survival and homesteading skills, I tend to follow the three important life needs to determine for myself and my family what would be the best skills to focus on first.  The three most important needs for survival are water, food and shelter.  You can learn many skills based on those three things, and just looking at those three will help you determine where you need to be to survive as well as what you need to know and learn.

In future articles, I will delve into skills that can be built in each of these areas.  Right now I would just like you to think about what would be the most important skills to start learning first.  For each survival area, you will also want to make sure you have tools and supplies in your homesteading arsenal to learn the skills you will need, and to have the ability to replenish supplies as you need to over time.  We are looking at day-to-day survival here, not bugging out.  Hopefully, if you are bugging out, you will be able to get somewhere that is safe, secure and also has the possibility of being able to become a working homestead instead of just a temporary hideout spot.

I will begin this series in the next article with the subject of water.  This is a very important survival area to begin with.  We can survive much longer without food than we can without water.  This alone makes water and its’ availability top priority in both a survival and a homesteading situation.  My challenge to you this week is to find out all you can about how to obtain and make water safe to drink and use in all of your survival and homesteading tasks.  Just grabbing some water out of a nearby stream and using may not be your best option.  More on all of this later, in the meantime enjoy your week, keep preparing for survival the best way you can and have fun doing it!


Carrie Ann



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Emergency Preparedness: How Ready Are You?


Basic Sewing Skills

Nothing makes you realize how prepared you are for an emergency better than having an actual emergency.  If a real emergency hit you today, would you be ready for it?  Are you sure?  What are your plans in the worst case scenario?  Sometimes life has a way to show you whether you could make it through or not, and it doesn’t have to be a huge natural disaster to consider it an emergency either.  Sometimes the daily decisions we make are enough to create your own emergency.  How prepared are you to deal with something like that?

We have always ‘put away’ food and supplies ‘just in case’.  The reasoning behind our preparedness was never much more than because of the region we live in.  Winters can get bad out here some years and you may not be able to leave your home for a week at a time if the weather gets really dismal.  That being said, we never really had a goal for much more than a weeks worth of supplies in the house to get us through a storm.  Not really what I would call preparedness for an emergency.  Of course, a week is longer than the suggested three day supply, so maybe we weren’t doing so bad with a weeks’ worth of planning after all.

Recently, our preparedness has really been put to the test.  I’m happy to say that the supplies we did have put back have lasted much longer than the week we usually prepare for.  We have never been able to put back the three months worth of emergency funding that you should have, and I have regretted that horribly of late.  Once I am able, that is one of the first things I am going to be putting into play.  Big advice here for you…pay attention here….that three months of emergency funding is drastically important no matter what the emergency is!  If you don’t have that now….go build it!  Start today!

The rest of the food and supplies we had put back lasted us not three weeks, but much longer and still going strong.  I will start working on building our supplies back up again, but with what we have had to use I am still very happy with what we put up.  What a blessing they have been through tough times.  Just make sure you put back things you will eat and that you like. If you’ve got a bunch of food in there that you can’t stand, it really doesn’t help you much.

Being able to have those homesteading skills are also very helpful in some situations and can save you a ton of money as well.  Try learning a few of them now, before any kind of emergency hits you.  You will be glad you did.  Basic cooking from scratch and sewing skills are a lifesaver in an emergency situation.  Another tip that I found to be extremely helpful is to gather non-electrical appliances so you can use them if your electricity is out.  We have these throughout our home, again more because of winter storms, but I’ve been so glad we had them throughout many situations.

Included in this list is a washboard to wash clothes with when needed.  A hand mill to make flour to cook with (I’ve used mine for wheat, barley, oats etc.), a hand meat grinder which I use for many  things than as well as meat.   A non-electric can opener is a must, and not thought of much until the day you find out you need it.  A camping coffee percolator is a godsend to be able to continue to have your morning coffee.  Lighting shouldn’t be forgotten either.  There are probably quite a few more things that would be extremely helpful in emergency situations, but these are the top ones that I use.

Are you completely prepared if something happens in your family?  Do you already have your emergency fund put up?  How long can you live comfortably without utilities?  Do you have any tips that the rest of us would appreciate?  I would love to hear about them.  Let me know in the comments section below and have a wonderful week!


Carrie Ann

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What is Really Important?


The past year has been an extreme roller coaster ride for me, and it doesn’t look like the ride will be over any time soon.  While we all have our ups and downs throughout life, some of those are much more emotional than others.  In the past year I have had to deal with loss of people I love, job and income level changes, relationship changes and now a coming move.  Most of the changes that have happened through the year have worked out to be a good thing in the end.  Some have torn my heart to shreds and I will never be the same because of them.  All of them are teaching me lessons as I go, proving that we are never to old to keep learning.

The most important lesson I have learned in the past year is what is really important to me.  The changes and hardships we have gone through have really shown me how unimportant our material things really are.  What is important is the love and support you give and receive from your friends and family.  The people in our lives are what we should focus on, that’s all.  Your home, your car, your income, your ‘stuff’….it doesn’t matter.  Not even the coveted ‘family heirlooms’ that I would have almost killed to protect a year ago.  They don’t matter either.  With or without them, I still have my memories and the people around me that truly care.

My wish for anyone who has followed my blog in the past, and anyone who has stumbled across it is that you realize how precious the people in your life are.  Enjoy them, respect them and let them know right now how much they really mean to you.  Tomorrow you may no longer get the chance.  Learn the lesson the easy way, instead of waiting to have a year like I have.  No more two by fours for me on this issue.  Stuff can be replaced, love and caring family and friends cannot.  Bless you all and know that I appreciate you being there.  Remember that you are amazing, no matter what anyone else tells you, and really think about the question.  What really matters to you?



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The 50 Scariest Books of All Time

Reblog…I can’t wait to get into some of these books! October is the best time to pick one and get some reading done!


The air is getting crisper, the nights are getting longer, and All Hallow’s Eve draws near. You know what that means: it’s time to curl up with a book guaranteed to give you the shivers — or at least make you check the locks twice. Here, for your horrifying pleasure, are 50 of the scariest books ever written in the English language, whether horror, nonfiction, or speculative futures you never want to see. One caveat: the list is limited to one book per author, so Stephen King fans will have to expand their horizons a little bit. Check out 50 books that will keep you up all night after the jump, and add any other scary favorites to the list in the comments.

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Hand Stitched Quilts


I have made quite a few handmade quilts over the years. The first ones were put together out of necessity more than for decoration, history or beauty. There were tons of trials and errors because I never had anyone to really show me how it should be done. Now as I am getting older, I have been able to spend more time doing this craft.

Currently I have been working on a time consuming quilt for a good neighbor and friend. It is very old and the fabric keeps fraying almost faster than I can quilt it together. Even with this problem though, it is turning out very well and I don’t have much left to work on for it. I have three more tops to quilt when I finish with this one. One for my daughter, and two that I made just because I thought the pattern was pretty.

I have thought about my love for sewing and crafting and have decided I would like to make some quilts for others as well. If there is anyone who has a top completed, or would like a quilt made with materials they already have, contact me about it and I will let you know what is possible. I am thinking there could be some beautiful quilts made with your children’s clothing, or of someone you would like to memorialize. Of course, new fabrics are good when thinking of any type of occasion from birthdays and graduations to weddings and new births.

Do you have any thoughts on hand-quilting or about making memory quilts? How about quilting in general. What are your favorite patterns? I would love to hear from everyone on this subject.

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Missing in Action


Many of you may have noticed that I have been ‘missing in action’ for quite a while now. I do not have an excuse for this. The past few months have been spent getting a lot of things done around the house that I have been putting off for quite a while. As the years have been going by, my perception of life has also been changing. Personally trying to figure out the best direction to continue on in this stage of life has been interesting to say the least. While all of the answers are not apparent to me as of yet, the picture is getting much more clear by the day and life has been wonderful!

I am wanting to jump back in to writing on the blog, although I do not plan on having material posted on a daily basis. Right now my goal will be to get at least one post in each week. I would like to have a set day of the week for a post to be put up, but I have not gotten that far in planning yet. There are other sites and obligations that are taking a good portion of my time right now. This means that a good schedule of the many different things I am currently involved in needs to be well thought out. The main goal at this point is to not let posts lapse for months at a time again as has already happened this year. Right now there are many things on my plate. Every one of my current activities have been a blessing for me, and writing is one of them.

Keep an eye out during the week as I try and get more of a schedule going. In the meantime, enjoy the summer weather, relax and have fun!

Carrie A. Watson

Note: The photo is a picture of a purple Iris that is blooming this year. 🙂