Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Thank You’s

Short and sweet and heartfelt.

Thank you, Father in heaven, for:

* AC that works in this 115 and above weather
* Fridge that works and keeps my food safe
* Freezer that still works, old as it is, to save me from trips out to the store in this heat
* Running water inside my home to rinse the salt off my old bod
* Clean, clear running water from clean new pipes so that there is no longer any residue on glasses, etc., after washing them
* Running water to rinse produce and veggies when they come into this home
* Running water so I can wash clothes wet with summer salt
* Enough clothing so that I can change as often as need be
* Roof over my head to keep the cat and I safe and comfy during this heat
* Roof over our heads that currently does not leak as we approach July 1, our monsoon season with furious rains
* Car, old as it is, that still gets me places without need to take bus in heat
* Microwave that works to keep kitchen from heating up unnecessarily
* Toaster oven which does not heat the kitchen much and which still works
* Crock pot to cook multi-meals overnight when it is cooler
* Food, from various sources, often very surprising sources

* Faith - above all else.

Enough said.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Special Prayers for a Friend in Need

Often, I get requests from friends who do not want details mentioned. I can understand that. Most of us are on several online venues and lists of friends, and loved ones often overlap. If someone wants to keep the reason for a prayer request as confidential, they have their reasons.

I promised I would pray for this family and I thought I’d ask you, too, to find a moment to say a wee prayer, as well.

Lord Jesus, you had many friends and loved ones while you were among us. You understand family worries and concerns. Please look upon these folks with compassion and love. Please send whatever they need - emotional strength or physical healing or anything else they might require to get through their current troubles. We trust in you.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Boredom is Underrated

I was watching Silkie, my 6-year-old rescue cat, today. It’s Sunday, and I often use that day to treat her with some catnip. Knowing her catnip routine, I also expected her to be mostly sleepy, mostly hungry off and on all day.

During one of her sleepy stages (post-catnip, pre-food), she looked more bored than sleepy. It’s too hot for her to go outside. I began talking to her. She loves it when I have one-sided conversations with her.

We discussed how I, too, felt oddly bored today. Or so I thought. I’ve had a rather hectic, crazy series of things happening almost without stop since last October. The past two or three weeks, things have slowed down - a lot. I’ve felt guilty, in a way, when I’d catch myself enjoying a moment’s peace.

It also reminded me of something the Reverend Robert H. Schuller once said on T.V.  He and his wife were on a beach when he remarked that he was so tired. His wife looked at him and said something to the effect that it had been so long since they had done this that he wasn’t tired - he was relaxing. Apparently he had forgotten how to relax.

Even our Creator rested on the 7th day after all his work on creation.

So, aside from some light things I did today, Silkie and I just relaxed - we rested.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you, too, had moments when you retreated and rested. I pray I might not be so arrogant as to think I am better than you. I will rejoice in the moments of peace sent my way. I pray, also, that this blessing be bestowed on those I know and love - I pray that they, too, recognize and enjoy those moments of peace, no matter how brief they sometimes might be.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend Plans Vs Productivity

Plans were sidetracked for a few days while feeding 3 lovable collies and having fun with them.

I had planned to mix a batch of DIY jewelry cleaner but never got to it. That is now on my list for this weekend or thereabouts. Out here, if you wear cheap earrings (me), in the high summer heat, even if you think you are not perspiring, your earrings (mine are usually a hoop-variety) occasionally lean against your neck even if you just turn your head rapidly. Or, the little clasp on the back is against your ear lobe. Either of these can leave “salt” deposits on the earrings. That is what I’m trying to do - get rid of that and make them shiny again. Not sure it will work but I’ll let you all know.

Yesterday: I really didn’t do much except Charity Crafters. I did cut both an apple and a pear into bite-size chunks and nuked it with some water. Now I have fruit soft enough for my cereal for a few days. I also managed, yesterday, to mix 2 small boxes sugar free jello and now I can have 1/2 cup servings for quite a while.

At one food pantry, I ended up with a Marie Callender's pot pie but it requires an 1100 w microwave. Checking online, discovered I could divide the 1100 w by my 1000 w and multiply cooking time by 1.1 - must keep in mind internal food temp at end if not simply re-heating. Cool.

A friend had given me half a dozen nice fresh beets about a week ago. I finally grabbed those today, trimmed them to just 2” stems (to resist “bleeding” in pot of water) and boiled them, skinned them. and froze some - 3 were red, 3 were “golden.”

Took out some pieces of pork and will make a pork chili overnight probably tomorrow night.

Also managed to change the cat litter and the A/C-furnace filters today so I could toss the old stuff into today's trash pickup.

The fat part of my thumb/joint just before where it meets wrist has been crying past two days. Not sure whether I twisted something too tightly or maybe Arthur just came to visit. No biggie. I just have to pick up some things with both hands...will wrap it tonight, I think. I might even have a wrist pull-on bandage in here somewhere from when Frank was alive.

Late in the day, I gave myself a lecture and went in and made 4 cups of yogurt smoothies (beets, cukes, beans, apricots, yogurt). I had to use that yogurt before it went bad on me. So now I just stick a straw in one and anytime I’m browsing in the fridge, I’ve got something healthy to sip and take my mind of the stuff I should not grab.

It hit 111 here today, maybe higher in my neighborhood. They expect 115 or more by Thurdsday. And the heat is ON...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

No Water - Scared Me!

Had a moment of fear more than an hour ago. Turned on faucet and - No Water! Deja vu - After all the issues I’ve had with my 40-yr-old double-wide mobile home’s old galvanized pipes this past year, I automatically started checking.

The history: on 10/6/16, my old pipes finally gave way, so bad that they could not be simply repaired. I was filling gallon jugs for everything - don’t ask. 

On 10/16, someone installed an inside shut-off valve so that I could at least turn it on/off for 10 mins at a time. I lived like that until 4/4/17 when I was finally able to have a complete re-piping done.

Five days later, my back bedroom had a wet floor behind the one bathroom. One joint had come undone. I was without water for a few days again. He fixed that.

I never mentioned here that on 6/1, once again, trouble. One “feeder” pipe, the bigger ones (3/4” I believe) fell apart. I was without water for five days because my guy was out of town. Again with the gallon jugs. He fixed that.

So you can see why I immediately ran outside and listened at my skirting. This time, thankfully, no sound of rushing water.

I called our after-hours folks and they said the Park had shut it off for an hour or so for something or other. That doesn’t bother me. That makes me happy. At least it is no longer my pipes that are in trouble. Eventually, it will go back on.

You have no idea how happy that makes this old lady.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ending the Day on a Peaceful, Joyful Note

A little too tired to write a lot tonight but had to share my ending to the day. 

You all know that after I brush Silkie, turn off the lights in the front of the house, and catch up on internet “stuff,” I play CDs in the background on my desktop PC.

Tonight, for some reason, I decided to play my hymns. I have 2 discs, loaded to the hard drive, that have 50 hymns between them.

It was a good choice for me. Silkie loves them, as do I. But they are especially soothing tonight.

What a great way to end the day and slide into the night.

Sweet Jesus, thank the Father for me for the gift of music. I am so grateful that we mortals can enjoy this treasure.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Update on Bills - Coming Along

Most of you know how hard it is for me to pay everything each month, but you also know how often I’ve said that the Lord has my back.

This month, barring anything unforeseen, it looks like I will be able to pay everything on time.

I did finish one bill completely by the end of May. And during May, I also paid the phone/internet bill in total - I had been 3 months in arrears. So I ended May with everything at least on time and without new late fees.
This month, after I pay one of them, I will only have 3 more payments on that one.

Another bright spot. I was able to help a friend and even though I would have done it for nothing, it is a delight to have a few extra bucks coming in because of it. That will put gas in the car for the rest of the month, take care of kitty litter, and keep me from using the telephone money this month to do so. 

That telephone bill is the last one each month, due-date-wise. So very often, by the end of the month when it is due, I have had to use that money elsewhere. That when I slide backwards on that one for several months. I am so happy that I am currently current.

At this moment, it is moving along.

Sweet Jesus, thank you as always for your help in these matters. Thank you for the help of friends, whether tangible, emotional, or prayerful - I am grateful for all of it. Please bless everyone who has ever cared about those other than themselves - and bless them abundantly.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Collie-copia

Happy, happy days. I get to feed my friend’s 3 collies. 

I fed them late this afternoon. I will do that again tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon/evening, and Wednesday. Right now, there is nothing on my plate except for a meeting which I will not be able to attend, so I can do this. That meeting - I can let them know my thoughts by email.

As for the 3 collies - I love these dogs. The last time I was lucky enough to do this was mid-April, I think. They each have distinct personalities and each has an individual way of needing/asking-for attention.

One sort of lies against my knees and wants me to pet him for an appropriate length of time (his determination). Another absolutely must get in at least one face lick every 15 or 20 minutes. That is usually right after she has eaten which, I’m sure, leaves telltale traces of “doggie visit” on me by the time I get home to my Silkie. And the third is rather timid, but really likes to nudge my fingertips every so often.

Aside from the fact that the pay is always welcome (gas for car, cat food, little things that must be dealt with), I really, really love doing this.

Yesterday, I mentioned making a crock pot of chicken veggie barley soup overnight (at this link). I had accidentally used beef broth instead of chicken broth. I’m happy to say my one online friend (who said she’s done this in the past and it’s not so bad) was right. Not too bad, and I will still enjoy it.

One of the fellows in our mobile home community stopped by today and secured 3 metal skirting panels which were flapping pretty badly in our current wind gusts. Collie-copia funds covered that, I’m happy to say. These were in the back; several days ago, I needed him to do 3 in the front. I think I’m done flapping now for a long while to come.

I hope to get back to de-cluttering one of these days. Soon - soon...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Messed Up My Crock Pot Meal Tonight

I’m almost afraid to taste my soup tomorrow morning. 

A friend dropped off some zucchini from their garden this week. I knew I had some “stuff” in the fridge and pantry and freezer. So this evening I began “building” a soup to cook overnight.

Tossed the broth on the bottom. Cut the 2 chicken leg quarters into 2 legs, 2 thighs. I’ll de-bone them in the morning. Added a can of string beans, some celery and onion. and a half cup of barley. Then I used my mandolin to thin-slice 1 green zucchini and half of the yellow one. That pretty much filled the 4-1/2 qt pot.

After I set the crock into the pot on the pantry counter and turned it on, I went back into the kitchen and washed everything. As I was rinsing the empty broth box, I realized why the broth was darker than I expected. It wasn’t chicken broth. It’s beef broth.

I have absolutely no idea what this will taste like when it’s done in the morning. I’m not sure I want to know.

Life is an adventure, right?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Taking Great Pleasure in This Day

This was a day filled with happy thoughts. It doesn’t mean everything was perfect from start to finish. It does mean that I was happily able to find more good things to appreciate, and do more things than I expected to when I first got up this morning.

We have had strong winds lately but I did manage, before 6 a.m., while it was not yet hot, to walk my neighbor’s lot (they are away for the summer) and pull some scattered weeds. I will spray one of these days as soon as the winds die down. Did my lot, as well.

I also managed to dice and “stew” two big apples and two big pears. I nuked them - 5 minutes, stir once, then 5 minutes more. Now I have 4 cups of the mixed fruit for my cereals. It will be soft enough considering my missing lower dentures. It should last a week or so.

Two laundry loads snuck in, too. One of them included ALL my squishy soft slippers. They were really crying for a bath. Tossed in the insoles from all my slippers and shoes as well.

Along the way, I also tossed myself into the shower and loved, loved, loved that.

I took my bill-clipboard and made sure I had listed all my bills for this month.

The Belmont Stakes had me glued to the TV for two hours but I worked on a scarf for the homeless while I watched that.

Oh, and these past months, I’ve used, reused, and used again, about 14 one-gallon jugs because of my water rationing needs. I think I can safely retire them for a while. I gathered the sturdier ones into one trash bag and the flimsier ones into a different one. They each had handle-ties, so I hung each bag on a sturdy plastic hanger in the closet in Frank’s old room.

Father in heaven, thank you for my roomy old home, for blessing me with the ability to still do some things around here, and for doubly blessing me with the ability to see all the good things you have done for me, this day, and all the ones now gone and the ones to still come.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wonderful Crockpot Smells in Here Tonight

The batch I’m cooking overnight tonight already smells great. Usually it takes until around 1 or 2 a.m. for me to really smell that great crockpot aroma. Tonight, it’s only been on 2-1/2 hours.

This one’s a sort of beef/barley/veggie soup. 

First I tossed in a can of diced tomatoes, followed by 2 small pieces of beef/steak someone had given me (each about the size of a deck of cards - not big, but big enough for flavor), then sweet potatoes (4, peeled and diced), then a bag of frozen string beans, followed by an onion, a bell pepper and 4 large ribs of celery. Along the way, after each layer, I tossed in 1/4 of the cup of barley. Oh, and I topped it all with a splash, a generous splash, of Worcestershire sauce that’s been in the closet since my nephew (who used it on everything including mashed potatoes) passed on.

I’ve learned, after using dried barley a few times, to sort of layer it thinly. Otherwise, I end up with some golf-ball-size glob-like barley balls.

This was in answer to my wanting some beef stew but I’ll settle for a sort of soup. Hopefully, the barley will do its usual job of slightly thickening the broth. I no longer use flour or cornstarch for that. So, after defrosting the little pieces of beef, I just went rummaging around in the pantry closets and the freezer and the veggie drawers.

Looking forward to this tomorrow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fire Department Just Left Here - Do Not Worry!


The Fire Dept just left here about half an hour ago, around 8 p.m.

It’s not that I wanted to have 4 tall muscular handsome dudes running into my house. Apparently my carbon monoxide alarm malfunctioned. It was installed over 5 years ago by a local agency. The firemen said I need a new one - no biggie. They say the units are under $20 so I’ll get one when I get my funds on the 3rd. Better it should malfunction and give me a warning (the beeping started, one beep a minute, and a light said to call 911, and they called the dudes).

I consider this a heavenly warning. And I love that it happened before I went to sleep. At least I had time to calm down. Seriously, I will at least sleep well, knowing what was wrong and knowing it’s a simple fix.

But I’ve got to tell you, ladies, those four fellows looked calendar-worthy...Shoot - I should have taken a selfie!

This early warning took care of several matters. It clued me that I need a new unit. Reading that fool thing which is installed a foot above my head on a wall meant that I needed a flashlight and my reading glasses. When I grabbed the one flashlight, I was happy it was the working one. I keep trying to remember to change the batteries in the others. I have one in each room - I will take care of those over the next few days for sure.

Sweet Jesus, thank you for always looking after me. I am so grateful that this happened early enough to not affect my sleep. I’m grateful that it is an easy fix. And I’m grateful, as always, for the early warnings you send my way.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Elusive Lemon

I’ve lost a lemon. I’ve lost a lemon in my fridge. How on earth can I lose a lemon, a single but lovely lemon in my fridge?

We all have stories of the time(s) we have put something in a “safe place” and then we forgot where that place was. We all have stories of never, ever finding those things again.

But this is a LEMON. And it was in my fridge.

Now, I know it was in there on Tuesday. On Tuesday, a big truck from Three Square (a group who distributes produce/food to folks in our area) was at our senior mobile home park’s entrance. When we supplied ID to prove we lived there, we wandered on home with 6 big beautiful apples, 6 big fat oranges, 6 big ol’ ornery onions, some bottles of water, and a nice box of 10 8-paks of hostess mini-donuts. When I rearranged my fruit/veggie bins in the fridge, I do remember seeing that elusive lemon at that time.

That was, what, all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, for that lemon to find a hiding place.
I’ve looked in the fridge. I’ve sort of moved some things around, thinking I placed it on a shelf while putting the other things away. I’ve even looked in the freezer (I know, I know, but after all, I am 77 now, and it could happen!).

I even looked on TOP of the fridge!

Very carefully, I thought back, and I know I did not use it.

At this point, I even did a sniffing routine. Perhaps, I thought, I left it “out” and it is slowly rotting. So far, I do not detect a smell. So far, I do not detect any fruit flies. So far, I am drawing a blank.

So, tomorrow, after I come home from delivering half my route of our monthly newsletter, and after I run into a neighbor’s home to make sure she shut off things before she left for the summer. I will try once again.

Tomorrow, I will go over that fridge. I will do it shelf by shelf. I will do it drawer by drawer. I will even look at every inch of the door shelves. It is only a fridge and limited in space.

And hopefully, I will find that elusive lemon!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What I’ve Been Up To

I have not posted for quite a while. I just checked and my last post was the 13th, almost two weeks ago. I’m okay, but I was going back and forth on a lot of issues, trying to make decisions.
I’ve been dealing primarily with two concerns - neither of them is a crisis but each must be handled.

One concern was my Etsy shop. I am sure I will be closing it before the 31st. You must sign up for Etsy Payments for your checkout process if you want your shop to stay open. There are reasons I cannot do that. I’ll explain later, but for now, this is one thing I’ve been going back and forth on. I’ve checked with other Etsy shop owners. I’ve searched, researched and re-searched the Etsy Help pages, FAQs and Forums. This all takes time and focus.

The other concern is continuing to ensure that my food can be easily, safely and happily consumed (after being easily, safely and happily processed by me) while I am without lower dentures.

Pureeing food is always an option. It also retains the vitamins, minerals and fiber content. However, it is not satisfying in that it does not have that feeling of being “full” that we get from chewing our food. So I’ve been trying to find ways to add chewable but soft and healthy food to my days.

My main Friday morning charity crafter member is also a good friend. We talked last Friday and with her suggestions, I added sweet potatoes and steamed cauliflower once again to my fridge. I hate paying big prices for a head of cauliflower when I’m eating about one head every week or ever two weeks. I remembered that both the 99-cent-only store and Dollar General have good prices on that, so I finally added that to the fridge.

Now, I’m a foodie. Sometimes I’m so hungry I can’t make up my mind what to eat. That’s this morning. I need to spend an hour or so, stapling our monthly community newsletters. I know I want to pick. SO, I made a tuna/avocado/egg salad (makes two days of servings) just now. I made a little bowl with: 6 slices of red beets (quartered), 2 steamed cauliflower florets (picked apart), 6 black olives and 6 green olives (halved), 2 tablespoons of black beans, some diced cooked sweet potatoes, and topped it with the day’s serving of tuna/avo/egg salad. NOW I’m ready - it’s 8:11 a.m. PDT as I write this. And I had my oatmeal (with raisins, nuts, diced apples) around 6, so I do need, and now have, my protein and veggies ready. I’m chilling the bowl while I’m typing this.

Let’s go, world - I’m ready for you!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Setting Tomorrow’s Goal

Still trying to get myself organized. It’s been a little odd, routine-wise, since October’s fiasco with the pipes under the house. I’m almost afraid to say that things are simmering down. Shhhh...you did NOT hear/see me say that, right?

Sometimes my to-do list is huge. Those days I am happy to simply check off one or two items. Other days I wing it. I think I might compromise and try something different.

For a while, I think I will just take one major/minor project or goal and aim for that one thing that one day.

For example, tomorrow is Sunday. Usually I try to reserve that for the Lord’s work. I either work on my little crosses and/or angels, or I find inspirational reading to enjoy, or even some of my charity crafting work.

Tomorrow, I think my goal will be to at least organize all the charity crafting projects we have completed the past month or so. I need to put the hats, scarves and gloves into one bag or bags. If full, I will tag and document them. And then gather the baby jackets, hats, blankets, etc. into bags, and do likewise.

See, each Friday I bring home whatever we finished that week. But for some reason, my intentions never match my actions. Instead of putting them directly into an allocated spot, they go wherever I plop them. So I might have them in 3 or 4 places in here.

So, my goal for tomorrow will be to gather them and do the Lord’s work by getting them all organized. They will go into the one closet and wait until there is enough for me to drop off.
I did a lot of meal preps lately, so I’m giving my slow cooker a few days break. But it’s so nice having an assortment of things ready to grab on days when my mind is befuddled.

Yep. I think just picking one thing each day will be a start. Long to-do lists can wear a body out just thinking about what’s on them!