My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Week IN Review

Things that crossed my mind during the last week, in no particular order because I have been on radio silence here all week for no good reason.

Austin's girlfriend Tasha's parents came and had dinner with us tonight. I was against it. I'm really having social anxiety issues. Any new social situation, even in my home, or even a social situation that I've handled a thousand times before all of a sudden becomes a big... "I just don't want to". I feel so far removed from life outside the Whine Cellar. It's just hard to connect because my life is one big "disclaimer".

"No, I don't work because of my back. I can't sit long because of my back. I can't stand long because of my back. I don't go out to eat because it hurts my back. I don't go to church because of my back. I live in my parents' basement because of my back. "

And a thousand other things "I don't do because of my back" which then runs into the conversation of what exactly is wrong with my back and how hopeless it all is and how disability is still open but who knows what the final answer will be or even when the final hearing will be held. And I know about half the people zone out or think that there has to be something they could do and I end up being defensive and pessimistic.
So, anyways, it's such a huge buzzkill to be "that girl" with all the crazy back stuff. And I want people to care but I don't want them to feel sorry for me - or even worse, in the telling and retelling of my life since this whole thing came about, it's emotional for me. It's just hard to live in a state of not knowing if I'll get disability or what I will do if I don't and...

But, truth be told, Tasha's parents are sweet, simple country folks and we had a nice dinner and visit and I sat at the dining room table to eat and picked at my food because that much pain makes me nauseous. I can sit and visit around the dinner table but I don't eat much. Later, in my little "sewing nest" which is a loveseat with an ottoman for me to prop my feet and be totally comfy (also it's where the best light is) I was working on my latest cross stitch project (which is a gift so I can't tell what it is but it's adorable and I'm making fast work of it) while everyone was down at the dock. (I couldn't make the climb up from the dock today as Evil Gut Pain is back and in control right now) Tasha's mom came and slipped in beside me in the loveseat and was going through my patterns and checking out my (perfectly organized) thread box. Then her dad came and sat on the ottoman right in front of us. They were all up in my personal space and I kept thinking, "this should freak me out. this would normally freak me out" but it didn't. They are so kind to Austin and they are good Christian people and I appreciate that they are that interested in what I'm doing that they wanted to get close enough to observe my progress.

Anyways... Big Brother (the tv show, not the person) has me feeling stabby tonight. Frankie, who I wanted to like because two people I know in real life know Frankie in real life and I dig that whole "degree of separation" thing, I wanted to totally be a Frankie fan but after today... nope. He's on ignore for me for the rest of his life. There's a sweet girl in the house who is Jewish, born in Israel. English is not her first language. She's a virgin. Frankie made some nasty comments about getting her drunk and raping her "two ways" if you get what I mean and if you don't, you don't want to. It's vile. That's not all the objectionable stuff he's said over the course of the game but that was the most personally offensive that he's said. I know it's for a lot of money but rape - and even joking about rape - is low-class, even if your sister is Ariana Grande.

Other things from this week... the girls and I made birthday cards for my Cody (whose birthday is today!) and my brother Bryan (whose birthday is tomorrow). They involved lots of glitter. I put a warning on my brother's because I didn't want him to be in work clothes and end up taking a glitter shower. Tasha was trying to teach the girls how to do origami but it was perfect storm of too much activity in the room, girls who were too tired to focus on making lots of little flowers. I never want to push them to do things. I just like to have fun things ready for them to do if they want. Some days they just want to come and chill out in front of the tv and that is way cool with me.

Me and Pop got up at first light this morning to go grocery shopping. It's my preferred time to go even if it meant dragging myself out of bed in the 6am hour. I splurged on a pumpkin spice latte. We got lots of good "stock up" kind of groceries and in general just had a good time. I'm so blessed to have parents that I enjoy spending time with... who also, mostly, enjoy spending time with me. As much as I hate the circumstances that have made it so that I have to live in my parents' basement... I will always treasure this time I've had with them. How many of us, as adults, get to spend much time with our parents other than holidays? And the thing is... I enjoy their company... I appreciate how they provide for me... they don't bug me about doing things that I don't feel like doing. I'm very happy that this is home for me for this season of life.

I also am enjoying this time of life to be able to pursue creative outlets like cross-stitchin'. It's just good for my mental well-being to do productive things, especially things that will make other people happy. I enjoy doing crafts with my nieces and passing along knowledge to them. I want them to look back one day and say, "my Aunt Heather taught me how to do this when I was a little girl" and know that I made a difference in their lives. I pray that they will always know how much I love them. I also pray that one day my brother David's family will be a part of our family again because I would love to love on his babies the same way I love on Sarabeth and Jamie... the same way my parents love on their grandchildren... We put a lot of love and effort into making "Mawmaw and Pop's house" and "Aunt Heather apartment" places where they feel loved and cherished.

College Football is back in season. I promised my boys that I would convert from Florida to Florida State once one of them give me a grandchild. So far nobody has ponied up but maybe later this fall... I watched the first part of the FSU game but just can't get passed Jameis Winston. Dislike.

I've been falling asleep earlier every night because of my new med. I'll take it. The only time I'm not in pain is when I'm asleep and sometimes it even invades my sleep world. The new med is also making me a bit mellow about things, which helps. This pain, the whole disability battle, not having adequate health care, the isolation from not being able to get out and about much, the anxiety in social situations (which is new for this former extrovert)... all of that SHOULD have me curled up in a little ball in a little rubber room but honestly, there is so much good in my life. My life looks different than I expected but there is a lot of really good stuff in my life.

And that's what's happened over the past week. Some of it. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Answer Me This - The Final Episode

I'm linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year for her last edition of Answer Me This. I have loved doing this because it's great blog fodder and my blog pageviews double whenever I do one. If you have never checked out Kendra's blog, you should. She has a sweet family and they travel and homeschool and are very interesting. Much more interesting than me! 

1. What is your favorite picture book?

Oh... I have several! I love picture books and will often check them out from the library, even though they're way too heavy. I love when Austin goes with my to the library so he can carry them. 

One of my favorites was a gift from my brother Bryan and his girlfriend Candice for Christmas one year. It's about what people eat... it shows people from all over the world and the food they eat. It's very interesting and eye opening to see how much Americans eat in relation to what some cultures and countries have to eat. 

I have a book about Fashion history that has gorgeous full color pictures. That combines my loves of history and costuming which, trust me, being a good costumer means having a good knowledge of clothes throughout the years. 

I also bought a HUGE photo book on Princess Diana that was regularly $80 - I got it for $5! I miss being near Barnes and Noble so I can shop their clearance tables. Photo books are right in my wheel house since I almost exclusively read non-fiction. 

2. Are you a boycotter?

Yes, but not in an "in your face, you're a horrible person if you don't do it with me" way. It's more of a silent protest/vote with my pocketbook thing. For example, I won't watch any TV show with Charlie Sheen in it because he's such a waste of flesh. I don't want to be responsible for putting one dime in his bank account. I won't watch MSNBC news channel because they're so wildly liberal. That sort of thing. 

3. How do you feel about cheese?

I'm using Kendra's graphic for this because I second that emotion. I'm a big fan of good cheese. I love fresh mozzarella. I love a good brie. Freshly grated parmesan, not the kind in the green can. I could (and have) lived off a cheese and cracker tray for a week. A little fruit, a little cheese, a good baguette... I'm set. 

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

Just one for me, the same one that I have had for years that I bought at the dollar store. I keep some Hello Kitty glasses in my car for the girls but we hardly ever drive my car anymore (and it currently won't start because it has sat for so long). This current pair is missing some of the little rhinestones in places and I don't care. They're my faves. 

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

Too long. I have a broken tooth that is a time bomb waiting to go off but people with no money and no dental insurance don't have a lot of choices. 

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

I know most Christians would say, "The Holy Land" but I'm way too fearful of the unrest in that part of the world. I'm more interested in visiting Billy Graham's neck of the woods. Or seeing beautiful chapels/cathedrals/churches in non-wartorn places around the world. There are some really sweet churches in Cades Cove. The thing for me is that God is everywhere. I believe that some of the best religious sites in the world are as random as the back porch swing where you sit to pray/clear your  thoughts. Any place can be Holy Ground. 

So that's it for this edition of Answer Me This. Check out the links of other blogs who have answered these same questions by visiting Kendra's blog with all the linky-dinks.

Last night I finished my big cross stitch project and today I start on my Christmas projects. Only four months to go... so I've got to work fast. That last project took six weeks of stitching every day for many, many hours a day. I'm proud of it and very happy with how it came out. I knew I wanted to add the additional family members besides just our immediate family so I made a border of names of our kids and spouses in chronological order to how they joined our family. I absolutely love it! It includes my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great-great grandparents!

So that's about it for today. Time to get a little something to eat and get busy sewing. Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Randoms

Yesterday's post got more views than any other post I've written all year. I guess that means I should do more editorials and fewer whines here on the old blog. I'll work on that. Usually I do my best writing when I'm either passionate or really hacked off about something. Being a hermit means I rarely get motivated one way or another unless it affects my person or my pocketbook or comes across via television or internet. I mean, it's great for my blood pressure, bad for my creativity. Plus, I'm most creative while driving alone and I rarely go far and don't often go alone.

At any rate... here are some snagged photos of my eldest, Ryan and his lovely Lady Sara from their vacation to Myrtle Beach. They're pretty durn cute, if I do say so myself!


Come home soon, Boo! I miss you!

Today was my regularly scheduled visit to the pain clinic plus my bi-annual mammogram. I love how pampered they make you feel at the Imaging Center for mammograms... I mean, the robes are comfy and thick enough that you don't feel exposed while you're waiting with the other ladies... they even WARM the robes for you! They have snacks out and beverages in the waiting room. It's like they want to make it up to you for having to be naked from the waist up while someone makes your girls two-dimensional. It's a shame every doctor experience isn't so luxurious. Maybe I'm just going to the wrong doctors.

I will say that the pain clinic is wonderfully accommodating. I never, ever, ever have to wait. Dr. Matt is such a sweet guy and always remembers what is going on with me. He always has plenty of time to discuss things - which is weird since I never have to wait - and respects my input. The Nurse Practitioner I saw at the County Health Department had suggested a medication that might be able to lessen my need for some other meds I'm taking that are less desirable (and more expensive). I had researched things and told him why I thought the new drug was a good idea and he totally agreed. I know that pain clinics are often frequented by people who have less noble reasons for visiting and I feel like he gets that I am not an addict, nor do I want to be an addict. So, anyways, this was an uneventful visit other than adding the new medication with the hopes of weaning off some others.

I've got a few thoughts about the reporter who was beheaded by a terrorist. That's coming soon.

I've also been really thinking about what it will be like to be a grandmother because although there's not a potential grandchild on the way, it's going to happen eventually, Lord willing. I want to do some specific blog entries for my descendants because I want to make sure that my grandkids can look me up on the internet after I'm dead and gone and feel like they knew me. I won't likely live close to 2/3 of my grands but I want them to know me. When my nieces were born I lived 100+ miles away from them and we always have had a close relationship. I can do it. And my niece Jamie really likes the idea of having a baby cousin. She said all her friends have baby cousins and she doesn't. I said, "that's because you ARE the baby cousin in our family!" Another generation will be a great blessing and our family will love them to pieces.

Anyways... so that's my Thursday. Austin's off with his girlfriend and I have the Whine Cellar all to myself again! I'm looking forward to a super peaceful, anti-social Thursday night! Love and hugs to all of you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In The News

My mom is busy having a colonoscopy this morning so I'm sharing my Nest with the Dog Who Must Have Body Heat Or He Will Die. That means I'm sitting crooked so he has plenty of room and I'm covered up with a fuzzy blanket so that he's comfortable. It's a dog's life.

Tomorrow I have a mammogram and a pain doctor appointment. Should be a real. good. time. not. I thought the mammogram was today and when I called to postpone they told me it was actually tomorrow. Glad I found out before I drove down to Gainesville. That would have been a bummer. I'll have about an hour and a half between appointments tomorrow which I will hate but I will hate it less than driving down there two days in a row. The mammogram is free and I'm grateful but it still bugs me that things that are boob and uterus related are free but any other body part is out of luck.

Anyways. I was really bored with Summer television a few weeks ago and thought, "we need to have some major news story to capture my attention"... and then Jill Dugger turns up pregnant so BINGO! Just kidding. I mean, she's really pregnant but that's not the big news story. No... despite the fact that an American was slaughtered by a terrorist yesterday, the only news story that's getting airtime is the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri. Here are my thoughts about the situation:

Michael Brown was a thug who lived a thug life. He was in the middle of his getaway from robbing a convenience store. He came across a policeman who may or may not have known what Michael just did but MICHAEL knew and was obviously defiant and defensive. I've heard various stories about what exactly transpired but one thing we know to be a fact is that the officer has a shattered orbital bone or whatever you call that bone around the eye. He no doubt was in fear for his life.

Was there another way to subdue Michael other than using deadly force? I don't know. I wasn't there. Missouri is one of a handful of states where it is LEGAL for police to use deadly force in a multitude of situations. Like Florida's Stand Your Ground law, this may not be the best practice or necessarily a "good" law but it is law. Having everyone from the Governor of Missouri to Thug General --- I mean Attorney General Eric Holder not be aware of this is somewhat disconcerting. If I was a policeman in Missouri I would turn in my badge. Knowing that if things go wrong you'll be vilified, not supported as a law enforcement officer tells me to just let the thugs have their way. Let Al "The Truth Is Not Important" Sharpton be King of the Thugs and let them all just live in the squalor they create.

I know by first-hand experience that life ain't always fair if your skin ain't fair. I get it. I've had friends of color who were ticketed for "driving black" and I know it happens. I get that there is a contentious relationship between the black majority in Ferguson and their white police force. But honestly... if I'm charged with keeping the peace over a group of people who think it's ok for 18 year old thugs to just go into stores and take whatever they want by threatening law abiding merchants... I'm going to shoot first and ask questions later. It becomes a kill or be killed environment that the white police force did not create.

What disturbs me most is the looting that has followed. Will stealing a carton of cigarettes bring Michael back? Most of the people being arrested there don't LIVE there. They are a band of lawless thugs who use any perceived slight as an excuse for taking what doesn't belong to them. The New Black Panther Party is calling for the death of the police officer. It's just insane.

Do I think that there is racial inequality? Maybe. To some degree. But it's no excuse. I didn't have a lot of advantages growing up. My parents struggled to raise the five of us. We didn't have the best of everything. But my brothers are all law abiding contributing members of society including a lawyer and a pastor/counselor and I don't know what the other two do but they make a good living. I made a living and survived being a single mom with only a fraction of the child support that I was owed. Growing up we didn't have a lot but we ate dinner together at the table every night and we went to church every time the doors were open and my parents sacrificed a lot for us to participate in activities that interested us. My grandmother was a single mom and she managed to raise three law abiding citizens. My other grandparents were poor but they raised seven decent human beings. Honestly, poor or disadvantaged or being raised by a single mom are not excuses for being a thug. If you're unhappy with your station in life IMPROVE it by getting an education (there are grants and loans and scholarships) and working hard. If you're unhappy with the community where you live, MOVE. I imagine there are millions of people in other parts of the world who would think an apartment in government housing is a palace.

Anyways. This whole thing is under my skin. Life may not be fair in Ferguson but show me somewhere life IS fair. Michael Brown's death, in my opinion, is as much his fault as anyone elses. In the presence of law enforcement do what they tell you to do. It might have felt humiliating for a few minutes but then life would have gone on. In the meantime, in Chicago this weekend there were several murders. Who is marching for them? An innocent U.S. citizen was beheaded by a terrorist. Who is marching for him? Who marches for the babies who are aborted every day? Who marches for the veterans who die because their healthcare is inadequate? Who marches for the multitude of people dying from the ebola virus? For the people in Gaza who are used as human shields for Hamas? Who marches for the people like me who are abandoned in the gap without affordable health care? I'm just saying.

And that's all I have to say about that. Congratulations Jill and Derek on the first of what I'm sure will be many, many children.  Happy Wednesday. Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Just popping in to verify that I am still among the living.

Cody, Marquee and a bunch of their friends came up to visit this weekend (and I took not one single photo!) so I've been spending more time with the three-dimensional people and less time in cyber-land. When we were a young couple in our early twenties we LOVED taking little weekend getaways. But because we were a young couple in our twenties we couldn't AFFORD to go anywhere! Fortunately for Cody and Marquee, he has grandparents who live in a place where many people from Atlanta like to go for weekend getaways and there's enough room for them to bring friends along with them. So this weekend we had a half dozen twenty-somethings hanging around, tubing the Hooch and swimming in the lake. Pop made bbq chicken, corn on the cob and potato salad for dinner. I added a caprese salad. Then my parents pulled out their half dozen half gallons of ice cream that they have stashed between the freezer upstairs and the freezer in the shed for dessert. (I'm not the only one filling that freezer with treats!) They had a little ice cream parlor going complete with gummy bears and caramel sauce and so forth. And then Sunday morning Cody got up and fixed a big breakfast for us all. I think we offer a pretty cool Bed and Breakfast experience and I'm glad that the kids all like to come up to visit. I got in lots of grandpuppy love, too.

Saturday night we watched Connie and Carla - a super cute movie with the girl who was in my Big Fat Greek Wedding. Lots of showtunes in it so it was perfect for me. Basically these two girls witness a murder and end up going undercover by pretending to be drag queens. It's a tired premise, for sure, but a cute movie.

Austin is still spending most of his time with his girlfriend, Tasha. Mom and Dad were on the way to the doctor one day last week and they passed a really bad wreck between a car and a van. The van was from the company that we use for our HVAC stuff. Tasha's dad works for them. As soon as they said it was one of that company's vans, I just knew it was Tasha's dad... and it was. He was banged up but not seriously hurt. The car was driven by a lady who had her two girls with her and they were all hurt pretty bad. It was all over the local news. And by "all over" I mean it was on the local news website - and it was in the little weekly newspaper and a lot of people had it on Facebook, which is the way folks up here get their local news. Around here you're never more than two degrees of separation away from anyone so, of course, I have several friends who are friends with the family in the car and I've been able to follow along with their progress. It's going to be a long, long road ahead for them to get well. From all accounts the car turned in front of the van and that's what it looks like based on my experience with auto accidents.

This week Ryan and Sara are in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I'm jealous. Not that I enjoy sand or being in the ocean... but I do love to look at all and eat seafood. And I'd love to see my kid. So I wish I was there. But then again... heat... sand... frizzy, unruly beach hair... I'm probably right where I need to be.

I'm at the final stage of my cross stitch project, doing the names. It is hard, hard, tedious work figuring the spacing on the names and all. It's going to be awesome when it's finished but this is definitely the worst part.

I have been having trouble staying comfortable at night so I'm not sleeping well. I saw every hour on the clock last night and every time there was a different cat sleeping at the foot of my bed. It was fairly comical but the waking up constantly was not funny at ALL!

Anyways... that's what's happening with me and mine right now. Hope your week is starting well. Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bright Spots

Yesterday was a good day for pushing through some of the heavy things that have been floating around our universe lately. The fact that heavy things seem to float should be an indication of how my mind works. At any rate...

I'm still grieving the plane that was shot down over Ukraine. Perfectly good plane... zapped. Perfectly innocent people... gone. And the utter disrespect toward the remains afterwards just hurt my heart. The fact that this may be just the beginning of much worse conflict between Russia and Ukraine worries me. Why can't folks just leave folks alone?

I lean toward being a Zionist, in that I am a believer that the Bible is the literal Word of God and I believe that we are told that the people of Israel are a chosen and special people to whom God himself has given the Holy Land. I know that most people in the Middle East disagree with this concept and are determined to eradicate the Jews from the face of the earth. Every time I heard/read something about how mean Israel was being by bombing hospitals and schools and whatnot in Gaza made me stabby. Has our world turned so much upside down that we expect a country to be bombed, to have their young people kidnapped on their city streets and to do nothing in retaliation? I could get really entrenched in a discourse on this but... Israelis vs. Hamas is a sad thing and I believe, something that will never end.

And the Christians in Iraq who are being slaughtered? My heart shatters! I'm such a lazy Christian and I see these people who are dying for their faith and I am just ashamed of me... of the world we live in ... in the way we have let the value of human life slip to nothing.

Then Robin Williams suicide hit the news Monday  and... I just know... I know that level of desperation. By the grace of God I've been blessed with almost six more years than what I was going to allow myself. And, no, these have not been easy years but they've been there for me to live. Being close to someone like Robin, my Purple Michael, who is talented and bright and beautiful and hilarious and magnetic and whom everyone wants to be around. Being around him makes you feel so good! But it doesn't always feel good to be him. I think for creative, talented people who have the ability to slip in and out of characters who make people laugh and cry and feel... I think for them the lows are so much lower and harder to recognize. We see him smile but that smile is a character, whether on stage or something he improvises as he goes. I've had Purple Michael (and others in his similar situation) reach out to me pleading for me to pray... to ask my Christian friends to pray... because sometimes the road is so dark. Early on in our friendship I realized that P. Michael had many more layers than what others see and I tried to embrace every one of them. I think that has always strengthened our bond. Back then I didn't really understand depression but now,  because I have walked in that darkness, I know what it means to not be able to find the light and to want to quit looking for it.

So... so... much sad. Plus the usual pain and uncertainty that color my life a little grayer than it would otherwise be. Yesterday was probably the least painful day I have had in a long while. This morning I'm having a good bit of pain but I'm still glad for the things I was able to do yesterday.

Austin stopped by yesterday with his girlfriend and his goofy friend. Remember the guy who wanted Austin to spend the night with him on his wedding night? And when I questioned him having company on his wedding night he said it wasn't a wedding because they got married at the courthouse? Yeah. That guy. He came over. He and Austin's girlfriend know each other from way back - I think their families are close. At any rate... they weren't here long but we did all have a friendly chat so that was nice. Austin's girlfriend is a bookworm as is Cody's wife (who has a degree in English). I'm not sure about Ryan's girlfriend Sara but Ryan's a big reader so I would bet Sara is too. I like that my "daughters" all like to read. I think reading opens up so many worlds and says a lot about your curiosity and ambition in life. I also want to think that my future grandchildren will be read to.

Yesterday my dad went to Walmart and bought a ton of craft stuff for my nieces. Jamie has been accumulating craft stuff from around the house to use when she's here. Pop got a big crate full of stickers and scrapbook paper and yarn and markers and glue sticks and ... tons of stuff. Can you imagine what the check out girl at Walmart thought with a man coming through with a big pink crate and all kinds of girly craft stuff? Mom had a doctor's appointment and Pop had to drive her so I picked the girls up from school.  I taught the girls how to make yarn dolls and Sarabeth made the characters for a Nativity scene to go in the Palm Tree Theatre (Jamie's box with curtains that she made out of an old shirt of mine). They used scrapbook paper for the backdrop. What I love is that if you give them some ideas and materials, their creativity is endless! Also, they both are so bright that if you show them something once they've pretty much got it.

The afterschool pickup situation is a little different this year since Sarabeth is in Middle School. There is a shuttle bus that brings kids from the Middle School to the Elementary School. Once I got Jamie from the front of the Elementary School we drove around to the back to the bus lanes to wait for the shuttle bus. I worried that the 20-30 minute wait would be boring for Jamie so I packed yarn to start making the yarn dolls and some snacks for her. She had so much to tell me about school that she didn't stop chatting for the whole half hour, not even to have a snack! And even when sister got in the car Jamie still had more to tell me. It was hilarious! I think that afternoon wait is going to be just what our little extrovert needs to unwind after being in school all day.

This morning I'm Oscar-sitting while my mom has a doctors appointment. She has another one this afternoon so I'll be Oscar-sitting again. Basically he just has to snuggle close to me with a blanket over him and he's fine. He thinks he'll die without body heat... must have a human with him all the time. Little Kitty likes to cuddle some of the time but usually he'll cuddle long enough to get brushed and get his ears scratched but when he wants to sleep he'll go get in his little box.

I got the camera working but since the dog is on top of me I can't get it without disturbing him so I'll show you what my finished project will look like...

I'm really closed to being through.

Austin is fascinated with the progress I'm making on it. He has to show it to all of his friends when they come over. Who knew that my kid would be impressed with my mad embroidery skills?

Anyways. With so much wrong in this world, it's nice to have happy little interludes throughout the day with kids and dogs and crafts and so forth.

Hope your week is going well! Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Expanding My Mind

There is another shortage of Luigi's Italian Ice - mango flavor - in White County again. My stockpile from two weeks ago is depleted. I was told this morning that they were expecting a shipment this afternoon but I haven't gone back out to check. I purchased the cherry flavor. We'll see if it passes muster later on when I have my evening italian ice break.

I had a pretty miserable night last night with the crazy burning joint pain that is either a fibromyalgia or an arthritis thing. Who knows. I do know that I did NOT want to move this morning and therefore made myself go to the grocery store. I will tolerate a lot of slothfulness out of myself but staying in bed all day is not and will never be an option. The search for the mango ice was motivation enough to get me moving, even though it proved fruitless. By the time I got back home and unpacked my wares and looked at the clock it was almost noon. I don't want time to fly by but I don't mind when the hard times fly by.

Anyways. I'm really close to being finished with my huge family tree cross stitch. I would post a picture of my progress but when I tried to the other day, the camera was doing weird things - kept saying it couldn't read the memory card. This has happened before and it's just a matter of leaving it alone until it gets over its' mood and trying again. I've got a lot of fill in work to do in a blinding off-white color and a few little bits and pieces that I missed and then I'll be on to the outlining and lettering. The lettering will take FOREVER. Then I'll be ready for my next project which... I don't know what it is yet but I'm thinking something Christmas gift related. Crafting has been good for my mental well-being. It makes me feel like I'm productive.

I thought I had finished with the World War I section of the Khan Academy site and then I realized there was a whole lot more. I found it really interesting. If we covered this stuff in school, I don't remember it. In High School my history/social studies block was replaced with the gifted class which... we went over some stuff but not really in depth and not that I remember, ironically. Of course, I wasn't as big of a history nerd as I am now. Going back to the things that happened in World War I gives me a much better understanding of the geography of the Middle East and Europe. The lectures on Khan Academy are about 5-10 minutes each and then after about six lectures you have a quiz. The quiz helps reinforce what you've learned. Now I'm really finished with the First World War and have moved into an in depth study of Hitler and the Nazi party leading up to World War 2.

I'm also going through the math program and have watched a few videos that were created by the Museum of Modern Art. There's no credit for learning this stuff but it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing more than I did spending the same amount of time playing Farmville 2.

Since I've decided to give up the Grey's Anatomy habit I have an extra three hours of viewing time every day. Today I watched two Senate hearings, one on cruise ship safety and another on prescription drug/heroin abuse. There's still plenty of time in the day for watching less quality programming (like Big Brother) and I don't feel like a couch potato... more like a couch asparagus... or something.

I guess the main thing is that I'm trying to expand my mind and not feel stagnant. It's a lot of work maintaining a healthy perspective when you're not walking around in a healthy body. And even on the worst days I can sit and stare at a tv - or at least listen to it.

So that's what's going on around here today. Love and hugs and Happy Monday, y'all!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Speaking Out

And on the 8th day... she finally got her antibiotic. Both of them. I went ahead and paid for both prescriptions but I'm only taking the stronger antibiotic because it's a shorter dose.

Mom rode with me to town to go to the pharmacy and Oscar got to be a "go dog". He loves to ride in the car. We decided to treat ourselves to Zaxby's drive-thru since Pop was playing in his weekly golf tournament at Mossy Creek. Ironically the exact amount we spent was equal to Pop's winnings in the tournament. The fun part was that the sweet girls in the drive-thru were adoring Oscar from a distance and I warned, "he's not as sweet as he looks" and right on cue he pulled his rabid pit bull impression. They laughed and gave us chicken tenders for him. Small towns rock.

Today was the first day back to school for our county and tomorrow my nieces go back to school. Jamie will be in 4th grade and Sarabeth in 6th. I had this video of Sarabeth that I wanted to share over the Summer but when I got it her dad was in Africa and she wanted to wait until he saw it before it was on the internet. I try to be considerate about what I blog about them because that's only fair. I think there's another part but this is the only one that made it to me... it's her talking about what Vacation Bible School means to her...

And I love it because this is a girl who used to be too shy to even speak to the ladies in the food line at church on Wednesday nights. She will always be an introvert but she has learned how important it is to speak up and speak out about what she believes in. And she's such a funny, insightful kid... the world should be so lucky to hear what she has to say!

That's important to me because I keep thinking about the Christians all over the world who are being persecuted for what they believe, especially in Iraq. I'm not a warmonger. I have lived through the results of war for my entire adult life by marrying the child of a man who was killed in Vietnam. I know what can happen when a kid is raised by a war widow, without a father and with a mom who is emotionally unstable. I know what it's like for my kids to not have their grandfather - a man who would have been such a wonderful influence on their life. I mean, I get the cost of war more than most. But I have to wonder if pulling out of Iraq before they had a strong government in place, leaving that country vulnerable to Islamic terrorist... was that the best idea? We still have a military presence in Korea. And Germany. So why the rush to leave Iraq? Makes me feel like all those lives that were lost during that war were for nothing because we're back to instability in that region of the world.

I know this is two political posts in a row and I don't want to be that bitter busy-body who sits around all day watching the news and grumbling about the state of things. So I'll make sure my next blog entry is heavy on the cat pictures and the whining about pain and light on politics.

Tomorrow Grey's Anatomy goes back to episode one in syndication. I've watched it all the way through three times in a row since I've been reluctantly retired. I'm thinking I need to find something new to watch in the afternoons. Wish Guiding Light was still on. And All My Children. And Ryan's Hope. My Ryan was named after Ryan's Hope (isn't that lame?) instead of being named after his father and grandfather, the aforementioned war hero. This is what happens when people have babies at 18. I couldn't name a baby "Ned" so instead of Robert Ned he is Robert Ryan. Anyways... I'm channel surfing tomorrow until I find something new to watch.

And that's about all the news for today. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The State of Health Care In America (according to me)

I think this is maybe my fourth attempt at blogging since the last blog entry. Sitting down to blog is a magnet for distraction whether it's a cat who needs to be between me and the laptop or a kid with a chatty gene that he did NOT get from me. I don't think. Maybe.

Anyways... all you've missed is a couple of migraines (today being the third one), an all night tummy trouble party and the usual aches and pains.

And a dog vs. a rubber alligator that was pretty funny.

I have about twelve more photos like this on my Facebook if you're interested.

Today I went to the county health department for an exam to try to diagnose the evil gut pain. White County Health Department vs. Clayton County Health Department is worlds and worlds apart. There were maybe three other people there the whole time I was there (which was a very long time). In Clayton County the entire parking lot would be packed and the waiting room full to the extent that people wait outside. My whole deal cost $75 instead of the $115 I was quoted which made me feel better about going there rather than trying to get in to see a gyn which would have no doubt been in excess of $200. They told me that usually they have funding which would have made it all free. They recently lost funding for contraceptives as well - which made me feel better. Not that I think that is a good thing... I mean, honestly, I think if you play you ought to have to pay but the reality is that people don't. I just think it's a screwed up world where we are more concerned with making sure teenagers can have sex without consequences than we are with diagnosing someone's pain. There was a grown woman- I mean old enough that she was a grandmother, a young grandmother but nonetheless - who came in needing a pregnancy test so she could get back on medicaid. They made her pay $28 for it. I know that in the past all of those kind of things were free. I feel less disenfranchised than I did last week when I found out I was going to have to pay today.

Anyways. I didn't find out anything definite today but we discussed a lot of possibilities. I saw a Nurse Practitioner instead of a doctor and she spent well over an hour with me. Once we get results back from what she did today then we'll know what the next step should be. Different things are covered or not covered -- or I should say certain things are "funded" and others aren't - and it's so arbitrary that it makes your head spin. Even trying to figure out what to give me for my kidney infection (that is still there... and pretty bad according to today's test) was Russian Roulette because I can't have sulfa drugs which they normally prescribe for that and the next effective meds are expensive and the next drugs can't be prescribed by the Nurse Practitioner under their guidelines for my diagnosis without getting approval from a doctor (and trust me, there's no doctor on site). I mean, it's insane. She couldn't believe that the clinic doctor was going to prescribe me amoxicillin because she said it's absolutely useless with urinary tract infections so I guess, in a way, it was good that he never bothered to follow through with my prescription. I still haven't gotten a call back from the clinic after leaving a message that my meds were never called in. I appreciate the money they've saved me by providing treatment for my high blood pressure but honestly, there are so many dots to connect when you receive medical care this way.

Ironically they scheduled me for a mammogram which is one hundred percent free. Apparently the breast cancer lobby is stronger than the lobbyist for coverage of other women's health issues. And as I pointed out before, if you're poor with a brain tumor in my state, you're out of luck.... but if your pap smear shows even pre-cancerous cells, you qualify for women's health medicaid which will cover anything and everything that is wrong with you. SO almost, in a way, I'd be better off if my results come back just a little bit bad. If any of you are out there thinking that Obama is the Second Coming of Christ because of his "Affordable Health Care Act"... let me be first in line to tell you that the health care delivery system in our country is very, very broken and if there had been two party discussion and involvement in working to fix it, I believe I would be much better off. If perhaps, Nancy Pelosi, there had been an opportunity for legislators to read the bill before passing it. That's all I'm saying.

I spent over two hours at the Health Department. When I got home my parents went to the Y and I dog sat Oscar, the needy dachshund - who is fine as long as I stay near him and he has a cozy blanket to cover up with. I haven't had as much time to work on my cross stitch or to catch up on Big Brother After Dark and that makes me feel out of sorts. I'm a creature of habit. I missed breakfast because I wasn't able to stomach it before I went to the dr and I missed lunch because I was too hot and in too much pain to eat after I left the doctor. All the poking and prodding was quite painful. Now it's dinner time so I need to see what I can put together since it's a "fend for yourself" night. I'm thinking there is a big bowl of cereal in my immediate future.

The good news is that tonight is good tv watching - Big Brother and Who Do You Think You Are... and the kid is back at his girlfriend's house so it's back to my normal peace and quiet here in the Whine Cellar. I finished my study of World War 1 on Khan Academy last night due to a lack of interesting television. I also watched a gajillion youtube videos of different musicals. I love watching backstage tours and production stuff because that's MY part of theatre. I found a great series about the people who are (were?) in Mamma Mia who have kids and how they juggle theatre and parenting. Very interesting.

ALSO... I got a little package in the mail with something chocolate from a school friend. It was her way of celebrating her birthday by thanking people who had been influential in her life in the past year. Unfortunately my parents got the mail out of the mailbox on their way to the Y so my package sat in the car while they were there... so all I know right now is that I have something chocolate to look forward to once it re-solidifies.

Anyways... so I guess you're all caught up now and I've gotten all my bitterness over health care out of my system for the day. How is your week going?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cross-Stitch Weekly Update

I've had a migraine since last night. Last night it included the whole nausea, dizziness... all that fun stuff. I fell asleep super early for me. I also forgot to record Big Brother After Dark so... boo hiss. This morning the headache is still there but I'm not sick to my stomach as much. I was able to eat breakfast and take more meds.

 I didn't go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription for my kidney infection on Tuesday because I know that the dr at the clinic is a little slow at calling them in. I forgot to go Wednesday and didn't feel like going on Thursday so when my parents went to town yesterday, they went to pick them up for me and the prescriptions weren't there - never got called in, apparently. The doctor isn't back in the clinic until Tuesday so... no meds until then. I took what was left from an old prescription and after four doses my stomach was so torn up I couldn't keep water in me. Which is what I told the doctor on Tuesday - antibiotic pills don't do well in my system which is why I get antibiotic shots when something is wrong. OF course, the clinic doesn't do shots. It sucks to be poor and sick. I do have the appointment at the Health Department on Wednesday so if I haven't gotten meds by then, I'll see if they can prescribe.

I'm taking Austin's girlfriend to the Health Department on Monday for blood work. She doesn't drive and her parents are working. I don't mind being the designated driver.
I mainly wanted to show my progress on my cross-stitch family tree project because I've worked hard in the past week.

Here is after week one:

And week two:

And here's the end of week three:

That banner at the base of the boxes? Took an entire day. You can't tell but you had to leave out stitches that will spell "family" in three different colors so not only was I stitching the very light off white stitches which are hard to see, but I had to be super careful to leave out the right stitches.

The two boxes at the bottom are all that same off white color and they took forever to stitch in.

The vines around the outside look much better now that I've added the leaves but they took three days  - THREE DAYS! - to put in. This piece is 16x20 inches so it's a lot, lot of stitches. I'm loving it so much and get excited after each part is completed. I think if it turns out well, I'm going to try to photograph it and have the photos printed at the same size of the project so that anyone in the fam who wants a copy can have one.

I initially estimated six weeks to complete and I'm still thinking... maybe... but all the lettering is going to be difficult so it will depend on how long it takes me to figure out how to center the names in the boxes.

I haven't touched Farmville2 in over a week and don't miss it yet. I've been filling in the time by taking history courses at Khan Academy online. I've also been watching more youtube videos. I feel good about making the decision to cut that Farmville2 time-suck out of my day, even though I enjoyed it. It got to be too much work.

And I guess that's about all the news for today. Hope you have a great weekend! Love and hugs!