Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sensory Overload and Anxiety


   To be perfectly transparent, I have no idea exactly what this blog post is going to include as I start it or it it will even make sense.  Call it the mad ramblings of a woman who has been sleep deprived for years and prays to God that she will get more than 28 minutes in the deep sleep cycle (the one where the body heals itself) a night.  It does not matter how many hours of sleep I eventually get, but the quality of that sleep is what matters and mine is severely lacking in that department. Sleep medications do not help me get into that deep cycle and just make me feel hungover and the other medications that I have tried have the same effect.  This had led to some interesting days around here. Throw in the pain that comes with Fibromyalgia also, and let's not forget the anxiety and depression that rear their ugly heads.  The struggle has been hard and real lately.

   I was doing pretty well with keeping the anxiety and depression under control there for quite awhile and was honestly taken aback when it started to become a problem again.  I thought that maybe my medication to help me deal with it needed to be adjusted again.  Then I had 2 fairly good days and I realized that maybe something was triggering it.  I thought about when I started struggling again and what brought that on and then what had been different the past two days when I had not been having issues.  There was a common factor.

   Sensory Overload is something that I have struggled with for most of my life and I did not know that it and the migraines that I have had since childhood could also be related to Fibromyalgia.  Lights, chaos, crowds, noises, smells, even texture and temperature along with colors can really upset me and send me into a flare.  I noticed that my ramping up coincided with some loud and obnoxious sounds in our neighborhood and then stopped for two days when that sound was not present.  

   Here is the thing though, I can do what I can to mitigate and dampen the sounds, but I cannot totally eliminate them since I have no control over the person who is making and causing them.  I have felt like my home, which had been my sanctuary, has been unfairly invaded by these horrible noises.  I can't just shut all the windows and doors this time of year because I need to have air circulating to keep things cool and dry in our home and the fur babies need to be able to come in and out off the back porch.  

   Sometimes it feel like a dark cloud is coming in and taking over.  I just want to retreat from it and feel safe in my home.  Is that too much to ask?

 Added the next day:

    I thought I was basically done with this post until I discovered some really disturbing information on someone who has caused me deep pain as a child that I am still trying to work through.  Upon learning about the information, it sent my anxiety through the roof.  It also brought back horrible memories for me, some of which I had been suppressing for years.  I was not able to sleep until my husband got home at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday at which time I totally collapsed and was out for about 3 1/2 hours.  I was in full on fight or flight mode until then.  Here it is 3:25 a.m. on Thursday morning and I am so tired but still wired.  I desperately need to sleep but my mind and body will not allow it.  Praying that sleep will come soon...I'm running on fumes and that continues the vicious anxiety loop that I seem to be in once again.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/2-8/8 2019

~We had Steven here with us so Jeff got up early so he could spend time with him too.
~We took Steven to get milkshakes at Ferdinand's, which is the creamery at WSU where they make fresh ice cream and cheese.  After that, we stopped at the bear research center, also at WSU, to see the bears.  He loved going to both places. 😊
~From there we headed to Goodwill and found him a stuffed animal that converts back and forth from a dolphin to a walrus.  We also got 2 shirts for Jeff (some of the ones he has now have got to be tossed out because they are so stained) and a glass kitchen container.  Jaysn met us there after he got off work and took Steven home with him.
~Jeff asked if we wanted to just go out for dinner and I said no.  We stopped at Winco to pick up some groceries and got a footlong sandwich and some salads from the deli instead...much cheaper.  We also picked up 3 kinds of lettuces for me to make huge salads with since this coming week is going to be a scorcher and I don't plan of cooking much.  We found huge pork roasts marked down so I also bought a double pack of those and froze them for future meals.  BLueberries were super cheap so I got a package of those and will be freezing at least half of them.
~I picked more raspberries in the evening from our bushes.  They are finally slowing down.
~I froze more overripe bananas for breads and muffins and threw the peels on the roses.
~Steven helped me harvest more squash and tomatoes while he was here.  He is a good little helper and loves to be in the garden.
~Jeff broke his glasses the other day so we took them into our eye glass place and they found some discontinued style frames that fit his lenses.  They gave him a wonderful deal and only charged him $50 for the frames and putting his lenses into them.  That saved us about $400 since he has bifocals with special coatings on them.

~Jeff and I both slept in because we were exhausted!  We have been going, going, going way too much and had another busy day ahead of us. I did get up earlier in the morning to have Caesar go pee though and let the cats out on the back porch and then headed myself back to bed.
~We met the family at the bowling alley and Jeff was able to bowl for free.  It was Steven's first time bowling with the help of a ramp and his cousins Bradley and Isaiah cheered him on and were huge helps in keeping him semin corraled.  Jeremy also bought me a cider from the bar.
~We all went to Pizza Hut for dinner and Jaysn found a deal where the large pizzas were just $12.99 each so each family bought one and we all shared.
~I was given a bottle of wine by my cousin Jeremy and some Lularoe leggings and a tops by Feather, Chris, Bradley and Isaiah for my birthday gift.  I then recycled the gift bag and tissue paper and added it to my stash.

~Jeff went over to help Chris caulk the seams on the siding of their house so that they could get it painted.  I was supposed to go over also and go to church with Heather and the boys, but I was totally out of it and slept right through Jeff leaving.  Luckily Heather knew that I may not make it ahead of time.
~I got up and harvested tomatoes and squash.
~The sheets were washed and hung out on the laundry line to dry.
~I marinated some thinly sliced top round steaks in homemade teriyaki sauce.
~I made a cold iced vanilla latte instead of having hot coffee when I got up.
~The neighbor's dog was barking like crazy and driving me nuts.  I needed something to help calm my jangled nerves so I pulled up my friend Gary Haleamau's playlist on YouTube and streamed it on my TV. Gary Haleamau Music   Gary and I grew up together and he is considered one of Hawaii's Living Legends in music.  He now lives in Las Vegas and we were able to get together with him and some of his beautiful family when we were down visiting Josh and Lauren last Fall.
~Jeff gave Bradley and Isaiah the Cornhole game that he made for Isaiah's birthday and they were thrilled.  Some of their friends were there and now they have asked Jeff to make one for their family also.  They are going to pay him for it.  I think Jeff has just found himself a side job!
~Heather sent a huge bag of tortilla chips from Costco and a bag of huckleberries that she picked home with Jeff for us.
~I did some bulk cooking and made a huge batch of pancakes and portuguese sausage.  We had some for dinner and the rest will be used for meals later this week. 3/4 of the pancakes were plain and 1/4 were blueberry.  Jeff is not a fan of blueberry pancakes.
~I also cooked a big batch of rice and saved some for eating with the teriyaki later in the week and made a big batch of sushi rice with the rest.
~Jeff brought in a tall comfy stool from the garage for me to sit on while I cooked up all the pancakes and sausage since my back was going out on me.

~Jeff closed the house up in the morning to keep the cooler air in and try to drown out the noise of the barking dog and screeching dog owner.  UGH!
~I worked on my points programs.
~I had some green onions that were huge in the garden so I harvested them, cut them up and put them in a container in the fridge to use this week.
~More tomatoes were harvested from the garden.
~Jeff and I had our main meal of the day for lunch.  I fried up the teriyaki thinly sliced steaks and we had 4 of them (they were little) and saved two (along with some of the sauce) to make a stir fry later in the week.  I served those with some of the rice I made yesterday and a pad thai veggie stir fry with peanut sauce.
~Cold coffee drinks are some of my favorite summer treats so I brewed an extra strong pot and put that coffee in the fridge so it is ready to use.
~We have lots of fires surrounding us once again which means we could get some heavy smoke moving in tomorrow and Wednesday.  We are also under a high heat warning.  We are being told to keep our pets inside and severely limit our activities. Since we use a swamp cooler to chill our home down during the hotter months, this may mean we cannot use it since it will draw in the smoke.  With that in mind, I got all my cooking for the next few days done late into the night.
~I made a bacon ranch with ham and cheese noodle salad and my squash casserole that I love so much.
~I also refilled the Berkey water filter because it was getting low.
~I gave all the gardens and trees a deep watering and moved some of the more heat sensitive plants under a flowering plum and a willow bush so they would stay cooler.
~I also picked some more raspberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~Caesar and I took a walk when it cooled down in the evening and saw that some of the wild plums are about ready to pick.

~I slept in until noon...apparently my body needed it.
~Jeff and I had the salad I made last night for lunch when he got up.
~Jeff headed into town to pick up Caesar's prescription and another gallon of milk.  He took his little car, that does not have AC even though it is 100F outside.
~I harvested some tomatoes and squash from the garden. I was out there for about a minute and thought I would melt from the heat.
~I kept the fur babies inside for the most part during the day since it was so hot.
~When it finally cooled down to 90F, Jeff and I took a walk down the hill to forage for some of the wild plums.  We got quite a few and left a lot to further ripen and/or for other people.  The heat just about killed me and I found it hard to breathe,  Such is life with Fibromyalgia.
~Jeff and I worked on watering the gardens once the sun started to go down.
~Dinner was whatever we had in the fridge or sandwiches.  There was no way I was going to cook in this heat.

~Another scorcher of a day so I slept the morning away since I could not fall asleep until after 4 a.m. yet again.
~I'm attempting to grow some more basil starts in water from the trimmings I took off my basil plants outside.  I am hoping to overwinter the new plants inside so I have fresh basil year round.
~Jeff and I did sit down and make a new budget and plan for paying off debt while still getting more money into our savings account.
~Leftovers for lunch.
~I called our vet about Caesar's stomach ulcers caused by the steroids.  We are trying something new to get the bleeding to stop.  Poor baby.  I feel so bad for him.
~Jeff and I used our hot tub (unheated) to cool off. It felt so good!
~Jeff had leftover teriyaki and rice and I had a crab sushi all made here at home.
~I watered the gardens at night since it has been so hot and I wanted to make sure that nothing got burned from the sun.
~Jeff had his DOT physical today for his job so her took the paperwork and the receipt in to work so he will get reimbursed for the cost of it since he had to pay up front.
~Beautiful piano music calms me so I had that playing for part of the day via YouTube.

~I got some tamales out of the freezer for dinner and served those with a big salad.
~Harvested raspberries, blueberries, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes from the garden.
~I worked my points programs.
~The Hawaii girl came out in me so since I could not sleep, I watched surfing competitions on YouTube.  I loved watching surfing in person growing up and found it really relaxing.  I'm a water girl at heart.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trying to Find "Balance" Again

Bradley, Auntie Lauren, Uncle Josh, Steven and Isaiah

   The picture above is one of my favorites of Josh, Lauren and the little boys.  Those boys love their auntie and uncle and the feeling is mutual!  

   Life has been so busy starting out with Josh and Lauren coming over for a visit at the end of May.  We loved having them here and having our whole family together again. :)  We thought things would slow down after that but, as things always seem to go, life got even busier.  

   To be honest, things have become a bit of a blur for me.  It seems like we are always running somewhere be it for Caesar's ongoing health issues, helping the kids with various things, spending precious time with our family, running errands and just trying to keep up with the gardens and the harvesting around here.  Throw in an obnoxious person with a screeching voice who lives in our neighborhood and likes to yell at her poor dog and it sends me into sensory overload and brings on migraines and sends me into a HUGE flare.  

   It has also been really hot here and I don't do the heat well at all.  I tried to go for a short walk today and ended up in lots of pain and could hardly breathe.  I felt like I had lead weights all over my body dragging me down.  Jeff had me sit down in my recliner to recover and took care of some things around here until I was able to get up and go work on watering the front garden while he took care of the back ones.

   We have had to put out more money than we had planned on and have had to resort to using the credit card to pay for Caesar's medical bills.  Jeff broke his glasses, so we needed to get him some new frames.  Luckily the lenses were still good and not damaged, so we could reuse those.

   Between all of this and the heat really messing with my sleep even more than normal, I am not doing all that well although I try to hide it as much as possible, and I keep pushing myself beyond my limits.  I have spent more time in my darkened bedroom curled up in my bed, sometimes with a pillow over my head, trying to drown out the noises of the world than I can keep track of.  

   I need to find some sense of Balance again in my life.

   There are things that I can control, and things that I cannot.  Unfortunately there is not a remote control that I can use to turn the volume down or mute a certain screeching person or their yapping dog.  What I can try to do though is go into the room farthest away from them within our home, close the door and turn on a fan to try and drown them out.  Tomorrow's project is going to be to get the guest bed made in there and set up the fan to do just that.  I'm also going to look for some room darkening curtains for that room when at the thrift stores or at Ross or Marshall's. 

   Moneywise, Jeff and I are going to sit down and redo the budget once again so we can pay off the medical bills as quickly as possible.  I've told him I would also like to go to a cash only grocery budget because it helps limit impulse buying on my part. 😉  Any leftover cash from the previous two weeks envelope can either be used to stock up on good deals or put back in the budget to pay off bills faster.  We also need to commit to not eating out as much again...we have slipped up on that one big time.

   My biggest challenge is going to be reigning myself in from doing way too much.  My health just can't handle it.  There is a certain "tipping point" for me and I have just run right over that too many times lately only to pay for it with increased pain (the kind that makes you nauseous), no energy, and having my anxiety and depression ramping up.  

   This will not be easy for me, or for Jeff for that matter.  He and I are both going to have to make some much needed changes and sacrifices because he too needs to find more balance in his life.  He tends to push himself to the limit and then burns out.  He has reached that point here lately and did not even argue with me when I told him to just sit and relax for a few days.  He gets antsy if he has to sit around, so when he agrees to just sit, I know he is either sick or totally burnt out.

   I think that finding balance in our lives is something that is universal to everyone.  It is something that most people I know struggle with.  I also think that with the way things are in our world today, we need to find a way to shut out the hustle bustle and just plain ugliness and find peace within our own homes if at all possible.  I know I do.




Thursday, August 1, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/19-8/1 2019 Two Week Edition

Week 1
~We harvested cherries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and strawberries from the garden.
~I froze 8 cups of raspberries for future baking.
~Laundry was hung on the line to dry.
~Lunch was a Caesar salad that Mom sent home with us and broiled cheese sandwiches on sourdough.
~We got a frozen pizza out for dinner.
~Jeff had found a James Bond movie on dvd at a yard sale awhile back so we watched that instead of going to the movies at a theater.

~We harvested more cherries, tomatoes and raspberries.
~I started some raspberry infused gin with some of the raspberries from the garden.
~Our bedding and towels were washed and then hung out on the line to dry.
~Jeff worked on making a cornhole game for Isaiah's upcoming birthday.
~I cooked up over a pound of ground venison to make taco salads and other meals with.  The weather is getting hotter and we wanted cold meals.
~Caesar got a good brushing to help keep him cooler and more comfortable.
~I watched some shows online and continued to read a book I got from the library during the hottest part of the day.
~Jeff and I had to run into town to pick up some more materials to make the cornhole game.  While there we stopped at Walmart to pick up my prescription and found some great marked down lunchmeat, cheese and bread.
~We watered the gardens in the evening when it was cooler.
~Jeff and I hot tubbed in the evening to ease those aching muscles from being overworked trying to get most of the outside stuff done before the heat climbed to the point where it would make me sick.

~Harvested strawberries, raspberries and a few blueberries.
~I made a layered taco enchilada casserole with the leftover taco meat, some seasonings and some flour tortillas that needed to be used up.  We had that for lunch and had enough leftover for at least one more meal.
~We watered the gardens in the evening.
~For dinner we made chicken breast sandwiches and I had mine with tomato from our garden.
~Our treat today was another cheesecake slice with fresh raspberries on the side from the garden.
~I refilled our Berkey water filter since we are going through tons of water to drink.

~I had plans to get up early and get a bunch of things done but was awoken at 3:44 a.m. by the sounds of our neighbor's son's truck running in the driveway next to our's.  Aunt Norma had fallen again so I stayed up and prayed as the sun rose and then went back to bed when I knew she was going to be ok.
~The library had 4 movies in for me so I ran down there to get them.
~Leftovers were what we had for lunch.
~I watched several YouTube videos to get me caught up on the national news.
~My sister Leonie and I had a nice video chat today.  She lives in Tahiti and I am so blessed that we can remain close and actually see each other via video chat.
~I washed my bras and used those clip hangers that you get from the store when you buy towels or pants to hang them up to dry on our bathroom's shower curtain rod.

~Jeff took Caesar in to the vet to get his teeth cleaned and to get his rabies shot.  They had to put him under to do it.  They called and said they were concerned that he might have an autoimmune disease based on his gums being badly inflamed and some things going on with his nose and ears.  I authorized a biopsy so we can hopefully get some answers and see if it is something that we can treat or if it is just something that he will have to live with.  It could also be something that will shorten his life...I am praying it is not.  We are going to have to tighten our financial belts even more to pay for this.
~The vet told us that w could moisten Caesar's dry dog food for the next 10 days instead of having to go out and buy canned dog food.  He is a big dog and it would take lots of canned dog food to fill him up.
~In that frame of mind, I looked at more budget friendly and frugal videos on YouTube since reading blogs is harder for me when I am in a fibro flare as I am now due to the heat (it drains my energy and makes it really hard to sleep or even move).
~Dinner was a rotisserie chicken that I had bought previously while it was marked down and then frozen along with some homemade potato salad using parsley and dill from our garden.
~I picked more raspberries before an evening storm rolled in.
~I watched several TV shows online.

~I loaded up digital coupons on my Safeway card.
~The weather was so much cooler that I was able to go out and pick more raspberries and blueberries without dying of heatstroke.
~I spent the morning on my back porch just enjoying life and watching YouTube videos trying to learn new skills.  My fur babies joined me and napped.  They all tend to stay close to me during the day and evening.
~We got quite a bit of rain last night and it really helped fill up my rain barrel.  We will be using that water to water our fruit trees in the back yard.
~Since it rained so much last night and into the early morning hours, there is no need to water the gardens today.
~Jeff and I took a walk with Caesar.
~My hanai sister came over to pick raspberries in the afternoon.
~I made a double batch of blueberry/raspberry muffins.  Some will be going to a friend who had surgery, some went into the freezer and the rest are for us to enjoy.
~Jeff and I watched "Captain America" on dvd that I borrowed from the library.
~Dinner was a raid the fridge kind of night with each of us getting what we wanted.
~I watched several tv shows online.
~I have been having trouble with heartburn and acid reflux again (I think it is because I am eating so much fruit).  It got really bad late in the evening so I drank some apple cider vinegar and it was gone within a minute.

~It is Isaiah's birthday today!  Our cuddle bug is now 6 years old.  I was able to facetime with him over the computer while he was out for his special birthday lunch.
~The heat is building back up outside and I can feel the pressure in my sinuses...ouch!  I kept the house closed up for the most part trying to keep the cool air that came in overnight in the house.
~As the heat and air pressure rises, so do my pain levels.  I took a shower last night and just let my hair dry naturally.  I had planned on wetting it down this morning and styling it but that is clearly not going to happen now.  I just brushed it out and put a hat on when I had to run some muffins down to the bank for a friend who works there to take over to another friend who just had surgery.  They live just down the road from each other in the next town over.

Week 2

This week will be one running long list because there was way too much going on and I forgot to write things down each day...such is life and oh what a week it was!

~I continued to harvest raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes and got my first cucumber and zucchini out of the garden this week also.
~Black Flea Beetles attacked my side garden and I lost my kale and swiss chard to them but was able to save my tomatoes by dusting the plants with talcum powder.
~Poor Caesar.  He started to have accidents in the house and pooping black poop.  This all started when he was put on the steroids.  We had to cut back the steroid dosage and add Pepcid to his meds to try and stop the bleeding in his stomach from the steroids.  The lab results also came back and he has a benign tumor (thank God) in his mouth and also had a form of lupus that is not systemic that they think can be controlled with a topical ointment on some of the areas it has affected (his nose and ears).  He has been on soft canned dog food (which is a budget killer) because the dry dog food that was softened with water was not agreeing with him.  We take him back into the vet today (Thursday) for a follow up and hopefully will get the all clear to put him back on his regular dry dog food and be able to take him off the steroids that have been causing him such grief.
~We came home Wednesday to find 2 more huge branches from our big old cherry tree had come down.  Luckily it missed my laundry line and Caesar had been on his lower cable by the house and not under the tree.  Jeff got the branches all cut up and hauled to the driveway but sadly in the process ended up breaking his eyeglasses. 😖  He was so upset with himself.  Luckily he still had his old pair, which is close enough to his current prescription, that he was able to wear those and be able to go to work and be able to see to drive.  Yes, now those will have to be replaced and even though they were under warranty, the place he got them from is now out of business.
~I will see if any of our friends or family want the wood from the cherry tree to use in their smokers or for crafting.
~Laundry was hung out to dry whenever possible.  That translates into whenever I had the energy or Jeff was awake to do so.  It has been a bad flare week for me.
~I planted more of the green onions bottoms from the grocery store that I rooted in water into the garden.
~I used old nylons that I cut into strips to tie the slicing cucumber plants up the trellis to try and get them off the ground and trellis train them.
~I found some great deals in the marked down areas of Walmart and other stores.
~I was able to make 2 first aid kits from pencil boxes that were on sale at Walmart and first aid items from the Dollar Tree.  These will be given to our neighbors who are headed off to college this Fall.
~I froze more bags of mixed fruit (blueberries and raspberries from our garden) for double batches of muffins.  I'm thinking I may make muffins for gifts for our neighbors at Christmas.
~Jeff and I stocked up on pain meds, greeting cards, facial wipes, and a few grocery items at the Dollar Tree.
~We have been really good about not going out to eat as much and trying to eat at home even though it has been hot and my energy levels are pretty low.
~We had a yard sale over the weekend (town wide yard sale weekend) and we made over $100 just on items that we had laying around.  I decided at the last minute to do it or we would have had even more stuff to sell.  Some of the items were things that we had gotten for free while "treasure hunting" when the college students moved out in the Spring.  I set aside $60 of that towards our trip to Montana this Fall for Josh and lauren's wedding.
~Jeff found 2 shirts and a ball for Chris' hitch and I found a pair of capri length leggings at Goodwill. I live in capri length leggings in the warmer months.  One of his shirts came out to $1 (reduced color tag of the week) and the other was just $1.99.
~I cashed out our rewards points attached to our credit card and debit card accounts and took the cash option.  I had that money put directly into our savings account.
~Jeff picked up more bread on sale on Thursday morning on his way home from work.  He knew that the heat was really getting to me and did not want me to have to be making bread even though I told him I would.  Sometimes, health wise, we do have to buy things that I would normally make here at home.
~Our budget for the first 2 weeks in August is really tight due to paying off the second half of the  property taxes.  I'm making a menu based on what we have on hand here for the most part.  I do have money set aside for a family birthday party though (that money came from the yard sale profits).
~More shows and videos were watched online.
~I continue to read books and watch videos that we have borrowed from the library.
~I made a pitcher of iced tea to drink instead of drinking so much seltzer.
~The fur babies and I try to spend mornings out on the back screened in porch while it is still cool.  I have my coffee and sometimes get on the computer.  Many times though I just sit and watch the birds, our squirrel friend who entertains us with it's antics, and enjoy that cooler breezes before the heat builds up or a certain annoying neighbor comes outside and breaks the blissful and peacefulness of the morning.
~My cousin sold a clock I had on consignment at his shop.  He paid me my cut of the sale.  I put that money away so that I am not tempted to spend it.

~Our vet is amazing.  She was able to get a medication that we needed for Caesar formulated for us for $50 instead of the $500 the big pharmaceutical company wanted to charge us. It is something that he is going to need to battle his Lupus for the rest of his life.  It turns out that I taught 2 of her stepsons also. 😊

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Deeper Appreciation


One of the Beavers making their way around the canal.

   Jeff and I recently returned from a wonderful vacation spent with my parents and my brother Fritz.  My parents graciously invited us to stay an extra day after Jeff had sprained his wrist the Saturday before we were to leave to go and see them and his bosses gave him the rest of the week off since he was on "one handed light duty" for 7 days according to the physician at the emergency room.  As usual, my parents and my brothers spoiled us.

   My parents live on the shores of a beautiful lake in Montana and it really had become a healing place for us all.  Everyone in our family goes there to rest, recuperate and recharge.  The view from their deck in breathtaking (every view from their home is amazing) and we all love spending time out there watching the wildlife and taking in the views.  This trip we were treated to seeing a mother deer with her twin babies frolicking around on the little island right in front of the house that forms the canal, two beavers cutting down branches and taking them down into their dens to feed their family, lots of geese and ducks and some turtles sunning themselves.  While out on the boat, we also had a bald eagle swoop down and catch a fish right in front of us.  

   We went out to eat at two places that my father wanted to share with us and were greeted warmly at each place.  My mother also made delicious meals at the house and wanted me to not have to cook, which I thought was so sweet of her.  We all did spend time out in the garden harvesting cherries and strawberries together and as a team, we were able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.  My sweet hubby did some odd jobs, fixing chairs and adjusting doors, that could be done for the most part with one hand.  He saw a need and just started in doing it.  He shows his love for others through doing or building things for people and he loves my parents and brother beyond measure.  My brother and I had long and deep conversations about life and is something that I look forward to every time we go over to visit.  We were not close and even clashed a lot as children, but have become very close and supportive of each other as adults.  He is such a strong person and I have so much respect for him.

   While there I found some old family photo albums from previous generations.  My mother and I went through them and tried to sort out who was who.  Luckily I have been doing the family genealogy and was able to put some names to faces based on other photos that I had recently inherited from one of my grandmothers and great grandmothers that my cousin Jeremy had given me.  Hopefully this will also help me identify more people in the huge box of photos that I have sitting in my closet.  My mother sent the very worn and falling apart album home with me.  She also sent us home with Rainier cherries from her tree (we had taken her 2 huge bags of Chinook cherries from our tree, a big container of raspberries from our bushes and some blueberries), macadamia nuts, lilikoi butter, and homemade jams, a salad kit and a whole cheesecake.  

   On the way home, we met up with Chris, Heather and the boys, and gave them some shirts, two quilts Mom made for Bradley and Isaiah, and a drill press that my father graciously gave to Heather for her sign business.  It was so good to see and hug our kids and and the little boys.  Then, on Friday, Jaysn and Steven surprised us with a visit while Rachel was working late.  Seeing them come through the door just made my day!  I had missed them all so much and would have loved to have seen Rachel too if she had been able to come.

   I so enjoy getting away and spending time with those that I love and also coming home again to our own cozy little nest and being greeted by our fur babies, who although spoiled by our house and pet sitters, are always happy to have "their people" back home again.  Puttering around in my yard and harvesting fresh produce this time of year just makes me happy and is something I do very soon after we arrive home.  It relaxes me.  I spend the next couple of days getting my house back in order and reassuring the fur babies that we are home with them and that all is well in their world again.

   This last trip over and coming home again gave me so much of a deeper appreciation of everyone and everything that fills my life with such meaning.  I have been working on being more positive and appreciative lately and trying to change my mindset to focus on that and not the bad as much and it has been a success for the most part.  Our family has really pulled together even more lately and gotten even closer.  I look at other families and realize just how blessed and special our relationships are.  The unconditional love we have for one another and being able to really cheer each other on and lift each other up in hard and trying times shows how deep our bonds are.  Coming home to our fur babies and being greeted with excitement by them is heartwarming.  Being able to relax in our home that my husband has worked so hard on remodeling to make it a more pleasant, comfortable and brighter place for us all over the years makes me fall even more deeply in love with him because I know that he did this for us and that is one of the ways he shows us just how much he loves and treasures us all.  

   Jeff and I were both able to really relax, unwind and feel totally enveloped in love while we were with my parents and brother and again be enveloped in love as we returned home.  It is a wonderful feeling and one that I treasure.  I feel so very blessed by my family, my home and my life.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/5-7/11 2019

   Here it is Friday morning and I think I am finally starting to come out of this flare.  Oh my goodness, it has been a bad one.  We had the housesitter over yesterday to go over things and my brain just would not work. I was at a loss for simple words and my husband had to fill in all the blanks.  I explained what was going on to the housesitter because she had never seen me in a flare before and I did not want her to think I was on something. 😉  Today we need to do some running of errands and shopping once Jeff gets up and get some bills paid before we head out of town on Sunday for a few days.  We also have a wedding to go to in Genesee, Idaho tomorrow afternoon and I am worried about how I am going to handle the heat.  I don't want to miss it though because I love the family so very much and we have been great friends and homeschooled together for years.  Enough about all of that, onto the frugal doings for the week...

~We stayed home so I could rest as much as possible.
~I did water the gardens later in the evening.
~I picked more raspberries, strawberries, cherries and the first of the blueberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~I started reading the book "Not Buying It" that I borrowed from the library.

~Steven came to spend the day with us while his parents went down to help get his Grandma's house ready for her when she is able to come home once again.
~Jeremy brought his dog Maggie over for a playdate with Caesar and they had a wonderful time together.
~Jeremy also picked a bunch of cherries to take home with him.
~I made us all an easy lunch of cheese, crackers and Summer sausage.
~Jeremy came bearing gifts of wine and chocolate.
~We took Steven down to see his favorite "bubble lady" (our friend who owns and runs the local co-op store) and she gave him a nice American flag to keep and wave around.  She is so sweet!

~Heather and the little boys, Bradley and Isaiah, came over for a visit and to pick cherries and raspberries.  The little boys helped me pick strawberries too!    It was wonderful to have them over also and to see all the projects that they have been working on for the upcoming craft fair that they are going to be part of.
~We watched more episodes of Mork and Mindy on dvd.

~It was my birthday and Jeff gave me a cute little card with a frog on it from our greeting card stash (I was really proud of him for getting a card from the stash).
~He took me out to lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant.
~We went to two thrift stores and I found a new dress, a new with tags pajama gown (some of my older cooler weather ones need to be relegated to becoming rags), a dvd, cd, book for the little boys and 2 bags of vacuum cleaner bags that fit our vacuum cleaner.  SCORE!!!  Oh, everything at Goodwill was 20% off for us since we are senior citizens.
~We also went to Walmart and ran into my cousin there so we shared hugs before wee all got to shopping.
~I found marked down bagels, donuts, and salad kits.  We also stocked up on chips, microwave popcorn and Skittles candy to make a snack and treat basket for our house sitter who will  be staying here with our fur babies and tending to our gardens when we go away for a few days.  We love our Desi and want to make sure that she feels a bit spoiled while she is here.
~I got the sweetest message today on Facebook from one of my former students from my first few years of teaching who also became our babysitter before we moved back up this way from Oregon.  She became part of our family and we love her dearly.  She thanked me for the difference I made in her life by believing in her, encouraging her and seeing the spark in her that she could not see in herself at the time.  She is now an amazing social worker and I could not be prouder of her!
~I got to talk to most of my family within the past few days and it has been wonderful!
~Jeff filled my car up with gas while we were in Moscow, Idaho today.  It was .35 cents  cheaper per gallon there than in Washington state.
~I restocked us on our vitamins and supplements going through Swagbucks to Vitacost and using a 20% off code.

~Jeff picked a bunch more cherries off our tree.  Some are for us, some will be going over to Montana with us for my parents and brother, and some are for friends.
~We used our hot tub to cool off in the heat and soothe my aching muscles.
~Jeff dropped off some things in the library drop box for me on his way out of town so I would not need to run down there on Wednesday.
~I worked my points programs.
~More tvs shows and YouTube videos were watched since I could not do much while in a bad Fibro flare.
~Our hanai sister came over and picked raspberries and we had a really nice visit.  Jeff also sent her home with a huge bag of cherries.

~Still in a flare but I did manage to get Jeff's laundry done.  I was going to hang it out on the line to dry, but we had some scattered rain clouds so I ended up putting it in the dryer.
~I worked my points programs.
~I harvested raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes.
~I had our hanai sister come over again today to harvest raspberries.  There are so many on the bushes and honestly, I cannot get them all picked by myself.  She loves raspberries and I love sharing with her.
~Jeff BBQed burgers for dinner and I got the last of the corn on the cob cooked up for us.

~Jeff got another sprinkler set up in the front garden so that it would be easier for our house sitter while she is here and also for me when I am in a flare.
~I picked strawberries and blueberries.
~More shows were watched online.
~I planted green onions that I rooted from the bottoms of ones I bought at the grocery store.
~Jeff and I had leftovers and fruit from the garden and store for lunch.
~He made nachos for us for dinner.  I am still in a flare so I did not do any cooking.
~I went into my gift closet and found a wedding gift and another graduation gift for some special people in our lives.
~Jeff sent home a huge bag of cherries with our housesitter.

   Since we will be gone part of next week, I am not sure if I will get Frugal Friday Wrap Up done for that.  I know that we will be spoiled rotten by my parents, as usual.  This mini vacation is one that is much needed for both Jeff and I and we plan on spending most of it just relaxing at my parent's home and going out on the lake in the party boat and maybe even taking the canoe out for a bit.  I love falling asleep while  watching the reflection of the moon on the lake as I lay in the hand carved log bed snuggled up under one of my mother's beautiful handmade quilts and then waking up to the view of the lake and the water glistening with the morning sun. The conversations with my parents and my middle brother Fritz are always interesting and I am finding that my father especially is sharing more about his childhood and his time in the military now that he is getting older.  I am constantly learning new things about him and I love it.  Our hanai son Ben may be coming up to see us while we are there also since he now lives about an hour south of them.  It will be so good to see him too.  Be blessed and have a great week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Perfect Storm and then the Crash

   It was good while it lasted.  I was able to push through for a long time but then the storm clouds of life gathered, the "clouds" got way too filled up with things and the "sky" opened up.  

   July 9th is always a hard day for me.  My birthday is the 8th of July and my grandmother's was the 9th.  We celebrated together for many years and we had a very special connection.  Yesterday was the first day that I was able to celebrate quietly without being sad about not having her here.  Then a few minutes after midnight, I wished her a happy heavenly birthday and still could not sleep.  Shortly after that, I learned that a friend had died on the 3rd of July.  The heaviness that I felt in my heart and in my body was overwhelming.  I finally was able to drift off to sleep around 3 in the morning.

   My body feels like lead today.  I had to drag myself out of bed around 12:30 p.m. and believe me, I would have much preferred to just stay there but the fur babies needed my attention.  I got the coffee going and upon trying to pour myself a cup, I struggled to just lift the 4 cup pot.  Walking is painful, moving is painful and I look like a sloth with arthritis.

   Jeff got up shortly after that and took one look at me and knew...  He told me that I was going to stay put and not do anything for the rest of the day.  He headed out to pick more cherries off the tree and I got a snack.  All I could manage was cheese and crackers that required little to no effort on my part.

   I thought after awhile that I might be able to get something done, so I slowly made my way outside and down 3 stairs to the backyard so I could pick some raspberries.  Two raspberries in and I could barely lift my arms again.  Plan "B" came into play at this point.  I got the hot tub heating up to 94F so that Jeff and I could hot tub in about an hour.  It is a hottish day outside, so that is the perfect temperature to keep us cooler but not chill us down too  much so my muscles cramp up.  I may end up taking an adult beverage out with me when I hot tub.  Pain meds don't touch this kind of pain for me but alcohol will take the edge off enough sometimes so that I am no longer nauseous from the pain.  

   Life with Fibromyalgia is unpredictable.  When I have my family here, I push through and put all my energy into being fully present with them.  It is exhausting, but worth it to me.   The minute they leave though, I find myself in bed for the most part.  Some days I am able to accomplish some tasks around the house and I feel really proud of myself for having done so.  Today is NOT one of those days.  Today is a crash day, and a pretty bad one at that.  I am praying it is just a day long and not a week long or more crash.  I have a wedding to go to on Saturday and then we head to Montana on Sunday.  Car rides are not fun when I am in severe pain.  Hoping I can get a good night's sleep tonight and feel better in the morning.