My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, June 29, 2018

What A Day! Food Friday - The Big Grocery Haul

I probably have no business trying to write a blog post today because I am so freaking tired! I slept poorly last night and have had the devil of a time trying to get some necessary prescription refills today... I'm really feeling salty... but I'll give it a shot and if it's fit to publish, I will.

Last month, like an idiot, when I left the pain doctor I headed straight down to Marvin's (that's not the dumb part). Instead of filling my prescription at my usual pharmacy, I went to (what I thought was) the same pharmacy at the location close to his house. It's really complicated because Walgreen's has bought out all the Rite Aid pharmacies in our area. My local pharmacy is literally a Walgreen's Pharmacy in a Rite Aid building. My Spidey Sense told me at the time that it was going to be a problem and I wish I had listened to that inner voice saying, "nothing in life is this simple" because... it's true. Well, that Rite Aid location completely shut down and the prescriptions on file were transferred to the Walgreen's across the street. That's a Walgreen's and my usual pharmacy is a Walgreen's so... easy, peasy, right?  Notsomuch. My Walgreen's Pharmacy in a Rite Aid building is not on the Walgreen's computer system so... in the eyes of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) I am "pharmacy shopping" with a controlled substance.

So... when my local pharmacist told me this morning that she couldn't transfer the prescriptions to my local pharmacy, she presented me two options: either go to the pharmacy near Marvin's house (45 minute drive away) or have my doctor call in the prescription to my local pharmacy. She said, "if your doctor will call me, I'll explain that it's really not your fault, it should not have been a problem, you couldn't have known..." etc, etc. Instead the nurse from my doctor's office calls and says, "why were you filling your prescription in Flowery Branch instead of at your local pharmacy?" My internal answer was, "none of your blankety blank business" but... like the polite drug seeking patient that I am... I said, "because I was going to be down there for a few days and needed refills so rather than drive all the way to Cleveland (the opposite direction) when I left  your office, I filled the prescription at the location that was nearest to where I was going to be". "You can't do that". Apparently. I swore on the lives of my grandchildren that I would never, ever, ever attempt to fill a prescription anywhere else in the world except my local pharmacy and she said the doctor would call in the prescriptions to save me from having to drive an hour and a half round trip for a refill.

Except... he didn't call in the prescriptions and they closed for the weekend at 2pm and... too bad for Heather. It's so frustrating. It makes me mad at the pharmacy for being in transition and making things so darn confusing. It makes me mad at the DEA for treating chronic pain patients like criminals. And it makes me mad at my doctor who knows, better than anyone, how severe the withdrawals are from these medications and what living hell it will make my life if I don't drive down to Flowery Branch to pick them up. My doctor also knows, better than anyone, how painful an hour and a half drive would be for me. What I'm going to do, rather than make the drive, is let Cody pick them up for me on his way up here tomorrow and just suffer overnight. BUT I'm not HAPPY about it, trust me!

Anyways... it's Food Friday so I will try to be on topic for a minute and talk about food. I didn't do a restaurant review this week but I will tell you where-all we ate on date night (and day and night and day) this week. On  Tuesday night we went to our usual Tuesday night - on the way to or from softball place - Twisted Taco. I had the ahi tuna tacos in wonton shells with sesame sauce because they are absolutely amazing and I love them with a purple passion. Marvin usually has the Korean taco (hold the mushrooms), the tropical shrimp taco and the ... wild Alaskan taco (I think... ). They also have really good chips and salsa and mine comes with a lot of extra avocado which we both munch on with the chips. Wednesday for lunch we went to Atlanta Highways Seafood Market which... if you're near Gainesville, Georgia, is the best place to go for seafood. It's incredibly fresh and quick and they're super nice there. I had fried crawfish tails because... yum... and Marvin had fried crawfish tails and fried catfish (and I shared some of his catfish and fries because... that's what we do). I bought some ceviche from there for my dinner Wednesday night (because Marvin eats at work on Wednesday and Thursday for dinner). On Thursday we went to our favorite little Chinese restaurant near him - it's called the Golden Phoenix but we always call it the Happy Lucky Golden Seven Phoenix because it used to be called the ... something Seven.... and we could never remember the exact name. I had shrimp fried rice because their shrimp fried rice is the best I've had anywhere and he had the General Tso's Chicken. It's a super affordable lunch menu so it was a win/win for us. Since we went to places that are our usual haunts, it didn't occur to me to take photos of our meals so you will just have to use your imagination.

Today I did a big grocery shop and a big food prep and I'm pretty stoked that I was that organized. I made a big batch of what I call "Three Bean Salad" but it's black beans, red beans and white beans (rinsed to remove lots and lots of sodium) with tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, grilled chicken with olive oil and red wine vinegar and cilantro. I did my roasted salmon and veggies... I used tomatoes, sugar snaps, broccoli, carrots, zucchini and.... I think that's all. I've got enough food prepped to last me probably a week or more (if i don't eat more just because it's already prepped and ready to eat LOL!) AND I bought my favorite yogurt to have for breakfast because I'm pretty much addicted to it at this point. I'm fairly worn out from shopping without Austin and all the prep and cleanup but it's done and that feels great. Oddly enough my blood pressure was a happy, normal little 115/79 today after all of that so... who knows? Just the thought of eating better lowers my blood pressure. And I'm taking the beet root and... nothing else has really changed.

Tomorrow Cody and Oliver (and maybe Marquee) are coming up and I'll get Cosy in the morning so she and Oliver can play together. Marvin was such a sweetheart this week.... I sent him a text while he was at work Wednesday night and mentioned that I wanted to get the little swimming pool I had seen at his Walmart for the grandbabies... and he actually stopped on his way home from work after 9pm to get it. It's a good thing he did because it was the last one! He had a heckuva time getting it because the garden shop was closed and it was a real ordeal to get the upc code for it and then he couldn't do it through self-checkout and then he had a hard time getting it in his car (and was sure it wouldn't fit in mine but luckily it did!). I kept wondering why it was taking him so long to get home after work and he's out there getting the babies a pool. So they won't have to swim in buckets this time... all thanks to Marvin! He called this morning while I was in the middle of pharmacy hell and has had to listen to me whining about it all day. Sometimes I'm not so much fun to be around... a lot of times, probably... but he's a good egg and pulls me back from the brink when necessary.

And I guess that's about all I have to say today. Hopefully all will go according to plan and Cody will be able to pick up the prescriptions on his way up tomorrow... and the babies will be cooperative and I'll have some cute photos to share. How many of you are off for the whole week next week instead of just the 4th? Going anywhere fun? I've heard that this is supposed to be the biggest travel week of the whole Summer so safe travels or happy homebody week, whichever the case!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How I'm Treating My High Blood Pressure...

Normally on Thursdays I do a Throwback Thursday post with links to previous posts on this day in my blog history. This particular day, June 28th, was slim pickins' as we say here in the South so I decided to do something different. I've been posting uh-lot about my high blood pressure and I thought it might be interesting/helpful/whatever to share with you what I'm doing to treat my high blood pressure... and maybe you'll have some helpful hints that you'd like to share with us as well. Typically when I do blog posts on specific health topics they are my best read blogs which... blah... boring! But, I guess people do what I do and google "high blood pressure" or whatever and that leads them to places like my blog. So... if you've come here looking for expert tips on blood pressure, I'm not your girl. My blood pressure is anything but under control. I can commiserate with you... I can tell you what I'm doing but for medical advice, definitely seek help from your trusted medical provider. I'm just a girl with a blog.

I was diagnosed with high blood pressure with I was 35 years old. I am now 50. I have had varying levels of success with keeping my blood pressure under control. At times it has been ok. Mostly it has always stayed on the high side. I see my Primary Care Doctor for treatment for my blood pressure. He has me come in every three to four months for follow up. I am currently on four different medications to help control my blood pressure. Normally, I don't like to discuss specific medications on my blog for security reasons. Because I am a chronic pain patient and am under a narcotic agreement, I have to be careful about medications... however, I feel like dopeheads aren't going to seeking a hit of atenolol so... I'm not as worried about discussing bp meds. The meds I am currently taking are

  • lisinopril - ACE inhibitor*, I take this morning and night.
  • atenolol - Beta Blocker, I take this once a day. This treats high blood pressure and also slows my heart rate. My heart beats too fast but it stays in a normal rhythm, just faster than it should be. My mom also had this problem. No idea if it's genetic or coincidental.
  • amitriptyline - I take this once a day... this is technically an anti-depressant and pain reliever (which helps) but it also has a major side effect of lowering blood pressure. It was actually our county Health Department nurse who suggested this medication for me because it's 1. cheap, 2. helps so many things that I need help with- pain relief, blood pressure, depression - because all pain patients battle depression, it reduces frequency of migraines and it also helps you sleep. This was the medication I forgot to refill at the end of May and by the time I realized it... I was a hot mess. It's definitely one of my All-Star medications!
  • amlodipine - Calcium Channel Blocker. I take this once a day. This is the newest medication that has been added to my roster. I discovered that it is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines - the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.

I also just started taking beet root capsules because it's supposed to be really good for lowering blood pressure. I have also heard that magnesium, calcium, potassium, garlic and fish oil are all also good for lowering blood pressure but I have (obviously) no scientific data or personal experience with any of those so, as I said, ask your medical provider for advice on what you should take. I'm trying beet root, we'll see what that does and go from there.

I have also done research on foods to eat to lower your blood pressure and I know that celery, fish that are high in omega 3's, things that are high in potassium like bananas and leafy greens, garlic, nuts and seeds... these things are all thought to be good. Right now what I'm trying to do is seriously reduce my processed food intake (goodbye, adult lunchables!) and increase the amount of whole, fresh foods that I'm eating. I don't cook, most of the time because it's just too freaking inconvenient for me to cook just for myself. It's costly and tiring and by the time I've managed to stand long enough to cook I don't feel well enough to clean up. I'm going to try to work around this by doing more of my "fast food" cookie sheet meals where I just put a protein and veggies on a cookie sheet, drizzle it with olive oil and roast it in the oven together. Much less cleanup. Last week I did salmon, green beans and cherry tomatoes that way and they were good both as a hot meal and then cold, like a salad. That's really the route I need to go. I do love yogurt and eat it almost every day for breakfast (and sometimes for dinner). For the most part, I just don't have an appetite so it's hard to feel motivated to prepare a meal. I have also been sharing a car with Austin which means I basically don't have a car so I don't have the ability to get to the store often or I have to just ask him to pick things up for me when he goes. Once he gets his van insured and tagged then I'll have wheels again.

I know that exercise plays a big part in lowering blood pressure but I'm limited in what I can do because of my back and other pain issues. When I have an active day it takes me 2 or 3 days to recover. Exercise is just not ever going to be an option for me so I have to work harder on diet, supplements, taking the right medications, etc.

I had a great conversation with a lady at the ballfield a few weeks ago about high blood pressure. She's a Respiratory Therapist so we talked quite a bit about the role that sleep apnea plays on blood pressure. She explained to me that what happens when you have sleep apnea... your body spends all night in a fight or flight mode of survival. Your breathing is obstructed and then your heart starts pumping really hard and it's a constant battle night after night. Over the course of many years, the stress on your blood vessels takes away their elasticity and you end up with what is called, "refractory hypertension". Also known as resistant hypertension... this is basically blood pressure that remains high despite medication and other measures taken to lower it. From a completely non-clinical perspective, she felt like this was where I am with my blood pressure and honestly, that's how it feels. That doesn't mean I stop taking meds or give up on eating healthy and doing everything in my power to lower my blood pressure but... that may not help.

Another really important piece of the puzzle is living with chronic pain. Pain truly raises your blood pressure and it is so very rare that I have a day that is completely pain free. I can't even remember a time without pain. I wake up in pain and I go to sleep in pain and a lot of days I never really get a break from it. It can ease up if I'm very careful and do all the things and take all the meds and am very kind to my body. I just try to balance being gentle with myself with having a life. I have people that I love and things that I love and quality of life is very important to me. I'm in the best place I've been in a long time from a standpoint of having few responsibilities so that I can rest as much as I need. My dad, Marvin and Austin all do a lot to keep me comfortable and make sure I don't carry more than I should but I'm pretty stubborn and independent and I would mostly rather do things myself than ask someone to do them for me.

I do try to build moments of relaxation into my life. I go to bed early most of the time. I nap when I need to. I make sure I have recovery days after I've had busy days. I do things I enjoy and pamper myself when I can. I have a weekly spa night where I soak in the tub until I turn into a prune. I watch tv shows that make me happy. I spend time with my grandbabies and my honey and I avoid stressful topics as much as I can. (i.e., I don't watch the news). I feel fairly certain that my life will never be easier than it is at the moment which is why I think it's really important to get on top of this blood pressure thing as much as I can right now.

I also have health insurance, which is so very important. It allows me to see the same doctor every few months and have continuity of care. It allows me to afford the medications I need both to lower my blood pressure and treat pain issues. Fortunately, our county has a wonderful program for people with chronic health issues that provided me care while I was waiting for my disability to be approved. You don't necessarily see the same provider each time but they do make sure you receive treatment and I was so grateful that was available for me. I was also able to receive care from the county Health Department and the Nurse Practitioner I saw there helped me understand a lot about my blood pressure and how to treat it. If you have high blood pressure and don't have access to health care, look for these kind of programs and services in your area. They may save your life!

I have a follow up appointment scheduled in August but I think I'm going to try to get in to see my doctor sooner. He had said at my last appointment that I needed to let him know if my blood pressure reading was higher than 150 on the top or 100 on the bottom and that has happened several times lately. Usually if my blood pressure is high, I don't feel like getting out and doing anything - even going to see a doctor. Well, especially going to see a doctor... but the more frequently I have high blood pressure readings, the more concerned I am becoming about the situation.

So... this is the audience participation portion of the program... tell me what you are doing to have a healthy blood pressure. Are there tips and tricks you can share with me? Is there a supplement you swear by? Something that helps you to relax? I would love for you to leave a comment below so that anyone who visits the blog, even at a later date, can see your suggestions. Has there been a medication that helped when nothing else did? Tell me!

Take care of yourselves! Love and hugs, y'all!

*angiotensin converting enzyme

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Obadiah Holmes - Genealogy

Since this week has been a bit crazy for me, I don't have blog posts already written for today and Thursday like I usually do. This genealogy piece is mostly information I found on one website about this particular ancestor... who happens to also be one of Abraham Lincoln's ancestors. I find his story interesting and I hope you will too.

Here's the story on Obadiah Holmes...

from The New England Historical Society... (click here for the entire article) 

Obadiah Holmes had a restless soul, a pugnacious spirit, a hot temper and a tendency to find fault.
He was baptized March 18, 1610, in Didsbury, England in the county of Lancashire.
As a boy, he rebelled against his religious parents.
“I minded nothing but folly, and vanity,” he wrote. Then his mother died, he blamed himself and changed his ways.
At 21, Obadiah Holmes married Katherine Hyde, and they had nine children. Together they ‘braved the dangers of the sea’ to come to Massachusetts in the Great Puritan Migration. He started a glassmaking business in Salem, but moved to Rehoboth in Plymouth Colony. There he led a small group of Baptists who opposed infant baptism.
A grand jury -- included William Bradford, John Alden and Miles Standish -- indicted Obadiah Holmes for heresy. He and his family left Plymouth for Newport, R.I., in 1650.
In Newport he quickly associated with Baptist ministers John Crandall and John Clarke, a prominent advocate of religious freedom.

In the summer of 1651, the three men took a mission trip to an elderly Baptist man in the town of Lynn, just north of Boston. While they held a small religious service in the old man’s home, two constables burst in, arrested them and took them to jail in Boston.
A court found the three men guilty of a half-dozen crimes of heresy and fined John Clarke 20 pounds, John Crandall 5 pounds and Obadiah Holmes 30 pounds. Friends of Clarke and Crandall paid the fine. Holmes refused to let them.
On July 31, 1651, a magistrate sentenced Obadiah Holmes to 30 lashes, one for each pound he owed. Holmes proclaimed,
"I bless God I am counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.”
Obadiah Holmes awaited his whipping for five weeks in a Boston jail. Roger Williams heard about his sentence, and he sent a blistering letter to Gov. Endecott for persecuting people for their religious beliefs.
On Sept. 5, 1651, a crowd gathered around the whipping post in Boston to watch the flogging. Obadiah Holmes asked to speak, but Magistrate Encrease Nowell refused. Holmes spoke anyway, saying he was about to shed his blood for what he believed. Nowell said it was no time for debate.
"I am to suffer for ... the Word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ," said Obadiah Holmes.
"No, it is for your error and going about to seduce the people," Nowell said.
The two men continued to debate as the executioner tore off Holmes' clothes.
The executioner tied him to the whipping post and lashed him 30 times with a three-corded whip.
When the whipping ended, a bleeding, panting Obadiah Holmes said, "You have struck me as with roses". 
The whipping left his skin so raw and painful he couldn’t lie down, but rested on his knees and elbows for days.
"Those who have seen the scars on Mr. Holmes' back (which the old man was wont to call the marks of the Lord Jesus), have expressed a wonder that he should live," wrote Joseph Jenckes, a Rhode Island governor.
After Obadiah Holmes recovered enough to travel, he returned to Newport where family and friends welcomed him four miles outside the town. The next year he took over as pastor of the Newport Church, the second Baptist church in America. He held the position for 30 years until his death.
News spread fast and far about the savage whipping and the persecution of the Baptists in Massachusetts. In the end it resulted in more, not less, religious freedom. 
John Clarke turned the persecution of Baptists into an international cause celebre. He went to England and wrote a book called Ill Newes From New England. It included a letter from Obadiah Holmes describing his whipping.If the Puritans intended to intimidate heretics by it, they failed. Two years after the whipping of Obadiah Holmes, Harvard President Henry Dunster wouldn't have his infant son baptized.
Richard Saltonstall, a prominent Puritan founder of Massachusetts then in London, read the book. He sent a letter to the Puritan pastors in the colony and berated them for 'tyranny and persecutions in New England.'
The dissenters of Rhode Island felt very much persecuted by Connecticut and Massachusetts. The two colonies wanted to divide Rhode Island and absorb it. Rhode Island needed a royal charter to survive.
Clarke spent a decade in England as an agent for the colony of Rhode Island. When King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, Clarke lobbied him for a charter. Charles had little use for Puritans. They had, after all, beheaded his father.
Clarke drafted the Rhode Island Royal Charter and Charles approved it in July 1663. The charter granted unprecedented religious freedom in Rhode Island and remained in effect for 180 years.
Obadiah Holmes died Oct. 15, 1682, in Newport, R.I.
His great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Abraham Lincoln, was elected the 16th president of the United States.
President Lincoln is my 5th cousin, 4x removed according to Here's my lineage to Obadiah...

Obadiah Holmes was the father of
Lydia Holmes who was the mother of
John Andrew Bowne who was the father of
Catherine Bowne / Brown who was the mother of
Elizabeth Bray who was the mother of
James Luker, who was the father of
Eleanor Luker, who was the mother of
Sarah Donahay, who was the mother of
Clara Shafto, who was the mother of
Bruce Gant Sr, who was the father of
my father.

And here's Lincoln's lineage to Obadiah. 

Obadiah Holmes (1610-1682) married Catherine Hyde (1608-1682) 

Lydia Holmes (1637-after 1693) married Captain John Bowne (c.1630-1684) 
Sarah Bowne (1669-after 1714) married Richard Salter, Esq. (1669-after 1728) 
Hannah Salter (1692-c.1727) married Mordecai Lincoln (1686-1736) 
John "Virginia John" Lincoln (1716-1788) married Rebecca Flowers (1720-1806)
Captain Abraham Lincoln (1744-1786) married Bathsheba Herring (c.1750-c.1836) Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851) married Nancy Hanks (1784-1818) 
President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

All The Things

I have a feeling this will be the most random week in the history of my blog. I don't have a Throwback Thursday post written yet. Normally I do Wednesday and Thursday's posts on Monday but I had Cosy on Monday and today...

I slept better last night than the night before but I woke up feeling weird. Usually when I have a weird, non-specific feeling it's because my blood pressure was high. It was. My heart rate was also flying. I have tachycardia so it's always high but not usually this high. That's why I was feeling rotten.

I decided that since I didn't have Cosy this morning like I usually do on Tuesdays I would go ahead and do a root touch up on my hair. The brand I use is soooooo cheap and it works just fine but coloring at home is messy. Cosy likes to hang out in the bathroom with me while I shower. Don't ask me why. She probably does with her mom and just thinks that's what you do when somebody is showering... you all pile into the bathroom to supervise. Anyways.... I cut my leg in the shower - trying to shave my legs. The things we do so that men will want to cuddle... no matter how hard I try I can't convince Marvin to cuddle a cactus or a wildebeest.

A local friend of mine, Ms. Jimmie (she started as a client and fellow church member but over the years she has become a dear friend) had called last week and offered to give Austin a van. Well... more specifically... Susan, the lady who cleans our house lives with Ms. Jimmie. Jimmie's husband had given Susan a van a few years back when Susan was going through a really hard time. The husband died a few years back and now Jimmie has gotten a new car and is giving Susan her older vehicle. Susan wanted to "pay it forward" so she gave Austin her old van. And now Austin has his own car! He just has to get it insured and tagged which may take him another paycheck before he can quite afford it but he's so proud... and I just feel so blessed. I do believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you and Austin really does go the extra mile for people he cares about. It was a tearful moment for us older gals because we've all lived long enough to know the beauty that comes from such a gift...both in the giving and receiving.. and for Susan, to realize how far she's come and how important having her own vehicle was for her.

Since Cosy's mom was in a car accident yesterday, she was feeling poorly today. I knew that I couldn't keep Cosy all day today... I usually need 2 or 3 days to recover from one day of grandbaby duty and my blood pressure really needed to come down. But I thought it would be fun for Cosy to get out for a little bit so I told her mom that I would take Cosy with us to get the van. At some point after this discussion Cosy's mom fell back asleep and so when I went to pick up Cosy I couldn't get Tasha to come to the door. My first thought was... well, I guess they're both napping but my Jewish mother paranoia (I'm not Jewish) was that maybe Tasha was having some delayed reaction from the accident and Cosy was in the house unsupervised so we knocked and stomped and hollered until we finally got Tasha to come to the door. She had dozed off but fortunately Cosy was being a very good girl and was staying in the bed beside her mama. I'm including some pictures of Tasha's car... she's very lucky to just be bruised up and I'm awfully glad that Cosy wasn't in the car with her. AND very glad for Cosy's dad to be driving a big sturdy van so that Cosy will be safer if he should have an accident. Both of Cosy's parents have just gotten their drivers license in the past six weeks or so.

I think this is the back seat
So we got the van and came back to our house and Austin took Cosy back home. He's fighting that infection so he's really run down. I'm exhausted. Austin's girlfriend has worked every day for the past week so she's exhausted. Pop played golf in the heat today so he's come home exhausted. We're a sorry lot.

Now a dental update... it's been over a month since I got my partials and I am still not able to eat with them in... which is the main purpose for having them. Yes, I love being able to cheesy smile but chewing is also important. Today I was determined to keep them in to eat and I did reasonable well with it. I'm going to have to just do it and eventually I'll get used to it. It's definitely different from how I pictured.

One last thing... last night I won again in the HQ Trivia game that Marvin and I play together. My winnings were twelve cents...but I won! Marvin and I were on the phone together as we played and I absolutely would not have won if he wasn't helping me with the answers. There were two very lucky guesses I made on two questions where I really had no clue what the answer was. Marvin and I also do the Lumosity app. You play three games a day - different ones every day- to help you stay sharp. You can purchase a subscription to play more than three but we just do the free part for kicks. Marvin's scores are significantly higher than mine... especially in the area of memory. My short term memory is absolutely shot. If you tell me something and I forget... it's not because I don't care about you or what you've told me... I genuinely am just forgetful.

I've battled a headache all afternoon, no doubt from the blood pressure but I'm feeling better. I'm about to get ready for date night! Hope your Tuesday is going well. Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Reasons To Love Monday - Random Edition

Cosy and Whiskers
I would say that Whiskers is voluntarily laying with her

I want to take the babies to see Incredibles 2. Oliver's mom thinks he's not ready to be still that long but Cosy is such a little couch potato that I know she would sit still. She might not like the darkness of the theater... but I'd like to give it a shot.

I have been trying to learn how to put on fake eyelashes. So far... it's a mess. Not even sort of passable. It's a freak show. I've tried upgrading my glue but still.... I don't have the skills. Probably need to watch a youtube on it.

I got Cosy this morning instead of tomorrow. I had planned last night to get her but then I didn't sleep well last night and at first I was just going to wait until tomorrow. Once I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep, I thought I might as well get her today and then I won't be as tired for date night tomorrow night.

Unfortunately... Cosy's mom got in an accident going home from dropping Cosy off. She says her chest hurts and I think they might have her checked out at the hospital. Her car is totaled. I could hear the sirens from here but I don't have a car at home at the moment... and I wouldn't want Cosy to see anything that would upset her. Fortunately, Cosy is perfectly happy watching YouTube toy opening videos. She is obsessed with them!

Well... she was watching videos and then I mentioned going to play in the water and she was happy to do that. I haven't bought a little pool for her this year yet and I didn't want to have to reach down in the foliage to get to the spigot to turn on the hose so I just filled a dishpan with water for her to play in. She decided it would be fun to pour water on Nana. That escalated into her pouring water through my dress and catching it as it dripped through. We were both soaked. I posted a lot of stories on Instagram and Facebook if you want to hear Nana scream like a little girl over getting wet while Cosy laughs maniacally.

Then as we were on the porch making our way inside I noticed what I thought at first was a crack in the big stone beside our front porch. Then the crack moved and I realized it was a snake. I screamed and tried to get in the front door but it was locked... fortunately we have one of those locks where you just punch in the number and it opens... I did that quickly while screaming at Cosy to get in the house. Fortunately... she heard the terror in my voice and ran inside quickly and fortunately... Oscar did too. He had to jump over the snake to get into the house as he was in the little patch of level yard right in front of our house. Once they were inside safely I cracked the door to take a picture.

Now Cosy is back inside in dry clothes... well, in her undies but... she went potty so I didn't make her put on the rest of her clothes. It's just us girls because my dad went down to see Grandma today and Austin is at work. She in dry clothes... I'm in dry clothes... and the youtubes are going again. I know we should limit screen time but I consider this an unusual situation... because who knows how long I'll have her and I have been awake since 1am. As long as she's happy and still.. Nana's gonna let her enjoy screen time. We can undo the damage on a day when her mama or daddy have her.

I know this isn't the traditional Reasons To Love Monday post but I've just been able to type here and there in between taking care of Cosy. Reasons to Love Monday- Cosy was not in the car with her mom when she was in the accident because she would have been badly hurt or worse. AND... the snake didn't get us. Austin and Marvin both told me it was a good snake. I don't buy that crap. There is no such thing as a good snake.

Blood pressure before the snake incident. I doubt it's lower since then.

Hope you're having a great Monday. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Random Quotes, Topics and Photos

I am honestly beginning to think that Cosy will never be potty trained. She is so completely resistant to it right now. Oliver picked it up in about a week or two but I've been working with Cosy for over a year. Girls are supposed to be the easy ones. Of course, she's with me maybe six hours a week. When her dad has her by himself he doesn't force the issue as much. Her mom and other grandparents are keeping her in pull ups - I think. Maybe that's just when she's going somewhere, I'm not sure. When I have her I put big girl undies on her and take her to the potty frequently. She doesn't like the interruption in her schedule but she does get proud when she goes. She has accidents but I never make a big deal of it. I just help her clean up and we go about our business.

I had the best nap today... and also yesterday. I don't have the easiest time going to sleep at night or staying asleep and lately I'm waking up too darn early. I used to never be able to nap during the day but lately I'm using this specific formula of the hum of the a/c window unit, my muscle relaxer (that I'm supposed to take three times a day but don't because it makes me sleepy) and something sort of boring on tv. I can sleep for two hours plus with that formula provided no one disturbs me. The bonus of being in the guest room is that nobody wants to come all the way up here most of the time. As Cosy says, "Pribe-acy".

Does anyone else put salt on their watermelon? Marvin says it's weird. He has sort of been hammering the Fried Shrimp Theory on me over the past few days. Basically... when going out for seafood I would always order fried shrimp because I knew I liked it until he had me try fried crawfish and I realized that I like it SOOOO much more than fried shrimp! The Fried Shrimp Theory is about trying things outside of your comfort zone and... it's true, I have spent most of my adult life - at least the past two decades - as a single woman and as a single woman I have eaten exactly what I wanted and watched what I wanted to on tv and only seen movies that appealed to me. Sure, I've missed some good ones along the way. Whenever Marvin has suggested that I watch something that the rest of the world has already seen, Silence of the Lambs, for example, I have been willing. There are probably a solid dozen movies I've watched in order to catch up with the rest of the world. But I've had to point out to him that I'm the one in our relationship who has gone outside of their comfort zone the most since we've been hanging out. For instance, Mamma Mia collected dust on his dresser for several months and he never ended up watching it. I picked it specifically for him because yes, it is a musical but it's a musical with ABBA music. Not exactly Oklahoma or The Music Man.... ROCK music. Well, pop music anyways.  He will say that he watched Sweeney Todd with me but really, he put it on so I would be entertained while he took a nap. He slept through most of it. I think it should work both ways... he needs to expand his horizons to some of the things that, as a man (single or otherwise) he might not have been as willing to do. Eat something besides fried shrimp!!  Although, truly, I'd rather keep some things sacred rather than have to experience them in the eyes of someone who doesn't love Musical Theater like I do. But salt on watermelon... that's just good eatin'.

Honestly, I think it's ok for us not to be clones of each other. Some of the music he likes... I'm just never going to get into. Some of the movies we've watched... eh, not my thing. Pulp Fiction - no thanks. It was too confusing since it's presented out of order. But I really loved Sling Blade and Shawshank Redemption and several other that we've watched.

I'm a hardcore creature of habit. I find something I like to eat and I'll eat it every day for four years (Luigi's Mango Italian Ice). I hear music I particularly like and I'll listen to it every time I'm in the car (Butch Walker... Les Miserables...). I don't think it's always a matter of teaching old dogs new tricks. I think sometimes, going back to something that you know is going to tickle your fancy is exactly what you need. Especially when things are not going well. I tend to control the things that I can control when other things are out of control.

I've been struggling for the past day or three with really bad back pain. With me, it's always something. My worst headache days this week were Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. My back started bothering me Wednesday night and has been better and worse off and on since then. It's definitely worse after I wake up from sleeping but I'm just so tired from not sleeping well because my back hurts. Same for me is just easier than having to mentally process different when all I can think about is what hurts. My blood pressure today was 140/95 so... borderline.

Poor Austin has this sore... we aren't sure if it started out as a pimple or ingrown hair or spider bite or what... but that thing is terribly infected and painful for him. He doesn't have health insurance but he may end up having to go to the ER to get an antibiotic for it. He's doing warm compresses and peroxide and neosporin and keeping it clean but ... ew. It's rough.

Oliver got to go to the Braves Game yesterday. I tried to catch a picture Friday night of him with his foam tomahawk doing the chop but he moves too fast for me! Here are two pictures where I missed...


And the cheesy picture his dad sent me from the game yesterday...

A few quotes I collected over the past few days that I wanted to share with you... and also keep for my own remembering.

And I guess that's all I have for today. Hope you've had a great weekend! I have barely moved from my nest since Thursday afternoon and it may continue that way tomorrow, too.


Friday, June 22, 2018

Food Friday - Pappadeaux

Happy Friday! Friday is the day I like to talk about food simply because I appreciate alliteration. Throwback Thursday - Food Friday - it just makes sense to me. This week I wanted to do a little review of the restaurant we went to on date night this week... Pappadeaux.

fried crawfish and crawfish etouffee
 As I've mentioned before, Marvin and I are kind of obsessed with New Orleans. It was our first road trip together... it's where Purple Michael lives... and then there's the amazing food and culture and music and food! Did I mention food?

On Tuesday night Marvin surprised me with dinner at Pappadeaux in Lawrenceville, GA, which has a New Orleans/French Quarter themed menu. There was a bit of a wait for a table but it was one hundred percent worth it! (other than the mosquito bite I got while waiting outdoors... small price to pay!)

Since we had to wait for a table, we had time to really study the menu and plan our meal. We always order different things so that we can share. Marvin went for the crawfish platter... fried crawfish and crawfish etouffee with dirty rice. I had shrimp creole and grits. Both dinners were delicious but if we go again, I would do fried crawfish all the way. My shrimp creole was great... it was a lot of food. Even with sharing, I had leftover shrimp creole for lunch the next day (we polished off the grits at dinner). I liked his crawfish etouffee just fine... but for me, the fried crawfish was the best we've had yet. Marvin prefers the fried crawfish at Louisiana Bistreaux, the place we went two weeks ago because it was a bit spicier but for me... Pappadeaux has it just right.

I also have to mention that I was really hesitant to try fried crawfish. I've always been big on fried shrimp... I like seafood but I'm not terribly adventurous with it. Then Marvin took me to the Atlanta Highway Seafood Market for lunch and we had the crawfish and... I've never looked back. I'll always take fried crawfish over any other seafood!

shrimp creole and grits
This particular Pappadeaux location is fairly new, I think, maybe in the past year or so. It was spacious and clean and had a nice atmosphere. There was a little jazz band playing near the bar that we could hear in the background but it wasn't too loud for us to have a conversation. I HATE THAT! It was busy - hence the wait for a table. But once we were seated we ordered right away (since we had already studied the menu) and our food came out lickety split. Our server, a guy named Mike, was friendly but he did this weird thing with refilling our drinks... he stopped at the table and asked if we'd like a refill. Marvin answered because I had a mouthful of food. Mike refilled Marvin's glass but not mine. It was a good ten minutes or more later before he came back and filled mine. I don't know if the pitcher ran out or he thought I didn't want a refill because I didn't specifically answer him but... it was just odd. Otherwise, the service was fine.

This was another splurge price wise for us but... it was enough food to cover us for lunch the next day so... it balances out.

On Thursday Marvin made black and bleu burgers for us for lunch... burgers with blackening seasoning, bacon bits, fried onions and bleu cheese dressing. They were huge and they were delicious! He had Cheerwine to drink... it's a North Carolina thing... and I had this new flavored Georgia Peach flavored coke that was... so good! I'm not a big cola drinker but I would definitely go for the peach coke again.

I am trying to eat healthier because of my high blood pressure... so for lunch today I roasted salmon and assorted colored cherry tomatoes and green beans. I just lay it all on a cookie sheet and bake it at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. I had sliced the tomatoes open and drizzled everything with olive oil then gave it a generous sprinkle of salt and garlic powder. I know... high blood pressure and salt do not necessarily sound healthy BUT, as I've recently learned, it's the sodium content in the processed foods that screws with your blood pressure, not the sprinkle of salt while cooking fresh food. Honestly, this cooking method - fish, fresh veggies all drizzled in olive oil on a cookie sheet - is my favorite go-to meal. It's fast, easy, the clean up is as simple as pulling the tin foil off the cookie sheet (except for today when I accidentally ripped the tin foil while plating). I took a picture of my plate before eating and the light is not so good but you will get the idea. I made enough for two meals because heaven forbid I actually cook twice in the same week. Actually... I've already cooked twice this week because I made mac-n-cheese and tuna the other day so... I'm practically a chef!

I'm thinking of making a big "garbage salad" over the weekend to pack in a lot of fresh, healthy stuff. I've got a list in my phone of stuff I want to add to it... and then I'll just do olive oil and vinegar for the dressing. What are your favorite things to pack into a salad? Have you had an amazing meal lately? Feel free to share in the comment here or on the Facebook link for this blog post.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday - June 21st

Welcome back to another weekly edition of Throwback Thursday where I look back at this day in my blog's history! You can click on the links to be transported back in time to read the different blog posts.

On this day in 2016 work had just begun on our new covered deck. We have loved that new deck so much and it has been a place of some of the best memories... I just wish my mom had been able to enjoy it longer. I feel her presence more on that deck than anywhere else in the house. She loved it so much. Since it's covered it's comfortable in all but the hottest days of the year. We had Cosette's 2nd birthday party out there... so this blog post makes me a little weepy, realizing that it's only been two years since they started rebuilding the porch... but happy that mom did get to enjoy it for awhile.

In 2015 it was a special "Reasons to Love" post but this time it was Reasons to Love Helen - my sister-in-law! It's been three years since that post and I could probably do a hundred reasons to love her now. We have the BEST text message chats! She posts the sweetest pictures of my nephew Finn! She is always concerned about how I'm doing and always asks about my kids and... we could not have chosen a better wife for Bryan. And now she's incubating another niece for me... quite possibly another red-headed niece... and I'm planning a visit to New York later this year to welcome the new Gant Princess!

I was really thinking deeply about our food choices in 2013 and what might be out there that really isn't good for us. I was also having a little trouble with the youngest kid and wondering when he'd step up to the plate (he has, trust me!) I was deep in the swamp with disability and all that fun stuff. Not my best post ever but it's good to see where I was on this day five years ago.

Oh goodness... what a mess was this time six years ago! Moving back down south... trying to sort Austin's situation out... not knowing if I was going to go back to work or end up filing for disability. It was just so much chaos. The important thing is that I survived it all! Moving in with my parents felt like the lowest of the lows at the time but of course, I didn't know then how little time my mom had left and how important it would be for me to be with her. I read this post now and think... Poor Heather just didn't have a clue. How different would we live our lives if we knew what lurked ahead? Lots. I'm telling you, we would live LOTS differently.

In 2011, I was blogging about Vacation Bible School and the pledges we used to make in the assembly every year. They don't do that any more... at least not around here... and I think it's important to learn those things. But it's more important to know why you believe what you believe. I'm still sorting that part out. When you pledge allegiance, what are you really saying?

I was back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon on this day in 2010 and was really encouraged about my food choices. We had also just recently been to the Fox to see the Little House on the Prairie musical, which was great fun! Somehow that particular day ended up being a double post day and I wrote about a customer who hit a bear with his car. You just never know what might happen here!

AND finally... in 2009 I was having a fabulous weekend watching old movies and staying indoors to beat the heat. I have a long history of hating Summer!

Hope you enjoyed this trip back in time on my blog! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What Grandma Said

Up until about two years ago, I obsessively watched the news. I had very strong political opinions and was very sure and secure in what I believed was right... and what was wrong. As things have become more strongly divided in the past few years... things have become less black and white for me. I find myself unable to identify with either political party in our country. I find myself unable to stomach the news... any news... because I no longer trust what we are being told. I cannot hear of a news story without having to know the source because everything comes through the spin cycle. There is no news that I firmly trust unless I have personally researched it for myself. For my own sanity, I had to distance myself from politics.

I am, however, a big follower of social media and any big story will begin to filter through into what people are posting. So when I began to see stories about children being separated from their parents when crossing into the United States, I started forming a lot of questions in my mind. I stewed over things for most of yesterday and then finally, after dinner last night I started a dialogue with Marvin about what is happening at the border. He's a good one to have these discussions with because he is smart, honest and articulate and enjoys a good debate. We don't always agree but he never makes me feel uncomfortable with speaking my heart to him. Here are a few of the questions I had for him (and for you, if you care to comment on them):

  • Why are these people not being allowed into the United States?
  • Why are they being detained instead of just turned back? 
  • Are they accused of a crime? Are they being given due process? Are they represented? Are the children represented in any way?
  • What has changed about the situation on the border in the recent weeks that has constituted a crisis?
  • What happened to the children in the past? 
  • Why would a parent risk separation from their children - if it was risky to cross into the border, why would they subject their children to it?
  • Who is caring for the children while they are separated from their parents? 

If you've read my blog for any time at all, you know that at the very core of who I am, I am a mother and a grandmother. Children are precious to me. Lives are precious to me. I am staunchly pro-life, pro-child, pro-family.

For example, yesterday Cosette had brought her kitten with her when she came to our house. She is deeply attached to her kitten. We needed to go to the store and it is very hot where we live so we couldn't have left the kitten in the car for any amount of time. We got Whiskers settled comfortably in my bathroom with fresh water and kitten kibble and started to leave the house. Cosy could NOT understand why the kitten couldn't come. She was heartbroken... devastated... hysterical! I was in my bathroom upstairs while her dad was in the driveway trying to get her in the car and I could hear her screaming from there. I went outside and she was so upset that she was hyperventilating. I knew we couldn't just put her in the car like that... so I carried her to the covered porch and sat down in the rocking chair with her in my lap and just held her and rocked her and kissed her sweaty little head as her tears wet the front of my shirt. I wanted her to understand why the cat couldn't go but before I could even begin to reason with her, I needed to calm her down and make her feel safe.

So many things to take from that scenario. She couldn't bear to be away from her little kitten. I couldn't bear to witness her grief and fear about when she would be reunited with her kitten. We needed to go... the cat couldn't go with us... there were good reasons for the cat to be where she was and for Cosy to be with us but in the moment, all that mattered was her little broken heart.

I don't fully understand this issue at the border. Those questions I listed for you... I don't fully have answers yet. I see the image of the toddler crying for it's mother and it rips my heart out. I know that there are probably reasons that these  people are being detained. I believe that there have to be reasons that they aren't allowed into our country. But what matters most to me is the hurt and fear that people are feeling at being separated from their families.

When I moved to Florida and Cody stayed behind in Georgia, I could not even say his name without breaking down into tears. He was my child and he needed to be with me. It wasn't time for him to be out of my nest yet. He was 17.

When we were unable to see Cosy two years ago, same thing. I could not say her name without crying. Even now, I will tell you that the time away from her was the hardest thing I've ever lived through, even in comparison to my mom's illness last year. It's that loss of the parent-child relationship that is unnatural. My mom was safe and surrounded by people who loved her and were trained in how to care for her. I knew what was happening in my mom's life but with Cosy, we didn't know what was happening. We knew my mom would die and her suffering would end but we didn't have any certainty about our future relationship with Cosy.

I would not want children to be in an unsafe location. I would not want them to be detained with criminals. I don't want kids in jail. Marvin reassured me that where the families were previously held - was not jail. It's possible that some of the kids being brought to the border are being trafficked for horrible reasons. The people with them may not be the actual parents in some circumstances. There are sometimes questions that have to be answered before people are allowed into our country but surely there is a better way for this to be handled.

I can't tell you that I came to any firm conclusions about this situation and I am far from well informed. But I have to admit that when the order came down today to stop separating families, I felt a huge sense of relief. I know that our borders are not as safe as they should be. I know that other countries - like Russia, for instance - have much stricter border protection. But as Marvin says, we're better than those other countries. We don't want to be them. For me, when I don't understand the problem, I just know I have to err on the side of love and compassion.

I've posted a few screenshots that I found on social media today that made me think... I'm also including some other words of wisdom.

I stumbled across this in a draft of a blog I never published... these are things I found on little notes in my Grandma's bible. She died in 1998... so, twenty years ago! I thought some of these might speak to some of you... and I want you to know that wherever you stand politically, I just hope that you remember to show kindness and compassion to others. Here's what Grandma Pennington said:
  • Your best friend is he who brings out the best that is within you.
  • Every human heart has an unseen battlefield where the good and the bad are fighting it out
  • Without the Holy Spirit, the Christian witness is powerless
  • Real goodness is a trait of character which only comes through the indwelling spirit
  • God never gives power to a person who will not use it
  • People are attracted to Christ by the lives of those who profess Him
  • The highest purpose of prayer is to turn our attention toward God, to get God into our minds and; into our thinking
  • God is as near to you as the air you breathe, not way out yonder somewhere
  • Prayer is coming to God with open minds saying, "God reveal to me what you want me to do".
  • Many times God reveals His will to us one step at a time, as you take that step then you can see the next one.
  • We cannot prove God by argument but we can make our own lives an argument for God
  • When we lose hope, we lose God
  • I believe that Christ rose from the dead, this resurrection is my assurance that there is life for me beyond the grave. "Because I live, " he said, "ye shall also live".
  • I know someone will carry my body and bury it in the ground. There it will decay but because I know Christ, that will not be the end of me. I shall live after death.
  • A friend is one who comes in when the world goes out.
  • If asked to, God will soften harshness in people
  • Religion is both love for God and love for man. It involves the fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man
  • If a man would not help his son or daughter when he or she was needed it and was in trouble, then he was not a worthy father
  • There have been many, many people in whose heart our Lord stilled the storm after some great sorrow or hurt or disappointment. He is still working His miracles.
  • I cannot forgive my sins. I cannot blot them out. My only hope is the mercy of God.
  • With God's help, we can face any temptation and overcome it.
  • Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not. (Augustine)
  • It is important that we know what we believe
  • God is stronger than satan, goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, righteousness is stronger than sin
  • Day by day we gather the harvest of yesterday and we are sowing for the harvest of the future
  • If you have a problem, plant a seed
  • a missionary is not necessarily one who crosses the sea, but one who sees the cross
  • Suffering accepted and used may prove to be the best fruit of your life.
  • God's grace does not always explain nor remove the thorn, but it is always sufficient to overcome
  • He who cannot let go cannot hang on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cosy Pictures

I bragged on the phone this afternoon about feeling good and then out of nowhere... BAM!... another headache. I didn't play around with this one... it got the good migraine meds right out of the gates. Last week I was nearly comatose over date "night" (and day and night and the next day) and I'd like to be a little more engaged this week. Sprinkle all those good "headache be gone" vibes my way, if you would.

Gamer Girl watching her dad play

This morning I had the little chickadee and her furry companion with me. I picked them up and we drove through Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee for Nana and some munchkins for the munchkin. The employees gathered in the drive-thru window to see the tiny kitten and tried to bribe her from us. Cosy would never forgive me if I gave her kitten away. They are fairing fairly well, I think.

Tucked in for a nap
We did have to have a conversation today about not throwing the cat... and how to pick her up gently... and then there was a complete meltdown when we had to leave the cat at home to make a little grocery shopping trip. I'm telling you... three year old girls are probably the most emotional creatures on earth. It wasn't just tears... it was tears and hyperventilating and giving her dad the stink eye... she's hard core, that one! But before that we had a nice, peaceful... sort of... happy morning. Thought I'd share a few photos with you, especially for the ones who aren't on Facebook or Instagram or the other spots in cyberspace I tend to hang out.

Now I'm going to close my eyes for a little while before time to head south for Date Night (and day and night and the next day). Hope your Tuesday has been lovely! Love and hugs, y'all!

wearing a chair for a hat

Laughing at her silly dad... 

A bit wound up... 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Reasons To Love Monday - Lowering My Blood Pressure Edition

Skylight allowing sunlight in... 
It's nearly 3pm on Monday as I begin writing this blog and I have LITERALLY done nothing beyond exist so far today. I would feel guilty but y'all... I'm just trying to get this blood pressure down and chilling like it's my job seems like the best way to do it. I've got a pillow stuffed into the skylight so I am mushrooming hardcore. I feel bad that I haven't blogged yet today to give you inspiration for the week (joke... are these posts EVER inspirational? Really?) and I didn't blog yesterday either so I feel compelled to share some of my well rested wisdom with you. And since it's Monday... I'll share some of the things that are keeping my heart beating faster this week... while still keeping my bp down.

Pillow in skylight
1. Pillow stuffed into the skylight? Genius. It's sad that it took me four months up here to figure that one out. Granted... I love the light for things like selfies and insta-stories but when I'm laying here trying to rest... hate it.

2. I slept until 8am this morning. That never happens unless I'm at Marvin's in his very dark, very quiet, very cool room. When I opened my eyes and saw that it was 8, I stretched like a cat waking from an afternoon nap. I think Marvin was actually awake before me this morning and wondering why he hadn't had a response from me yet on the text he sent me late last night. I think in another hour he was going to be ready for a welfare check on me.

3. Marvin got an amazing message last night from Butch Walker - a musician that we both really adore. I worried that Father's Day would be hard for Marvin since it's the first since his son passed away. Then he got this lovely message from this amazing artist and it really boosted his spirits. If you don't know who Butch is, you really should check him out. He is my current jam while I'm in the car... and has been for a few months now. He writes really lovely songs with brilliant lyrics that hit me right in the feels. He had posted on Instagram about Father's Day and Marvin commented about it being his first without his son. Butch sent him a really kind message in response and... you know, there aren't a lot of public figures who really take that kind of time to be genuine to their fans. He earned mucho respect from me for that... and of course, made Marvin's day! So yay!

4. It looks like we're going to have terribly hot weather this week. I hate hot weather so much. I just literally melt... I get the nasty heat migraines... I sweat like a prostitute in church... my hair gets frizzy from the humidity. Summer is not my favorite. We've talked about this. But fortunately... I have very few outdoor obligations this week. I'll be up here in my nest with the a/c on except when I'm at Marvin's nest with the a/c on... avoiding the sunlight like a vampire. And I am literally counting the days until October... when our temperatures finally start consistently getting out of the eighties. There are 104 days until October, if you were wondering.

5. Since I'm nesting hard... I'm (of course) binge-watching tv... and right now I'm watching the series "Madame Secretary" which is a great show! More about it in my next couch potato post but definitely worth a watch.

6. I did climb out of the nest long enough to actually cook food for myself today... I made kraft macaroni and cheese and added a can of tuna. I wanted to toss in some english peas but I was raiding Pop's pantry and he hates peas. I need to do more salads/fresh fruit and veggies but I just haven't felt well enough for a shopping trip. Pop picks things up for me and Austin picks things up for me but I'm due a proper food shop for myself. Maybe tomorrow.

7. I've been working on my stuff... my tree and Marvin's... and I found out that Abraham Lincoln is my fifth cousin, four times removed on my dad's side... at least I think that's how it works out. At any rate, we do have a common ancestor and that totally thrilled me. Genealogy is so much fun for me! is stupid expensive and I always find myself focusing more on it when the renewal is coming up. Little finds like this are great motivation to keep digging. Posting about my ancestors on my blog is also keeping me motivated. My next post will be about this common ancestor that Cousin Abe and I share so... stay tuned!

8. Tomorrow is Cosy day... and date night... hopefully I won't be so worn out from the first bit to not enjoy the second bit. I try to pace myself. I haven'ta  s much time with her lately because of my headaches/blood pressure/back issues and ... not having a car most of the time. I had her for a little while on Saturday but I didn't feel well and she was missing her kitten so she went home early. I'll have to make sure to get the kitten tomorrow. I think. Marvin is not playing softball this Summer so date night is slower paced (and cooler) and we're home earlier than when he's playing.

 9. My blood pressure HAS gone down a little since last week. I was up to 164/120 on Friday (I think it was Friday... maybe Saturday) and then it got a bit better and today was a little better still. I'm not normal yet and that's frustrating since I'm taking four different pills that lower your blood pressure but... at least I don't feel like a time bomb ready to stroke out at any second like I did the other day. I'm keeping a close watch on it, trying to eat healthy(er) and so forth. My next scheduled dr visit is in August and I don't want to have to go in the meantime but if I have another series of high readings, I'm going to have to.

And... I guess that will do it for this week's Reasons To Love Monday! What is your motivation this week? What helps drag you out of your nest to face the hot temperatures? What keeps your blood pressure in a nice, healthy range? I'd love to hear from you!