Sunday, January 15, 2017

Yesterday's Message

I have a Facebook account.  I don't use it to post my opinions, nor do I get involved in the political arguments I have seen springing up lately.  I mainly use it to swipe grandkid photos that have been posted by their parents.

So I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I found a message from my former sister-in-law.  We grew up close neighbors - she on her Dad's dairy and beef cattle farm and me right next door on my Dad's 20 acres that had once been part of the same farm.  She had been looking through some of her mother's things and had run across an old card that reminded her of our childhood.  She shared those memories with me.

I answered her message by telling her some of the memories I had of that time.  Like when her older sister and I decided to try smoking corn silk.  I was about 13 years old then, and all we succeeded in doing was singeing our eyebrows nearly off.  There were memories of a playhouse where she and my sister played with their baby dolls and a tire swing behind it that was used by all the kids.

I told her about the time my Dad came into our house, chuckling.  He said he had just seen the oldest boy in the family next door, running as fast as his 16 year old legs would carry him, across the barnyard, with his Dad hot on his heels.  Dad said he didn't know what the boy had done, but he kind of hoped he didn't get caught.  That Dad doing the chasing would later be the best Father-in-law anyone could hope for.  The boy doing the running grew up to be my husband and the father of my four children.

After that little meander down Memory Lane, I got to thinking about other things from that time period of the late 1950's and early 1960's.  I wonder if anyone remembers the telephone party line.  In rural America it was common for several families to share a telephone line.  I think there were nine families on ours.  There were no long chats with friends.  You said what you had to say and then hung up, because someone else might be waiting to use the phone line.  That sort of put a crimp in the teenage social life.  And you didn't dare plan any shenanigans with friends over the phone, for there was always the one busybody on the line who loved to tell your mother when you were up to no good.  Don't ask how I know this.  :)

I was thinking about TV programs back then.  Most farmers in my neighborhood didn't have a TV.  They were too busy to watch TV and they were content to get the weather forecasts and farm reports from the radio.  I was 15 years old when my family first owned a TV.   Kids living in town had more choices of programming, but the rural areas were lucky if two or three channels came in clear using the rooftop antenna.  The one kids program I remember most was "Axel and His Dog."  Axel was a goofball with sort of a Scandinavian accent who lived in a treehouse.  Axel is sort of hard to explain to those who never saw this local program, so here is a clip.

My Dad loved the ending of each show - the "Birdie with a yellow bill" part, because sometimes in the last line of that little poem, Axel would sneak in something that the kids might not understand, but the grownups would surely get the double meaning.

Dad would chuckle.  Mother, on the other hand, was not amused.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Sniffle and Snort Are Gone...

but the cough remains.  Thought I was getting better right up to the time my cold circled around and kicked me a good one in the keister.  The cough is much better now and I am finally feeling good enough to be up and about again.  Just don't bounce back as quickly as I used to.

Duane brought me a bag of those lovely, sweet little Clementines and a bucket of ice cream.  Have been doing a pretty good job of eating my way through the Clementines.  And yes, I know it is winter.  And it is miserably cold outside.  But I still love ice cream and a treat always seems to make things better.

Later this week Duane will set up my new shelving unit and I can move cases of home canned food from the floor of my bedroom to the shelves.  I'm using the two bottom shelves for my fabric, quilting supplies and yarn.  I wanted to get that done before the cleaners come on the 20th of this month.  Other than some frozen hash browns and 20 lbs. of regular potatoes to dehydrate, I have nothing planned as far as canning or dehydrating goes.  I really want to get some serious sewing on quilt tops done.

I hear about major snow storms across the country, but so far they have missed us.  One day the temperatures are in the 20's and the next day, below zero.  We have had only an inch or two of snow now and then - just enough to keep the roads a bit slippery.  Duane has a good sized hill to climb going to work and he has to navigate the curves on that road downhill coming home at night.  He tells me that hill is probably the most clear of any road in the state.  The county keeps it well sanded and salted.  If they didn't, there would be a pile-up of cars at the bottom every night.

That's about all I know.  I have pretty much let the world continue to turn without any help from me the past few days.  Hope to get caught up on reading my favorite blogs in the next day or so.  It is nice to be back in the land of the living once again.  :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Common Cold

Sniffle - cough - snort.  Yep, I caught one.  Nothing serious - just enough to be annoying.  On the bright side, I am doing my bit for the economy by keeping the cough drop people in business this week.  Same goes for the Kleenex factory.  Things should improve on Wednesday when my grocery order arrives.  I ordered a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars.  Everything is better if one has Little Debbie Nutty Bars.  :)

Lori is out of town visiting her Dad, so I messaged Duane telling him I had this dead chicken I was going to roast, if he wanted to come over for supper.  A big bowl of potato salad and some corn rounded out the meal.  Later he showed up with a bowl of ice cream for me.  I opened a jar of home canned strawberry rhubarb sauce, poured half of it over my ice cream and sent the rest home with him.  The cold doesn't seem to have affected my appetite much.

Don't think there will be much going on here for a few days.  I've been sucking down cranberry juice and water, although I admit to running some of the water over ground coffee first.  In my world, coffee is the elixir of life.  If you want me, you will find me curled up in my recliner, covered with my green fuzzy blanket, reading a good murder mystery.  I will return when the sniffle - snort slows down.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Dance Time

I have been going to weekly appointments at the physical therapy clinic due to the problems with my feet and legs.  Wednesday the therapist told me my legs have healed to the point where I needn't go back - I can just continue treatment at home.  Yep.  Happy Dance time!!

I still have to keep my legs and feet bandaged and wrapped in Ace bandages and those have to be changed every other day, but the fact that this can be done at home with the help of a kid or two is reason to celebrate.  And when completely healed, I will have a compression device for each leg, kept closed with Velcro, that I think I can handle by myself.  That makes me even happier.  My kids have been great - hauling me to appointments and helping me with the bandaging in between times.  But I will be pleased when I don't need to ask for help.

Funny, isn't it.  When family has asked me for help in the past, I have always been glad to help if I could and have never, ever considered it a burden.  But it makes me a wee bit (alright - a lot) crazy when I have to ask any of them to help me with anything.  My kids tell me that I am just stubborn, and I suppose they may be right.  Well, OK.  They are spot on, but don't tell them I said so!  But I think it is more that the older I get, the more I fear losing my independence.

I have a few things I want to get done before the cleaners come in sometime in January, so I am taking off until after the first of the year.  There are a couple pieces of furniture to be moved and another shelving unit to be set up.  I am out of space on the shelves that hold my home canned food.  As a result, I have several cases of food in jars sitting on the floor of my bedroom.  They need to be shelved so the carpet can be properly vacuumed and after that I can shampoo the carpets.

And when all is said and done, I plan to spend the rest of the winter sewing and quilting and crocheting.  Not very exciting, I know, but those are the things I enjoy.  Give me a nice, quiet winter, preferably indoors where it is toasty warm,  and I am one happy granny.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Santa, Disguised as My Family...

was good to me this year.

I have been wanting one of those jackets that look like a flannel shirt only they have a warm, quilted lining.   I have heavy winter coats, but wanted a jacket more lightweight.  Oldest Son has one and I had talked to him about shopping for a similar one for me after Christmas.   Lo and behold, the jacket I wanted turned up under the tree.  I love it and I'm sure it will get lots of use when I can be out and about again.  And my daughter assured me that plaids are "in" this year!

My kids are good at finding useful and unusual gifts for me.  As anyone who visits here regularly knows from my occasional whining, I have been dealing with arthritis and leg problems this year.  This means that although I am still capable of doing the basics for myself like cooking, laundry and basic housekeeping chores, the details often are neglected.  Dust bunnies are multiplying at an alarming rate.  Cupboards do not get scrubbed.  Anything requiring climbing up on a step stool or excessive bending to reach rarely get done.

So my family gave me cleaners.  They hired a company to come in to do a one-time deep cleaning of my apartment.  This will happen some time in January.  They won't let me stay home while the cleaners are at work.  They think I will try to help.  Don't know where they got that idea, but they are taking me out somewhere while my apartment gets a top to bottom scrubbing.

Anyone who has physical limitations will understand that once we fall behind on those chores, it seems like an impossible task to get caught up again.  I have good days and not so good days.  On good days I can accomplish quite a lot.  On not so good days it is all I can do to cook meals and wash the dishes.  So I think it will be easier for me to maintain a clean apartment once the dust bunnies have been eradicated and the surfaces and corners I have trouble reaching have been dealt with.

God has blessed me with a better family than I deserve.  And I  am forever grateful.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas

Like so many others, I am a bit busy before the holidays.  Computer time takes a back seat.  My family will gather as we have for several years now, at my daughter's home for Christmas Eve brunch.  I think this is my favorite time of year when everyone is together.

I will likely not be posting until after the holiday, so I am using this opportunity to wish one and all a very blessed Christmas.  I value each and every one of you who take the time to stop by this silly little blog.  Your comments make me think, make me smile.  It is like a get-together of friends with the click of a mouse.

May God bless you all in this season when we celebrate the birth of His Son.  And may the flicker of hope for a better year to come continue to grow.

Love to you all,

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Bit Nippy

It looks like we got about 7 inches of snow in this recent go-around.  And then it turned cold.  Rob over at "At The Lake In The Woods" reports temperatures at his place fell to minus 31 degrees early this morning.  He and his family live 50 miles away from me - a shorter distance as the crow flies.  I am a craven coward.  I didn't want to know how cold it was then.  I checked my thermostat that registers both indoor and outdoor temperatures and found that at 10:30 am it was still 12 degrees below zero.

I checked my Facebook page this morning as I usually do.  I rarely comment there, but look to see if any of my children have posted pictures of their families.  I chuckled when I saw my oldest son had posted two words before braving the elements to go to work this morning.  I quote: "bursy toad."  Years past, when I would take my little ones to see their grandparents in the middle of a Minnesota winter, at least one of them would ask Grandpa how cold it was, knowing his answer would be, "Brrrrrrzy Cold," said with the proper voice that was guaranteed to make the kids laugh.  The younger ones, having the usual pronunciation by toddlers, parroted the phrase as "bursy toad," which has been our description of mind freezing weather ever since.

I am happy to report that the healing of the legs is progressing nicely.  I have been going to therapy appointments twice weekly to have the progress assessed.  My legs are bandaged knee to toes, partly to deal with the seepage of fluid that goes along with the Cellulitis and mostly to provide the compression necessary to keep the fluid from building up and to help reduce the swelling of legs and feet.  I have been able to reduce the appointments to one a week and go from daily changing of bandages to every other day.  May not seem like much, but to me, it is a huge difference.

I wonder when the insanity within the pharmaceutical industry will end.  Or if it ever will.  I realize there are folks who need medications that are much more spendy than those I need to take, but here is what I learned this week.  My doctor sent a prescription to my pharmacy for medication that should greatly increase my chances of having near normal feet and legs.  The usual dosage requires two refills each month.  One refill costs $365.  Two come to $730 per month.  I just signed up for prescription drug insurance which kicks in Jan. 1, so I won't know until then if this medication is covered.

But what happens to those who can not afford insurance.  Those like me who are on a fixed income.  I did the math, just to see how I would fare should my meds not be covered.  Figuring in rent, monthly bills, groceries and the meds I already take plus the new one, I would wind up in the hole each month by over $400.  One of my kids is facing a similar situation.  His insurance does not cover his latest prescription, which is necessary in a life sustaining way, that costs nearly $900. a month.  He doesn't qualify for his clinic's program of financial aid to those who need assistance because he has insurance.  But if he were uninsured, other medical bills would eat him alive and our government would fine him for being uninsured.  I don't know what the answer is.  I do know that if either of us is required to pay these outrageous prices, the only way we could afford to live is if we pitched a tent in the park and lived there.

One the bright side, my apartment stays warm and cozy even on the coldest of days.  And I need not go outdoors unless I want to.  I don't.  There has been one casualty due to the cold.  My herbs that have been growing nicely on my windowsills have given up the ghost.  I didn't think there would be enough of a variance in temperature next to the windows to affect them.  I was wrong.  I seem to have, once again, murdered my plants.  I was, however, able to make use of them while they still lived.  Parsley, sage, thyme and basil lived long enough to let me experiment with cooking using the fresh herbs.  I will give them a decent burial and try again in the spring.  But next time I will move them to a warmer place when the snow starts to fly.

There is a pot of vegetable beef soup simmering on the back burner.  I think a pan of cornbread will go well with it for supper.  Until then, there is a half read murder mystery book that needs my attention.  And a mug of hot chocolate - with mini marshmallows - is calling my name.   Not a bad way to spend a cold afternoon here in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," which is now the Land of 10,000 ice skating/hockey rinks.