Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Depression and Anxiety are Ugly Things


   I know that I have not been posting on my blog or even reading and commenting on friends blogs lately and I feel like I need to explain why.  It's not that I don't want to visit and comment but I just don't have the energy to do so.  Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and my OCD has been ramping up, I'm not sleeping well at all and am up most of the night and it is taking most of my energy to just hold it together at times.  I do have happy times between these down times and my family has been wonderful about being there for me and understanding that I am not choosing to feel this way...it is just happening and I wish it would stop.

   Last week it finally got to the point where I called my doctor's office in the middle of a panic attack and they were able to get me in within a few hours.  They are wonderful!  There was a new nurse there and she told me my blood pressure was a bit on the high side.  I told her that was because my anxiety was really high.  She told me that you could not tell by looking at me.  I told her that I had gotten good at hiding it on the outside but was shaking on the inside.  Later I realized that is what I had been trained to do from a very young age.  I have survived through the years by faking calm when I am falling apart, scared and feel like a caged animal that needs to escape danger.

   My compassionate doctor, who has been a huge blessing to me, and I talked about what was going on and came up with a new plan to help me.  My anti anxiety medications are being adjusted, I have something to help me sleep (that is not working so far), will be getting some counseling to help me deal with the grief that comes with the loss of who I used to be and who I am now and I have a disabled parking placard to help me since walking can be painful and very tiring a good majority of the time.  I think the thing that helped me the most though was my doctor looking me straight in the eyes and saying "This is not all in your head, what you are feeling is real and you are not alone. There are a lot of other people who have this (Fibromyalgia) out there and are going through the same things you are."  He validated the fact that this syndrome is real and is multifaceted with so many painful things going on physically, emotionally and is totally draining and exhausting.  The depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are just a few of the many symptoms that can come with this but honestly, they are some of the most challenging to deal with.  Well that and the "brain fog" that frustrates me to no end.  That makes it hard to focus and concentrate on anything and leads to more anxiety and depression and I also believe contributes to the OCD at times.

   Living with the uncertainty of IF and WHEN you will get to sleep (last night I was awake until 5 this morning when I finally was able to sleep and here it is closing in on 2 a.m. now and I am still wide awake even though I am exhausted), what your pain levels will be like, if you will be able to walk without holding onto the walls or if you are out shopping if your legs, arms, and back will hold out until you are done is scary.  It's not being able to get the words out or even find them in your cloudy mind.  It's fighting back tears and pretending that everything is ok when people ask how you are doing because you don't want to let them down or let them see your pain and struggle.  It's the confusion of having a manageable pain day one moment where you can do a load of laundry and the next being in horrible pain and having to sit or lay down trying to find some relief because regular OTC pain meds don't do a thing to help.  It's unpredictable and it hurts to have to cancel plans with friends and family because of it and know that I am letting them down. It is also knowing that at this point, there is no cure for this thing and that I may have to live the rest of my life like this.  And, it's the added financial burden for more meds, counseling costs, etc. and me not being able to work to help pay for all of it.  That is a lot to deal with.

   I'm sharing this because I need to get it out there.  I'm not asking for sympathy, just understanding.  I'm struggling at the moment and I hope that my sharing this will also help someone else who may also be struggling so that they too know that they are not alone.  So please understand that if I don't always respond to comments, blog, read and comment on friend's blogs, it is not because I don't want to...it's because I just don't have the energy, can't focus or am putting everything I have into trying to just survive at the moment.  I'm working on areas that I can to feel better and I hope to be back to being more upbeat and cheerful and at least regaining that part of my life  soon.  Thank you for understanding and God bless.





Sunday, August 19, 2018

Frugal Food Lately

Grapes washed and stems cut to make for easy snacking.

   I'm not going to have a Frugal Friday post this week because I forgot to keep track of things.  However, I thought I would share some of the frugal meals and food that we have had lately.

   We start off with me cooking up about 2 pounds of elk burger into taco seasoned meat.  This is what I did with it.


Taco salad made with .50 sale priced bagged salad, tomatoes from the garden, taco meat, crushed tortilla chips and Thousand Island dressing.

Burritos with taco meat and cheese, Mexican rice made with tomato powder from our tomatoes last year and served with watermelon and blueberries.

Taco meat and cheese served over the leftover rice served with a side of grapes.

The last of the taco meat and rice layered between 3 huge soft flour tortilla and a homemade enchilada sauce made with tomato sauce and cream cheese poured over it all and baked in the oven.  I served it with more of the sale priced bagged salad with craisins, Feta and a lime vinaigrette dressing.

Next up are a few more meals that I made this week. 

Squash from the garden sauteed with shrimp.

Mashed red potatoes with parsley from the garden, tomatoes from the garden, marinated elk steaks and onion rings.

Zucchini with parmesan cheese and sausages. 

Baked chicken and potatoes.

And lastly something sweet...

Three loaves of banana bread made from overripe bananas.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/4-8/10 2018

   Sorry that this is not a very good post and is lacking pictures but to be totally honest, the heat, smoky air and changes in air pressure have really been taking a huge toll on me.  I'm having trouble forming complete thoughts, nevermind getting them onto the screen here.  I'm also hypersensitive to everything at the moment and in lots of pain with nausea coming because of that. I'm also having nightmares again.  Until the weather gets better and the skies are cleared out of the smoke, I fear I will continue to be like this. I'm just fatigued, sore, frustrated and am still trying to put a smile on my face and remain as positive as I can be.  I really want to be positive and happy and am trying my best to be that way despite all that is going on with me right now.  Onto the savings...

~The town wide yard sales were not as plentiful this year but I still managed to get some nice things for dirt cheap.  Jeff's best deal of the day was a bicycle for $1 that he is going to fix up for Isaiah (we have everything we need here already to do so) and mine was a pair of sterling silver turquoise and coral Native American made earrings for .10, yes ten cents!  They were mixed in with a bunch of cheap costume jewelry so I am assuming that is why they were still there and no one had found them for hours before I got to the sale.
~The company Jeff works for throws an employee appreciation party each year.  This is the second year in a row that they have held it at a waterpark and told the employees to bring their families.  Also this year they booked it for 4 hours and brought in pizza for everyone.  It was so much fun and our kids and grandkids really enjoyed themselves!
~We stopped at the Grocery Outlet store in Lewiston Idaho before heading home from the water park and found some wonderful deals there.  We got Nutrigrain blueberry granola bars for 2 boxes for .97 (gave one of them to Rachel for Steven who polished off 2 of the bars in the box before they even left our house), chocolate chip cookie dough for $1.47 with a B1G1F deal, and found several other great deals also.
~I was able to get in on some of the higher value encraves at Swagbucks and cashed on on Sunday for another $25 gift card for Walmart.  I took advantage of the discounted price and also got a 100 sbs rebate.
~Three loaves of banana bread were made and then I baked up a pan of sweet potato wedges since the oven was already hot.
~I sent one of the loaves of banana bread home with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven when they came by for a visit.
~We hung the towels and bathing suits out to dry after washing them.
~Jeff built a new shelving unit with some wood he had here on hand and attached it to the side of our entertainment center (which he also built) to house more of our dvds and cds.
~Dinner was clam chowder for me and oatmeal for my hubby.  I had no more energy and neither did he.
~Rachel harvested and enjoyed some tomatoes from our garden. That makes me happy!
~Monday Jeff and I gave each other haircuts.  We were overdue for them and with the heat climbing into the triple digits, it was time to get it done!
~I made some cold tuna pasta salad and the fur babies got some of the tuna water from the cans.
~The Summer apple tree did not do as well this year fruit wise, but I was still able to get some apples off of it to make either fried apples or applesauce with.
~Since I know it will be too hot to cook for the next few upcoming days, I took some frozen turkey lunch meat out of the freezer along with some chicken thighs.  The turkey lunch meat will be used to make sandwiches and the chicken will be dinner Monday night and also again later in the week.  I'll bake some potatoes, sliced up under the chicken too as part of our meal and enough for several other meals also.
~The laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~Jeff got the plants in the front garden all mulched to help hold in the moisture in the soil since we are going to be in the triple digits temperature wise.  He got the mulch for free.
~I watered all the garden beds, trees and flower beds in the back of the house in the evening.  I forgot to do the front flower beds so I will have to get those tomorrow.  I did remember to water all the potted plants though.
~Tuesday it was hot so I stayed inside the house for the most part and worked on my points programs.  Rachel brought Steven up for awhile.  He got shots yesterday and was a bit fussy.  He likes coming up here to play where it is cooler and he has more room to run around.  We got out a big bowl and filled it with water for him to splash in...he loved it!
~Dinner was turkey sandwiches since it was too hot to cook.
~I found the link for the recipes from the cookbook "Good and Cheap" https://www.leannebrown.com/index/  It has some really good recipes there and you can download the cookbook for free also.
~Before I went to bed, I ran Jeff's work laundry through the washer so it would be ready to hang out in the morning when I got up.
~Our salt container from the store broke so I recycled a baby's puffs treat container to hold the salt.
~Wednesday I needed to head in to Pullman and pick up a prescription at Walmart.  My prescription cost jumped up under the new health insurance which ticked me off a bit.  While I was there I looked in their clearance areas and found a black swim skirt (I needed another one), 2 shirts ($4 and $5 each) and 2 pajamas ($4 and $5 each).  I also picked up some marked down corned beef from the deli along with a marked down chicken bacon ranch sandwich for Jeff, a watermelon and some bananas.
~Safeway had a surprise special of prepackaged salads marked down to .50 a bag.  I bought a bunch of them and gave some to Rachel and Jaysn also.  We will be eating lots of salad over the course of a week and I am good with that.  I love salads when it is hot outside.  Some other great deals that I scored were cooked shrimp and hummus at half price, mayo at half price and a large container of blueberries for $2.99.
~My best scores of the day came from the thrift store.  I stopped in to see if I could find some more shirts for Steven since he is outgrowing everything.  They had a .25 sale on all blue tagged clothing items.  I was able to find 5 shirts for him, 1 for Jeff, a shirt to resell (Nanette Lapore brand) and a pair of denim skinny cut jeans for me...all for .25 each.  I also found a birthday gift for Chris, 2 cookbooks, a Disney drawing book for the little boys and a Chicago Cutlery knife.
 ~Jeff's laundry was hung out on the line to dry.
~I watered the gardens in the evening.
~The mail brought a free Country living magazine, coupons, including one for a free item, from Bath and Body Works, and a box from Pinch Me that had a hair mask and some Starbucks coffee K cups in it.
~I watched a presentation by a doctor who specializes in Fibromyalgia treatment and learned a few new things.
~Thursday was a blazing hot day so I spent most of the day inside.  I had the swamp cooler running overnight to get as much cool air into the house as possible.  Jeff shut it off when he got home at 6 a.m. since it was already starting to get hot outside.  I turned it on again later in the day when it got hot in the house again in the afternoon.
~I used my Instant Pot to cook up 2 artichokes.
~Dinner was leftover oven baked chicken, potatoes and a salad.
~My encraves were finally back at Swagbucks, so I ran them in the background while I got other things done on and off my computer.
~We invited Jaysn, Rachel and Steven to come up this afternoon to cool off in our home and also have some watermelon and cantaloupe. :)  It was nice to visit with them and laugh at Steven's antics.
~After they left, Jeff and I used our hot tub (unheated) to cool off in even more.  I needed to cool my inner core down and that worked well.

  I hope you had a good week. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Stop the Political Madness Already!

   Our mailbox has been stuffed full, our phone seemed to be ringing non stop (until we got rid of the land line) and even YouTube has been airing political ads.  Facebook has become a "war zone" with friendships being torn apart, more "F bombs" being dropped,  etc.  Twitter is filled with so many hateful things being said.  It feels like a repeat of what we saw leading up to the Presidential election 2 years ago only this time it is worse and what makes it sad is that I thought it couldn't get any worse than it was then.  Thank goodness today is the "official" election day in my state. Maybe a small portion of it will stop.

   I was hoping that we would be getting a total break from all the madness tomorrow but I know that is not going to happen.  Every day it seems that there is something else going on.  Protests are far from "peaceful".  Trash is left everywhere after "marches" or "occupations" and cost taxpayers thousands, if not more, of dollars to clean up.  People are still being denied service at restaurants and chased down by other people who do not agree with their political views but who obviously have never been taught manners and that the quickest way to shut down any kind of discussion is to start yelling at someone and not be willing to at least be civil and act like a reasonable adult.  Name calling by all sides is childish and does not get us anywhere.  The hypocrisy is staggering!  

   Here's the deal...if you want something to change, then you need to do something constructive and not destructive.  Instead of protesting everything, get involved in your community feeding the homeless.  Take back your communities from crime...become a police officer, form a neighborhood watch association, don't protect criminals.  Communities can come together and raise money for scholarships to help young people go to college or trade schools based on merit and need.  Instead of feeling like you have to counter protest something, just stay away so that it does not get the massive media coverage that the group you don't agree with is seeking and bonus, that should lessen the violence and property destruction that seems to come with these protests.  Make your neighborhoods, towns and cities attractive to new businesses and support the local mom and pop places too.  Get to know your neighbors and find common ground, even if you do not agree on everything.  It's hard to hate on someone who you have shared a nice chat over the fence with, shared a meal with, and so on.  If you don't like a business for whatever reason, just don't patronize it. No need to stage a full out national boycott.  My husband and I have chosen not to support several businesses in the surrounding area with our hard earned dollars because of our personal beliefs and/or bad experiences with them.  We are not out there vandalizing them, screaming at people who are choosing to go there or surrounding and harassing them.

   Please please please people, for the love of all that is good, stop with the madness already!



Saturday, August 4, 2018

Two Week Frugal Friday Edition


   So this wrap up is going to be a little different as in I forgot to start keeping track of things until Tuesday night of the first week.  Time kind of got away from me, the heat turned my brain into mush and there were a couple of days when just walking up and down the hall took all my energy and strength for the most part.  I'm trying to keep as cool as possible by staying in the house and using the swamp cooler in the afternoons and into the evening before switching over to just venting in the cooler night air around 11 p.m. or later and then shutting that down around 6 a.m. before it starts to heat up again.  Luckily Jeff gets home around that time in the morning, so he can just shut the swamp cooler down and I can sleep.  My poor garden has been taking a huge hit with the heat though and some of the plants are burning up no matter how much I soak them at night. 😟  So here is my list as best as I can remember it...

~I've been watering the gardens in the evening and trying to give them a good soaking.
~Swagbucks is running in the background most of the time when I am watching TV so that I can get those points.
~Jeff and I hit the Dollar Tree and found marked downs there.  We got 3 packs of Cracker Jacks for .50 (we got 2 of those and they will be part of a gift bucket that we are giving Isaiah for his birthday), Snickers with Almonds fun packs for .50 each (got 3 of those)and we also bought 2 DVDs,
~Safeway had their Powerades on sale for .48 each so I bought the limit of 10.  They were also clearancing a bunch of products that had packaging changes or were items that they were no longer going to stock.  We got whole grain pastas for .58 and .48 each, eucalyptus essential oil for $3,  and organic baby food pouches for .58 each (Steven loves these and they are great to take when we go somewhere with him).  We also picked up a 12 pack of flavored seltzer water for .99 and a 24 pack of bottled water for $1.89.
~We used a gift card that Jaysn and Rachel gave me for my birthday to go and see the movie "Equalizer 2" and did splurge on popcorn and drinks.  It cost us $12 out of pocket after the gift card but it was sure fun to go and sit in a cool and dark theater on a blistering hot day and just get lost in a movie while munching on popcorn. 😉

~I started a second big mason jar full of homemade raspberry infused gin with more raspberries from our garden.
~We needed something quick for dinner one night so I made a white sauce, put cut up smoked ham in it and then served that over leftover warmed up rice and some precooked smoked buffalo chicken strips.  It was really good!
~More raspberries were frozen.
~I've been picking peas, blueberries and some cherry tomatoes from the garden.
~Some red peppers that were getting to the end of the shelf life were cut up and frozen.
~We were in need of more maple syrup so I got more of that done.

~We are trying to finish eating the rest of the lettuce I harvested from the garden.
~Tuesday I made a nice Greek yogurt sauce with minced green onions, celery salt, diced red peppers and diced celery and mixed that up with some cubed and cooked red potatoes to make a rather delicious potato salad.  The plan was to serve it with ham steaks that night but Jaysn came up and asked if they could BBQ hot dogs and sausages at our place and if we could all have dinner together.  Rachel has also made a blackberry cobbler with berries they had picked down at the river earlier in the morning.  We had a nice family dinner and they were thrilled that I had made potato salad and I was thrilled they were doing the rest of the cooking.
~Jeff cleaned out the glasses and mugs cabinet.  We set some of the larger mugs aside for Heather that Jeff did not use and packed others away to sell at our yard sale this coming weekend.
~I consolidated all of my cupcake and candy making paper products into one large glass jar.  It looks really cute and it takes up less space and keeps them all hand and ay from dust.
~I made 2 loaves of bread and some lemon poppy seed muffins.

~Saturday of the first week Isaiah had his birthday party down at a lake about 2 hours from us.  We took a pasta salad down to share and had a wonderful visit with Heather's grandparents Carl and Sandra.  They are such sweet people.  We ended up not staying for dinner because it was just too hot.  Jeff and I stopped and had dinner on the way home and I ended up bringing a good portion of my dinner home with me and had that for a meal a day later also.
~Jeff got some free wood chips for our garden.  Hopefully that will help not only to keep moisture in the soil, but also build the soil up over the colder months.
~With a Excessive Heat Warning hitting us for 2 days, I cooked up 3 boneless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and made it into cold chicken salad.  I added curry and some crasins to a portion of it...yum.  This made for 4 meals for us!
~I've been watching the ads carefully and uploading digital coupons to my Safeway card to take advantage of some of the incredible deals they have had lately, including free items.
~The raspberry plants are coming to the end of their fruit production for this Summer but we are continuing to pick what is out there along with a few blueberries also.

~The library has been a wonderful source for free books and movies yet again.
~My cousin Jeremy stopped by for a quick visit and it was so good to see him again,
~We have been going through things and getting them ready to put in Jeremy's new resale store that he is opening.  We have furniture, china, glassware, and vintage linens so far for him.
~I cashed in at Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart gift card.
~I went searching for ink for my printer online at Walmart.com and found it was cheaper to replace my printer with an all in one printer/scanner/copier that came with ink than just to get the ink for my printer.  Walmart did not have the exact model in the store that I saw online but one that was similar so they price matched it for me.  Jeff and I used the Walmart gift card I got through Swagbucks and purchased the printer/scanner/copier to $19 on sale along with a container of kitty litter.  Both were free after the gift card.  We had been wanting a copier and scanner again for us and for the kids to use so this worked out perfectly!
~We were able to get a free product worth $6.99 from Safeway with their digital coupon.  They were out of the second free item so we will check again this weekend to see if they got any more of that item in.  They also had Gatorade for .49 for your first 8 so we stocked up again.  Greek yogurt was marked down to half price so I bought all the key lime ones they had since that is Steven and my favorite.
~Rachel gave me some more of the chickpea curry that she makes and I gave her 2 large squash from the garden.
~Rachel has been picking and freezing raspberries from the garden for Heather.

~Jeff's work clothes laundry has been hung outside to dry.  We do his work laundry separately from the rest of the laundry since he sweats so much in it.
~Steven has been coming up to play here since it is cooler in our house and there is more room to run around.  Wednesday it had even cooled down enough in the early evening that he could be outside in the backyard again so we got out the huge fire truck and riding John Deer tractor for him.  He took great delight in filling up the fire truck with dirt. 😁 Steven also had dinner with us and loved the chow mein noodles, key lime yogurt and cheese stick that we gave him.
~Thursday night Jeff and I each made a homemade personal pizza.  I used fresh basil from the garden on mine.  I had leftover sauce so I froze it for a future meal.
~I had the chickpea curry for lunch...so good!
~We SKYPEd with Josh and Lauren.  I love being able to actually see their faces when we talk and they showed us the new patio furniture they just got.
~My neighbor and I had a really nice visit under the shade of our apple tree on Thursday afternoon.
~I was having some sinus issues so I used my Neti pot to help clean out my sinuses.  We live in farm country where there is lots of dust in the air, the pollen counts have been high and we have had some smoke blow in from forest fires.
~I was also having some problems with inflammation in my gums so I swished with equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide for a minute.  DO NOT SWALLOW this combination.  Spit it out and then rinse your mouth out with water.
~I had some leftover sesame chicken that was not enough for a meal so I decided to stretch it by adding some yellow squash to it from our garden.  Perfect, healthier and yummy!
~Blueberries and raspberries from the garden made for a really nice snack before bedtime.
~Steven enjoyed taking a bath up at Grammie's since we have the deep soaking bath and lots of bath tub toys!

   Saturday is our town wide yard sale and if I get up in time, I will go out and look around for a bit.  We have a company party at a water park in the afternoon/evening about an hour south of us that our kids and grandkids will be joining us for so that should be fun. :)  Be blessed!