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.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 6/28-7/4 2019

   I'm late once again posting my weekly frugal wrap up post.  It has been busy here with taking care of Steven, Jeremy coming over with his dog Maggie for a visit and then Heather and the little boys coming to pick cherries and visit.  As wonderful as it is to have everyone here, it does wear me out but is so worth it to have my family here with us as much as possible.
Onto the savings!

~Caesar and I had a late start to the day since I did not get to sleep until around 3 in the morning.  We  enjoyed our stroll around the garden while the coffee was brewing and we shared some cherries that I was picking off the tree. 😋
~I found an older series on Youtube called "Til Debt Do Us Part" that I have been watching and I am really getting motivated once again to get our debt paid off and to save all we can so we will be ready when Jeff is old enough to retire and not have a bunch of bills hanging over our heads.
~Jeff had a mandatory meeting at work and they are feeding them dinner there.
~Since Jeff was not going to be home for dinner, I just warmed up some leftover chicken slices, made some mashed potatoes and had that with grapes and strawberries on the side.  Comfort food and so easy!
~I watered the gardens in the afternoon.

~Jaysn and Rachel called and wanted our advice on a car they were thinking about buying.  We headed in to town and went on a test drive with them.  It is a really nice vehicle and one that should do them well for years.
~While in town, we did the grocery shopping and bought a deli sandwich to share since we had not eaten at all yet that day.
~We watched several episodes of Mork and Mindy from the DVD set we borrowed from the library.
~I picked some raspberries, strawberries and cherries.

~Jeff and I took Caesar for a walk in the evening and then he and I hot tubbed later that night.  I sure slept well after that.
~Jeff BBQed burgers for dinner and I cooked up some corn on the cob in the microwave.  4 minutes per ear in the husk made for the perfect sweet corn.
~I found a frog living in my bromeliad plant in the hot tub area.  He is the cutest thing and I have declared him my new pet. :)
~Jeff and I cut my hair.  I feel so much better now that I don't have so much "heaviness" on my head.

~I made a teriyaki meatloaf and rice for dinner using some ground venison that Chris gave us.
~I saved the bottoms of the green onions and put them in water to grow longer roots so that I could plant them out in the garden later in the week.
~More cherries and strawberries were harvested.
~While I was in the kitchen chopping up green onions for the meatloaf, I went ahead and made a Krab salad too.
~I read my cousin Marisa McClellan's new cookbook "The Food in Jars Kitchen" that I borrowed from the library.  It is really good and I am going to go out and buy a copy of it.  It is well worth it!
~I dried some celery leaves in the microwave.  These are really good to add to salad, dips, dressing, etc. and are full of flavor.

~We had to go into town to renew my driver's license and picked up a few things at Walmart when we were there.  They had some marked down items that we needed so that was a blessing.
~Jeff found some marked down paint at the hardware store to use for the cornhole game he is making for the little boys.
~I picked strawberries and raspberries.
~Leftovers for dinner.
~I watched some shows online.
~Gardens were watered in the evening.

~I picked more strawberries and cut up a bunch to use on pancakes, shortcake, etc.
~I also cut up lots of rhubarb from the garden and froze 12 cups of that and made some rhubarb compote.
~I borrowed more dvds and books from the library.
~Dinner tonight was homemade pancakes with homemade strawberry topping and whipped cream served alongside Portuguese Sausage.
~I saved half the Portuguese Sausage and half of the pancakes for a future meal.
~Jeff had to go into work early , but that just means he gets to come home earlier also.  As he was leaving, Caesar and I took a brisk walk around town.  We were both worn out after it but it felt good to get out and walk in the cooler evening air and not have to worry about Caesar burning his paws.
~I had trouble sleeping again so I watched more inspiring getting out of debt videos on YouTube.

~Jeff and I stayed home because we worried about Caesar's reaction to the fireworks.  He is terrified of them and so is Midgey. 
~Jeff picked a bunch of cherries off our tree while I napped.
~I harvested more strawberries and raspberries.
~Jaysn, Rachel and Steven came out and picked cherries and raspberries.  Steven was thrilled to be here to play. :)
~We watched more MOrk and Mindy on DVD that we borrowed from the library.
~We finished the leftover pancakes and sausage for brunch.
~I read a book I borrowed from the library.

   This week will be a busy one as well as we get the gardens weeded and ready for us to be gone for a few days.  We also need to keep up on the watering, picking of cherries, strawberries and raspberries along with the tomatoes that are now coming on.  Add to that processing all of these and well, you can see where my time will be spent.  It's all good though.
Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Yes Virginia, Facts Do Matter

   For years now people have been making up all kinds of things, throwing it out there and seeing if they can whip others up into a frenzy.  They will lie, cheat, and do whatever they can to discredit innocent people just to make things fit their personal narrative.  They have no regard for the damage they do to others and will flip- flop in the wind, latching onto the latest "thing" that is thrown out there.  It is disgusting in my personal opinion.

   I am a person who believes in facts, fairness, and personal responsibility.  I am a compassionate person and bullying of others has no place in my world.  Our family has dealt with toxic bullies in our personal lives for most of Jeff and my marriage and in the last few years, we have had no contact with them.  The damage that was done to all of us is long lasting and something that has taken a huge toll on my health over the years.  It is interesting that the bullies project their bad behavior on us and try to make themselves look like the victims in all of this.  In their world, facts don't matter but in the real and rational thinking world, they really do!

   The key phrase to that last statement is "in the real and rational thinking world".  It seems that so many people no longer live in that world and instead pull anything and everything out of the air to justify their personal beliefs, many of which are not based on anything factual.  When asked for facts to back up what they are saying, they can't come up with any or they twist things.  The sad thing is that some of the people that we have elected here in the United States are some of the biggest offenders.  They have advocated for violence towards others, spread outright lies, and they say they care about others but yet ignore our veterans who are struggling after having served our country.  I live in a state where our governor, who is running for president, has made our entire state a sanctuary state without putting it to a vote from the people.  He is inviting more criminals, who take advantage of and terrorize our legal migrant population and harm United States citizens, into our state.   The criminal stats and facts don't lie...crime is up and will continue to rise.  My husband works in a high crime area with lots of illegals who are running drugs and are part of gangs.  I am terrified for him and pray for his safety.  He and I are going to take a concealed carry class so that he can take a gun with him to protect himself if need be.  We both hate that it has come to this, but it has.

   Do you all remember the whole pushback on our current president when he said there was a crisis at our border with all the migrant caravans coming up from South America?  The mainstream media and some politicians were saying it was a "manufactured crisis".  Those same people are now screaming that there is a "humanitarian crisis" at the border and it is somehow our president's fault.  The president pointed out the facts when this all started, but it did not matter to certain people who have their own agenda.  He has asked for funding to help with this crisis, and yet, while the naysayers at the time refused to believe him, they are now yelling and taking photo ops, throwing out some false info, and at the same time, refusing to pass funding to help care for all the people who are in the ICE detention facilities for breaking our laws and trying to come into our country illegally.  I am all for legal immigration and my heart breaks for the people who have died trying to come in illegally and who have been ruthlessly taken advantage of by human smugglers and traffickers.  I hate seeing families separated but at the same time, there are many children who are being used by non family members and complete strangers, to gain entrance into our country.  Where is the outcry and compassion for those children who have been taken from their parents and used at tools and then "recycled" over and over again?  ICE is trying to find their families and reunite them with them, but you don't hear much about that.

   Yes, facts do matter.  Lives depend on it.  Society needs them to keep order.  Living in chaos where laws are not enforced leads to violence and predatory behavior by those that mean harm to others.  I don't want my kids and grandkids to grow up in a world where facts and laws do not matter, do you?