Wednesday, August 16, 2017

TV, Aromas, and more...

Back in October of ‘14, almost three years ago, I quit contract TV and went with a wild three-part system: old analog tv, indoor antenna and converter box. It works for my needs. Sure, I still miss some channels but for the most part, I get what I need and made my peace with it.

For the first year, though, it bugged me that I couldn’t pull in ABC - I missed Kelly, Price is Right, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune, as well as MeTv. Then I managed to wiggle the antennas and jiggle this and that, and got it to come in. After a few months, I lost it again. After almost another year, I got it back and I’ve enjoyed it for a few days. Small but happy treat for me.

Tonight, I will be smelling some delightful aromas from the slow cooker. I tossed in 14 oz kielbasa, diced; 2 pouches fresh string beans; 1 large zucchini, diced; and 1/2 c bbq sauce. I wanted to use up the zucchini and find a way to use the kielbasa in small portions. I had hoped to use both of the zucchini in the fridge but will use the other one some other way. Anyhow, it should smell delicious during the night. I will wake up starving.

I really love, love, love the drops in temperatures outside. Being in the 90s and only up to 103 is great. Plus, the mornings are cooler and for longer times, and the evenings actually cool down a bit -

How Many Remember “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught”?

My first introduction into prejudice was the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from the film South Pacific. Rogers and Hammerstein’s lyrics were first on Broadway in 1948 or 1949 followed by the 1958 film.

Until that time, when I was in my late teens, I had not given the matter much thought. Growing up, we were too busy surviving, dealing with finances, illnesses, 3 kids (me the oldest), daddy’s frightening drinking spells, mom trying her best, and more. I saw the film the year after I graduated from high school.

I had, until then, been pretty much shielded from the issues. I had grown up in a middle class neighborhood in Philly (even though we couldn’t afford it, being low income blue collar). I had gone to parochial schools and had not traveled much at all outside of my neighborhood and the school neighborhoods.

By 1958, I was 18 and in my first job (other than babysitting before that), and travelling the whole city using buses, subways and els. I was working with lots of different people and riding with them. My eyes were opening - widely!

Anyhow, these lyrics were so strong and so real that I wonder why we are not reviving that song as a sort of theme against the evils we are seeing still today. How can we have come through so many decades in our country and still be like this?

I think it’s also time for us to pray, steadily and strongly, for peace in our country. The world really does watch us. If we can get past our differences, maybe others will follow.

Lord Jesus, I come to you this evening with two requests. First that we remember the lyrics to that song and take them to heart and live them, not just say or sing them. Secondly that we pray, and pray hard, for this country founded on freedom for all. We trust in you.

Quick Prayer Request

This is one of those prayer requests for which we will not post details. This is often done because the people involved have people who read their posts and yet they do not want the issues or concerns known. 

This can be because they can’t deal with all the drama which happens so often in times of crisis. Or it can be because they don’t have the time and/or emotional energy to deal with questions about the issue. There are many reasons.

I will just say this is for the loved one of one of my friends. It is medical, I can tell you that. And the issues are worrisome. So I’m praying for (and asking for prayers for) correct diagnosis of the troubles, correct medication and/or tests (and ways to pay for it) and for whatever else those involved must deal with. We have all been through these things. We all know how it goes, and how folks feel, which is pretty much helpless.

Just a wee prayer would help tremendously, even if just to comfort those involved.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you know who I’m referring to. You know what they need. Please just glance in their direction and help everyone involved. We trust in you.

Prayers Answered, In A Way, Re: Etsy Shop

A week or so ago, I asked for prayers and prayed a lot on my own, for an answer to whether or not I should risk the new Etsy rules and re-open my shop.

Within hours, I received one Facebook comment, one blog comment, and a private email, all with pretty much the same focus: I should not risk my financial situation right now by opening myself up to holds against my bank account. That went along with my own feelings but I didn’t want to be stubborn without reason on this. Thank you, my dear friends!

I will, instead, focus on trying to get the Facebook page, and the photo albums, set up to work from there.

Some suggestions have come in along the way for me to open another account and use that, or to sell from another website other than Etsy or Facebook.

Here’s the things, folks. I am 77. I am trying to “simplify” rather than “complicate” my life. I want to work with what I’ve got, what I understand and am comfy with, rather than dive into something new and perhaps still unsure of itself. So, I do appreciate your caring and your suggestions. I only pray that you will understand my reasons for not trying those out.

Meanwhile, I am always thrilled by how quickly some prayers are answered.

Lord Jesus, you have told us to go to the Father through you. And you have told us that when 2 or 3 are gathered together in your name, you are there with us. I truly believe that, and I thank you for hearing the prayers of my friends on this matter and helping me to know what to do. Please bless these folks for taking a moment of their time to help someone else. We trust in you.

Freezer Better Stocked Than I Thought

This is a good thing! I hadn’t checked my upright freezer inventory lately. I was busy cooking all the meats in there to use them all up. I still need to do 2 small boneless breast pieces, 4 or 6 small boneless chops, and a pork roast.

But this morning, I knew I had to begin pushing on a few things in the house getting some things done. That meant I wanted to defrost some foods so I would have some quick-and-easy-but-healthy things to grab for suppers and even for lunches. Soups are very filling and satisfying so I have no trouble eating those.

Anyhow, I decided this morning to just yank out one of everything in there. They’ll go into the fridge and I’ll use them in the order they defrost. This freezer goes to arctic cold!

So, I took out pea soup w/ham, cream of potato soup, pork chili, beef barley soup, chicken soup, and bbq ribs. Two of those are 2-serving containers. So I’ve got enough for a week’s worth of easy meals. I’ll add a side for the ribs. I was also thinking of varying the potato soup with half a can of corn, and using the other half as a side for the ribs.

I’m currently trying to also cook up most of that produce I was blessed with last week before it “goes.” I also need to cook and freeze, in smaller portions, a bag of red kidney beans from the pantry.

Today or tonight, I want to take a package of kielbasa I bought on sale and cook that with two of the larger zucchini. I figure to cut them both into bite-size pieces and toss them into the slow cooker. If that doesn’t get close to the top of the pot, I might take the 3 or 4 pouches of fresh string beans from my friends and snap them and toss them in, too. When I freeze this, I can later add other things to it but it should be great alone or as a base. I rarely eat kielbasa these days of healthier eating but once or twice a year I buy one package and space it out in small proportions. Love it.

There are still things to cook up from the produce: 1 small zucchini (will use that in omelets), nice size eggplant (will do that this week for sure), and 2 butternut squash (still deciding on those).

Praying for the fortitude and will power to defrost my freeze this weekend...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Upcoming Months: Priorities, Goals

Started realizing yesterday that my days are quickly filling up and I’d better start thinking about prioritizing my time.

Tomorrow, I really should gather all the items our charity crafters have finished for Baby’s Bounty. I need to bag them and document them and then, early this week, as soon as possible, deliver them. I need the room for park-wide-yard-sale sorting.

One thing that is high on the list this month and next is sorting for the October (13th, 14th, 15th) park-wide-yard-sale. This time, I’d like to clear a spot early on so I can begin stacking stuff in that one dedicated spot.

Our park newsletter is back in motion for a September 1st issue and I need to begin drafting that.

Along the way, and before the newsletter (which means this coming week, probably) I really want to, and need to, finally defrost the upright freezer again. It’s been two years. Last time it was three years so I am getting better at this.

Also, I want to transfer items from my old Etsy shop to my Facebook page.

I’ve already made appointments for the podiatrist (mid-Sept) and dermatologist (possible melanomas - mid-Oct).

Along the way, I will try to keep submitting more pieces to the Chicken Soup for the Soul people, among other markets.

These are all at the top of the list - and we all have our own daily routines, as well. We must eat, we must shop for that food and prepare it, we must shower and do laundry and, well, you know.

I think I’ll write the biggies on a piece of paper, in Sharpie, and tape it to a wall that I absolutely cannot miss seeing daily. Good luck to me on that.

Prayers of Gratitude by the Dozen

I was thinking late today about some things I am very thankful for. It seemed as though I must have had a list of a dozen. So I tried to itemize them - some are large and some are small - gratitude comes in all sizes apparently.

Good water pipes
Considering all the trouble I had last year and into the spring of this year, I am very very grateful that I was finally able to get those rotted old galvanized water pipes replaced. Every time I rinse fresh produce, take a shower, do a wash load, I say a quiet prayer of thanks - that is a lot of prayers, often, in just a single day.

Cat Comfort
Although I wasn’t sure this was the cat for me when my “nephew” picked her out in January ’13, she turned out to be the one that was right for this time of my life. She even helped kick-start me back into the free lance writing field I so love.

Fresh Produce
Thanks to dear friends and to food pantries and to wise use of seasonal sales, I have plenty of fresh produce to use in my meals.

TVs That Work
There were times I didn’t even have this. And then I disconnected from contract-tv and went to broadcast-tv with old analog sets, converter boxes and indoor rabbit ears. Still, today I was blessed with another wonderful day of PBS pledge drive music events.

Eyes That Are Better Than Ever - thanks for cataract surgery in ‘14

Working Internet - for research, for connections with friends, for weather updates and more

Crocheting - not only comforting but adding purpose to my life

5 Senses That Still Work - so far

Sense of Humor - still able to laugh at things, including my life

Faith - this should be at the top because it’s what gets me through each day!

Friends - not enough words to express my feelings about this blessing

My Home - for as long as I am able to continue to keep it up and to live here

Lord Jesus, I come to you tonight to ask you to go to the Father for me and thank him for all my blessings, of which these are only a small part. Thank you, too, for living here on earth and sharing our earthly experiences so you can explain to the Father just what we feel and think while in these bodies on loan to us.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Etsy Shop and Other Things

When I deactivated my Etsy shop on 5/31, I was pretty sure I’d never re-activate it. The issue then was that they demanded that all shops go to “Etsy Payment” structure. That meant tying it to a credit card or bank. 

At that time, I took PayPal payments. I have no credit card and would need to tie it to my debit card and/or bank account. In case of a dispute, they are allowed to put a hold on that account until the issue is resolved. This could mean major disaster for me because of unexpectedly bounced checks. So I chose not to do it. Now I am wondering if I should give it another try, and just pray, and pray hard, that no such dispute arises, ever.

Meanwhile, I am continuing my free lance writing efforts. However, that ship takes a long while to come in. Many things get written, but not everything gets accepted. Once accepted, payment can take months, or even up to a year, to arrive. It’s just a fact of that field.

I refuse to stress over it to any worrisome level, but I must admit it is on my mind. I’ll simply re-assess the facts and make some decisions.

Along the way, I’m still crafting for the local needy with the yarn folks have donated to us for that purpose, and I still have my own yarn for lots of projects. There is never a day I’m not crocheting and it is still one of the best stress-busters I know, except for a purring cat.

Wishing and hoping and praying that each of you has, or quickly finds, your own such stress-buster, as well.

Several Prayers in My Heart at the Moment

There are several things on my mind tonight. I am concerned for a few friends who are going through some tough times.

Some of it involves caregiving and the caregivers are beginning to feel the effects and I worry about that.

Some of it involves my own fluctuating not-yet-resolved financial issues. I am thinking of re-activating my Etsy shop even though it didn’t bring much in. I am not sure my loan is to the point that I can re-finance and even then, it might not be quite enough. Some things I am trying will not bear fruit for a little while. I’m just considering my options and praying about these and others on the table.

And there are a few other folks I am concerned about. In one case, I’m trying to not feel as though I have been “used” by someone. But there has been no effort to explain why this situation has come to this point.

Anyhow, it’s a bunch of things and I will simply turn it over and let the Lord guide me and help me to figure it out.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you lived here yourself. You had friends and loved ones. You felt sorrow over their troubles. You saw those who used others. And you prayed for help yourself when in the Garden. Please glance my way now and see those who I hope you will comfort and who you will help in whatever way they need that help. We trust in you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fun Food Frenzy

I have a couple of friends, a couple, in fact, from a small piece of land about 60 miles away. They have a wondrous garden. This wondrous garden produces some wondrous bounty.

This couple loves, loves, loves to garden. Their gardening, to me, amounts to a small farm. And they end up with produce-overload when nature is generous with some crops. Then they make a trip up my way for many other reasons and they drop off fresh “stuff.” Oh, how I love, love, love their fresh “stuff.”

Today, these wonderful folks dropped off a couple of spaghetti squash, butternut squash, a really nice eggplant, and some teeny tiny tomatoes. They also dropped off some frozen pouches of cute little apricots from their trees, plus some sliced peaches. Yep, they were sliced already. And the apricots were already freed of their pits. How great is that?

The thing is, I have a really hard time managing funds for fresh fruit and produce, so this is a real treat for me. It’s not like it solves all my problems, but I will truly enjoy the eating while I work out my problems. And the eating will be healthy.

Trying Not to Regret a Recent Decision

Most of us have times when we do something that we later find is coming back to bite us. And most of us have, at one time or another tried to help someone and ended up regretting that decision. Maybe what we did for someone turned out to be the wrong thing. Maybe that action had really bad consequences in our own lives. Or maybe we keep worrying about whether we should have done it at all.

Without going into details, I did something a month ago that I really should not have done in my own troubled circumstances. Still, my heart was in the right place at the time, even if my head should have told me to stop. I believed what I was told and had no reason not to. That doesn’t change the fact that it was done.

Whenever I am aware that I need to make a big decision, I usually take time to pray for the right choice. Sometimes, though, things happen so quickly our finite minds just move ahead without thinking. And sometimes it is just as simple as trusting someone to be true to their word.

So, since I cannot take back that action, I need to learn from it. And I need to live with it. And I need to recover from it.

Father, forgive me for not asking you for advice so many times in my life. I thought I was past that. I thought I was always on track in praying before taking action. Apparently I am still very human and make very human mistakes. Please guide me and help me through this, learning from it. And help me to turn the regret into something more useful, if that is possible.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Community Water Off Middle of the Day Today

No matter where you live, you are always grateful for the few times they can actually schedule a water shut-off. So many times, these are unexpected because of emergencies - breaks in the main, etc.

We had signs posted on our Mail Room and Clubhouse doors for the past few days. The water company will shut everything off between 11 and 1 or 2 today. Of course we all know that anything and everything can cause it to go longer. However, I am very grateful I knew ahead of time.

Preparing for it ahead of time, I put a pea soup in the crock pot overnight. This morning I have already (at 7 a.m.) moved it from the pantry to the kitchen. I ladled it into 4 two-cup containers and 6 one-cup containers, to cool today in the fridge. I have the very meaty ham bone already removed to another bowl where later today I will portion it into the containers. Then, tomorrow, I’ll label and freeze them.

The good thing is that I knew ahead of time, cooked it, and cleaned up any and all breakfast and soup dishes. Now I’ll only have minimal water needs during the shut off.

Lots of small things on my to-do list today. Gotta finish my coffee and get going...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Prepping For 5 Hours of PBS Music Specials

Most of you know I do a lot of food prep and freeze and stash of lot of that prepped food. This works towards keeping my labs/health in check (lower readings), using fresh foods in season or on special (financial), and satisfying my foodie urges (convenience: defrost and/or nuke).

This morning I noticed when I checked the broadcast TV schedule online that PBS is having back to back “oldies” specials. It is part of their fundraising/pledge drive. 

Between 1 pm and 6 pm (very shortly), I’ll be sitting watching the 50s (Chordettes, Patti Page, Four Lads, Four Aces, etc.) and 70s (R&B, Soul and Motown) stars and acts of the past - my past. 

I’ll make myself feel a little useful during this vegging-out time by crocheting. But I will also be nibbling, which is what I do. I have some quick-and-easy snacks, mini-meals lined up, all healthy and already prepared.

A month ago, I froze some spaghetti squash topped with sauce, in very small individual cups. I already have some beef/soy burgers (cooked a while back and frozen), so I’ll nuke a burger and one spaghetti squash for one quickie. I already have some of my favorite carrot/raisin/avocado salad in the fridge and a small amount of crushed pineapple left from a batch of yogurt smoothies, and I’ll have about half a cup of that along the way. So, those are some of the things I’ll enjoy.

I hope you are all having a really nicely peace-filled day, my friends.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Taking a Short Break in the Morning Activities

Had crock pot going with some baby ribs from freezer and a free jar of bbq sauce, by 5:30 a.m. - took recycle tubs to curb and trash to curb. Had breakfast. 

Laid out apples and pears to dice/nuke and use from fridge for cereals (will do these in an hour or so), laid out carrots (still need to chop these but they are cooked), celery and raisins for the carrot/raisin/avocado salad (will do these in an hour or so).

Over the next week or so, I still want to make a pea soup with the last meaty ham bone, use the small pork roast some way, and cook up about 4 boneless pork chops and 2 small boneless chicken breasts.

After my “break” I must also stroll through the house carefully going through all my charity yarn (it’s in various “stashes” in here) and gathering enough for several Trader Joe bags (courtesy of a TJ-loving neighbor!) for one of our charity crafting team to pick up tomorrow. Hopefully, along the way, I might actually sort-of sort the yarn and organize it a little better.

Yesterday I finally called the dermatologist for my consult - it won’t be until mid-October. Praying those questionable things on my back/shoulder will not get worse until then. I’ve stalled a lot on this and gave myself pretty good reasons but I know I should have done this much sooner. Can’t ignore it any longer.

Time for a little coffee, a little morning news, a little break...then just a little more to do. Then I can do "sitting" things this afternoon after the humidity seeps into the cracks and crevices of my beloved old mobile home.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spaghetti Squash Cutting Tip, Red Dot Exercise, and More

My friend who brings me a few spaghetti squash from their garden a few times a year happened to mention a tip I will try the next time I’ve one of those goodies. The first time, I somehow managed to cut it in half and nuke it in two pieces. The second time, realizing I probably needed a chain saw to cut it, I did it in a crock pot along with some potatoes. The squash went in whole but when it came it, it was ever so easy to cut.

Now my friend says her neighbor tried a different tactic. She just nuked it for 3 minutes and when it came out, the rind easily yielded to the knife. Good one.

Silkie hasn’t had a lot of exercise lately. After her terrible accident in February, she isn’t allowed out when anybody or anything is up and around. But with me being a normally very early riser, I can let her out just around dawn. So, between 5:15 and 5:30 or so, she enjoys walking the driveway, nibbling a neighbor’s weeds at the edge of our adjoining lots, and chasing the occasional bug or moth or whatever. But that’s not nearly as much as she got when she was going out several times a day.

Each outdoor visit meant up and down the outside steps - that in itself was great for her. She would also occasionally gallop up the higher flight of front porch steps. No more.

So tonight I grabbed the laser light and we played Red Dot for 15 minutes. I finished by tossing her 2 treats to catch. She loves to stalk it. I might try to do this each night around 7 but my finger gets very tired pressing that button on the light.

Managed to do a little more food prep today, too. I expect to need lots of grab-and-go stuff down the line when I either don’t have time to cook, don’t have energy to cook, or just plain don’t want to cook.