Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday card for a co-worker

One of my co-workers is having a "big" birthday this week but she asked that we really not draw attention to the age. We think she's going to be 60. We're going to do a breakfast for her on Friday and get her flowers (she's always bringing in flowers for others' birthdays). I volunteered to make a card and ran some designs past another co-worker for insight.

She picked my pink and brown card that I had made for someone else and thought it would be perfect.

I love pink and brown together, but wasn't sure how Donna felt about it. I know she likes purple and green, so I adapted the card a bit and came up with this:

It's a bit different but the basic style is the same. It's been decided that she will probably love it.

The flower is made with a couple of paper punches and I put the cut-outs together to form the flower.

I will be very glad if she does.

My newest addiction...

It's not bad. Not really an "addiction," per se. It could be considered dangerous. If taken to extreme. But, savoring is more in line with how I think this should be handled.

Very, very carefully. Every drop to be savored and enjoyed.

On toast.

On crackers.

On English muffins.

On anything.

Straight out of the jar.

(oops... did I say that?)

I just have three words to describe this stuff:

Oh. My. Goodness. 

Simply Amazing.

OK, that's five. It needed those last two words.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What do you see? I see...

I borrowed this from Cat over at Musings and Confessions of a Wandering Mind and thought it so good that I decided to post the question here as well. If you've already answered this on your own blog, please link it so we can all go read your thoughts.

What do you see when you look into the mirror?

This is an edited version of what I posted as a comment on her blog:

When I look in the mirror I see eyes that look a bit more tired, skin that's not quite as firm as it once was, hair that is a bit grayer than she'd like and a bit thinner than she'd like. But, I see the soul of a woman who has shared much, given as much as possible, and enjoyed immensely. I see a woman who has given and received joy; given and received pain; loved and been loved. I see someone who (like Odie) wishes she knew at 21 (or even 30) what she knows now at 54. I see someone who wishes she had made some different choices in her life and done some things that she has done at a different stage in her life instead.

I see someone who is at a crossroads and not sure where to turn or what to do - what the next breath or day will bring, or if she'll be granted that next breath or next day.

I see someone who dearly, deeply, and fiercely loves her family and friends. I see happiness waiting to emerge; I see sorrow on the horizon. I see contentment and peace within.

I see love.


That sounds a whole lot more "deep" than what I usually post about, but I do have deep thoughts and deep feelings. There are many things that I would change (if I could) and many things that I wish I hadn't done. Money that has been spent (or not spent), jobs that have either been passed on or taken, friends that I have lost contact with - and so much more. There are family members whose loss is felt immensely and the wish that I had spent one more hour - or even one more minute - with them is a constant reminder of their absence.

There are many times when I look in the mirror that I see someone I despise - someone I feel is not worthy of love or affection from anyone. Then I realize that in order to truly love anyone else, I must love myself FIRST. I don't always have to like the image in the mirror, but I have to love her in order to show love to others. It's always so much easier to love others than it is to love myself.
There are times when I think that "all the easy parts" went to other people and that life is totally unfair. Then I slap myself for my selfishness and shallowness. Many, many people on this earth would give whatever it took to have my level of problems instead of their own.

There are times when I look into the mirror and I don't recognize what I see. Who is that woman and what has she done with the "me" that I know? Where did she go? Where is the woman who could do whatever she set her mind to and how was she replaced with this... this... this THING instead?  Where is the woman who knew all the answers?
Many times I look in the mirror and I see someone who is eternally grateful for what she has and for the love that she's been given by her friends and family. I see someone who is undeserving of what she's been given but grateful for it all the same.
I see life. I see love. I see overall happiness and contentment.
What more could anyone ask for?

So, today was a great day...

Ron and I were meeting a lady this morning (who is the marketing director for a retirement community near where Amy, Rex, and Isaiah live) to see an example of one of the "cottages" that this community offers for rent to seniors. I asked Amy if they wanted to meet us there and then go get something to eat. She thought that was a great idea.

We've looked at the place (it's small - but it's not one that we are interested in anyway, I just wanted to see the bathroom size for reference) and then decided where we'd go eat. There's not much to offer in Newton in the way of dining (unless you consider McDonald's or Wendy's "dining") so we opted to go to Yoder to the Carriage Crossing (great Mennonite cooking!). I was unsure how far away it was from there, so I said I'd follow Rex.

I'd had my morning medications (which includes a diuretic) about two hours earlier and they were starting to do their "magic" on me. But, Rex said it wasn't very far away so I said nothing. Nearly 30 minutes down the road, I'm about to BUST and think I can go no farther. Ron is sitting in his chair and said he had to go. Isaiah (who decided to ride with us) was whining that he had to go, too.

Brace yourself.... I'm going to let you all laugh at my expense because, believe me, I was cracking up. I pulled off of the highway down a dirt road. Turned the car around so it what I "might" be doing would not be visible from the road and took care of business. Isaiah couldn't wait until we got to the restaurant, so he hopped out of the car and followed suit. And Ron - well, poor Ron couldn't hop out of the car but I gave him something that he could take care of things with.

We continued down the highway much happier people! LOL! You might not find this story that amusing, but I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

We had a great meal and decided that Amy and I would go shopping to the scrapbook store (she needed to pick up some things and I had a $20 coupon) so I took Isaiah home with us and then she came down. Isaiah stayed and watched movies with Crampa while Amy and I went shopping.

It was a beautiful afternoon so we really had a blast out running around.

(I would never have made it to the restaurant. It was still 10 minutes away!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

I won!

Remember the contest I posted about that was going on over at Jumble Mash's blog? Well, the random number generator picked ME!!!!!

I'm so excited I could just ... well, I could YELL with excitement.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New glasses

After nearly THREE MONTHS of waiting, my new glasses FINALLY came in.

They are "At Last" lenses and supposed to be a better progressive for me because of my balance issues. I need distance and I need close up, but need the close up more so I was sacrificing the distance. I have reading glasses all over the house, at work, and in my purse.

These will take some getting used to because there is still a line of sorts. It's got sort of a bubble in the close-up vision area and then there is a mid-range area, and finally, the distance. It's not too bad.

They had come in to the optical department at my doctor's office at least three other times but they were so scratched up that they wouldn't send them out to me. They did end up giving me the lenses FOR FREE! They accepted insurance assignment and didn't charge me for the balance, which was substantial considering they're progressing (tri)bifocals.

What do you think?

Taken with my computer's web cam so not great pictures.

ANOTHER food post

But this one doesn't have a happy ending. I tried to set myself on fire tonight.

Not on purpose, but it happened and I am hurting.

I was fixing taco meat and when I picked up the pan with fluffy pot holders to drain the fat, one of the pot holders caught fire. I had my hand on a skillet with boiling hot hamburger grease in it and an on-fire pot holder trying to take off my fingers. Lucky for me, I have a really small space between the stove and the sink and I was able to get the pot to the sink and the fire put out.

I was already running hot water in the sink to wash down the residue I was draining off the hamburger, so I stuck the pot holders in the sink. Fortunately, I managed to keep from spilling the hamburger grease and hamburger down my legs.

Hand is not terrible burned but OUCH! it hurts!!!!!

I had Silvadene from when I dressed Ron's foot so I got some on there and wrapped up the fingers.

Typing is difficult.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Day (or Seven) Late

I was awarded a highly sought after and sophisticated award the other day (last week) by my blogging friend Colenic over at A Smile A Day - the Stylish Blogger Award! I almost missed it because I was busy admiring the Warm Fuzzy Award that Chief a.k.a Dad at Unsound Reasoning had bestowed upon her.

The rules for this one are simple - for every person you pass the award to, you need to share a random thing about yourself.  Depending on how many random things about myself that I can come up with will determine how many people I pass it on to.

1. I like to make scrapbooks and then give them away. That doesn't count; most of you know that already.

1. I kid that God made a mistake when He made me. I'm sure I told Him I wanted a "full head of hair and lips, and thin hips." Instead, He heard "thin hair and lips, and full hips." Or else, He has a sense of humor.

2. I'm the middle child of seven kids - and pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the age spread between the "older" group and the "younger" group. My youngest older sibling is 3 years older than me and my oldest younger sibling is 3 years younger than me.

3. I've been a pharmacy tech, a physical therapy assistant, secretary, massage therapist, help desk support rep, kindergarten teacher, college instructor, soap maker, lotion maker, Web-based business owner, cook, waitress, and technical writer. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

4. I'll be 55 in August and I'm looking forward to receiving my own senior citizen discount!

I guess that's four items so I need to pass this award onto four other bloggers. I need to take a rain-check on who I'm giving it to because a lot of my friends already have this award. I would like to pick some new ones for your reading pleasure.

Another food post

I got home late from work last night (had to stop at the store first) and Ron had requested that I make spaghetti with mushrooms in the sauce.

It was delicious. I decided that I would take leftovers for my lunch today, so as I was cleaning up I fixed myself a bowl to take. On top of my bowl, I placed a bowl of salad so I'd have a very balanced, good for me meal. After that, I put the left over sauce into another bowl so I could fix Ron another meal with it.

My lunch today was supposed to look something like this:

Image courtesy Google images
Instead, it looked like this:

That's just the sauce. You know, the one I put away so I could fix Ron more spaghetti at another time. I was not in the mood to eat plain sauce (even though it was quite tasty), so I opted to check out the on-site cafe and see what they had.

I found this:

I added a little bit of the sauce to it and had a great meal - salad, baked potato, and spaghetti meat.

Not too shabby.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lunch today

I decided to take a lesson from Odie over at The Simple Life and put one of my kitchen items to work. I have this totally great crock pot that I rarely use. I don't know... maybe big appliances scare me - who knows. I use it for chili or for green rice (that's broccoli and cheese casserole) but not really much for COOKING.

Last night, Keith discovered a head of cabbage in the crisper (I'd bought it for Ron as a replacement for lettuce because he likes cabbage better) and wanted to know if I could fix corned beef and cabbage. I don't buy corned beef. I like it OK - once or twice a year - but it's too salty to think about purchasing on a regular basis. I did, however, have a beef brisket in the freezer.

Frozen solid like a rock. I took it out and defrosted it for a bit so I could cut saw it in half (it wouldn't fit in the crock pot in one piece). Once I did that, I added a can of beef broth, a can of chicken broth, a bunch of dried chopped onion (no fresh onion in the fridge), and some seasonings. Put the setting on low and went to bed.

It was smelling pretty good this morning but didn't have much in the way of taste. Plus, I'd forgotten to trim the excess fat off the beef so I had some cleanup to do. Added some more seasonings and some fresh (but frozen) green beans that a friend had given me last summer. Added pepper. Bland. Added some salt. Not much since we have this sodium restriction at out house, but a bit. Added a bag of miniature carrots.

Keith came in behind me and added some chopped garlic, some bay leaves, and some jalepeno pepper juice. He also added "Triple Italian" seasonings (not sure what all was in it).  He added some frozen corn.

It was beginning to smell really good, so I did a taste test and discovered the veggies were done and the brisket was very tender. Time to add the cabbage and turn it to warm so the cabbage didn't become mush.

I had to have a bigger taste test...

I'm very pleased to report that it passed with flying colors. Not only is this lunch today, but will be dinner tonight (with biscuits) and probably lunch tomorrow.

Very, very good! And, since it's really cold outside, it warmed me up nicely.

What's for lunch/dinner at your house?

My Sailor Boy

Any posts about Navy pride and parental pride would not be complete without one regarding my oldest, Shaun, who joined the Navy when he was 20.
(This picture was taken in October 1999 when he was home on leave.)

For a little background on Shaun...

He was the kid that barely graduated from high school. In fact, the week before graduation we still weren't sure if he had enough credits to pass.

He got a standing ovation when he crossed the platform. They were all so glad to see him leave graduate. He was, to put it mildly, quite the challenge in school.

He read his text books the first 2 weeks of school and never opened them again. He never turned in homework assignments because (in his words), "The teachers know that I know the answers. All they have to do is ask and I'll tell them." In fact, he always had his hand in the air to answer the questions and teachers frequently had to tell him to put his hand down so someone else could answer the question. Many times, during class discussions, he would be reading another book for pleasure but true to his word, if the teacher called on him, he not only knew the answer, he knew what the discussion was about.

He was pretty cute, too

He always aced the tests - without studying. Ever.

He took a math course (the name of the class escapes me) that usually (for most people) involved several steps to figure out the answer to the problem. The problem would be at the top of the page and the answer spot at the bottom. The middle was reserved for the student's work. Shaun would read the problem and write down the answer. The key was to show the work. He couldn't figure out why or what the work would be. "It's simple. You read the question and this is the answer. There's no work involved." The answer would be technically correct, but without the "work" being shown, the teacher marked it wrong. Every time. But, he was fascinated with how Shaun's brain worked and requested that Shaun take the second level of this math course the next year. The results were the same.

He couldn't keep a job. McDonald's, Sonic, you name it - if it was a fast food restaurant within walking (or bicycling) distance, Shaun had probably worked there and been fired from. He didn't drive. He was hyperactive and took Ritalin so (based on Kansas requirements) couldn't get a driver's license without a doctor signing off on the paperwork. His doctor would not. He was that hyper - ADHD to the max!

He spoke fluent Klingon. (that's his words)

He decided when he was 18 that he wanted to join the military so he talked to the recruiters. They told him he had to be medication-free for two years before he could join, so he took himself off all of his ADHD meds (cold turkey). That could be why he had trouble keeping a job but he was determined to make it happen.

He scored so high on the ASVAB that they had him re-take it. He scored higher. So, they had him take the Nuclear Power entrance exam and scored very high on it, too.

So, into boot camp he went. My family took bets on how long he'd last. I'm happy to say that they all lost. He lasted and although he didn't win any awards, he proved his resiliency. His years of walking around Wichita and riding his bike around town made him in better physical shape than many of his "shipmates" were. He didn't get blisters from walking. He sent several letters to us that talked about how the drill sergeants didn't yell all that much and not always at him, so that was good. From spending years of having others make fun of him at school (he was the butt of many cruel jokes because of his "differences"), he had learned to let most comments and insults roll right off his back. That truly helped him get through boot camp.

After boot camp, he went to school for two years for power school training. That he survived - and did well - was really surprising to us all because he had to study. And turn in homework. Two foreign items to him. He had to spend a certain number of hours each week at the school doing his studies and turning in the assignments.

But, he ended up doing quite well and when he finished, he was stationed on the USS Harry S Truman.

His Boot Camp photo

Various Certificates

Certificate and Press Release photo

Discharge and 1st re-enlistment certificate

He's making a career of the Navy and is now a 1st Class Petty Officer and studying for Chief. Shaun is currently stationed in Bremerton, WA on the USS John C Stennis.

We're very proud of our Sailor Boy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wonder Dog

I was enjoying myself yesterday while reading an item my friend Marla over at Butts and Ashes posted - at her expense, of course. Marla doesn't mind people enjoying a good laugh or two. She's been known to cause them purposely.

Unfortunately, my little reply to her post has come around full circle. I said I hated mice but loved her food of choice for them... "here little micey, here you go." {sigh} They came, alright.

At least one of them, anyway...

But - Wonder Dog to the rescue!

Ron headed into his bathroom this afternoon and I heard, "Teresa, Maisey caught a mouse." Naturally, I had to go see for myself. Sure enough, in the middle of the bathroom floor for all to see was a little (and very dead) mouse.

Thank you, Maisey! You saved us!

I went and reset my mouse traps - just in case it had some friends come visiting.

Another Giveaway

My blogging friend Rae is hosting a giveaway over at her blog. Up for grabs (among other things) is the cutest little ceramic measuring spoon holder. Go check it out here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Sailor Girl - Part II

Amy's division at boot camp graduation. She is right in front, behind the A flag.

Posed pictures to show life in the barracks.

The two in front were the jerks of Amy's division and the cause of much of her issues. They really didn't like to be upstaged, and especially by a recent high school graduate, who just happened to be a girl.

She did get her E-3 out of everything... her comrade in arms -
Donna. Her mother was not very happy with Amy when she found out what she'd talked Donna into doing. I think that once they left boot camp that Amy never talked to her again. Wonder if she just did her time or if she stayed in longer?

Fast forward to the early summer 2000... I get a phone call from a local newspaper reporter who proceeds to let me know they have received a press release from the Navy regarding an "exercise" that Amy took part in on her ship. She said they wanted to include it on the front page of the newspaper and did I mind... Did I mind??? Heck, NO - that was AWESOME! The press release didn't include a picture so they asked if I could bring one down. I was happy to oblige. By this time, Amy had "shown" enough in her duties that she had progressed to Petty Officer 3rd Class - and she was just 19 years old.

Later, I also received a copy of the press release and a letter from the Public Affairs Center. We were very proud parents.

Amy ended up staying in the Navy for nearly 7 years and was a Petty Officer 1st Class when she got out. She achieved 2nd class in 2001 and 1st class three years later - at the age of 23.

At one point, she outranked her brother - for nearly a year. That was fun.

My Sailor Boy story to follow soon...

My Sailor Girl - Part I

After reading about my friend Skippy's post about her girl getting ready to go off to college (you can read it here), I knew that I just had to post about Amy going off to boot camp. This girl was never on time for anything, no matter what time of day it started. The high school had a recording that parents of tardy students got to hear each day that their student was late for class. We were privileged enough to hear it every day of the week. That was fun. I got to where I just would answer it, wait for the recording to start, and then hang up. I never excused her. It didn't matter. She didn't care. She was still going to be late. Funny thing is, she got excellent grades and her teachers loved her. Go figure...

Imagine my surprise when she said she was joining the Navy. Yeah, right... Taking orders from others was never one of her strong suits. And, obviously, she had a problem with being punctual. I didn't see those things as being something that would work in her favor for boot camp.
(But, she was a really cute kid, wasn't she???)

She had originally said she wanted to join the Air Force. We have a base right in Wichita so that was nice - not sure that she would ever get stationed there, but who knows. They wouldn't talk to her because she was only 17 at the time. They told her to wait until she was 18 to talk to them about the delayed entry program. Then, her older brother decided to join the Navy and he left for boot camp in August 1998. When we went to his graduation ceremony in October, she turned to me and said (basically), "That's it. I'm joining the Navy. They have better uniforms." Yes, you got it - she was concerned with fashion and she didn't like the Air Force uniforms.

We got back home and she contacted the Navy recruiters and they would talk to her. Got her entered into the delayed entry program (DEP) and told her if she did all of the criteria AND got a friend to sign up, too she'd enter as an E-3 instead of an E-1. This seemed like a good idea so she talked one of her acquaintances at school into joining (this girl wasn't even a good friend - and she was a Pentecostal "never had a haircut or wore jeans" girl).

August 1999 rolled around way too fast for me. I was sending my baby girl off to God-only-knew-what and where. I remembered the stories that Shaun had told from basic training and, honestly, they were awful. I wasn't sure that Amy could (or would) take it. We did get a few hairy letters (she was homesick and it was harder than she thought) and a frantic call one weekend that had me calling the recruiter and complaining. She was sick - and I mean really sick - and her Recruit Chief Petty Officer and Division Yeoman had been screaming obscenities at her because she was coughing and could not stop. They were very much out of line and saying things that sounded very much like they intended to physically harm her. I saw fire and I called the recruiter (I was KCMO at my sister's and my other sister had tracked me down there because when Amy couldn't get me on the phone, she called Kris - in hysterics) in Wichita. He called the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, IL and lodged a complaint and before those two could spin, they were being called on the carpet and threatened with being sent home if they didn't can their crap.

Come to find out, they were pretty jealous of Amy. My girl is smart. Very smart. We got to the basic training graduation ceremonies to find out that she had been the TOP recruit out of over 800 and was being recognized in the graduation and was receiving an award.

Sons of the American Revolution Academic Excellence Award

She received the Sons of the American Revolution Academic Excellence Award for scoring the highest overall of any of the recruits. That was quite an accomplishment since some of the tests that she took she hadn't studied for because of her other duties.

She was also her division's Master at Arms and did find that she was good at something else...

Giving orders....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jumble Mash Giveaway

My blogger friend over at Jumble Mash is having a reader appreciation give-away. Go check it out and enter!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards - and "Just a Note" card

I'm taking orders for these cards (if interested). The cost will be $4 each and they are blank inside for you to add your personal sentiment. The paper is shimmery so it may be hard to read the sentiment but it says “Sending You Loads of Love." The hearts are all hand-cut.

In addition, I have this charming "Just a note" card. This card is a one-of-a-kind item but I can come close to duplicating it for $3.50 each. This is also blank on the inside.

Please let me know if you'd like to order any cards. I would be happy to get these created for you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This is BIG

This is so big that I can't even begin to put it right here.

{scroll down}

{It's worth it - I promise}

I mean this is HUGE...

Wait for it.......

{scroll down....}

Just a little bit farther.

Ignore the housework. My counter is the "catch all" as I'm cleaning. Then the counter gets cleaned off. You may wonder why I bring up a cluttered counter.

You'll see...

Intrigued? OK - I give. Here it is....

The old fart isn't dead yet.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sketch Challenge and Stationery Box

I am entering another challenge this week over at Riley and Co. This is my finished card using Coffee Riley.

This is the sketch to work from:

I think it turned out very well and is going to a friend as part of a card order. I made the flower, too.

I was also looking for a box to hold finished cards. I found several for A4 size but haven't found what I'm looking for to hold the bigger cards yet. I found this video on YouTube (it's a 2 part) that shows how to make a really cute box so I tried it out this morning.

Here is my version of it. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet - maybe make some smaller cards to fill it! LOL!

I also ended up finding the whole PDF of instructions so that will be helpful if I decide to do this box again. Now that I've done it once, the repeats should go pretty fast. Plus, the printed instructions include some other items for the box that would really make it a nice gift. You can't see it, but the inside of the box is stamped with little flowers.


See what my friend, Skippy, shared with me today...

Flowers that her hubby brought her. They're so beautiful that I had to post them here, too.

She's such a sweetie...

Cold weather

Ignore the red skin. Ignore the fact that this looks like the hand of an old woman. Ignore the fact that it looks short and fat. It's really just the camera angle. I'm not too great at taking pictures of myself. My arms just aren't long enough to get far enough away from the camera.

Look instead at how many flippin bandages I have on my fingers. It is an annual occurrence and one I do NOT look forward to each year. Same fingers. Usually both hands (for some reason, my left hand is being kind). I wash my hands frequently but I always put lotion on afterwards. I hate the cold weather for this reason more than anything. My job is TYPING. Bandages severely inhibit accuracy. Without bandages it's too painful to strike the keys. Heck, it's too painful to do anything.

What do you all my cold-weather blogging friends (or even the warm-weather ones) use to keep your fingers from splitting??? (The knuckle bandages is a fluke - hit my hand on the wall because I have bad spatial reference and I'm a klutz.)

What do you get...

when you cross one tired, 50+ person who has stayed up too late watching YouTube videos on papercrafting (isn't that an exciting way to spend a Friday night?) with one 40-something person who feels bad and is up past her bedtime because she feels too crappy to sleep?

Two women who think they can have a long-distance conversation via email.

Silly girls...

I certainly hope the 40-something gal feels better today and that she was able to get some sleep. This 50+  gal finally went to bed and slept most of the night.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I have hesitated...

I've been absent (as far as posting goes) this past week for a number of reasons - partly because I haven't felt the greatest and partly because I have had just so much on my mind that I've found myself too exhausted in the evenings to do much of anything. I read a few blogs, leave a few comments, fix Ron something to eat, pick up a bit - and it's bedtime! The time flies so quickly in the evenings that I don't know where it goes. It doesn't help that I went to bed at 7:30 one night and 9:00 two other nights. That is unheard of for me. I'm the 11:00-midnight kind of gal. Not lately...

Here's the scoop... We got notified today that the mortgage company is starting foreclosure proceedings unless I cough up nearly the past due amount and fees, within 30 days. There's not any way short of me (or someone who loves me) winning the lottery - Power Ball or Mega Millions, take your pick - and paying what needs to be paid.

We heard from the retirement village and they have accepted us. We need quite a chunk of change for them as well, $3450 immediately to sign the contract and the rest paid when we move in. (This is for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, with a covered carport. Decent sized rooms - all appliances; approximately 1,000 square feet. Biggest plus is that Ron's wheelchair fits through the doors - including the bathroom. For a one bedroom/one bath, approximately 750 square feet, we could rent for no entrance fee and $600 per month rent. It's much smaller and Ron's wheelchair won't fit into the bathroom. That is the major drawback for us.)

When someone moves in they have to pay an entrance fee ($3450), which covers redecorating – painting, new window treatments, new carpeting, etc. It also covers if someone wants to make a change (such as adding an ice maker to the fridge). In addition to this, the rules are residents have to pay 12 months’ worth of rent in advance. This can be substantial – in the case of this residence, the rent is $850 per month so it would be $10,200. The maintenance fees (or HOA if you prefer) are an additional $439 per month. This covers trash, water, interior and exterior maintenance (including appliance repair or replaced if needed), snow/ice removal, grass mowing, landscaping maintenance, use of the fitness center, etc. Those are just paid month-to-month. The unit is all electric and the representative told me the last resident averaged about $100 per month. Even though the HOA fees + the electricity sounds like a lot, our monthly house expenses (outside of the house payment) add up to nearly $500 (that’s appliance warranties, ADT, HOA, trash, water, yard maintenance, summer water rates, electricity, gas, etc.) per month.

For us, they would not charge us the $10,200 in advance. What they would charge is the entrance fee, plus one month rent security deposit. The entrance fee has to be paid when we sign the contract and then they’d let me pick out the carpet and paint colors and any updated window treatments I wanted. Once we were ready to move in, I’d need to pay the current month rent + plus the security deposit + the HOA fee. They would also charge us an extra $300 per month for the first 12 months ($3600) and that would then be deducted the next year off the rent. We could either not pay rent the first 4 months of our second year or deduct $300 per month for 12 months the 2nd year.

I have a couple of things in the works to sell but not sure if it will pan out or not. I can’t really put the house on the market until I get Ron out of it. He has too much clutter that he needs on a day-to-day basis. I need to clear out the stuff we just have on shelves in the storage room in the basement, donate some to charity and sell some other stuff; the basement floor needs to be painted (can’t afford carpeting), a screen needs to be put back on that blew off in a summer storm, the sink Amy’s husband started needs to be finished, and a few other things in the basement. There’s a house down the street on the market for $30,000 less than what we owe on ours and it’s been on the market over a year. We need to really spruce ours up (at the least amount of money possible) to compete with it. We thought about renting it out but the market is too down right now and there is a glut of available houses on the market for sale and for rent.

We're still plugging away and doing what has to be done. Don't hesitate to offer suggestions if you think of something that might work for us. I'm always open to suggestions and a new way to look at things is sometimes all a problem needs.

hugs... and have a great weekend! I know that I'm going to.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Birthday {Near} Mishap

We hadn't planned on doing anything extra special yesterday because Ron said he didn't want a party. He didn't want to go out to eat or just really have any type of surprise. But, after everyone but Amy was here, he decided that he'd like to have something "sweet" - i.e., "please get me a birthday cake."

He had already asked Amy to bring him some (diet) Peach Fresca so she called to ask me where I had bought it. I asked her to go ahead and pick up a small cake and she managed to find one with non-dairy whipped topping for frosting. (I'll have to look up the potassium count on that...)

Here is the cake:

Amy wrote the words.

He didn't know that she had gotten a cake, so when I lit it and took it into him, he was surprised. We all sang Happy Birthday to him and I was going to take his picture with the cake.


When I leaned over to hand him the cake, Maisey jumped up into his lap to see if she could snag a bite, the cake started slipping and was going to land on Ron's lap, and when I went to stop the cake from becoming a permanent part of Ron's wardrobe, I burned my hand on the candle, which tipped over as the cake was sliding.

After letting out a not-so-nice word (I was in pain), I told him to just blow out the candle before I lost the whole cake on him.

There you have it... birthday near mishap.

Faith did end up getting a picture of the birthday boy with Isaiah.

Isaiah is such a "cheeser" when someone gets out a camera!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Main Squeeze!

Today, my sweetie is {gasp} 63 years old! We are spending a quiet afternoon in. Faith came over and her parents will be here soon. Amy and Isaiah are also coming down. Keith is here.

Keith fixed us all breakfast burritos this afternoon. They were really good. Eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cheese, and some chopped up ham (lunch meat). I ate mine in a "kangaroo pocket" and it was yummy. I fixed Ron's in a low carb tortilla that also has green onions in it. They're very good.

Keith and Faith are playing Family Feud on the computer. Not sure who is winning. It goes back and forth.

We've very thankful that he is actually here and able to celebrate the passing of another year.

Potassium Levels in Food

It’s hard to determine the amount of potassium in a food item if the label doesn’t even indicate there is any to begin with. Take Peanut Butter. I have two different kinds (brands) of peanut butter on my shelf. Peter Pan and Jif. NEITHER of them indicates the presence of potassium but when I Googled “potassium in peanut butter” I found that two tablespoons has 240 mg of potassium. And – it’s not even easy to find that information. was one that listed it, but I had to scroll down to find it. I had to check several links in my search to discover one that actually listed it. I went to the USDA Nutrient Database (from another link that sent me to WikiPedia and then it was listed under a table showing the nutrients present) and I was able to plug Peanut Butter and the serving size into their little search boxes and got 238 mg for 2 tablespoons. That’s a handy little database to have access to.

How am I supposed to keep his potassium level down if the foods I buy don’t even show the true makeup of the nutrient list? I read labels. Very. Closely. Always.

We have two different cans of Fruit Cocktail - both canned by Del Monte. One is canned in water and the other is canned in extra light syrup. The one canned in extra light syrup has 15g of carbohydrates per serving (3.5 servings in a can) and the other one (canned in water) has the same number of servings and 11g of carbohydrates. Sodium levels are the same. One lists potassium (the one canned in water) and the other does not. So, they ADD potassium in the form of an artificial sweetener. If I give him the one canned in water, I'm giving him 420mg of potassium (he eats the whole can in the course of the day). If I give him the other, he takes in 52g of sugar. Which is harder on him? The potassium or the sugar? Both of them are bad but how do I decide which one of these two "evils" is better for him? What a choice!

He's getting the sugar. I can counter that with lowering his carbohydrate count in other areas throughout the day or - if all else fails - give him some more insulin. He needs the fruit and fresh is actually worse (in some fruits) than the canned.

Update to Honest Scrap Award

I'm finally ready to pass on the Honest Scrap Award to my recipients.

First up, is my sister, Kris, over at My Life ~ My Journey.  Kris has been on a journey to get healthy and has lost about 40 pounds in the last year. I'm very proud of her.

Next, my niece, Jamie, at Aiden's Corner. My great-nephew's name is Aiden and, I have to brag that I suggested the name to her. He's a super cutie.

After that, I have to nominate Kristen (again), over at Fine, How are You? Like I said before, Kristen always has a great take on things and I love to read her posts.

I don't know if Kathy "does" award posts, but you need to go check her out at Kathy's Kampground Kapers. Kathy and "he who does" (her husband) run an RV campground in MO and her posts are always, always interesting to read. Besides writing a great blog, she's also a very talented seamstress and I love to see her creations. I need to order a monkey from her...

And, last but certainly not least, Rae, over at Weather Vane. Rae is about as down-home as you can get. Her posts are always great and she's got some awesome pictures on her blog.

Happy Saturday - and Happy Reading!

Sweet Blog Award

I'm pretty excited... Got up this morning and, while reading my email, discovered a comment that made me smile (more than usual). It seems that I have been blessed with another blog award! This makes the third award I've gotten recently and I have to say, I'm really touched!

One of my new friends over at Jumble Mash gave me The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Woo hoo!

I have to pass it onto three other bloggers that I think are sweet and list five guilty pleasures. I can do this!

1. (have to borrow this from JM) Chick Flicks. I love happy endings so would prefer to watch something relatively sappy than horror. Can't stand horror shows and have been known to leave the theater during stressful scenes. Heck, I leave the living room during stressful scenes!

2. Kahlua and Cream. Does that make me a bad person? Kahlua doesn't have to go in cream. It can go in coffee, over ice cream, in milk, etc. Is that better?

3. Buying scrapbook paper. That is a terribly selfish thing. But, in my defense, I usually give away everything that I make with it. Usually... sometimes I turn around and give the paper away.

4. Chocolate. Any way, shape,or form. Hot chocolate, dark chocolate (my favorite), chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fudge... OK, I think you get the message. I LOVE CHOCOLATE. This probably should be #1.

5. Spending time on the computer when I should be cleaning house. Since I don't have any small children at home, I guess I'm allowed this luxury. I'm within earshot (and sometimes within sight) of Ron so I'm available if and when he needs me.

Now, my recipients are...

Kristen over at Fine, How are You? I'm not sure how I found her blog, but she's always got something funny and interesting to say.

MW over at Green Girl in Wisconsin. Another absolutely sweet new friend. She's living in a house full of testosterone so her posts are always fun to read.

Silver over at Reflections. She recently left a comment for me on here and on Isaiah's blog. Not sure how she found me, but I'm glad that she did. I've enjoyed reading her blogs. She's got a killer recipe blog, too.

These are my three. I would give this award to all of my blogs because, let's face it... if they aren't sweet, I'm not sticking around in the first place. But, many of my favs are also favs of yours so I thought I'd add some new ones into the mix. Go check them out - you'll be glad that you did!

Have a blessed and safe weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shameless Plug

Many of you know that my grandson, Isaiah, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was three years old. He functioned on the level of about 18 months and did not talk very well or very much at all. Amy (and I) have worked and worked with all kinds of professionals over the years to help get Isaiah where he is today. We're very proud of him and know that he is a very, very special little boy.

His blog is and the reason it is called "Isaiah's Eyes" is because when he would go through the alphabet, he would say each letter until he got to "I" and then he'd exclaim, very excitedly, "There's my I!" Also, looking at the world through Isaiah's eyes has been a walk that I have cherished. I wanted him to have a written journal of sorts that documented his challenges and his accomplishments.

I nominated his blog in the Blogger's Choice Awards. Please go vote - if you would, and don't mind....

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

My site was nominated for Best Health Blog!

Thanks! Feel free to link this post to others. I'd like to have as many people as possible aware of PDD-NOS.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Today has been one of "those" days where everything I touch is off just enough to drive me wacky. How about you? How is your Wednesday going?

Ron wasn't feeling too great this morning so I stayed home with him. He's up and about now but spent a good portion of his day in bed. We're still waiting to see if the retirement center we want to live in will take us. They're afraid he's got too much wrong with him for them to be able to serve him. LOL - it's been so funny... Here I am telling different entities that he's got this and this and this to try and get him services, and then on the flip side I'm downplaying everything so that we'll be able to get in. "Oh, he's got this and this, but he's pretty self-sufficient." No clue on if they bought it or not. The RN was taking notes - in-depth notes. I paid the application fee ($50) but the marketing lady said she wouldn't cash my check if they decided his health was too bad.

Not sure what we'll do in that case, but God has something up His sleeve for us - of that I am sure.

The temperature is more comfortable today and the wind isn't blowing. That is always nice because the wind blows a lot in Kansas! Cold wind in the winter and hot wind in the summer. Having a windless day is pretty rare for us.

You all have a great day today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Monday to You!

Ron and I had some appointments today so I got to stay home from work another day. Since it's the NEW year, I GET to use PTO and not have to take it off as unpaid! Woo-hoo!!!

He had an appointment with his orthopedic specialist and got a cortisone injection in each knee. Then we drove up to Hesston to take a look at the 2-bedroom six-plex that we might be able to get into. The entrance fee is $3450 and we'd have to pay one month's rent as deposit ($850). Hopefully, I can figure out a way to swing this. LOL - I put on my Facebook that if all of my FB friends sent me $120, then we'd be able to get into the "best" part of the retirement community (the duplexes that have been the most recently built and look like they're very nice individual homes instead of duplexes). For some odd reason, I didn't get any takers. Hmmm... Can't quite understand why.

This option is much more reasonable. There is no way we could come up with the amount that would be needed for the new part, so we're shooting for the newer section of the old part of the community. The bathroom has been upgraded to have a raised toilet added and the bathtub has been "cut out" to be a walk-in shower (or, in Ron's case - a place for his shower chair). I told here we'd like to shoot for moving in the first part of March, which gives me 2 months to raise $4350.  Maybe I should try something like this:

(Just kidding... It's not a real link.) We're going to have a moving sale and (hopefully) be able to raise quite a bit. I'm going to sell our living room sofa and love seat (they're leather and won't fit in the smaller place). They're 3 years old and hardly used so I think I can get a fair price for them. Ron has a lot of tools (some power tools) so we will probably get a bit of money from them. We have a bunch of odds and ends to put either on Craigslist or on eBay which should generate a bit more.

After we visited the retirement center, we had to go back to the doctor's office to have some more of Ron's blood drawn. His WBC, RBC, Platelets, HCT, etc is still way below normal but (overall) he feels much better.

We had a late afternoon lunch so neither of us is in the mood for supper. In fact, he's tired and will probably call it an early night.

Me, too. Work tomorrow {shudder}. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Simply Saturday

My blogging world is filled with Tadpoles, Sundays in My City, Flashback Fridays, Wordless Wednesdays, and various other things. I thought I needed to spice things up around here just a bit. So, I have come up with "Simply Saturday"..... I know, boring, eh? Oh well - I'm always a day late and a dollar short. LOL! The first day I was going to write a "Flashback Friday" post, I read one on my good friend's page. I don't really get out and about on Sundays so was glad to see that on another friend's page. Tadpoles... well, that's a whole world all by itself. I would never have thought to nickname us all as 'poles, but it's perfect and I love it.

Which leads me to Simply Saturday. Plain and simple, just like me. No thrills, no frills - yep, that pretty much sums up my Saturdays. By having "something" to write about, my creativity should be challenged just enough to make sure that I post SOMETHING relatively interesting.

I shall start this first "Saturday" post with a look back at last year. Sure, there were quite a few things that weren't the best; in fact, there were quite a few things that were positively horrid but they all turned out well. I also experienced quite a few wonderful events. My list of blessings greatly outweighs my list of down times.

I'm sure that my list of blessings should be much, much longer but I'm shooting for getting this actually posted while it's STILL Saturday. I have a bunch of things I should get done today, including some laundry and wrapping Isaiah's Christmas presents. They're coming over tomorrow afternoon and his stuff is still in my closet. I also should go to the store and get some food for tomorrow. Stacey (Ron's daughter) is bringing the hamburger but I need to get some buns, condiments, and something to go with the hamburgers. Something that Ron can actually eat (not chips). Easy on the dairy products so that lets cottage cheese out. Easy on potassium so that means potatoes are out. I've got to do some dietary overhauling for him.

Time to get cracking... I can't promise that I'll post something EVERY Saturday (heck, I'm still working on my 30-day thing) but that is one of my goals.