Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Giveaway #2

Whipped, Not Beaten by Melissa Westemeier

Synopsis from book cover: Sadie Davis is craving change. Recently dumped and working for a boss she despises, she is determined to shake up her life as a single woman in the city of Madison. She takes a side job as a home party consultant selling kitchenware, hoping that it will be the spice that turns her life around. Through failed recipes and cold ovens, Sadie works to create something that’s a bit sweeter, a lot richer, and oh, so very delicious.

Many of you know the author, Melissa Westemeier, as my blogging friend Green Girl in Wisconsin. I don't remember which one of us started reading the other person's blog first, but I'm very glad that we did. Melissa lives in NE Wisconsin with her husband and three sons, lovingly referred to as "Team Testosterone" on her blog. She always has something interesting to say and provides a humorous view of being the only female in a household full of males.

I've wanted to read her book for quite a while and finally got around to ordering it. I was not disappointed! The title is a definite play on words and makes me think of how I have often felt about what goes around in this household. I knew that I just had to read it.

If any of you have been to any kind of "home business party" you'll recognize either yourself or someone you've been to a party with. I laughed and laughed at some of the characters and thought "I know this person!" more than once. I could fully relate to Sadie in her job and her desire to enjoy a successful career.

I'm giving away a copy of this book to one lucky reader. To enter, go visit Green Girl in Wisconsin and tell Melissa that you're entering a contest on my page. Then, come back here and tell me why you'd like to win a copy. I'll use to pick a winner from all of the eligible entries (sorry, US only since this is a "real" book and not a download) on June 9, 2012.

Good luck and happy reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Giveaway #1

Valley of Sorrows by Nathalie Goldston

Synopsis: The small town of Burnett, Missouri, is shaken by the brutal murder of accountant and nature-lover Pete Taylor. Suspicion falls on his wife, Marielle, who found his body, and rumors swirl. The crime scene offers little evidence, and as the investigation grinds to a halt, Marielle is determined to solve her husband’s murder. But she will have to summon all the courage she can muster to return to the scene of the crime. For on that horrible day, she saw something she had thought was merely a bedtime story—a local legend that deep within the woods surrounding the lake where she found Pete, the ancient spirit of an Osage medicine woman named Misae protects the final resting place of her people. Misae is trying to warn Marielle there is a killer in her midst … if she only will listen.

This is an ebook that will be downloaded from Smashwords for the winning reader.

I've known Nathalie (Tika) for over 20 years. Her late husband was Ron's best friend (I may have mentioned Dub in a previous post) and we lost touch after Dub passed away in 1999. I recently discovered that she's temporarily back in my neck of the woods (but leaving soon) and I was so excited to hear she had written and published a book. I downloaded the free version and read it in a matter of 2-3 days. I stayed up late one night to finish it. I would have read it sooner except I had to go to work (darn!). 

I have to say that I was very impressed with her book. It was so nice to read about a location in my home state, albeit a fictitious one. Burnett, MO could be anywhere in MO. Tika's description of the landscape was so real and exact, I felt like I was there. I wanted to be there. I wanted to walk the streets, visit with the residents, eat at the cafe. It was that good.

For an entry, go visit Smashwords and read the synopsis and reviews. Come back here and leave a comment. I'll use to draw a winner two weeks from today, June 9. If you're not the lucky winner, you can get your own copy for only $2.99!

PrintRunner Winner!

I had four comments from US residents and put the numbers into Random.Org. And, the winner is...

Congratulations to Melissa! I have your address already so I will contact and give them your name.

I have another giveaway that I'm personally sponsoring (I'm giving away two books - one ebook and one hard copy) so watch for that post later this weekend.

I hope you all have a very blessed and safe weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend happenings

Every once in a while I'll participate in Prairie Land Food purchase for the month. Sometimes I'll buy just for us and sometimes I'll purchase a gift pack to be given to someone else. It's not a big donation but I figure any little bit to help my community in any way is a good thing. I hadn't participated for a few months because money was a little tight and the food boxes don't always have stuff in them that Ron can eat. If I can't personally use at least half of what's offered, I don't purchase for us.

Yesterday was the pick-up for May. I had purchased the "Prairie Pak" ($25), which contained Chicken Thighs - 2 lbs, Pork Sausage (chub) – 1 lb, Any*tizers Carne Asada Steak QuesaDippers with Cilantro Lime Salsa, Cheese Bratwurst - 1 lb, (4) 3.2 oz Breakfast Burritos (Egg.Lite American Cheese, Turkey Sausage and Potatoes), Lettuce, Celery, Green Peppers - 2, Onions - 2 lb bag, Tomatoes - 2, Oranges - 4,  bananas - 4, Raspberry and Cheese Sweet Roll Combo Pack.  I got the "Variety Pak" ($22), which contained (2) 8 oz Stuffed Pork Chops, (1) 10 oz Pork Tenderloin, 1.5 lbs boneless Pork Roast, (6) 6 oz boneless Pork Chops. Also, since next week is Memorial Day, I ordered a "holiday meal in a box" (these were originally offered at Christmas). It contained a large roasting hen, mashed potatoes, biscuits, frozen fruit, a 10" pie, sweet potato patties (these are really good), macaroni and cheese, frozen green beans, and a container of gravy. This was $18. All in all, I got a ton of food for $65.

I got home from picking up my boxes and started putting things away. I noticed that the ice maker tray was nearly empty (it usually makes more ice than we use) so I checked to make sure that it hadn't been shut off. It had not. I also noticed that some of the items currently in the freezer had started to soften a bit - not thawed, but definitely not frozen hard. This gave me a bit of concern so I started moving things to the deep freezer in the garage (which is not very big and now is full to the rim). I checked the fridge and things were worse there. Just cool - not cold at all.

We called the landlord and he came out to see what could be the problem. He couldn't fix it so he called a guy who does a lot of maintenance stuff for rentals his church has investments in. Only problem is that he can't come until Monday. The milk-based products (that I just bought Thursday!) were either tossed or are now in the freezer. I had to throw out a crock-pot full of chicken/vegetable soup and a one-pound package of hamburger that had been defrosting. The veggies and fruit are OK in the fridge crispers. The freezer items are safely ensconced in the garage. Now to just patiently wait for the repairman.

Two of our granddaughters graduated from high school yesterday and we had been invited to each celebration. Ron did not feel well enough to get out so I decided to not leave him. He fell again Friday morning and hit the front of my curved-glass front china hutch. Thankfully, I was there when he fell and he didn't land IN the cabinet - just skimmed it going down.

I found out it will be at least $200 to replace the front glass so, for now, it's empty. At least no one will cut themselves on it now. LOL! My good deal ($150) on the cabinet isn't such a good deal any longer.

We sold the chair that was in the way of getting a new lift chair for Ron. Now, I just need to find a chair for about the same price ($300-ish) for him. Problem with living in Small Town USA is running to look at used chairs means you drive all over to find something and then it might not suit your needs. I've been emailing people from Craigslist ads but haven't had any luck (yet) in finding something.

We're going forward with Day Care for Ron. I am filling out the SRS paperwork for financial assistance but I discovered that Medicaid doesn't pay for assisted living room and board. Based on our current living expenses (and not taking into consideration cable, Internet, telephone, gasoline, or groceries), I would be short about the cost of my rent for Ron to go to assisted living right now. {sigh} I'm doing my best, really I am, but it looks like I'm falling short.

I have to keep telling myself that things are really OK. I'll get by. I will manage. I am a strong person and I will get through this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

If I told you...

That some of the things I do for Ron, I do out of a feeling of obligation instead of out of love? And, that I resent it? Would it make any difference in what you think of me? If it does, should I care? For the most part, I do a good job. Other times, not so much...

I have my days, and then I have my days. I thought we were on a pretty good roll this week even though we've had some challenges. Sometimes it's very challenging to get him situated and comfortable. Make no mistake - I do love my husband and I do my best to do everything with love and compassion. Sometimes, I have some difficulty keeping my patience.

Last week, I took him to the ER and I thought at the time that it was mostly stress and depression. Since they didn't find anything too substantial wrong with him and sent him home. He's been up and down emotionally since he chose to give his dog to his friend, Chuck. Each day this week I have not been sure what I was going to come home to. Each night has been a challenge to get him situated in bed. He says he's fine but he's not.

Tonight when I got home from the store he was in another of the down moods. He'd had a bathroom accident and that seemed to start the spiral. I don't even consider it bad - just a little mishap - and he cleaned it up. He says he's too weak to be home alone. Amy and I tell him he's weak because he's not doing regular exercises to build up and maintain his strength. We talk about the future. He doesn't want to go to assisted living but he knows that he really can't stay home alone. It's enough to get depressed over, and I mean for anyone.

I'm calling the doctor again tomorrow to see if there is anything he would suggest or he can do to speed things up. Ron is not suicidal but he recognizes that his anti-depressant is not doing enough. He sent his handgun home with Rex tonight. He said there's no telling what someone who descends into deep depression is capable of and what will happen if they reach that point of no return.  Amy and I each tried to tell him how important it is to focus on finding even just one thing - no matter how small - to find joy in. He seems to be in a better frame of mind tonight.

But, I'm still getting that phone call made tomorrow. I wonder if the doctor can admit him for depression or weakness - or something - and then see about having him discharged to "rehab" until we can get the assisted living lined up. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Catching up - once again!

The days seem to just blend into one another and the weeks stack right up on top of each other. It's so hard to believe that the year is nearly one-half over! Baby Anna is now six months old (amazing!) and it seems like just last week that she was a newborn. She's growing so much and getting such a cute little personality. Amy said when she picks Anna up from day care, she's usually playing in a bouncer so they went and bought her one. You can see that she really likes it. It's a bit blurry because she's bouncing, bouncing, bouncing!

I tried to create a new banner picture for my Facebook page of all my grandbabies in birth order. I don't have any early pictures of Isaiah on my computer so his was of his first birthday. Unfortunately, FB didn't upload the photo the way I wanted to so I'm back to the drawing board on it. They are (in birth order) Isaiah (Amy's), Alexander (Shaun's), Kaitlyn (Shaun's), Zachary (Shaun's), Anna (Amy's), and Tristan (Shaun's newest). It's amazing how much alike Shaun's boys look. Except for Isaiah, these are all their "coming home" photos. I had one of Kaitlyn in her car seat, too but the toys hanging down pretty much blocked her face. She is such a beautiful child with long dark hair. All of the kids are beautiful (I'm not just prejudiced, either - lol - much). It's hard to tell in the picture but Tristan was the heaviest of all the kids at 8 lbs 6.5 oz and 21 inches. Isaiah was a little over 7 pounds and 20.5 inches. I don't remember Anna's weight (I think she was close to 7 pounds) but she was only 19 inches long. Shaun's other babies were all right at 6 lbs and a few ounces - and 19 inches long.

On this Mother's Day I feel incredibly blessed to be "grandma" to these babies and to be grandma to our grown up grandkids (Tim's three - Shelby, Hayden, Zane - and Stacey's two - Mariah and Faith). Even though we don't see Tim's kids very often we love them and think about them often. In fact, Shelby's graduating from high school this next week and I'm planning on attending her graduation Saturday (if Ron feels up to it). Faith is also graduating this coming Saturday and we've been invited to her celebration as well. Thankfully they are two different times during the day so we can hit both (if he's up to it).

We visited Schowalter's "adult day care" and assisted living center on Friday. The day care is not as expensive as I thought it would be ($58 per day) and he wouldn't have to go every day. We thought we'd try 2-3 days per week and see how it is. He could have breakfast and lunch there. They have to come over and do an assessment to make sure they can offer him the care and services he needs (had to laugh at this since "I" am the one currently offering the care and services he needs - without training or assistance) and then we could go from there. I got a 14 page booklet to apply for Medicaid for him to see if we can actually get some assistance with a program called Home and Community Based Assistance. It's where they try to help seniors (or disabled individuals) stay in their homes longer. It's cheaper than assisted living and could possibly give us a little bit of assistance. The lion's share of the expenses would be on us but could possibly help with resources.

The advantage of Ron going to day care some during the week would put him higher on the waiting list if he needed to go to assisted living. That fee is about $3500 per month and without Medicaid we could not afford that. SRS (Social and Rehabilitation Services) will take that application I'll fill out and divide our assets (haha - as such as they are) and decide what percentage of Ron's disability income and retirement pay will go toward his care and what percentage of my salary will go toward it) and then Medicaid will help with the rest.

Ron's not against getting the ball rolling but he says he's not ready to move to assisted living yet. I told him that I agreed that most days I didn't feel like he needed that much assistance. Other days, I was sure that he needed more than I could provide. Case in point - last Monday I had to take him to the ER. He fell again over the weekend that I was in KC and he was just sick. They did a CT scan and x-rays of his shoulder, knee, and arm. I'm sure we got our extremely high deductible covered (now just have to figure out how to pay for it)! If he had been at day care or respite care while I was gone, I'm not sure he would have been in a position to have fallen. Maybe - but maybe not.

The social worker said it was best that we start now instead of when we need it. It is not a fast process so even if he gets approved for assistance, I'll be paying the $$ for the care up front for however long it takes to get approved.

Today we are going to brunch (LOL - in the afternoon) with Amy and Rex and Keith. It will be a nice day. I know Ron has a card for me because he had Amy get one at the store yesterday (I tried to not notice when she brought it in and gave it to him). He said he owes her $20 so there's something else that she got, too. Probably some candy that I'll love but that I don't need (doesn't mean I won't eat it!). I probably have cards in the mailbox waiting for me (haven't been to the mailbox for a few days). I will go pick up my mail sometime today just so the box doesn't get too full (it's down the street but not on the way home so I forget to go get the mail).

Well, I think this book is probably long enough and I better close out. Speaking of books, I have a lot of author friends and I just re-connected with another. Ron's bestest friend in the whole world passed away in 1999 and after that time we lost touch with his ex-wife (we'd been friends for years but after their divorce she moved to St. Louis). I had heard she was back in Wichita so I did a search on FB for her and sure enough, there she was. I started clicking some links and discovered she's just published a book - Valley of Sorrows (her name is Nathalie Goldston if you want to search for it) - and the download is free this week. I downloaded it and plan on reading it this week. I can't wait to read it as the reviews are very positive. I am also planning on ordering another book from another blogging friend, Green Girl in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I can't get hers electronically yet but a hard copy (autographed I hope!) will be great.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers or just mother another! May your day be blessed!


Friday, May 11, 2012

New Blogger Interface?

How do you all feel about it? I HATE it. The old interface will be going away 'soon' and the new one will be forced on us f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

I may go to another blog world. Wordpress? What else is out there? I hate to lose all my stuff but I hate the new interface. I can't find anything. I've missed so many updates from my friends that I'm sure that some of them think I've left or never read. I just never see the posts! I just don't like it. I don't have time to try and figure out what has scrolled off.

I gotta figure something out.

I do have some news to write posts about but I don't know if I'll get to it or not.

Remember to enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Giveaway

This giveaway comes to you compliments of was established with not much more than a small printing press and a dream. Ten years later, the company has become one of the foremost quality printers in Southern California. They have a commitment to provide the best possible value and high quality full-color printing at affordable prices. This commitment to quality and value is what has helped the company excel and grow. PrintRunner is located in Chatsworth, California.

Disclaimer: I want to thank PrintRunner for providing us with this giveaway. As a “thank you” to me for hosting, I will be receiving a set of postcards.

The giveaway is open to US Residents, over the age of 18, only. is giving one lucky reader the opportunity to win 100 high quality 5x7 postcards! This is a great deal, especially if you’ve ever wanted to have some special printing done. They will be printed on 14 PT UV coated (front) paper, with rounded corners. Colors will be 4/0 front-only printing (this is a blend of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). The printing term “4/0” refers to these four colors on the front and no color on the back. No proof will be provided to the winner, so it is up to you (the winner) to proof-read and verify the information you are providing to Once receives your information, the postcards will be available to ship in four (4) business days.

Before I agree to host giveaways, I research the company offering free items. I have to say I’m impressed with and their ability to let you print online. They have a lot of services and I can see why they’ve grown so well. They offer everything from stickers to banners; bookmarks to brochures; and business cards to bumper stickers. They offer a wide range of products; in fact, I found several things that I’d like to have. You all know how much I love paper stuff - I’m very impressed! You can create your postcard file and then print online!

To enter, leave a comment here on how you’d use 100 postcards. I can think of a few things… birth announcement, business news, large-size business cards (just think of the people you could reach with those!), and so much more…

For an additional entry, go to Facebook and “like” and then come back and tell me that you did.

I’ll use to find a winner.

This giveaway is open until May 14, 2012 and prize will be awarded on May 31, 2012.

Stuck with me!

OK – I’ve taken a few days to reflect and decided SCREW IT! Ya’ll are stuck with me! This is the only place (and I do mean ONLY) where I can say anything (and I’ve said just about anything, too). I can’t post a lot of what I say on FB because my mother and my husband both see that. I can’t verbally tell my husband some of the things because… well, he just doesn’t understand. I don’t always have to have a comment back (although you all are TERRIFIC at giving me encouragement) but I sure do enjoy them when I get them.

I know that I need to work on being a better person. I should know that the things Ron does aren’t done maliciously or intentionally. But, some days the things he says or does just gets under my skin like a chigger and I dig and dig at it. For instance, every morning without fail I make him a cup of hot tea with Metamucil in it, some kind of breakfast shake (he likes these and they’re easy for him), and a jug of ice water. If he hasn’t picked up his pill container and taken it to the living room, I get it for him. On the rare mornings that I’m running very far behind, I will tell him in advance which of these items I’m going to have time to take care of. Even if I’m running late, I usually just don’t do something for myself so that I can take care of his things. Every morning – I’ll cut him some slack – OK, nearly every morning, he’ll ask me if I’m going to get him his water, his breakfast, his medications, or his tea, or whatever. Some mornings it’s OK. I’ve tried to explain to him that I do these things every day and that they’re part of my morning routine. The only mornings I don’t automatically get all of these things ready is when he’s sleeping and I ask him if he wants them laid out anyway (in which case, he would say yes or no).

I should know that deep down he’s just not remembering that we’ve discussed this multiple times (every week) and that it’s not anything more than that. Unfortunately, in the moment I let that thought slip by me and I take it personally. I see it (at the time) as a personal insult to my intelligence and all the things that I do for him. I see that he doesn’t even have a clue of how much responsibility I’ve taken on for him and his well-being and all he can see is that at that very moment, he doesn’t have his water, his tea, his medicine, or his breakfast right in front of him – waiting – when he comes out of the bedroom in the morning. This morning, I was really an ass. I had to apologize for upsetting him. I know that his mindset is fragile and that his short-term memory is just about non-existent but ~~ darn it!~~ sometimes I just have to let go of the frustration.

This morning was bad because Maisey didn’t get put out in time (I pick her straight up and head for the door, but she slept with Ron last night and he didn't do that) and I had to clean up the carpet (grrr!). Then, I had to look up something on my computer and it decided that it had to run a sector scan (that was scary) and reboot. So, I was behind schedule practically before the day even got started. The last few days have been very hectic. Ron fell several times over the weekend (twice Friday - almost three times - and once Saturday) and was very confused all day Saturday. He slept most of the day on the chair in the living room and could barely keep his eyes open to even talk to me. Of course, when he’s like this he’s always in denial that something else is going on (or could be going on). He always says something like he’s just tired. No, I was tired… I woke up to a loud crashing sound in the living room at 6:15 and found him sprawled out all over the floor. It was tough getting him up and my back is not happy with me yet. He slept all night Saturday and then spent most of Sunday sleeping as well. We’ve discussed assisted living arrangements but I just don’t feel like it’s time yet. I think it’s unfair of me to want to ship him off somewhere just to make my life easier. We are giving Maisey away (hopefully, we have her a new home but not sure yet) and that will make things a bit easier for me. I can get the carpets cleaned and not have to worry about her having an accident because she’s not put out soon enough in the morning.

Tonight, Ron is much better and Maisey has forgotten that I know she peed on the floor. She was all excited to see me. LOL - silly dog.

Watch for my giveaway post... I'm still working on the details for it.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I so appreciate them, more than you can possibly know.