Friday, July 31, 2009

Where have all the sunflowers gone?

As you may have noticed on the side bar, I made my pledge of reading one book a week for a year. That we still have nearly half a year to go probably didn't escape your notice either. I was pretty sure I would make it. Honestly I thought I would be done a few weeks ago but I did get a bit lazy now and then. Plus I didn't log books I didn't finish and there were several I just read for the information I needed and didn't read the whole book. So in all likelihood, I probably read a few more than that and did indeed finish by the end of June.

I love rationalizing.

I went out to water my sunflowers today only to find them gone. Three of them completely gone and one with just the stem left. I suspect the bunnies. This seems to happen every year so I'm not sure what to do next year. I would like to see if I could grow more this season but the weather has been so wonky this summer I'm not going to risk it. It also makes me re-think having a huge garden next year. We did plan on fencing it in, but I'm not sure that would actually happen for various reasons so I'm most likely just going to have to get a job.

It looks like I'm going to have to do that anyway since I just balanced the checkbook and I'm holding my breath this month because of various large bills that come due every three months which will put us in the hole if I try to buy any food for the month. I told you we had been just getting by because of the 15% pay decrease. Now I'm sure we won't make it this winter unless I get a job. But where?

And I can't apply until I know Zach's schedule which, with his internship I won't know until late August or September.

Maybe we just won't use heat this winter.

I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Of course we'll use heat this winter.

Off to fix supper and then some reading tonight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Give me just an hour of energy, please

This sinus infection just keeps hanging on. I stopped the echinacea because it was clearing up and I don't like to take meds beyond their need. Then the infection came back and I was down yesterday with the headache back, although not as fierce as it was initially. But it's the annoying, non-productive cough that is wearing me down. It interferes with my that's a hard thing to do...and it's making my chest sore.

As a result I've gotten next to nothing done this week. Oh, the bare necessities (why does that make me think of a dancing bear?) but not much else.

I finished up the log cabin baby blanket last night and started a dishcloth blanket but I'm aching to get back to my stuff so I'm going to put the baby blankets aside and work on my feather and fan water shawl and socks and whatever else is in my bag that remains unfinished.

I also want to get busy reading. I've got something on the order of 8 books from the library and because of this stupid headache and vacuum-like feeling behind my eyes, I haven't been able to read much. Maybe this weekend I can get more done. I have a book due back next week that I've already renewed once so I must finish it at least.

At the very least I must get the mice cage cleaned out today. I invested in some pretty expensive herbal insect repellent because I can't seem to rid the mice of those little black specks that are causing them a great deal of annoyance. This is safe for pets so I'm hoping it won't harm the wee ladies.

I bought Professor a huge bone from the pet section. It's nearly as big as he is and he's been busy gnawing on it. I hope it will keep him busy in the middle of the night so he doesn't wake me up to feed him. You know how it is with those late-night snacks.

I'm hoping to catch up on the yard work tomorrow because Saturday I want to get caught up with the yard. I'm going to move the bird feeders and the bird bath to the front flower garden (that incidentally has absolutely no flowers in it) so I can watch them. I never see if birds are using the stuff in the back. In fact, I rarely see birds in the back yard at all. Near the back of the property in the thicket, yes, but not near the house. The front, however, is always full of the birds playing and chasing each other. I'll be able to watch all this from my bed. I just hope the pets in the window seat won't scare them off.

I also want to get some baking done Saturday. It's Lammas so I figure that's a good time to bake some bread and set a sour dough sponge. I don't think we're going to church on Sunday. I feel like a traitor because the priest won't be there and I like to support our church in her absence, but with the detour consisting mostly of unpaved and very uneven roads now and lack of sleep and energy and the cost of gas, I'm going to be selfish and not go. I can stay home and read and meditate. I think that will do me more good than getting up after no sleep and standing throughout Morning Prayer. I'm not good with being on my feet for an hour at a time. Something I'm sure I'll have to get used to when I finally get a job.

Well, time to get something done around here. I need to vacuum my room after I clean the mice cage and straighten up the rest of the house. I hate all this fatigue. I have so much I want to do.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now I can't wait for Deathly Hallows

We finally went to see Harry Potter. I had tried three different days and something kept coming up. It was fabulous!! I didn't have a problem with any of it and I especially loved seeing Lupin and Tonks in there. I always love the Weasley home life. They could do a very boring reality type show of them and I would stay glued to the tv 24/7.

I didn't post the past couple of days because I was afraid I would post things that I would have to delete and I'm trying very hard not to do that these days. Suffice it to say that things never change and everything is always my fault.

My sinus infection is better although I'm still coughing unproductively, but the pressure is gone and the headaches are more infrequent. I'm sleeping better. Well, better than I was with the blinding headaches. Still not getting a lot of sleep. Dratted Professor wakes me up when the sun rises because he wants to go out in the yard and sniff around for the chipmunk that lives next door. By the time I get him in after a wee (after he's chased around the yard for that one perfect spot) I'm awake. By noon I'm back asleep for an hour. Then night comes and I can't get to sleep before 2 a.m., sometimes 3, and it's lather, rinse, repeat.

Tomorrow I intend to work in the yard since it's supposed to rain the rest of the week. I have massive weeding to do and I hope to get the pumpkins and zucchini planted. Along with some lettuce. And I have thigh-high weeds behind the garage that everyone driving on the major highway can see.

Tom's sister sold her house so she got rid of some stuff and we ended up with some dry wall, shingles, miscellaneous wood, a bird bath and a wonky silver ball on a wrought iron post for the flower garden. If I actually had a flower garden. It was great to get all that stuff. Maybe with the shingles we can do some spot repair to hold us until next summer.

Still, I ask myself why it's so easy to go load up the truck and take it to the landfill for his sister when he won't take our stuff to the landfill after Zach and I have loaded up the truck.

Just sayin' is all.

I wasn't online last night because we were under a tornado warning...issued long before the system even got into our county. And because it was a slow moving system, didn't even come near us for another 3 hours. Then it went north of us and all we got was a little bit of rain. If they don't use the warning system properly no one will take it seriously and then we'll have a tragedy that didn't need to happen.

Sort of like car alarms. When was the last time you saw anyone respond to one of those?

Well, off to fix supper for Tom and then off to bed.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Days of whine and noses

I'm faithfully taking the echinacea and the cold medicine and I think I'm getting better. At least I didn't have the monster headache today that I had last night. I ended up with an ice pack on my head trying to alleviate the pain. Two ibuprofen and two tramadol didn't put a dent in it. I've been blowing my nose a lot and I hope it doesn't get sore and red before tomorrow.

I had altar guild today. I really enjoy setting up the altar and being in the empty church preparing for Sunday Eucharist. I don't know why, when I still struggle with my crisis of faith, but it does seem to ground me. In a good way.

I hung the clothes out on the line last night and just crossed my fingers that they would dry and I got lucky. It didn't rain and by the time I left for altar guild I had another load out and one in the dryer. When I got home, the skies were a bit cloudy but I thought it was worth a risk and even if they were only out for an hour that was that much less time they would have to dry on the rack. I nearly made it. I noticed it was getting very windy and dark so I ran out and got all the clothes in, just in time. The socks were the only things not dry so I hung them up on the rack.

But it stopped raining before I could even fold the clothes.

But at least the week's laundry is done.

I'm starting to feel crummy again with a return of the monster headache and coughing so I think I'll cut this short and just get ready for bed. I have to go to church tomorrow because of altar guild and we had planned to see Harry Potter afterward I don't want to cough all the way through the movie. And I'm sure the other patrons don't want to hear it either.

I'll see it before it leaves the theaters, I'm sure.


Friday, July 24, 2009

If you can't whine when you're sick, when can you whine?

Somebody shoot me! Oh, my head is about to burst open. I told you I was going to be a big baby about this cold, didn't I?

It's not actually a cold. Feels like a sinus infection which means echinacea, nasal spray, ibuprofen for pain and daytime cold medicine. And lots and lots of rest.

Except I need to bake bread tonight (I use the bread machine to mix it and knead it...for now...) and hang a load of clothes on the racks. Or outside. I'm waiting for the local forecast on the Weather Channel to see just where the rain is. It's pretty dark outside so I may just go ahead and use the racks. And I'm making potato soup tonight for supper. That and a salad will balance us out since we use cheese and fake bacon bits in it. Zach won't eat potatoes so he's making himself some Ramen with green beans.

We tried to drive past Wendy's today but in spite of eating lunch both of us were really hungry by the time we made it through most of the errands and before our trip to StuffMart. So we stopped and got a couple of things off the dollar menu and me being a senior citizen now (at 55 no less) we got the value sodas free. I think she made a mistake and gave Zach a free one, but I'm not sure. Part of me says I should have brought it to her attention but the tired, headachy side said it was karma for all the times they didn't give me my discount. I'm not going to lose sleep over it though.

Well, it looks like more rain is on the way so I'll be using the rack indoors. I think it will be okay. I've got to get back in the frugal mindset from now on. I talked to Tom about it a bit today and he's onboard for the huge garden for next summer and learning how to do urban homesteading. He wavered about going hunting this year but I encouraged him to go and will cross my fingers, light a few candles and maybe make him a talisman of sorts so we've got a better chance. He hasn't gotten a deer in over 6 years. Usually the camp shares out what they get but the past couple of years the camp has only gotten one or two deer.

We'll have to look at fishing, too. He's got a license but won't go by himself and sitting in the hot sun miles away from a bathroom isn't my idea of a good time. Maybe he'll learn to like his own company and think of it more as a chance to be independent rather than a time to be with the guys.

It seems like feast or famine here. We went weeks without rain and now I've got too much rain for my storage capacities. I filled all the empty milk jugs with rain water and now with all the rain coming the next several days it looks like most of it will go to waste. I'm going to use some of it for mopping floors. The spigot is high enough on the barrel that the sludge sinks to the bottom so while it's not suitable for consumption or bathing it's okay for cleaning floors or maybe cleaning in the basement.

But not tonight. I'm going to hang up clothes, go make potato soup and then go to bed. Because I'm just a big baby.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday...still got nothin'

I have got to shake this fatigue and get busy. This house isn't going to get itself ready for winter and I won't have a garden next year unless I do something about it. I think next week Zach and I are going to go rent a roto-tiller and tear up most of the back yard. I'll have time to fence it in and hopefully the leaves from fall and whatever compost I can make between now and next spring will help with the clay they call soil up here in Wisconsin.

I'm really tired of getting nothing done. I'm tired of feeling like a burden on Tom. We need to become more independent financially and since I still don't know what Zach's schedule will be and the fact that all I can hope for it minimum wage even if I could get a job, I don't know that it's worth it to leave home for that kind of money when our expenses would go up as a result of me working outside the home. Such as gas, convenience foods, extra wardrobe, etc.

I need to find a way to make money from home. I've thought about free-lancing in some capacity but I'm not sure what that would be. I could try to sell things. My sister-in-law has a flea market and has offered to sell some of my stuff. Which makes me feel guilty since I really don't like to hang around Tom's family because of the way they make me feel. I know it's their culture and the way they were raised, but I don't like being made fun of or have my lifestyle criticized so everyone can be entertained. But we'll see. Money is money, after all.

I'm resolving to spend less time online as well. I'm just letting this take over my life. It's an escape, a way to avoid thinking about things that bother me or having to face tasks that I really don't want to do. It's time I grew up, though, and got busy.

I'm going to take that purse apart and start making grocery bags. I think those would sell and it's my own pattern so I'm not in danger of crossing that gray line that some people see in such black and while terms: selling things from patterns you have already paid for. Not going there. Nope.

Tomorrow we're going to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and then that's it for luxuries for a while. Zach had to fix his laptop today. Fortunately he was able to with the help of a tech from Dell. Just exactly what he may be doing in the future. One more semester to go.

Tonight we start tearing the house apart and getting things ready for the thrift store. We're rearranging Zach's room because he can barely walk around in there. There is a huge waterfall dresser in there that takes up a huge amount of room and you can't open the drawers if the humidity is high. I'm switching him to some plastic drawers I bought for my yarn storage. I'll move the dresser to the basement and store my yarn in it. Tonight he's going to go through all his clothes and pare down to what he actually will wear and get rid of the stuff he won't.

I'm seriously thinking about turning the living room into a bedroom again. Possibly with a full size bed instead of the couch. Figuring out what to do with the couch is a problem though as there is no room in the dining room for it unless I move the dining table back to the basement. Tom loves having a dining table even though no one actually uses it. And if I move the couch into the dining room, should I move the good tv in there? I'm the one who uses the cable box more than anyone else and I probably wouldn't use it if it were in the dining room. So I'm inclined to be selfish (add to that the fact that moving the entertainment center is a huge pain) and keep the cable box and big tv. It's not like Tom couldn't watch tv in my room if he wanted to. And that would free him up on the weekends to sleep on the couch and not worry about me not being able to sit anywhere in the house aside from the computer chair.

I don't mind having a small house. I just wish I had my own room.

Well, off to get things done. I'm going to go through my cookbooks this weekend and find meat-less meals to help with the food budget, too. Hopefully working on healthier eating and being more active will help increase my energy levels. And I have to get off this sugar kick. It's not good for my blood levels and it's like a drug. I can't seem to get enough!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday...'cause I got nothin' else

I'm feeling cruddy today. My head and nose are stopped up, my head hurts and my throat is scratchy. I did sleep okay last night although not as long as I would have liked, but I plan on taking a nap very shortly. I haven't been sick for any appreciable time for around two years so I plan on being a big baby over this.

I saw the rheumatologist yesterday. I really like her. She's sweet and very sympathetic to both my pain and my financial situation. She's never charged me a co-pay. I mean...twenty-five dollars to her is not what it is to me, right?

And Zach had a vestry meeting last night so a lot of time was spent on the road and I was wiped out when we got home. I had him fix supper for himself and Tom because I just wasn't hungry and wanted to just rest. He had mowed the yard earlier, which was good because it started raining, so he had a pretty full day, too.

And speaking of rain...Tom spent quite a bit of time on the roof sealing some joins but the roof still leaked and dripped down through the crawl space into the bathroom. The bathroom rug was wet and there was water on the side of the tub. Oh, can we afford to put a new roof on right now? Why can't we just have a chance to breathe?

But we did get rain and I'm hoping the rain barrel is full enough to fill some of the water jugs I've got out there (well...old milk jugs, to be precise.) The bucket is full and that's about 5 gallons there. I need to go outside and do that today in spite of feeling like this. Some things can't wait until you feel better. I also need to get some cooking and baking done. I don't have anything I can just throw together when I have days like yesterday. And I will be having those days with regularity in about a month, when school starts.

There was an accident last night at our intersection. It's always been a bad one, in my opinion, because to the right you have traffic coming down a curving hill and you can't see the cars until they emerge from behind the trees. It's almost like having to turn around and look over your right shoulder to see. Plus they come down the hill very fast and by the time you've entered the intersection, they're there. And you never had a chance to really see them. I've had to slam on the brakes multiple times. It looks like last night someone didn't slam on the brakes soon enough. I didn't see the accident but an SUV hit a little coupe on the side so I'm guessing the SUV was coming down the hill and the little coupe was entering the intersection.

The police were there by the time we left for church. No one was hurt, but the minute I heard the squeal of brakes and the crash, I thought of those dogs that run loose. They live right on that corner and I have seen them run into the street in front of cars before and I thought a car had tried to avoid them. Not this time.

I've had my own encounters with wild life lately. Coming home from church Sunday, I got to a major intersection and there was a chipmunk in the middle of the road. Since no one was behind me, I stopped rather abruptly but too close to really see where he went. So I eased forward hoping if I was moving slowly enough he would avoid the tires. Somehow he got out from under the car and raced across the road. Whew! In Wisconsin it's illegal to stop for an animal if it will cause an accident (unless it's an animal large enough to damage your car) so I made sure no one was around.

Yesterday I was on my way to Fond du Lac and wasn't even a block from home when I saw a squirrel in the middle of the road just on my side of the center yellow line. The car behind me was far enough back that I was able to slow way down and move to the right. Stupid squirrel ran to the right, in front of the car. Again...I eased forward because I couldn't see where he was and he ran to the left. I know they get frightened by the vibrations and don't know where they're coming from. I'm just glad I didn't have to hit either creature.

I hit a cat once while driving up to see the surgeon. It was lying down in the middle of my lane and since it was on a curve and there was a semi (truck) on my tail...well, within two car lengths) I couldn't do anything differently. There was no side of the road to pull over on and I couldn't tell if there was a car coming in the opposite lane so I couldn't pull over into that lane. I straddled the cat and it freaked him out so that he ran out from under the car and directly under my wheels. I cried all the way to the doctor's office.

I hate killing animals. I hit a raccoon once, late at night, coming home from Fond du Lac after one of Zach's classes. It upset me but not as much as the cat. This was a honking big raccoon and he was just sitting in the middle of the lane with his back to me. I couldn't tell what it was or really see him until I was right on him.

Darned circle of life.

I've been working on a log cabin blanket out of the yarn Jan got from a church rummage sale and gave to me. Bright yellows, blues, pinks. purples and greens. It's an easy pattern that doesn't require any special attention and with my brain of late, easy is necessary. I haven't worked on the beaded scarf for a while. Or the other baby blanket. Or the water shawl (feather and fan pattern) that I'm more than half-way done. So I think I will relax on the bed and knit today. There's nothing in particular I want to watch on television although I'm running through the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, including all the documentaries and commentaries. I'm waiting for Bones, the third season to be available at the library. I used to put several on hold at a time but since they always come in at once and I have to stop everything and watch them, it takes the leisurely enjoyment out of it.

Off to fix lunch and have a nap.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunny Sunday

Church today was exceptional. Zach was acolyte and it appears his spiritual dry spell is at an end. Afterward at coffee hour I was able to catch up with some women I've become somewhat close to. At least while we're at church. Not so much outside of church, but it's a start for me. I think I'm learning how to make friends at last.

Online, I've gotten close to three women with some more in the makings. Things are looking up.

We have to go pay Zach's tuition tomorrow. I sure hope the financial aid comes through soon but for now we'll have to put it on the credit card. I can't get the lower rate for this so it better come through before my next payment. But if last year is any indication, it will be November before we see it.

Early this morning I saw the neighbor's (from two doors down) black lab outside weeing on a tree. I see that dog all over this street and considering the high traffic of the highway behind us, I would think they would be more careful. Then as we were leaving for church, we saw a car stopped in the middle of the road and a man dragging an Irish setter by its collar trying to get it out of the road. Further down the block west of us a woman was calling for the dog so the man let him go and he raced home. I'm getting very wary about letting Professor out on his leash anymore if these big dogs are going to be allowed to run loose all over the neighborhood. One of them, albeit a small one, has already hurt the Prof and we sure don't want him getting even more injured.

Fortunately all the kids in our neighborhood are very well-behaved. They're out and about and can get a bit loud and rowdy but that's just being kids. They don't get on anyone's property. They don't play in the street. And they aren't so loud you can't watch tv or take a nap.

And although some of the adults have had some parties this summer, they haven't been exceptionally loud and they shut them down before midnight. People smile and wave when they pass each other and help each other out with snow blowers or even mowing parts of the elderly neighbors' yards.

It really is a very good neighborhood except for a few stray dogs.

I'm making baked ziti tonight but I'm using the last of my ground beef. I thought I had more in the freezer so I'm going to have to go to the store tomorrow to get more. It's a staple here because I can use very small amounts for just flavoring and stretch the food bill a bit further. The days of meat as a separate entity on the plate are gone for the year. I've got to figure out a way to lower the food bill and more meatless and near-meatless meals are a must from now on.

I'm trying to convince Tom to stop throwing out the water in the dish pan that I leave in the sink to catch the water we use to rinse things off or wash our hands. He thinks the water will stink. I told him it won't be in the sink long enough for that because I have an empty milk jug sitting by the stove to store the used water in but he threw the water out even after I asked him to so I can only do what I can.

I know it's penny stuff and we need to find dollar stuff to save on but it's a start. And it's the mindset that enables you to find other ways to be frugal. If the penny things aren't worth saving, the dollar things will go by the wayside, too.

Well, off to finish supper up. I think we'd better use the salad stuff up early in the week. I've been trying to make it last and by the middle of the week it's wilty and wet and not appetizing. We can use frozen veg in the latter part of the week and fresh early on.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Rainbarrels and hooded sweatshirts and my puppy

I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt and it's the middle of July. How cool is that?

I was asked about rain barrels in my last entry. I know very little about them aside from what I've seen on Living with Ed and what I've been able to google. The initial outlay can seem a bit steep and depending on how much rain you get and how much you need for your purposes, the recoup might be longer than you really want to invest in. I hadn't intended to spend as much on ours. I sent my husband to the hardware store to check out the prices and he came home with one. It was a bit over a hundred dollars, which made me gasp a bit since they weren't quite that expensive online, even with shipping and handling. He thought it was worth the price since we had it immediately and we didn't know the reputation of the companies we had googled. He had a point.

Basically rain barrels, if you're going to use the water for anything to do with food or human contact, need to be food-grade plastic. The companies I looked at online weren't producing rain barrels from scratch, they were re-tooling used plastic barrels from restaurants. Some of their prices were really steep, others reasonable. But again, I couldn't find anything about any of the companies.

I suppose if you're handy you could maybe see about getting a plastic barrel or two from a restaurant. I mean, they either have to pay to have them shipped somewhere or they have to recycle them. I'm pretty sure they're spending money on getting rid of them somehow.

I think we figured that it would take two years for us to recoup our investment. I think that's reasonable.

But we're going to bring it in for the winter and store it in the basement. The winters are brutal in Wisconsin.

I tried to do some knitting the past few nights but I've fallen asleep as soon as I crawled into bed. I haven't necessarily stayed asleep though so my sleep is still a bit haywire. I made the couch back up this morning thinking that if I sit on the couch and watch tv at night, I might actually stay awake long enough to knit a while. I scrapped the crocheted blanket because it's just too heavy for Haiti. They need lightweight so I think I'm going to do another knitted log cabin blanket or two. Or three...there is a lot of yarn there.

Professor is limping today. I think the cold is affecting his leg. He's been bouncing about and running and jumping (although not on his ottoman or the couch) and has even lost a pound or so. But today he's slow and gimpy. But then, so am I. Which leads me to believe it's arthritis because my knees are hot to the touch. I have an appointment with the rheumatologist on Tuesday and will ask to go back on my meds. They're cheap so it won't break the bank. And they're very affective.

Well, off to knit and see if I can stay awake until it gets dark at least.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is the week really almost over?

My day started out slow due to...wait for it...lack of sleep. I know. You're shocked that I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, aren't you?

Actually it had nothing to do with being a bit down about the doctor visit. I had a weird nerve pulse on the bottom of my foot that was just so annoying. It hurt. And it tickled. At the same time. Argh!! It drove me nuts.

I had a small burst of energy that enabled me to cook supper, make a muffin cake for strawberries and whipped topping (made with splenda, of course), two loads of clothes (I put the load of whites in the dryer because every white sock in the house was in the dirty clothes and that would have taken up the entire clothesline. Well, most of it anyway. I'll hang the other load out tomorrow after Zach mows the yard. It looks like the temps will be in the low sixties tomorrow. I like it but the plants don't seem to care for these cool days. Although the strawberries are doing very well. I only planted half of them in the bit pot I have and I'm going to have to put them in the ground because they've spread out so much. I'm sure I can plant the rest of them at the same time.

I used the dish water to water my plants tonight. I had just enough for all of them, although the rain barrel is holding well. Tom did a good job of repairing it. We just didn't get enough water to reach the faucet yet. I learned from another blog that it takes ten days for mosquitoes to breed so in a few days, I'm going to empty out the rain barrel and use it up. It's not like we don't already have a good crop of the little critters.

I plan on baking bread tomorrow and maybe setting up a sour dough starter. I can only make one loaf at a time with the bread machine and three loaves with my sour dough recipe. Less time heating up the oven is good even if it means more manual labor. I also want to make some flour tortillas this weekend. I bought masa instead of trying to use while flour. I think they'll turn out better.

I also need to get my Encyclopedia of Country Living out and learn what I can about gardening for next year. I need to start preparing now. I've got a book on herbs on order at the library. I plan on having a huge herb garden next year.

But for now, I'm going to bed. I know it's still light outside but it's almost time for Midsomer Murders and I want to get to sleep earlier tonight so I can start switching my days and nights back to normal. I've gotten up early for the past three days and it's looking like that's going to be my biological time from now on since I'm not using the alarm and the dog isn't waking me up.

Hope so.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A wake-up call

I saw the surgeon today and after he consulted with my oncologist, it looks like I'll be remaining on the aromasin for another 5 years. Apparently I'm at very high risk for a recurrence of the cancer and they feel that it would be more beneficial for me to stay on the medication.

Wow. I guess I got complacent, thinking that since I've made it this far, I've made it. Apparently I'm never going to be able to heave that sigh of relief.

This also means I need to get serious about losing weight as that increases my risk of recurrence. It seems like so much hinges on my weight. High cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer.

I'm a bit stunned by the revelation (although I think they already told me this five years ago) so I'm not too much in the mood to blog right now. There is nothing going on to write about anyway.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My mojo visited me today

I got quite a bit (for me) accomplished today. I decluttered the dining room quite a bit although it doesn't really look any different. I threw out one black garbage bag full of junk and another black garbage bag full of stuff for the thrift store. And it seriously doesn't look much different in here.

Well, maybe it looks cleaner since I swept up all the dust elephants. They were way too big to be bunnies.

I've got my annual appointment with the surgeon tomorrow so I won't get a lot done but I hope to get some outdoor work done and I'd love to tackle the kitchen and get rid of stuff. That one is harder because Tom wants to hang onto everything in there.

I made pizza tonight from scratch. I added garlic, minced onions and oregano to the dough while it was mixing in the bread machine. It turned out pretty good. I think I'll make some bread sticks later this week and add those ingredients.

I need to dig out my bin full of patterns out from under the couch-that-is-made-up-into-a-bed. I'm not sure how I'm going to reach it without pulling the bed away from the wall. I need some crochet patterns that are stashed in there. I want to crochet some baby blankets for the Haiti project and I'm sure I have some in there. I looked at the library but all I found were some tightly crocheted patterns and because this is Haiti, albeit the mountains in Haiti where it can get down into the low sixties, they don't need heavy blankets but light-weight, lacy ones would work.

Well, I'm beat. I woke up at 8:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so I woke up and tackled the kitchen and then took a nap around noon for about 1 hour. I could fall into bed right now so I think I will.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Bleary Monday

I meant to get up early today and get a fresh start but I was still awake when the alarm was supposed to have gone off. I turned it off when I realized I wasn't going to get to sleep so at least I didn't have that heart-stopping sound to deal with.

What kept me up last night? Probably a combination of things. Zach submitted his financial aid update in early April, they acknowledged it and we settled in to wait. He got a letter from the school in May that they needed proof of our tax returns so we turned those in the day after we got the letter, not wanting to impede the process. Last week we got an email from the financial aid people saying they just received the updated financial aid packet. Updated????? We didn't update anything! And now his tuition is due in 9 days and we have no financial aid in sight.

Yeah...I lost some sleep this weekend.

He's going in this week to talk to the financial aid people at the campus to see what happened. All I can do is put his tuition on the credit card yet again. With him not getting more than 10 hours a week, he didn't make enough money for the tuition and we sure don't have it in savings. Heck, I haven't been able to stick any money away all summer.

Which brings me to the other problem: Tom's pay won't be going up until next year so we've got to somehow manage to get Zach to school in Fond du Lac and heat the house on the amount of money we're just getting by on now. But he's expected to work full time in exchange for some future "reward." I told Zach we might need his savings to pay for gas. At least this will be the last semester as he plans on getting just the IT Tech Support degree for now.

See why I didn't get much sleep this weekend?

But we did make it to church, which was weird but okay. Hardly anyone was there. I'm not sure why. Summer vacations? I don't know.

One of the ladies at church gave me a huge bag of yarn she got at a church rummage sale. I took it home and sorted it out to see if any of it could be used for baby blankets for the newborns in our sister church in Haiti. Most of it was Caron Simply Soft in lovely colors that I could make three blankets out of but some of it was an acrylic yarn of some kind which was much too rough for a baby blanket but would work well for a dog's blanket for the Humane Society. And one small ball of wool that I might be able to make wrist warmers out of but nothing else.

I plan on crocheting the blankets because it would take forever to knit one and since I have three to produce, I'll go with the fastest route. I found a pineapple doily I would love to turn into a blanket but it would be much too open for newborn fingers and toes so I think I'll turn some of my stash into that blanket for something pretty for my bedroom/living room.

I think today will be a day of errands instead of a huge work day since I'm working on about 3 hours sleep...and not uninterrupted sleep at that. Hopefully we'll get some resolution at the school today and find out there was no revision, that's just what they called the updated version. But I can't figure out why it took them three months to receive something they said they got in April.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Ramblin' Friday

They asked Zach to work tomorrow so he's going to do it because it's a six hour day. He normally only gets 2. And today the general manager went off on all the crew and threatened to hire more people to shorten their hours. I had told Zach a week ago that's what she was doing. I'm glad he's going to be out of there soon.

A pet peeve of mine: going into a public bathroom where there are 16 empty stalls only to have the next person come in and take the one immediately next to mine. Hello? Privacy anyone? I admit I'm a very private person when it comes to intimate things. But, really! Right next to me?

I want some rain. Enough to fill my rain barrel, water my plants and clean up some of the dust from the detour. My windows (and I'm a few blocks away from the construction) are dusty and since I'm not one to actually wash them, believing that's what rain is for, I'm a bit put out that I might actually have to wash them in order to see out.

Mr. Yappy has been fairly quiet today...until I decided to take a short nap before I took Zach to work. Then he decided to have his hysterics over a neighbor walking her dog two blocks down.

I got more books from the library today so I plan on reading a lot this weekend. I didn't knit much the past few days. Or watch much television. I'm about halfway through Master of Souls, another Sister Fidelma mystery. Just started Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman. I finished his other book, Misquoting Jesus, last night. I also read...mostly...Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. Loved the Erhman book. Hated Pagan Christianity. It was boring and quite erroneous about several points of church history, but why let the facts get in the way of making your point? He let the blatant aspects of paganism in Christianity go unnoticed but laid claim that the church building, the choir, the incense (hello? Revelation, anyone?), paid clergy, hierarchy and dressing up for church was all pagan in origin. His point being that home church was the only correct way to worship.

I also got several Miss Read books. My priest recommended them and I absolutely love them. Very folksy, British and humorous. I'm so glad she wrote so many. Lots to read!

I'm not as cranky today because I actually got some sleep last night. Not as much as I would have liked but more than 5 and less than 7 hours. Still, I would love to just spend a day or two in bed. Just once.

I've got the rest of the groceries to put away and then I'm down for the night. Tom is having beef stew from a can for supper and I'm pretty sure he can handle that one himself. He has been known to be quite handy around the house.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

How do you solve a problem like Professor

Sing with me everyone!

The past day or so he has been nervous and nearly hysterical, barking, whining and clawing at the door. Our neighbors two doors down have three dogs they let run loose, and although they do tend to stay near their own yard, they also run into the street a lot and have been seen in our yard a time or two. The younger ones are both boys but the mom is there, too. Professor has been neutered although that doesn't seem to stop him having night-time rendezvous with his girlfriend, the stuffed dog. Zach can't stay in the room with him when the hanky-panky starts.

Another problem is that they (the neighbors) have, for the past two nights, had nightly conversations (at 3 a.m.) and while they don't yell, their voices do carry down to our house. Not loud enough to wake me, but enough to wake Mr. Yappy who then goes into hysteria, waking me up rather abruptly, and in some cases, permanently.

I've had less than 5 hours sleep per night all week. Last night I finally got 2 consecutive hours sleep from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. when I was woke up from Tom loudly talking to Zach who was standing within two feet of him.

Tom doesn't believe in whispering. Seriously, he doesn't. When he would go to church with us, he would talk low, but loudly and think that no one else would hear him. If I mentioned to him that he was talking too loud, he would get offended.

Nearly every 20 minutes or so, Professor went nuts last night. I let him out once, thinking that if he wee'd he'd settle down but he caught the scent of some critter and wanted me to take him around the yard chasing it.

Not even on a bet.

All day today he's been going like this several times an hour, barking in a frenzy, crying and digging into the wood of the door wanting outside. When I let him out it's seconds before I have to make him come in again because he's barking frantically again.

I need sleep. I need quiet. I need a vacation.

I did try to nap a bit today. I got every bit of ten minutes before he started barking again.

Lack of sleep, as you all know, makes me cranky. And a cranky me isn't someone you want to be around. Even Zach is hiding in his room, forewarned by me about how cranky I really am.

Do they make doggie sedatives? 'Cause I need some.

It's nearly nine o'clock so I think I'm going to try to go to bed now even though it's still daylight outside. I don't have the television on so I'm listening to the songbirds out back. That should lull me to sleep in no time.

I'll clean up the kitchen tomorrow.

edited to add: I just figured out why Professor is acting nuts. Someone just shot off some fireworks a minute ago and he reacted to it. We've had a lot of activity around here lately and I wonder if that's why he's so nervous and antsy. Won't someone think of the pets?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why does one room get dirty when you clean another one?

I worked on my bedroom/living room again today. I didn't rearrange much; just moved the table the mice were on under a different window so I had more room if I leave the bed made up. And I dusted and vacuumed with more care than usual. I don't know what it is about a messy room, but I just don't sleep well in one. I'm not sure what I believe about feng shui but there is something about being in a room that makes you uncomfortable.

This is Zach's last week of work at McSnacky's. They didn't schedule him for his last week. I was pretty sure they wouldn't since they were only giving him 2 hours a day a couple of times a week. It's not like they considered him a critical worker. He told me that the managers sort of ganged up on another worker last time he worked and did to him what they did to Zach only in reverse. He was told not to jump in the line and find work but stay at his station. They got all frothy at the mouth over it like they did with Zach. This kid was used to having 20 hours a week last summer and has done well to get 10 this summer. I think it's horrendous how kids are being treated at these places. It's like they aren't real people.

I am beginning to wish I was a morning person. The other morning when I was still awake when the birds started singing and the sky was turning blue, I thought how nice it would be to wake up and have this be my beginning, when the day is brand new. Instead I wake up when it's stale. I don't know what it would take to get myself to that state. Probably medication.

But I also love the night. I love it when the day shuts down and it gets quiet and the night birds begin their song. I love to watch the bats swoop down chasing after mosquitoes. I always root for the bats. Living on a marsh means we get more than our fair share of mosquitoes. To the degree that it's hard to step outside your house without being lathered up with bug spray. I would definitely spend more time outdoors if it weren't for the critters that bite and spread West Nile virus, which has been documented in this state.

I've got tons of books to read and lots to knit so I'm going to bed. I hope to get a lot of work done inside tomorrow. I think all the clutter in this house is really interfering with my calm. I hope to find a new home for some of it and soon.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So when is the next lunar eclipse?

I read something a bit ago about how lunar eclipses tend to intensify energy levels and apparently we had a small one last night. That would explain why I couldn't get to sleep last night in spite of only getting 3 hours sleep Sunday night. And how I got up at 8 a.m. (after only 4 hours sleep) to take Professor out to wee and I'm still going strong. I did three loads of laundry, hung one out and another one will be hung out when I get around to making a trip down to the basement again and another one I dried in the dryer since we needed Zach's work shirts and I didn't feel like ironing them today.

Okay, not tons of energy but for me this is like the after-effects of an energy drink.

I'm planning on crashing in a few minutes. Just like I've planned my nervous collapse after Zach graduates from college. I only plan on taking three days for it though because if I take more than that, all the work I won't get done while having my collapse will still be waiting for me and I don't want to get further behind than that.

I really should have gotten more done than I did today but I don't want to push it. If I do too much, I'll be down for a couple of days recovering. I have been a bit achy today but I didn't want to take a tramadol because I am sleepy enough as it is and I have to drive Zach to work in a little bit.

I have my annual appointment with the surgeon next week and my rheumatologist the week after that. She's rescheduled me twice due to family emergencies. I don't mind at all. She's a great doctor and has always been very professional. The nurse said she was going to forgo her vacation days in order to catch up with the patients who had to be rescheduled. I wish more doctors were like that.

I managed to knit on the beaded scarf, the socks and the feather and fan shawl last night before I finally turned the light off. I'm still not sure what I want to do with the crocheted purse so I'm just setting it aside for now. And the friendship/fire shawl just needs the ends tucked in and it will be done. I really like it and plan on crocheting another shawl soon.

I brought the watering can in this morning so I could empty the dishpan full of water into it. I'm completely out of rain water and while it might rain on Wednesday (they've been promising rain for weeks now) I can't count on it. I also have to start working on cutting our electric usage, too. The bill was higher than I liked and we're not using the air conditioner upstairs this year. I'm not sure where the usage is coming from but I'm going to be more vigilant. Zach has a bad habit of leaving his bedroom light and fans on when he leaves and since he keeps his door shut all the time, I don't see it in time to do something about it. Tom tends to turn things on and leave the room as well. I'm not sure why, but he frequently will turn the television on and then go upstairs and turn the tv on up there, too. But he doesn't come back down for hours. I've gotten to the point where I'll turn the tv or light or whatever he turns on, off when he goes upstairs.

I don't usually have the tv on at all during the day unless I'm sitting down to knit or crochet. Or draw (and I haven't done that it weeks...shame on me.) I like the silence. Well, not silence since we live on a major highway and have dogs in the neighborhood (not to mention Mr. Yappy who lives here.) And there are plenty of crows in the neighborhood. I heard a woodpecker this morning while I was hanging out the clothes. Early mornings and late evenings I can hear the song birds.

Well, I think I might lie down and sleep for a tiny bit before I have to take Zach to work. I hope they don't schedule him for next week because I have that appointment with the surgeon and I don't want to have to reschedule it.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer is back

It's warm but not hot and we never did get any rain. I used up the last of the rain water today on the plants. Well, it's not like I've got tons of plants to water anyway.

Zach put his two week notice in Friday. We'll see if they schedule him for the last week of employment. He could have toughed it out for another month but it just wasn't worth the money. He was only working two hours a day and with the drive there it didn't net a ton of profit. I didn't encourage him to quit this early but I didn't discourage it either. Ever since they changed managers he's been getting the short stick a lot and gotten chewed out for doing things he's been told to do by another manager. They don't have a lot of communication going on there. But then, I've noticed that most fast food places are just like this one.

We used to hang out a lot at Wendy's but the management there has gotten worse, too. I was in line last week for a drink and a hamburger and it took forever to get it because the manager was on the phone with his kids talking. A couple came in behind me and waited for a while, then walked out.

Eating out just isn't fun anymore. It's just as well, since with Zach not working we won't be tempted by the discount.

I'm considering going back to counting calories in order to lose weight. I'm so tired of being tired and feeling like I have no life. I read online the other day that diabetes causes fatigue so in addition to my fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue, my pain pills, which cause fatigue and my aromasin and other meds which also cause's a wonder I can function at all. I need my life back!

I didn't make it to church again today. That's another thing that seems to be stealing my life: insomnia. I can't function on little sleep but even if I don't nap during the day, I can't seem to sleep at night. I've tried turning the tv off and trying to sleep but my mind won't shut off and I get upset by finances, or other such upsetting things. It doesn't help that I sleep right by the front door and when Tom comes in at midnight, he really can't help making noise. I am a light sleeper so it wakes me up and then I can't get back to sleep.

And there is no place else for me to sleep. The basement is far too damp and smelly and gets flooded when it rains too much. And there isn't an extra bed anymore since Tom tore apart the box springs to the queen bed. I really wish I had my own room. Or at least a bed I didn't have to put together and take apart every day.

I've been reading some books on Celtic Christianity lately. I'm finding that I just can't give up my Christianity. But I think I'm better for the journey I had to make to get back here. Fundamentalism really damaged me far more than I realized and I had trouble finding the good in Christianity anymore. I think Zach is still badly damaged though and I'm not sure what it will take for him to heal. I can only sit back and let him take his own journey. And be there for him if he needs me.

I discovered my dorset wool that I spun a couple of summers ago and am knitting a scarf for next winter. I did a really poor job of spinning but it was my first time. I got my Welsh top out and did some more spinning this weekend. It's a coarser roving so it needs to be used for something more utilitarian rather than clothing or something of that nature. I might make some hats from it but I'm told it doesn't felt well. Still, a wool hat is better than an acrylic one if I can wear it without all the itching I normally have. I haven't dyed any of it yet. I'm barely past the halfway point in my roving. I'm guessing I won't be done this summer if I don't get busy with it.

I don't like the purse I'm crocheting after all. I don't like the color and it's not as sturdy as I need it to be. It looks like I'll be making grocery bags after all. Those I can use for Christmas presents.

I tried to knit on the beaded scarf and ended up ripping back to where I started. Never knit lace when you're tired. Never. I did manage to knit another inch on the baby blanket though. Mostly though I'm not interested in anything. Another bout of depression, I guess. I wish I had the motivation to turn my life around.

Enough of the pity parties. I need to focus more on what I have rather than what I don't have. And I have an episode of Survivorman on tape that I haven't seen yet so I'm off to watch it and then it's How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and True Blood. I'm getting supper from McSnacky's tonight since it's probably the last time we'll be able to use the discount.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

I do love my country. When I was in the Navy, I never saluted the flag without a tear in my eye. And I so appreciate the sacrifices that people have made to make us free.

But we are not the end-all, be-all of the world. Other people love their countries, too. Other people think their country is far superior to any other. Other people have fought and died for their freedoms, too.

I was raised in an era that believed that we were superior to everyone else and taught that in the schools to its children. We were taught that everyone wanted to come to the U.S. to live, that everyone looked to us for help, for answers, for aid. It never occurred to me that other people loved their countries the way we did.

During the Gulf War, when my husband was serving on board a ship that was not stationed in the Gulf but was nearby if needed, our church choir sang a song that has stuck with me ever since. It's sung to the tune Finlandia, a hauntingly beautiful tune. Written by Lloyd Stone, I know nothing of it except it's from a Methodist hymn book (or so I was told.)

So this is my wish for everyone today. That someday this song would be sung and meant by everyone in this country.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is July?

I'm cranky. Less than four hours' sleep does that to me. And I had errands to run today including picking up my meds from the pharmacy. I don't dare take a nap this late though and I'm afraid I'm going to miss my window and be wide awake when it is reasonable to go to bed for the night.

I finished my shawl last night. It's called the Friendship Shawl or something like that. I'm not sure where the pattern is but if I find it, I'll put the link in when I get a picture of it. Tomorrow, I hope. It was too dark for pictures today. In fact, it looked like it was going to snow. And it didn't feel much warmer.

Okay it was a lot warmer but I was still in a sweatshirt and long pants. I think it was in the mid 50s F. And windy again. But still no rain. I'm down to three gallon jugs of water so I'm going to have to start using shower or dish water. I don't want to use fresh water for the plants unless I can help it.

I knitted one row of the baby blanket and was bored to tears. I'm so close to finishing it though and I don't want to lose interest in it. I am knitting some Christmas ornaments for the kids at church so I worked on that instead. I need to pull my dad's sock out of the cabinet and finish it. I'm on the foot part which is like sledding downhill. And I've got the purse to work on, too.

But not tonight. I would have to redo anything I worked on tonight. I can barely move.

So I'm off to water the plants and then clean up the kitchen, cook Tom's supper and then off to bed. I'll try to stay awake until 8 at least.