Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Independence Day July 4th, 2010!

Family are due in beginning this evening.  Not all are coming just to celebrate the 4th.  My husband is helping my niece move from near DC to North Carolina.  We are close to being on their route, and we have a truck and a trailer!  But, for the 4th celebration, she and her husband will be here, as will her dad and mom. 

Also coming are two of our three children, and three of our four grand children and both the great grand children, and the great grand children's other great grandma!  We also have a friend visiting until the 12th of July!

You might have guessed already, I have been busy!!  It's taken me three days of shopping to gather up all the food and toys and stuff we will need for the next several days.  I've made menu plans and have already begun to cook.


today - green beans with bacon and onion, sweet corn bread and fried apples (Today's supper was GOOD and even earned me some expressed appreciation from my husband and our friend who is visiting.  I was very pleased.  Men ate and did more than yum as they gobbled and pat their tummies after, they both told me it was great and thanked me.  Did I say I was pleased?) 

tomorrow - beef stew, more corn bread and strawberry-rhubarb pie (I have never made one before but I found the recipe on the computer here, and it looks easy enough.  I'll be sure to let you all know!)

Friday - spaghetti or linguine with alfredo sauce, pizzas they will top with whatever they  like from my collection of toppings and pineapple upside-down cake (My husband's all time favorite for me to make him.)

Saturday - big breakfast of sausage, bacon, gravy, biscuits, eggs, juice and coffee
and for supper, grilled chicken breasts, fried potatoes, left over breads, left over green beans, corn on the cob, and left over deserts

Sunday - hamburgers, and hot dogs on the grill, chips, potato salad, and a pound cake with white icing, blueberries and strawberries
Monday - left overs

This is the first time in years I will be doing so much 'from scratch' cooking.  I'm cooking ahead so later I can just heat things up and I can enjoy the fun times too.  It's amazing to me that the recipes I thought were so difficult, and so I used mixes or ready made for them, are coming along quite easily.  Quick, prayer, 'Please God let that trend continue! In His name, Amen'.  Now, I feel ready to continue.  And, I really don't especailly like to cook.  It's just something I can do.

I think the house will smell amazing for the next few days.



Younger folks:
There are some small and cute, toys for the seven and four year old great grand daughters. 
I bought six new water guns.  (Generally we find the grown men like these better than the kids, but so long as someone plays with them!)
And a slip and slide.

Older folks:
there will be games, always supplied for our family get togethers by our oldest daughter and her husband. 
And, not quite entertainment but time filling, some of people will be moving that niece to her first place! 
There is a art show in Cherokee, NC that we can go to on Saturday,

fireworks on Saturday night,
church on Sunday morning,
and a movie in town on Sunday afternoon, if people can stay long enough.


We have our flag up,
white and blue lights on the deck railing,
little flags in a couple of flower pots,
and a flag pin wheel. 
There are red, white and blue table decorations, plates, napkins and cups. 

We are ready!

So...if you were my family would you think I did good?  I sure hope they think so.

Hoping all the USA has a great 4th. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First we Work and Then we Play!

My mother always said, 'First we work and then we play.'  Of course, play back then didn't mean we were going to the amusement park, or even the local park.  It just meant we could quit working.  As you may suspect, I always resented that rule.  She was just trying to get help with her housework.  She was a stay at home mom and wife, so I always felt like it was her job and she wiggled out of it any way she could.

As an adult, I am sorry to say some of those feelings are still with me but not as intensely, because I know she had arthritis in her back and hips. Now that I also have that oh-so-aggravating disease myself, a disease which has no cure and reminds me all the time of it's presence by the pain, I understand why she wanted help.  And, even though it's hard to admit, I'm grateful for the lesson. 

I have to do a bunch of stuff.  It seems one or two days of not doing chores means it's hard to walk thru the house!  And, that's about where I am right now.  So before I go back to making messes at play, I have to go to work to straighten things.

Did you pick up that I make messes when I play?  I do because of another thing I learned from my mother, but one that's more fun, being creative.  Painting, making stuff and activities that cause messes are my idea of play.  Today, some of my work will feel a bit more like play. 

We bought a kitchen cart yesterday.  While I was shopping I had to sit down, because of my arthritis.  That's when I saw the cart.  And, I realized all my paints and maybe papers and canvases could fit in the cabinet, paint rag on the towel bar, brushes and pencils in the drawer, rulers in the knife slots, and the cutting board top could be a work table, which can be extended about a foot if I need the space!  And, the whole thing can be rolled from room to room, to wherever I want to work!

I'm filling my new cabinet and clearing out lots of smaller and ill fitting pieces of furniture from my house.  It's gonna be so nice.  But first, I have to do those dishes, make that bed, wash some clothes and etc. and then I can do the work-play.  It's gonna be a good day.  Hope yours is as well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Day After Retirement

How are your days filled?  Are you busy every minute with little time to relax?  Or, maybe those days are over, and now you're adjusting to large blocks of free time.

It's a mystery why many of us often want whatever it is we don't have.   When we are raising our families and working outside our homes we long for the days when the family leaves home to take care of themselves, and we can stop working.  We all believe we will take advantage and pursue interests we have put off for this time of life.

So far my husband has been retired for six years and things aren't quite like I thought they would be.  Some of the time it's all just fine, but other times I'm restless and not satisfied.  He too isn't satisfied staying home.

My husband searches for odd jobs and stays busy with them.  He does work for people who need little jobs done because they aren't able to do them.  And, most businesses do not want small jobs.  He is much more satisfied in our 'retirement' than me.

While he's gone on those jobs, I am here by myself.  Sometimes I've painted, taken photographs, and done some framing of my own work and some for other people.  I've spent some time searching for places to sell my work, but it's not easy.  So for some time I've been slightly discouraged about my art.  I dislike painting and taking pictures just to stack them.

Something I've done to keep busy was design and make ladies bags.  This is very enjoyable and it may be what I return to doing to keep myself busy and happier here.  At the present I'm not making them.  

Making the bags again is sounding like fun.  It involves drawing the patterns first and maybe even a small sketch of the finished bag.  I have to photograph them to put them up for sale online, make the price tags, ads, business cards and more using my computer.  If I begin again to make them I'll have to write copy for ads.  I'll need to design the web site and all other advertising materials.  I'd be using all my creativity constructively.

And so, it's another day after retirement here in the woods, by myself.  It's summer.  The dog is outside, panting, because it's about 85 and the humidity is probably higher than the temperature.  I'm inside in the air conditioning.  It's a better day than some, because I have been busy enough to be happy.  I emptied a small chest type freezer.  The food fit into the freezer of our refrigerator in the garage where my husband always has several cases of sodas and bottled chilling.  We will save some power, save some money and have extra space in the laundry room!  Good things.

In the kitchen I've put on a big pot of green beans, which I grew in my garden since we moved here.  I've seasoned them with bacon drippings, and onion and they are bubbling away.  The aroma is heavenly!  Hoping to make some corn bread and fry some ham for a delicious supper later. 

There are two containers thawing in my the sink.  One is full of pumpkin and tn the other container, seasoned tomato sauce.  More of the bounty from that same garden.  Tomorrow we'll have vegetable beef soup and pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or both.

It's a good day now, tomorrow ought to be good as well.  Still would like to live closer to town with shopping more convenient and people closer, and would enjoy having something more to do, but for today I'm good.

Thinking of all who are, or will be, adjusting to retirement.  Plan as much as you can and make it good!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Us, Life's A Puzzle

Today we had several thunderstorms.  Each time the air became still, the humidity extremely high, and the temperature out doors stifling.  Then the storm.  The heavens rumbled and roared, and the rains poured down.  It filled the creek and ponds and made streams which flowed down from the hill behind our house. 

And each time the rains came, the temperature dropped.  When the rains stopped the air felt fresh and cool for a few minutes.  Soon the temperature became hotter, and the storm returned.  

The last storm of the day just before dark again caused the temperature to drop.  Now the sky is dark, the air coming in through the door is cool, damp and sweet smelling.  It's a beautiful ending for the day.  Today, here, we were blessed.

In the last few days excessive rains have caused great floods in some places, and people are being tested. 

This home our creator gave us, this earth, both nurtures and kills.  We need rain, but not too much rain.  We require sunshine, but only just enough.  We need to eat, but not in excess.  We must exercise but not over much. 

To us, life is a great puzzle.  But to our creator, even though we don't believe it or understand it, all things are as they are meant to be.  Praise to the creator for all our blessings and prayers to the creator for courage times of testing.

Fairy Godmother Where Are You?

Sometimes I wish for my Fairy Godmother to show up.  My Prince and I need some help.  Oh wait, maybe all Fairy Godmothers can do is be matchmakers.  Oh well, don't need THAT!  Been married to my Prince for, ahh, a LONG time.

Maybe it's a winning lottery ticket I really need because the past few weeks my Prince and I have spent more money than we've taken in.  

Near the end of May a cousin of mine passed away.  He lived seven hours north of us in our home state.  Between my husband and I, we have a 'ton' of relatives there, and some dear friends as well.  We decided it was time for us to go, attend the funeral, and visit family and friends.  That was the first drain on our finances.

As soon as we returned home we had family come for the first cook out of the year!  Plus, we brought my husband's niece home with us. It was fun to have her, although she grew bored with us old folks.  We went shopping twice, to the movies twice, to a live show once and out to eat many times. 

 All month it's been raining at night or in the morning and the sun shines in the afternoon.  The grass is very healthy!  The lawn mower broke.  It turned out, the store wouldn't give my Prince the parts to fix the lawn mover, no, they wanted money. 

One of our grand daughters graduated high school, and a niece graduated college.  Our oldest and her husband celebrated their 11th anniversary, it was my sister's birthday, and our littlest grand daughter's 4th birthday.  Cards and checks were sent.

And we had to license, and insure all three vehicles.

But, Direct TV sent us a card saying we can see pay-for-view-movie free for the next three months!  I think money off the bill would have been nicer.

It seems the harder we try to get ahead the farther behind we fall, at least this month that's been true.  I suspect many people can relate.

So, since my luck at picking winning lottery tickets isn't so good, if any of you see a Fairy Godmother with time on her hands, no matches to make, see if she might come turn some rags into riches for us!  Maybe she can help you too.  If we are all nice to her, laugh at her jokes and compliment her on how well she treated Cinderella or something, she might want to help us! 

On being less well off than we'd like:
'If the Devil danced in empty pockets,
he'd have a ball in mine!'
Don't have a pot to pee in,
or a window to throw it out of.
Don't have two nickles to rub together.
Champagne dreams, and
beer pocketbooks.

Poor as a church mouse.
If it weren't for bad luck,
I'd have no luck at all.

Of course, we aren't starving.  Actually we are very fortunate.  My Prince is able to get odd jobs to supplement the retirement income, we have an affordable home, newer vehicles (and monthly payments), and so far, we've been able to visit each of our three children, who live all across the US, at least twice a year!

Thanks is given to God for the many blessing we still have.

Researching Mac

I'm beginning a search for information about the Mac computers.

Discovered so far: Macs are more expensive, but they are capable of fantastic graphics. 

Additional information needed includes Mac sizes and types of laptop and desktop computers, large format printers, larger scanners, photo editing programs, organizing and storing systems and if there is a program similar to Microsoft Office Publisher for Mac.

Anyone reading this, please share your knowledge by leaving a comment or a link to your web site or blog.

I plan to write a summary of the information gathered here on this blog and if possible, on my Gather page.  Anything from other bloggers or web sites will be used only with permission and sources will be given credit.  Otherwise, the web site address will be given, instead of direct quotes.

Thank you in advance to anyone who will help me in this search.

"Posting" is the Word for Today, June 15th, 2010


A few days ago I decided to join a social site, one which encourages writing and other creative endeavors.  I've been a member of this site twice before.  I'd forgotten one of the main reasons I left the site.  Posting is difficult and irritating, and now I can't log on.  I can view my page, which means just about everything I do on this site can be seen by whoever tries, but I can't access it!!!

What an irritation.

Posting is my word for today.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Arthritis" was the Word for June 5th, 2010.


I'm writing this after the fact.  My word for Saturday the 5th of June was arthritis.  Like many other folks, I have osteoarthritis.  All arthritis is chronic; there is no cure.

Beginning right after lunch on Friday I had a very noticeable drop in my energy level and my joints, particularly my knees, began to ache worse than usual.  We have our 15 year old niece visiting for a few weeks.  I had promised her a trip to town, so I pushed past my pain and kept my promise.  After supper that evening and until Sunday morning my discomfort was so bad I had to rest.  My husband and niece fed and entertained themselves while I sat in the recliner during the day and went to bed early both Friday and Saturday nights.  While resting I read a book.


Below is a  brief summary of Winning with Arthritis by Harris H. McIlwain, MD, Joel C. Silverfield, MD, Michael C. Burnette, MD and Debra Fulghum Bruce, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Professional, Reference and Trade Group, New York, NY. 

Arthritis is chronic, which means, there is no cure.  The best that can be done for the disease is to manage the pain and slow the deterioration of the joints, and/or muscles.  There are 100 types of arthritis.  Lupus, gout, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are all types of arthritis.  Some can effect internal organs, and not only the joints.

Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or DJD.  During times of increased stiffness and pain warm moisture twice a day, such as a bath or shower, can reduce discomfort.  However, people differ and some are helped more by cool water.  

Regular exercising helps maintain flexibility of the joints, and strengthens the muscles around the joints.  Exercises should not cause increased pain.  If this happens discontinuing these movements until a later time is best.  Exercising in a pool, such as at your local "Y", or in your pool at home, is beneficial because  the water takes pressure off the joints and allows increased range of motion.

Prescribed medicines for the pain help, but over the counter medications may work as well.  Aspirin, the old standby, is very good, but can be hard on the stomach.  Finding the best pain medication for an individual is usually done with the physician through trial and error. 

Diets and their benefits have not been studied thoroughly enough.  Some people are convinced avoiding particular foods has made their symptoms decrease while others see no difference.  What to eat is a matter of individual preference.


Winning with Arthritis gave descriptions and names for many of the most common forms of arthritis.   In each type detailed information was given about the symptoms, causes, risks if untreated, and treatments available. Also included were illustrations for many exercises, with names, verbal descriptions and directions for each, making mastery easy.  

The assistance and information given to me by the many doctors I've seen since being diagnosed with degenerative joint disease 20 years ago, was never so complete, or helpful.

I've learned, from this book and from personal experience, managing arthritis is a balancing act.  Excessive activity can cause, or increase the severity of joint pain and stiffness.  Humidity and atmospheric pressure can cause discomfort sometimes, but not always.  Inactivity can cause the joints to become stiff and make bending them more painful or even drastically limit movement.  However, stiffness and pain may increase inexplicably, and is, quite simply, another characteristic of the disease. 

Sensible daily exercises to strengthen the muscles and keep joints moving, medications for pain, baths or showers for stiffness and soreness are the basic treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis.  Additionally massage can reduce discomfort by helping the muscles surrounding the joints relax. 

Diet may or may not effect the disease.  If eating certain foods seem to help, eat them.  If no noticeable difference can be seen when changing the diet, eat a variety of fresh and nutrient rich foods as is recommended for general good health.  Fish oils are thought to help in some arthritis patients, and are also recognized as beneficial for other health reasons. 

Arthritis is a chronic disease.  Winning with Arthritis is an exceptionally informative handbook for anyone with arthritis.

Arthritis was the word for June 5th, 2010.


Wishing you a win with your arthritis.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Achievement" is the Word for Today, June 7th, 2010.


This was a day of achievement. 

With some help from my niece, who is visiting, and a little from my husband, I managed to do 6 loads of laundry, clean the whole house, catch up the dishes, cook supper and clean it up and make myself presentable.  All this needed to be accomplished because, while my husband was out he invited people over for the evening

And so, all is done and we are ready for visitors.  We have cup cakes and ice cream with strawberries to serve.  I'm not too grumpy.  A pill will take care of my screaming joints, and a fun time, hopefully, will be had by all! 

The word for toady is achievement!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Emotion" is my Word for Today, June 3, 2010.


I'm working on keeping my emotions in check today.  My son is leaving for Afghanistan.  He told me his departure date isn't firm; it will be between the 3rd and 10th of June.  Today or one day soon he will leave.  We haven't heard from him for several days.  Trying not to be upset that he didn't call to say goodbye.  He may not get the chance now because they can tell him he's going in an hour and he'll have to just go!
He did come to visit us for several days in May.  He also took the time to fly out west to see his youngest sister, and he tried to see his older sister, although their schedules and circumstances didn't allow it.  He has been very considerate of his family.

As far as his safety in Afghanistan: he is an officer, he will most likely not be in the field, he will be in a NATO office and he will have much more security around him than many other Americans serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

I know all that, but it doesn't keep me from worrying and being emotional, even though I'm trying not to do either.

In addition, I've lost three cousins in about two weeks, all in Indiana, all three younger than me.  Feels like they were cheated, while, so far at least, I'm blessed.  I feel guilty.  

It's been a time of much love, much sadness and much anxiety.

Doing whatever I can think of doing, to keep my emotions in check.

May God give us the courage to face this life and live it well.  May we think more of others than ourselves, and yet take care of ourselves too.  May we remember all the good and learn whatever lessons possible from the bad.  God give us peace, allow us to see the hope in being a child of yours, guide us, help us to lead others to you. 
In your Son's name,


(All photos by Janet Toney, please request permission
before 'borrowing' any photograph.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Politics" is my Word for Today, June 1st, 2010.


The word for today is a hateful ol' word, it's politics!

Politics is a battle for power.  The biggest battle...the presidency of the USA. 

This past election was won by the smoothest talker. No matter he said things contrary to most Americans' views, that he didn't salute our flag and said he wouldn't do that because of a loyalty to a religion he claimed not to believe.  Whatever he said, he said it calmly and his manner was confident and .... the best word is smooth.  People liked that.

Smooth talkers always make me nervous.  The smoother the talk the more apt I am to distrust the talker.  To be so calm and collected about the world's problems, which are many, tremendous and terrible is not natural.  It's insane, or more likely, it's manipulative.  And that's what a good politician is, a practiced and capable manipulator .... did I say I really don't like politics?

And further, it gets me hopping mad to hear the president say, 'The buck stops here.' (a phrase which he borrowed).  I know, this is believed to be honorable and responsible.  It's really not.  It makes the president sound as if he believes he can speak solutions and good times into existence, or as if he believes his lecturing BP or others is all it will take for solutions and remedies to be.  He isn't all powerful.

In fact, he cannot rule according to only his opinion; he cannot do all he promises in his campaign.  More and more I believe the president of the United States of America, no matter who that person happens to be, is not much more than a figure head. 

Congress has power.  Money has power.  Public opinion, shaped by news media and dedicated advocates for particular causes, has power.  The US President is used to take the flack or praise, and allow the true power brokers to work under less scrutiny. 

Politics irritate me, and it's the word I thought about today.