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Archive for September, 2019

Kind of Rambly Update

September 18th, 2019 at 01:30 pm

Yesterday I took my daughter to her endocrinologist. He is switching her meds from hydrocortizone to prednisone and the generic thyroid med to the brand name Synthroid. For some reason our insurance covers the name brand but not the generic. He says he'd rather have her on Synthroid anyway because it is made in America and a lot of the generics are being made in China and India and the quality may not be the same.

We are hoping the switching to prednisone will help with some of the high blood pressure symptoms she has been going through and the water retention.

Then today I took Mom to the surgery center to have a cataract removed in one eye, then my daughter to her follow up visit to her GP which was right next door, then picked Mom up right after and came home. I have physical therapy at 4:00 today and I really don't want to go as I am dragging so hard today, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do.

Tomorrow I have to take Mom to the eye doctor to have the dressing removed so it will be another early morning for me, though thankfully not as early. After that I go have surgery on my other big toe.

Someone (Sue?) asked what I was having surgery for. I have a strong tendency to ingrown toenails and what is being done is they go down the side of the nailbed and and kill the nail, just that little bit on the edges. Then the nails don't grow into the sides of the toes anymore. I've had two other toes done before and never had problems with them again and after my most recent bout with one I am just done. It's a pain to do and the pain lasts several weeks, though in diminishing amounts.

On Monday I took DS to the neurologist and he has not skipped the family tendency towards migraines. He's been getting auras with them. She put him on Topamax and he is feeling the difference already.

What else? Oh, I cut his hair two days ago, number 8 on the clippers. He was getting to the point that my daughter had nicknamed him Scraggamuffin, a cross between scraggly and ragamuffin. He looks so much better, now. So that saved us $13 plus tip at the barber. I did DH's a week ago. Those clippers are a great investment. We bought a pair 15 years ago and they paid for themselves within the first two haircuts and now nothing but free.

DD wants me to do hers the same way. She doesn't have the energy to fiddle with her hair anymore, so I will probably do it even though I'd like hers to be an inch or two longer. But this isn't about what I want, it's about what makes it easier to cope with life with all her myriad diseases. Though I might actually take her to the barber instead, they have one that does female hair pretty short but not majorly styled. Just not as short as a clipper cut.

I probably need to go and get my hair cut, too. It's grown out a couple of inches past my shoulders and I really don't want to deal with long hair again. I like a chin length bob these days. The only down side is it requires more than one hair cut a year and I only go to a nice place because the cheap ones have screwed up my hair and all they want to do is flat iron my hair and not work with my curls. The only problem is I don't have the energy or the inclination to flat iron my hair so don't want a cut that would be fine with that but not my curls. I just want to wash, rinse, pick out the curls and go and that's the type of cut I need.

I think some hair dressers just don't understand how to work with curly hair. And my hair is just weird. My hair is really curly from the ears back, but it is straight on the top four inches of the crown and then in the front, the part that would be bangs and tendrils if I had them is also straight. It seems to confuse some people, but I have three different ones at the place I go to that get it right, so it is one of the few things I will pay a little more for.

Just a few more days until DH and I go on our mini-vacation. I am so looking forward to dumping all of my responsibilities and running away for a couple of days. Life has been exhausting lately. I just want to do nothing of importance with my DH and recharge.

Retirement Update

September 15th, 2019 at 05:31 pm

The IRA has completely recovered now and is slightly beyond where it was. The 401K is gaining nicely. The previous balance was $20,127.80.

$12,181.55 401K balance
+_9,113.07 IRA balance
--------------
$21,294.62 Total Retirement balance.

It has gone up by $1,166.82 in two weeks. May it continue on this course.

Less Limping Along

September 14th, 2019 at 01:30 am

Well, I am finally able to walk without limping after my toe surgery on the 6th. It still hurts a little when I try to put it in a shoe, so I will stick with flip flops for a couple more days before trying again.

I managed to get some canning done this week. I have done 7 quarts of French cut green beans. I am kind of thinking I might have just wanted to do pint and a half jars now, but oh, well. We'll have some leftovers. You can get a lot more French cut beans in a jar than regular cut.

I also canned 4 quarts and 1 pint and a half jar of really rich, gelatinous chicken bone broth. I made it in the Instant Pot while I was making chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) for pastaless chicken Alfredo. After the first batch, I put in more chicken, did it again, took it out, put in more chicken and did it again, all in the same broth without adding more water, so it got richer and richer with each pressure cook. It is amazing and tastes so good and is a deep, rich yellow color. I'll do it again when I make chicken enchiladas.

I managed to get two freezer meals in the freezer so far and tomorrow I will do 2 pans of beef enchiladas for the freezer. I made one pan up tonight that we will have for dinner tomorrow. It was a new recipe and I really like how the sauce turns out. I did it in the Instant Pot instead of the slow cooker like the recipe calls for. A lot of slow cooker recipes can be easily adapted. I also need to make up a big batch of meatballs. We're going to try brown rice spaghetti and I'd like to have the really good meatballs to balance things if the noodles turn out to be less than spectacular.

Also tomorrow I hope to can some more tomatoes although I may push that to Sunday. I am doing the rest in pints and saving our remaining quart jars for green beans and potatoes. I might get some more beans done tomorrow, too. We got the last of the corn in, but it is just for fresh eating. There are still more green beans and tomatoes out there growing.

I did get the sausage made up for breakfast burritos, but threw it in the freezer as I am not sure when we will get those made. I may end up using all the tortillas for enchiladas.

I am feeling a bit under the weather, so I have mostly just been eating egg flower soup and cheesy rice crackers the last couple of days. Not ideal, I am not hitting enough calories in a day, but there is protein in the soup and no noodles. I am hoping with making broth the way I have started to I will be able to make my own egg flower soup and it will taste really good and also have a denser, richer chicken soup as well.

There is also a chance I may just stay in bed all weekend and do nothing. Depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning.

Through the Storm

September 8th, 2019 at 04:37 pm

Last night my husband and I were caught out in the most violent thunder and lightning storm I have ever seen in my life. I was just thankful we were together. We had just finished up our grocery shopping and I'd gotten in the van and it kept feeling like someone was flashing a strobe light. It took us until we got out onto the road before I realized that it was lightning and not a light show of some sort, because that was when the massive forks started.

We made it the mile home, passing a couple of bicyclists who I very much worried for the safety of, and sat in the driveway for an hour as the lightning forked all around us. We saw 52 distinctive forking strikes and another 3 dozen sky flashes, at least. Sometimes there were two or three forking strikes completely unattached to each other at the same time. The thunder, though, was the scariest part because it tells you how close the lightning is. I didn't even make it to half a second at the worst part of the storm.

We told the kids to stay in the house and not try to come out to us. The groceries were in insulated bags and we knew the safe time for meat to sit out is two hours. We knew we were safe in the car with the rubber tires insulating us.

I could feel the amount of electricity in the air. I am sensitive to electricity since I was electrocuted as a kid. If I go under high voltage power lines I feel it in the back of my neck and in my joints and all my hairs stand up and my skin feels like it wants to crawl away. This was like that on steroids.

There were a couple of times I screamed. Not from the lightning but from the thunder. My adrenaline was going overtime. For half of it, it didn't rain, but when it let loose, it really pounded down.

We lost internet for about the second half of the storm, but not cell service. But the lightning strikes kept turning off my phone camera, so I wasn't able to get any footage. I had wanted to show the kids what it looked like.

We had a couple false starts thinking the storm had ended, but then the next part of it would move through. Finally the storm moved away and once the thunder was 9 seconds behind the lightning and the rain had eased off we finally went into the house.

I have never seen anything like this storm. People misuse the word awesome all the time, but this truly was awesome. The amount of awe inspired by it was kind of jaw dropping. It was beautiful, in a way that only nature can be. It was definitely a case of "His power throughout the universe displayed," as the old hymn (How Great Thou Art) goes. It was hard to believe that something so dangerous can have such much beauty in it. But beautiful or not, I was the most grateful person in the world when it ended. I hope never to experience anything like that again. Once was more than enough.

Changing Things Up in the Kitchen

September 4th, 2019 at 08:57 pm

I've decided to try going wholesale into freezer cooking this next pay period. We are still eating out too much and I am tired of paying the money. DS is on board with helping with prep work. So I need to have five meals that are not too carb heavy and just two that are and then double that so we will have 14 dinners in the freezer and then also get some meatballs in there. I don't like to have a lot of carb heavy meals in a week. I might actually make 3 of some meals just to get ahead a little.

So I think on our agenda this time will be:

Meatloaf
Beef Enchiladas
Peppers and Sausage
Shredded Beef Tacos
Sausage Crust Pizza Casserole
Lasagna
Beef Carnitas
Meatballs

Then the next payday the focus will be on chicken. So far I have:

Chicken Pot Pies (biscuit crust)
Spaghetti Casserole with Chicken Sausage
Chicken Stew
Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Curry
Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Casserole
Turkey dinner (mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing)

I'd also like to have a few ziploc bags of real mashed potatoes in there. We won't have beef every day the first two weeks, I will continue to cook a few nights a week so we will have variety, but eventually when we have enough in the freezer I can rotate a little more. Then when I want to plan for mashed potatoes but not for peeling or chopping them, we can pull out a bag and thaw it. And then I can make up a quick vegetable side for dinners, usually a can of green beans, some frozen broccoli, or Normandy veggies.

For breakfasts I am going to make:

Egg white, spinach, and ham in muffin tins
Egg bake with shredded zucchini, sausage, ham, tomatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon
Breakfast burritos
Egg Muffin sandwiches with Canadian bacon
Egg Muffin sandwiches with Denver omelet ingredients

For lunches we will have salad fixings, I usually eat either ham and turkey salads or steak salads for lunch or if we have seafood from fishing, that. I will also put some more chicken mac, chicken casseroles, skillet lasagnas, and chicken alfredo (no fettucine) in the freezer for the kids.

I may swap the beef/pork list with the chicken list if sales are better, but hopefully sales will cooperate with my plans. I think in the long run we will save a lot more money this way.

Busy Weekend Cleaning and Preserving Food

September 2nd, 2019 at 11:10 pm

Friday was DH's 50th birthday. He didn't want a bunch of hoopla so we just had a quiet celebration at home. Saturday was spent canning tomatoes and Sunday was spent cleaning out our bedroom and closet. We had so many boxes in the closet and along one wall of the bedroom that it was a hazard for me to try to get into the closet or open the curtains.

We went through so many boxes. We ended up with 10 garbage bags worth of clothes and old but good condition sheet sets for a bed size we don't even have anymore for Goodwill. We also donated some top sheets that were in great shape, but the bottom sheets had to be thrown out.

We donated a couple of our ugly blankets that we were given by other people that don't fit any color scheme in the house and never did, but we used them until we could find the colors we liked. There was also a nice set of two throw blankets that we were given for our wedding that I donated. They were a dark blue and white plaid and we used them for years, but they just don't fit our needs or color tastes and we aren't even in touch with the people who gave them to us.

We also shredded or recycled 8 grocery bags full of paper. I thought we had shredded all the old papers, but there were a couple of boxes of documents we didn't need anymore. I did find the old copy of Mom's will that sorely needs to be updated since most of those assets don't exist anymore, having been used up on Dad's care before he died. We'll need to get a new shredder soon. We have two semi-functional ones, although the one makes a horrible noise and the other is rapidly becoming non-functional. They are both really old, though.

But now I can walk over to the window without tripping on anything and open the curtains and blinds myself and close them, which sounds like such a small thing, but when you are disabled, having a clear pathway is huge. I can also go into my closet now and everything is hung up and the floor is clear.

There is still more to be done. I need to vacuum the floor and scrub the windows and there are a few smaller boxes to go through, but they are up out of the way on the closet shelves now. DH fixed a broken wall attachment for one of the dowels we hang clothes on so that rod is usable now, too.

Today was spent snapping green beans and canning them. Mom helped a lot today and I am very grateful for it. I shouldn't have to can tomatoes again for a couple of days and no green beans probably for a week. I do have to take down my dried oregano and parsley, take all the leaves off the stems, and put them in storage jars, and it is probably time to dehydrate another batch of basil as well.

I am hoping that boneless skinless chicken thighs and chuck roast go on sale soon. I need to do up some canned chicken and beef. I also need to start working on canning potatoes. It is my least favorite thing to do because of all the peeling and chopping, but I do have my little potato peeler, so I'll be using that. It is worth it in the winter time to not have to peel and chop every time I want to use potatoes.

I am thinking about not doing a garden next year as I have been so tired the last few years. But probably when spring comes I will change my mind as I always do. The food is always worth it, but sometimes I really struggle to keep up with the garden work. There is so much local food available here and I can buy one batch's worth at a time to can instead of having a glut or only two jars worth at a time.

I'll seriously have to think on it. I have to make pickles tomorrow. They will be fermented though, so far less work than canning.