Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ready to Cash in for Another $25 Walmart Card

Still enjoying being on Swagbucks. I can’t believe that I joined back in something like 2010 but didn’t visit the site until about 2 years ago. I don’t have a lot of time to “play” online but they have so many ways to earn that I can always find one or two things to help boost my totals.

I don’t accumulate as much as a lot of folks do on Swagbucks. But I am so happy to be able to usually make it work for me with at least one $25 gift card and sometimes two, each month. That’s a very nice treat for me - it helps pay for the cat’s needs and some household supplies.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Cute Little Catnip Catfish Toys

I had such fun today playing with a new but ever so easy pattern for a cat toy. 

This one is a Catnip Catfish. It uses 2 strands of yarn together, worsted weight. I always try to use cotton for babies and for pets because they tend to suck on things. When finished, they ended up about 2” wide and 3-1/2” long - just right, according to my neighbor’s two “tester” cats...

Aren’t they cute?

Tried to Make up For Yesterday’s Inactivity

Yesterday I was totally unproductive. I honestly think there are times the Good Lord smacks me on the head and says, “Stop, already!” So I did.

But today, I needed to get going. It wasn’t anything big or heavy or deep or awful. It was just a whole lot of little things that I kept needing to push aside.

I started out early for an ATM to draw out cash to top up cell phone, then off to 7-11 to top up. From there, I stopped at the smallest of the monthly food pantries and came back home. Took out the frozen battered fish filets and baked 5 of them in the toaster oven for the next few days. 

Along the way, in between things, I tried a new cat toy pattern for a neighbor’s girls. They are 16 and sisters and those little smoke-colored beauties are my “testers.” I made 2 Catnip Catfish Toys for them and 2 for Silkie. Took photos before the cats took them over. I had been forgetting to turn over the corrugated circle insert in Silkie’s round cat scratch pad with the white ball that she ignores. She does use that scratch thing, though - she just loves that.

I also took a can of black beans and pureed them and put the sauce into a peanut butter jar in the fridge. I add that to various things for flavor, for texture, whatever, along the way. I finally, finally got the 2 pounds of strawberries and trimmed them and packed them, too. Thankfully, I did it before any of them were ruined.

My AC/Heater filters were overdue for changing so I changed those, too. Took the 2 test-fishies over to my neighbors for their girls - they gave them a big high-five! And because the Three Square food truck is coming into the Park tomorrow, I loaded my folding shopping cart into the Saturn for the morning. They often give us 24 little bottles of water and I have a hard time carrying those - they always feel so floppy and unwieldy for me - the shopping cart’s great.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week are spoken for in various ways, and I really am happy to look back and see that at least I got a few things done today.

Rolling along...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Prayerful Update

I can’t get over how little I’ve blogged of late. Life has been hectic on several levels. The past few months have flown by. Between financial issues, medical issues, and car issues, I have been busy with a lot of unexpected bumps on life’s road.

That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, there was momentary alarm at the breast lump and subsequent lumpectomy, and the basal cell skin cancer, and the seemingly forever short term loans, and the poor old Saturn’s setbacks.

But along the way, it all worked out. At the moment, all my bills will be paid once again this month. And once again, they will be on time and without late fees. This time last year, I could not say that.

Sometimes it can be frightening for us when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned through almost 8 decades on this earth that often it’s not an endless tunnel, but rather that there is a bend ahead and we cannot see around that bend and in fact, yes, there is light, even though at the moment it is not visible.

Anyhow, finances are stable at the moment; car is functioning at the moment and as stated earlier this year, a replacement is in the works; and medical issues are pretty much down to lots of follow ups and hormone therapy pills.

Not bad compared to this time last year.

Lord God in Heaven, thank you so much for all the strength, patience, and faith you sent my way when I needed it. For the moment, things are well here with me and I am so very grateful. But there are some I know in great distress over various issues in their lives - please glance in their direction and send them whatever they need to get through their hard times.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Before I Go To Bed Each Night...

Each night as I climb into bed and turn off the light, I say a special prayer for those who have blessed me in any way at all. Lately, seeing what some folks have done for others, I like to include them, as well.

Simply put, I pray:
God bless everyone, especially those here in my senior community, residents, staff and owners, past and present, and anyone who has ever helped me, in any way, shape or form, tried to help, or wanted to help - bless them abundantly.

Lately, as I said, I mentally add something like:
And, Father, please also do likewise for anyone, anywhere who helps someone else, from large generous types of help to small but heartfelt words of prayer.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Getting Through a Busy and Sad Morning

Some days, I look back and wonder how I got through that day. This was one of those. It wasn’t my worst day at all. But it was very heavy until after 1. 

I had to get in very early for a blood test so that I could be out and back home in time to be picked up for a lumpectomy check up. Meanwhile, on my way past a neighbor’s when I was leaving at 6 a.m. for the blood test, I confirmed my fears that his papers were accumulating and I needed to have either our Park Manager or the police do a “wellness check,” the polite term for checking on whether someone needs lifesaving help or the coroner. 

I did not have time at that moment, but as soon as I got back at 8, I called the manager who asked that I call the police. I did that between bites of a rapid fire breakfast so that I could be done and ready to talk to the police and also be ready for my 10 a.m. ride to the surgeon’s office. The police gained access to my friend’s home and verified what we pretty much expected. They said he was in his bedroom and that told us that hopefully, he passed peacefully in his sleep.

By the time I got back home, close to 1 p.m., I was definitely ready to call it a day. I took care of the everyday things: trash bucket to curb for tomorrow’s pickup, meals, kitty duty, litter change, and I ended with tossing a pork chili into the crock pot for overnight cooking.

Earlier, at the surgeon’s office, I was hoping and praying that the earlier visit for the blood test followed quickly by the police and fast breakfast and learning that a friend had passed would not scoot my blood pressure up but it was good. I don’t see her again until June. There will be twice a year mammo’s, etc.

I still don’t know how I got everything done and in decent order today. Well, yes, I do know - it was only with faith and trust in you-know-who.

Sweet Lord Jesus, thank you for holding me up and holding my hand through a morning that was a bit scattered as well as sad. Thank you so much.

Friday, February 23, 2018

About My Poor Old Car...Good News!

You’ve all known about my 2001 car and its condition and so on and you all understood that I didn't have the wherewithal to do anything about it.

For the past month, I wasn't at liberty to say anything but I've got good news in that area! A dear friend has been working with me, back and forth, quietly, on the details. She is going to pass along their 5 year old hybrid! I didn't want to speak too soon in case of a change in plans...

Anyhow, this other car will be dropped off next weekend, if all goes as intended.

I spoke casually with my guy about the Saturn and he is sure he can sell it for me. I'll go see him again on Monday and talk about how to do it. 

So, for a couple of weeks, I'll probably have both out there until the Saturn finally goes...I'll do that as soon as we can manage it because I sure as heck can't do 2 insurances.

This one should hold me through the next few years until I end up no longer driving, as we all do one day.

I still can’t believe it; I'm still in shock - it took a while to work out the details.

You’ve all been there with me through every repair along the way, so I wanted to give you some good news for a change.

Hugs and prayers.

Rolling along...

Medical Update - Thank you, Lord!

This morning I saw my new oncologist; the first one was not a good match. He gave me no stats, no real feedback to go on.

I love this new doctor; she listened to my take on the post-surgery treatments and then explained each option as it applied to my case. And it’s not that I like her because she is a female. For decades I never went to a female doctor, having grown up with mostly males in that profession.

Anyhow, she showed me the DNA Risk Factor results and we discussed it all, including percentages of possibility of recurrence. She absolutely saw no reason for chemo or radiation. However, she talked me into the lowest level hormone therapy med and will see me in a month to see how it goes. 

This reduces chance of recurrence to about 2% in 5 years. She said that the risk of the side effects they tell you about (phlebitis, yeast infections, total body aches in muscles and joints, etc.) are about 3 out of 1000 - I’ll give it a try...I see her again in a month.

I'm still very nervous about the possibilities of phlebitis because you can't see that coming, and the possible yeast infections but she says that these days, that is not as common as it once was with this. Walmart called and the Rx is only $3.55 so at least it's not costly.

Meanwhile, I am very humbled in the ways the Lord has blessed me these past few months on the health issues. I know some might not think breast cancer and basal cell cancer (both surgeries in the same month) are blessings, but the way these progressed and the level of treatment and the teams involved - well, it moved and it got done and yes, I am blessed.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you have been there for me all along, guiding, healing, and supporting me. Thank you so much for this. Please bless everyone in the medical crews along the way for their dedication, and bless all those who prayed. And please, for my friends and loved ones suffering still unresolved medical issues, all we ask is a glance in their direction and a healing and supportive moment of compassion, to get them through each of their individual medical issues. We trust in you.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Emptied 32 Little Plastic Bottles of Water Today...

I’ve been on a food pantry run the past few days. One of the sites passed out a plastic carrier of 32 little plastic bottles of water. It was a real challenge to get that case from the car trunk, down the driveway, up the 4 steps, and into the house, but I did it thanks to 3 little "stops" along the way.

This morning, I took my empty 3-gallon jug off the dispensing crock and put it on a stool. I then took my time and emptied all those 32 little bottles, one by one. When the 3-gallon jug was filled, I finished off the rest of them into 2 one-gallon jugs.

Then I took all the empties out to the big rolling recycle bin we each have in our senior mobile home park. Today was trash day and I was so happy to toss them all at the same time and get it over with.

I was thrilled to get that water but I can’t handle those flimsy little bottles. I’m too old which in my case means I really, really grasp those bottles tightly whenever I’m using one. I end up squishing those flimsy things. So, in the long run, it was better to just transfer them once and get it over with. Now I don’t need to take that 3-gallon jug to the store to fill it up for quite a while.

Rolling along...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lenten Season - My Chocolate Fast Looms

Where does the time go? It doesn’t seem like a whole year since the last Lenten season.

Most of you already know that every Lent I give up my beloved chocolate habit. Until two years ago, I allowed myself one mini-York patty at night before I went to bed. Then, two years ago, I said “no chocolate means no chocolate.” As much as I love it, I seem to be able to do 40 days and nights without it. So far.

But this year it’s going to be harder. See, this year, Lent begins earlier. Ash Wednesday comes the day after Valentine’s Day. Hey, that’s the day I usually head to the stores for their chocolate/Valentine-candy clearance deals. Of course, I can still take advantage of those but I would make sure I put the stuff away until Easter.

As for it starting early this year, I was curious so I checked on the dates. The earliest it can begin is February 2, and the latest is March 10.

I know it’s out of fashion to fast or give something up for Lent. But there’s something so satisfying to be able to accomplish that. It shows me, every year, that I really can do this.

Father in Heaven, accept this little gift of self-denial from me, please? Once again, I will give up my beloved chocolate. It is such a small effort compared to what your Son did in the desert and mountains all those years ago. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I Can’t Trust Myself These Days

I thoroughly enjoy a meal “out” but I can’t trust myself at a buffet these days.

A friend gifted me with a Golden Corral card over the holidays. I was thrilled. I normally cannot afford a buffet although a McD’s or Burger King, etc., can be done occasionally when I’m on errands and making lots of stops in one session and I need “fortification.”

That said, I cannot trust myself at a buffet. I’ve changed my food patterns so drastically compared to five years ago that I completely let down my guard at a buffet.

I used this card in two trips. About a month ago, I went there around 2 p.m. for their special Senior priced lunch. This morning I went for breakfast and was there when they opened at 7:30 a.m.

I found, both times, that I now make all the wrong choices. I see food I haven’t bothered with for the past few years and it looks great, it looks scrumptious, it beckons to me, lures me. And I shuffle out of there stuffed and uncomfortable and not at all happy with what I just ate.

The food was great - don’t get me wrong. But it’s no longer “my” food. At home, I only bring in, or keep, my current healthier choices but choices I thoroughly enjoy.

I shouldn’t tell you all what I had this morning but then, maybe it will make you laugh, or cry, or get nauseous, or lecture me. Hey, it’s only once a month I did this.

Ok - I only made two trips to the line. One for was for basic food, the other for dessert. I had two cups of coffee. On my first plate (I still can’t believe I did this), I had small portions (which still added up and stuffed me) of hash brown, scrambled eggs, a berry topped blintz (very small piece), corned beef hash, a strip of bacon, and something that might have been quiche. I left most of the corned beef hash. It was good, really good, for that dish, but I forgot how low I go on salt these days. Now, the next trip still makes me cringe when I think about it. I grabbed a nice serving of chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream, a brownie square and a fudge square - all chocolate. I managed to push that down with the second cup of coffee.

So you see, I cannot ever be trusted at a buffet again. I can go to restaurants and enjoy them because I pick a meal from the menu, one that works for me these days and which I like. I cannot go back to the foods I used to eat -

I’ll post this and then try to simmer my stuffed tummy down...

Friday, February 9, 2018

Are Two of My Favorite Musical Sounds Disappearing?

Within the past week or so, I’ve suddenly realized that two of my favorite musical sounds seem to be disappearing: the yodel and the harmonica!

The yodel came to my attention in one of the recent re-runs of Mike & Molly when a few of the guys were up on the roof singing the John Denver song, Calypso, about the Jacques Cousteau documentaries, and Carl’s grandmom popped up doing the yodel at the end. I realized then how much I miss that sound. I grew to love it back in the early days of TV, with the old black & white westerns with the singing cowboys. Along the way, I loved hearing Eddy Arnold and even Dolly Parton, and yes, John Denver. Miss that sound, I do.

Again, I fell in love with the many facets of the sound of the harmonica. I heard it a lot on the old time radio shows, then on early TV, and onward. I remember the Harmonicats. I remember sounds that ranged from wild and funny to hauntingly beautiful like one version of Ruby (No, not the Kenny Rogers song!). And I still love the sound of what I call a really “mean” harmonica.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Special Good Night Moment

I was just thinking tonight, Father, that I often end my day with quick thank you prayers for you to bless everyone. I usually also mention specific friends and concerns.

But tonight I thought I’d take a moment to do what I do for so many of my earthly friends - a moment to say “good night” to you.

Good night, Father - I love you and trust you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Trying to Catch Up

Lots on my plate over the next few months. For this week, though, and most of next week, no medical appointments, so I’m trying to catch up.

Today, I finally got to the 2 smaller eggplants from a monthly visit to our Park from a food pantry. Did the Shake ‘n Bake thing in the toaster oven, and will pick on those slices/spears (did a few of both) from now throughout the weekend.

Today I'm spending most of the day gathering paperwork backup and making some copies where needed, for an annual visit to the county offices. That means bank statements, SS reward letter, rent payment history, utility payment records, and lots more. Must renew the food stamps (little as it is, $16, I count on it), the energy assistance, and the Medicare premium assistance. They will document everything including the SS increase (slight) and the space rent increase (slight).

I was way behind in packing/documenting our handmade items for the local needy so yesterday I made sure I did that. Packed 4 more big 13-gal bags to turn over for distribution on Friday at the morning session. One of our members, who’s been here just about as long as I’ve had it, will then take it to her contact who will take it to the priest. The hats, scarves and gloves will warm some more in need over the coming months. It takes me a while to gather, document, pack and label the bags. 

The reason I tend to drag my feet is on this is that my legs drag afterwards! I do better moving on them and walking on them than I do standing in place. Along the way, I’ve finished 2 of our baby jackets for the needy.

The day before, I took the time to mix up a half gallon from the dry milk I get from a food pantry. I’ve finally worked out the proportion to what I like and an easy way to measure/mix it. When I bring that milk home, I usually transfer it to peanut butter jars within a day or so, with wax paper under the lids, to keep it undetected by “them.” So to mix it, in a big bowl, I dump one peanut butter jar of dry milk and three of cold water, and whisk it. I used to use wooden spoons and such to mix but they didn’t take all the lumps out. The whisk is perfect for this!

Rolling along...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Prayer Request - 2 of 2 Tonight - My Car

You have all been with me in prayer, many times the past year or two, and lately, almost every month, with my car problems. We all know it is old, a 2001, and on its last legs.

Recently a friend and I have been discussing it. There is a strong possibility of help in the form of another car, possibly only about 5 years old. This could happen within a month or so. We’re trying to work it out.

My concern is that while the current car feels good and drives well for my needs, for someone who is lower income and no longer working, the costs for the repairs (which are normal for its age) are doing a job on my financial situation.

So, there is a big ray of hope but I pray with all my heart that there are no more repairs on this old friend before we can transition to a different one.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you did not have our motorized vehicles but your beasts of burden surely also had issues. Please recall those times and look gently upon my situation and keep it calm while we wait for the Father to work out a much needed change. And yet, not my will but His be done. I trust in you!
, that we could work out