Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Touch of Fall is in the Air


   I love Fall.  I think it is my favorite time of the year.  The crisp and cool air in the morning and being able to sleep with the windows open to let the cooler night air in are so healing to me.  Glorious ever changing colors on the leaves is something that I look forward to each year.  It is always a time of really giving thanks to God above for the beauty that He has created for us all.  

   This morning I was given a wonderful gift with an early glimpse of Fall.  I knew last night when the air was much cooler than previous nights and I had to put on a long sleeved pajama gown that I was in for a treat this morning.  It was 48F when I got up around 6:30a.m. after some whining from Caesar to be let outside.  I wrapped myself up in a fuzzy robe, put on some nice warm house slippers and got the coffee going.  Once the coffee was made, I put in in a thermal cup, got the water going on the  gardens and the settled in on the back porch to enjoy said coffee.  

   A day like this just calls for a warm and comforting dinner does it not?  I pulled some cooked rice and some chicken and green chili tamales out of the freezer.  I'll make Mexican rice with the rice by just adding some tomatoes and seasonings to it.  We'll have a nice green salad with it it too.  It will be quick, easy and so yummy!

   Doofy cat followed me to the front door when I went out to do the watering and seemed very happy to see the sun streaming in through the glass in the storm door.  He is a cat that loves heat so I left the big front door open so that he could bask in the warmth coming through the storm door.  He is one very contented kitty right now.

  Caesar is also enjoying the cooler weather this morning.  He is happily walking around the back yard eating grass and raspberries, visiting with his doggy friends and taking breaks to lay down in the sun and catch a few zzzzzz's.  Oh the life of a spoiled dog!

   I'm debating with myself as to what to do today.  I think I will pick some Summer apples from our tree and if I have enough energy after that I may take Caesar for a short walk past the apple orchard here in town and see how the apples and pears are coming along there and look for any leaves that may be starting to turn colors with our much cooler nights.  That just sounds like a wonderful way to spend my day.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/5-8/11 2017


   We still have smoky skies here but they are saying that it should clear out by tomorrow.  Between that and the record breaking heat, it has been a rough week healthwise for me.  This has led to me spending lots of time resting and even being afraid to try to work in the garden or get the watering done.  I have had 2 different times when my muscles have locked up and I have almost gone down.  So much for being able to pick the apples off our tree this week and make applesauce.  Hopefully, if the skies clear tomorrow, I can get to that.  On the days where I felt a bit better though, I did manage to do some money saving things so it is not all lost or bad news.  Life goes on right? 😉

~Saturday found us house bound due to the heavy wildfire smoke in the air.  It kicked my asthma in and I was worried about the fur babies breathing it also.  For the most part, we all stayed inside and made the best of it.  We watched movies on Netflix, ones we had borrowed from our son Jaysn  and had nachos for lunch and played some Scrabble.  I did venture out in the early morning to water the gardens and later to pick some tomatoes, but that was it.
~I was thrilled when a dear friend came to "shop my pantry" so that she did not have to make the long drive into town today with the horrible air quality we are having and then have to make dinner and rush to work.
~I made some iced tea with 4 teabags.  I'll compost the tea bags in my garden.

~I strained my homemade raspberry gin and now have the flavored gin plus 2 jars of boozy berries. One of those jars will be going to my cousin Jeremy since he loves them!
~Staples sent me a coupon for $10 of $10 or more purchase.  I was able to get lots of school supplies for .38 after tax with my coupon and 10% discount.  They also gave me a teacher appreciation gift since I work with the MOPS program.
~The Dollar Tree store had my hairspray back in along with Secret antiperspirant.  I got those, toothpaste, Hefty bags (at .50 a box after coupon), body powder, salami, coffee creamer and scrubby pads.

~Winco had lamb chops at half price.  I got 2 packages with 5 chops in each.  These were frozen for future special dinners.
~Jeff and I watched the movie "Trouble with the Curve" on Netflix.
~I made another tuna pasta salad to have on these hot days. I used green onions from the garden in it.
~Saturday night I made a big pot of rice.  We will use it throughout the week.
~I pulled out some shoyu chicken from the freezer to use this week.
~We watched some shows online and on Netflix.

~I harvested green onions, a cucumber and cherry tomatoes from the garden. Later in the week I also harvested some blueberries and raspberries.
~We stopped at a yard sale on our way home from town on Sunday.  I got 2 big boxes full of party supplies with plates, napkins, decorations, etc. for $3.  I also got lots of kids books for .25 each, and Jeff found some cds for $1 each.

~I froze 10 bananas to make banana bread with later.
~Jeff fixed the exhaust fan in the bathroom at Jaysn and Rachel's house for them.  It just needed a good cleaning and lubricating.
~I was able to find the last item that I needed for the craft kit I am putting together for the little boys at Walmart today.  I found a huge package of construction paper.  It was on sale so bonus!
~I washed some of my delicates and put them over the chairs on the porch to dry.
~My sweet mother sent home some Paul Newman's Lime Vinaigrette salad dressing (we can't get it here) and wine over for me with Chris and Heather.
~Jeff and I found a great deal on toilet paper so we bought 4 double roll 9 packs.  We figured that we saved about $16 right there.

~Heather brought us over a zucchini coffee cake.
~We sent half a watermelon home with Chris and Heather since it was too much for us to eat alone and we know they and the little boys will love it.  We also sent them home with packing boxes.
~A friend of my son Chris' who is from Hawaii made some Spam Musubi for him and I and also sent me some coffee.  I am looking forward to getting together with them soon!
~I ordered more cat food and two 40 pound bags of kitty litter online.  I get free shipping and they will be here in 1-2 days.  The products even cost less online than they do locally and I don't have to drive anywhere to get them.
~I line dried Jeff's laundry since it is his work clothes.
~I scored a free magazine subscription.

~There was some zucchini that needed to be used up ASAP so I made another squash casserole.  Comfort food.  YUM!
~Wednesday was another day at home with me keeping the fur babies inside due to the thick smoke and dust in the air.  I did not cook anything because we have so many leftovers in the fridge.  It is literally filled to overflowing at the moment.
~I cashed in at Swagbucks for another $5 Walmart gift card.
~I did some surveys for Pinecone Research.
~I won 55 pts at Mypoints in their absent apple game.
~I watched a lot of videos on YouTube as I try to learn more about CFS and Fibromyalgia and what I can do to help myself heal.
~I used our $30 Walmart gift cards to buy 2 packages of underwear for me (total of 14 pairs), a package of underwear for Jeff, a package of socks for Jeff, a cute outfit for Steven for Christmas and 4 bottles of glue.  I spent $6.64 in cash over the gift card amount.  Jeff and I are stocked up for awhile now on undies and socks.

~Friday I put everything on hold since I had a Fibro flare.  I did not go anywhere and did the bare minimum around the house.  I knew it was bad not only because of the pain but due to the "fibro fog" I could not even remember simple things like what year it is.  It felt like I was walking around with bricks all over my body.
~A box of Cheez Its that I had bought were stale.  I called the toll free number on the box to report that and they are sending me a coupon to get a free replacement of it.

~Friday I made a big salad for dinner with lettuce, avocado, cheese, bacon and some tomatoes from our garden.
~Jeff and I used our hot tub while it was a 90F to soak in to help ease out sore muscles and to cool off.

  After reading through my list again, I am feeling a bit more positive about what I WAS able to do and not so made about what I was not able to do.  It's all a matter of perspective isn't it?  This afternoon the company that Jeff works for is throwing a BBQ and then has rented out a waterpark for all the employees and their families.  I'm not sure if Jaysn and Rachel are going to make it because there is still smoke in the sky and they can't risk taking Steven out in this.  Chris, Heather and the little boys are coming down though when Chris gets off work.  Isaiah and I have a "date" to float on the Lazy River together and I am really looking forward to that.  I'm hoping to spend some time in the wave pool too but think I will skip the water slides since climbing those stairs will be difficult for me today.  Be blessed!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pugnaciousness...it that a thing?



inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent;combative.

    You know, I was hoping after the presidential election that all this fighting, arguing, name calling and childish behavior would stop among my family and friends alike.   Look I get it...you don't like the outcome of the election or you still believe that Hillary should be in jail, you think President Trump and Putin are best buddies even though there is a clear and tense conflict going on between our respective countries right now.  Some of my family members and friends are pro life and some are pro choice.  There are some that are very supportive of law enforcement and others who are suspicious of every move they make.  There are some that are social justice warriors and others that are very conservative.  Those that own and use guns and those that want them banned.  There are those that want a limited government and others who want us to become nation where the government provides free health care and free college.  Some of you are very strong in your faith and others are atheists or agnostics.

   Here's the thing folks, we are family, we are friends.  I know some of you have very strong opinions based on what you have experienced in life and/or what you see on the news, both real and fake.  I have watched as my friends and even some of my family members, along with myself, have been torn apart because we dared to have an opinion that differed from someone else.  I have lost friends because they could not agree to disagree and still be respectful of our differing opinions.  Just because I may hold a different view from you does not mean I am evil or that you are evil.  It just means we have a difference of opinion.

   When you throw out things like "FTrumpettes" "Libtard" or any other derogatory labels on people just because they don't agree with you, you are shutting down any chance of communication.  I get it, you are passionate about your personal beliefs as am I.  Let me just set the record straight for you right now so you know where I stand.  I am a white middle aged female.  Being white does not automatically make me a racist or bigot. Being a mostly conservative straight female does not make me anti LGBT.  I absolutely love and adore my LGBT family and friends.  I believe everyone should be treated with respect and treat others likewise.  Because I am pro-life, does not make me anti-women.  I believe in protecting the rights of the precious unborn who cannot fight for themselves, both male and female.  I do believe in God and have personally seen HIS healing power in my own life and in the lives of others I know.  I enjoy learning about the differing beliefs of my friends and family and finding out both the differences in our beliefs and where we have common ground. I believe in the right to bear arms but I also believe that we have to do more to help treat people with mental illnesses who might get ahold of a gun so that we protect not only the public, but also themselves.  I think that we as a country have failed to help the many people who are suffering from life altering mental illnesses and I wish that there would not be the stigma attached to those illnesses. I also wish there were more support for the families of those who suffer from mental illnesses. 

   There will alway be those pugnacious people out there who are just looking for a fight.  It could be the middle of the day and they will claim it is the middle of the night.  They seem to go around looking for something to be mad about and they don't care how ridiculous or hateful it may make them look.  If a man holds open a door for a woman, out of common courtesy, there is sure to be some woman who will call him sexist and assuming that she is a weak female.  I have even heard people claim that holding a door open for an elderly person is being  ageist.  I call it good manners and being a kind person but whatever... Then there are the people that take to social media to claim that they overheard a conversation in an airport that was homophobic and they try to get people fired. It is proven that they lied about the whole thing and the conversation never happened.  When confronted with proof that they lied, they try to twist it and say that the bigger issue is homophobia and that basically, their lie is of little consequence.  I would say that it is of huge consequence when you are trying to get someone fired for something that never even happened.  I would also venture to say that when you lie about something like that, you are actually making a mockery of a very real problem. I have a now former schoolmate from high school who got offended and unfriended me on facebook because I dared to say that I thought that the protestors who were destroying property in Portland Oregon, blocking roads, throwing things at police officers and getting in their faces and taunting them were acting criminally and should be arrested.  That apparently set her off and she ripped me a new one and personally attacked me because anything that the protestors did was "justified" because of social injustices.  It did not matter that the businesses that were vandalized had nothing to do with the reasons for the march and protest (and some were even in support of whatever it was they were protesting) or that police officers were hurt who had nothing to do with "police brutality" or that the emergency vehicles could not get through with people who needed to get to the hospital to save their lives.  They were all just collateral damage and that they must pay for the "sins" of others.  Pugnaciousness defined right there.  All rational thought and reasoning out the window and just looking for a fight.  It is beyond ridiculous!

   I for one am tired of it.  I want and need peace in my life. I don't like it when people argue for the sake of arguing and when they think actual facts are of little consequence.  It is fine to be passionate about something, but there also needs to be compassion along with that passion...do you get where I am going with all this?  There also needs to be common sense and courtesy too.  Going around being that angry and constantly looking for a fight must be exhausting and says so much about the state of a person's heart.  I pray that those people find peace in their lives and can let go of all that anger.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/29-8/4 2017


   We sure packed a lot into this last week.  Between taking care of baby Steven, community yard sales, a trip to Spokane, more disturbing news concerning my husband's parents and siblings, and just life in general, I am worn out. I did not keep a running list this week so I am going to do my best to remember everything.  As I sit here typing all of this out, we are surrounded by smoke from fires in the area and from smoke coming down from the big fires in British Columbia, Washington and Montana.  My heart and prayers go out to the firefighters and the people who have lost their homes and for everyone who has breathing problems.

~Saturday's community yard sales in our town were wonderful!  I was able to find things on my needs list and my wants list.  I picked up 2 sets of brand new towels and a single kitchen towel (.10 for that one). One set is for the bathroom (.50 for a set of 2) and one set if for the kitchen ($4 for a set of 4).  I also picked up books for .25 each, some needed picture frames, a sweatshirt for Jeff, and some jewelry for $1 each.  Two of the earring sets are Sterling Silver! A friend had also gotten rid of her hot tub and sold me her brominating tablets for $2.  That stuff is expensive and I was so glad to get it at that price.
~Saturday we also stopped at a community thrift store and found books for .25 each.  Most of the books are for gifts from the grandboys.

 ~We bought more of the bar soap that was on sale for .79 for a 3 pack.  We are set for a long time!
~Sunday we checked into the hotel in Spokane for 2 nights.  I had a voucher for 1 free night and our breakfast was included for both days.
~I took our little 4 cup coffee maker that I had got for $2 with us along with some coffee and some snacks.

~We stopped at a Grocery Outlet store near the hotel and bought a few more things for dinner in our room since it has a microwave and refrigerator.  The only meals that we ate out and paid for separately were lunches.
~We enjoyed the pool at the hotel.

~While in Spokane, we hit a few thrift stores and found some beautiful Haviland china that matches some that I already have, a big honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) mug, some shirts for Jeff, a shirt for me, shorts for Jeff, some cds, books for the little boys, new sippy cups for Steven as he gets older  and some small plastic containers.  I almost forgot, I found a beautiful hard bound book on the history of the college that I went to.

~I hired 2 teenaged girls to watch our fur babies and water the gardens for us while we were gone.  They did a fantastic job and I will be giving them a $10 tip in addition to their pay.
~Tuesday we had to run and pick up Jeff's paycheck on our way back from our short vacation.  We were both tired since we had been up with the fire at the hotel the night before so we stopped at Walmart and I bought 2 large marked down sandwiches to have as meals for that day and the next.  I also picked up a few other needed items.

~I harvested a cucumber, a small yellow squash, lots of tomatoes, green onions, a handful of blueberries and a few raspberries from the garden.
~Wednesday Steven came to stay with us for the day. :)  He just makes my heart so happy and provides lots of entertainment for both Jeff and I.
~I've been watering when it is cooler.

~Working on my points programs has been a priority this week.
~I dried Jeff's work clothing out on the laundry line.
~Thursday I cooked up a bunch of ground elk and made it into taco meat for us to use in salads, tacos, nachos, etc.

~Friday I had another Fibro Flare along with a CFS crash.  I spent most of the day doing things like folding laundry, doing some watering in the garden and other things that were not too taxing on my body and took lots of rest breaks.  I kept entertained and learning new skills while watching youtube.
~I disputed an unauthorized charge on our VISA bill put there by the hotel that we will never be staying at again.  They said they will refund the money and I already disputed the claim with our bank.

   It's now Saturday morning and although there are town wide yard sales in the next town over, I am staying home.  The smoke is really thick in the air and is making it hard for me to breathe.  I also worry about Caesar having to be outside when we are gone and I don't want to have him out there breathing this stuff either.  I'm having to run the fan at night in our bedroom and not use the Swamp Cooler since it brings in air from the outside so that is making sleep a little more difficult for me right now since I need it really cool so sleep well.  I am hoping that this all clears out soon.  We went through this last year too and it was miserable.  I'm really glad we got away earlier this week for our short getaway before all the smoke moved in.





Thursday, August 3, 2017

Upgrades, The Fall of the Shaw of Iran, and a Fire


    Jeff and I went on a much needed short getaway on Sunday and Monday night up in Spokane.  We stayed at the RL at the Park once again because we had a voucher for a free night after the previous 2 stays where we had very poor service there.  They say that the third time in the charm so we thought we would give it one more shot.  We got up to Spokane around lunch time so we thought we would have lunch downtown.  We soon discovered that the restaurant we wanted to go to did not have free parking anymore and that you had to pay $8 for 1 1/2 hours just to park...NOT HAPPENING!  We ended up going to the food court at one of the malls and having food from Panda Express there instead.  

   Upon check in at the hotel, we were very impressed that they had upped their game.  There were people there to hold the doors open for you and greet you.  The check on process was in yet another new area in the lobby, but it was fast and done on Ipads.  The very enthusiastic guy checking us in took our voucher and said he would make sure it was applied to our bill and then sent us off to our upgraded room with a balcony overlooking the pool and the river.  It was a much bigger room than we had on our 2 previous stays and had a wet bar which was very handy for setting up our little coffee maker that we brought with us since the hotel no longer has them in the rooms.  Everything was nice and clean this time too, which really impressed me.

   We quickly loaded some things into the mini fridge since we bought things to have for snacks and dinner in the room and then changed into our swim suits and headed down to the pool since it was still in the high 90's.  We met 2 couples, one from Alberta, Canada and another from the Portland area and had nice visits with both of them.  I quickly learned from the Alberta couple that they are having some of the same issues in their province as we are having down here in the USA dealing with healthcare, immigration, the economy, and their Prime Minister.  That couple left to go to dinner and the young couple from Portland took over their lounge chairs.  Oh this couple was fun and we had so much in common.  We soon realized that we were "neighbors" with our rooms right next to each other.  

   The next morning we got up, had breakfast and headed out for a walk along the river so I could take some pictures of it.  Along the way we saw a building about 5 blocks away that looked like a old beautiful church with spires and towers, so we decided to check it out.  Upon our arrival at it, we realized it was the county courthouse and I began to take some pictures of it.  An older lady stopped to chat with us about the building and gave us some history on the area.  She then asked about our family and we told her about them and about our son Josh, who is in the Air Force and where he has served.  This is when things got fascinating.   She told us she live in Iran for 10 years, when she and her husband were raising their 5 kids.  He was an electrical engineer and worked for Pan Am Airlines who was bought by the Shaw of Iran at the time.  They got to know him well and they became friends.  When all the political upheaval happened there and he was overthrown in part from trying to bring Western Culture to Iran, they all had to evacuate quickly.  She told me they were only allowed to bring 300 pounds of luggage per family and that having 5 kids meant that most of their luggage was clothing.  Everything else had to be left behind.  She clearly remembers seeing the shaws plane take off and his family following in another plane.  She told us that 28 planes took off that day one after another evacuating all the American and other foreign  workers and their families.  She said it was hard to leave all their Iranian friends behind.

   On our way back to the hotel, we happened upon a really neat store filled with fossils, rocks, gemstones and all kinds of fun things.  It was great to explore and there was always something new and fascinating to see!  We found some cool toys for the little boys there and will give them to them at Christmas.  We decided to go and do some shopping and have lunch while our room was cleaned.  Upon our arrival back at the room I quickly noticed that the problems with room cleanliness were again happening.  There were 2 different sized towels in the bathroom and I recognized that one of them (because of the logo on it) was from another upscale hotel in that town.  The towel was also badly stained.  The bath mat was also stained and the top sheet on the bed had a stain.  UGH!  I decided to just make the best of it though and we headed down to the pool and again met some lovely people, including another family from Alberta and a family from Minnesota who homeschooled their kids and had a set of triplets.  Later that evening we had dinner in our room and I went out on the balcony to enjoy the view while my hubby watched some TV.  It took me awhile to fall asleep and it was after midnight when I finally drifted off.  At about 3 a.m., we woke up to an awful LOUD noise.  It was the hotel's fire alarm!  We quickly got dressed and then the fire alarm stopped in the tower we were in but I could still hear it in other parts of the hotel so I called down to the front desk to see if it was a false alarm or if we needed to vacate the building.  We were told to vacate, so we did.

   By the time we got downstairs, the fire trucks were there and the firefighters were going into the main building.  We could smell something burning at this point.  Hotel guests were all milling around outside and many people said that their relatives had not come down out of the building.  There was no one from the hotel out there giving us any information or checking with people to see if they were missing family members or friends who might still be in the building.  Finally half and hour later, it was the firefighters who were giving people information and telling people there had been a kitchen fire but it was now out and we could go back int he buildings and go back to sleep. Of course, I had trouble falling back to sleep after all that.

   We got up a few hours later to find our bill slipped under our door and saw that they had not deducted one of the night's stay as had been promised when I gave them the voucher.  I made a phone call down to the desk and they said they would take care of it and I could pick up a new receipt when we came down for breakfast.  We got down there and they had no clue what we were talking about but finally got it taken care of and gave me a new receipt.  Since there was a fire the night before in the kitchen, they were giving everyone there a free breakfast (our's was actually included in our room deal) that they had brought in from another one of the hotels in the same chain that was next door.  Wow!  I have never seen so many rude hotel guests in my life who were pushing others to get to the food and filling an entire plate with bacon leaving very little for all the people in line behind them.  The hotel quickly ran out of food due to people piling their plates high with things and making multiple trips back, pushing others out of the way who had just gotten in line for the first time.  I also felt bad for the poor staff that was trying to keep things stocked and having to tell people that they had run out of much of the food already.

   That brings me to today.  I checked my VISA statement and guess who put a small but unauthorized  extra charge on my card.  YEP!  👿  I will be getting ahold of them and letting them know that they will be reversing that charge today and I am also getting ahold of their corporate office!  I guess the third time is NOT the charm with this particular property. The next time we go up we will be staying at a different property that is tried and true.