Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Not Much...

going on right now here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  Just doing the small daily chores and puttering about with this, that and the other.  Thanksgiving is easy this year since it is just Duane and me, and he is cooking the turkey.  Nearly everything else comes from my deep pantry, so there is no last minute shopping to be done.

I am taking the rest of the week off from blogging.  So this is me...wishing all of you...a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Even with the world's insanity surrounding us, there is so very much to give thanks for.  My wish for you all is a day filled with love, laughter and time spent with those you love.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Finishing Up...

my canning marathon gave me, in addition to the soups I had canned the day before, 12 quarts and 24 pints of soup base.  Each jar contains potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, peas and cabbage.  I tossed some chicken bouillon in for flavor.  This soup base can be heated as is for vegetable soup.  I can add a jar of home canned meat for a heartier meal or thicken it for stew  with dumplings or biscuits.  It can also be used as a base for a casserole.  I like having jars of food on my shelves that have multiple uses.

All that canning wore me down a bit, so I took a couple of days for rest and relaxation.  Books were read and naps were taken.  And now it is time to get caught up again.  The washer and drier are humming away.  I have been doing some rearranging on the shelves to find room for the latest bit of canning.  And in between when I need to rest, I have been adding information to my genealogy program.  My genealogy research has been sorely neglected lately.  If I want to leave a record of who we are and where we come from for my kids and grands, I need to take the time to work on it.

I have settled into a routine with the home health care people who are here twice a week.  They come in, wash my lower legs, apply the antibiotic ointment and bandages and wrap my legs from knees to toes in ace bandages.  I thought perhaps they would do things differently, but the routine is exactly the same as Duane has been helping me with for the past two years.  I will continue with the home health care if for no other reason than to give Duane a break.  He has helped me with this for two years without complaint, so I figure he has more than earned  a rest from that responsibility.

I still don't have a cleaning person lined up, so if I don't hear anything positive about this, I will call and whine a bit to see if we can't get going on it.

And that is the extent of the excitement here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  I still check the news headlines from time to time, and then thank God for my quiet, stress free life.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Canning Again

So this past week I ordered two boneless half hams and a bunch of fresh vegetables.  The plan was to can up several kinds of soup.  I love having soups in my pantry for a quick lunch or with a sandwich or cornbread for supper.

This morning I canned 16 pints of ham, potato and cabbage soup and this afternoon it was 16 pints of ham and potato soup.

At which point I ran out of ham.

I had prepped all the vegetables earlier - potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peas and cabbage - so tomorrow morning I will mix them all together, stir in some granulated garlic and powdered chicken bouillon and can that up to use as a soup or casserole base.

I don't care what anybody says - you can never have too much food put by.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Oh No!

You know when you go for an appointment with your doctor and they weigh and measure you first?

We will not discuss the reading on the scale.  That is way too depressing.

But I found that I have shrunk from my original statuesque 5 feet 3 inches to a mere 5 feet 1 and 1/2 inches tall.

So now I m not just a chubby granny, I am a SHORT, chubby granny.

Life just is not fair.  :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I Have Been AWOL

There has been considerable activity in my little apartment lately. 

I spent the weekend happily sewing on quilt tops and hope to do the same this coming weekend.  I will post some pictures when they are finished .

Monday was taken up with the normal household chores and giving my grocery order to the nice lady who calls for it.

Tuesday the home health nurse was here and we got the schedule figured out.  They will begin working on my legs as soon as they receive orders from my doctor.

This afternoon I have an appointment with my doctor.  It irritates me to have to see the doctor when I am not sick, but there it is.

Thursday is grocery delivery day.  I have ordered the ingredients to make several kinds of soup to can.  I seem to have used quite a bit of soup from my shelves and need to replenish before winter.  I can do most of the prep work while sitting at my kitchen table which helps.

Friday the home health nurse will start treatment of my legs.  I found that I can order the supplies through the nursing service which will save my kids the trouble of having to shop for them.

The cleaning service hasn't shown up as yet, but my case worker tells me that should happen within a week.

Some time back my youngest son wanted to know if I was available on a certain date.  I told him I would have to check my calendar, knowing full well I didn't have a calendar nor did I need one for my quiet lifestyle.  His response was asking me to pencil him in for that date and he and his siblings have teased me about my busy calendar ever since.

The way things are shaping up around here, I may just need one.  :)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Woke Up This Morning...

looked out the window.  There is no smoke from burning cities.  There are no masked antifa gangs marching in the streets.  As far as I can tell, nobody is rioting.  Guess the Moms of these deluded wanna be gangsters wouldn't let their progeny leave their basement bedrooms long enough to carry on their revolution.  Sigh.

On another sad note...evil has again reared its ugly head in the form of the massacre of the congregation in a small church in Texas.  Right on cue, the anti-gun politicians are touting their beliefs before the bodies have even cooled.  The pundits are busy speculating about motive before we even know who is responsible.  I will wait for the facts before holding forth on the who and why.  Until then, the only thing we can do is pray for the families of the dead and for the recovery of those wounded.  And for our country, where this kind of thing seems to be happening way too often.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

So today...

the antifa fools have announced they will be holding protests across the country and they will continue to protest until our President and Vice President resign.

Suppose the thugs stood around in the park in their black clothes and their face masks with their banners and their clubs, just waiting for someone to show up so they could thump them, and nobody did.  I'm thinking they would look pretty silly, especially if the newscasters ignored them too.  Kind of tough to protest when nobody else is interested.  Just saying.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Update on Services

Last week the fellow who is my case worker came here to talk about my specific needs and to tell me about my options.  He is knowledgeable and courteous.  I have found that I become irritated with those who treat me like a child just because I am old.  There was none of that. 

The result of our conversation is that the home health care people will come in twice a week to deal with my legs.  The nurse called me today to set up an appointment for Thursday this week.  Duane has that day off from his job so he asked to be here.  That way he can learn how the health care workers deal with my legs and he can be a backup if needed.  This is Minnesota.  We have ice storms.  We have snow storms.  A backup is a good thing should the worker be unable to get here.

My case worker is setting up a cleaning service that will come in for three hours a week.  They will do the basics - clean the bathroom, mop the floors, dust, vacuum, etc.  Should there be time after that, they will do specific jobs like cleaning out a cupboard or washing windows, etc.

These services are not free.  I did not expect them to be.  The cost to me is based on my income and which services I require.  Bottom line - I pay $59 per month.  I was surprised.  I thought it would cost me more than that.  The fee is well within my budget and as far as I am concerned, worth every penny.

This will take some getting used to.  Having people who are not family in my home three days a week is not something I normally do.  But I will just have to adapt, for I think this will be a good thing.  As my youngest son said when I called him to tell him what was happening, "Good, Mom.  Now maybe life will be easier for you."

He may be right.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

I stole this...

from "Spinster Stitcher".  I found her in the sidebar of "The Polka Dot Chicken," a blog that I adore.  I have been known to spend a considerable amount of time browsing through the 'Chicken' posts, drooling over her beautiful pictures of all things quilty  and stitchy.  Her sidebar is loaded with more of the same.

Anyway, when I saw this picture...


made me laugh and it so reminded me of the crowd that would gather whenever I was stirring up goodies to bake.  When you have four children who were born within six years and they are all waiting for the beaters, it seems like a crowd.  Two got one beater each.  Two got spoons and the bowl.  Everybody was happy.

I think the world might be a happier place if we all had beaters to lick.  :)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Crud

Slight headache.  Chills.  Snotty nose.

I can be found in my recliner, snuggled under the green fuzzy blanket, listening to Agatha Christie mysteries in audio book form.

I shall return when this crud goes away.  In the meantime, the folks listed on the sidebar have some good posts.  Hope you all have a fun weekend.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Our local weatherman...

 tells us there could be some snowflakes in the air in the next couple of days.  My first reaction was "Noooo!!"

And then I remembered that those protesters who like to gather in the town square or on the freeway to bring traffic to a grinding halt don't like to march while spewing their hate filled slogans or stand on the highway waving their 'No Justice - No Peace' signs when the wind is howling and the snow is falling.

Maybe winter is not a bad thing after all.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Ramble

We have had a couple of lovely warm fall days and today looks like more of the same.  I have a couple of windows open and the fresh air is welcome.  Some years ago the city planted some small trees downtown.  I noticed that some in my block have already dropped their leaves, but the one outside my window is a brilliant yellow.  I expect that tree will be bare before long.  Winter isn't all that far off.

I have been busy clearing off one of the shelving units in my living room, getting it emptied so Duane can drag it home.  He helped yesterday by moving  cases of bottled water and 25 lb. sacks of sugar and flour.  To make space on the other unit for the water, sugar and flour, I moved a tub and a couple of laundry baskets full of fabric, yarn and quilting supplies.  I am about halfway finished sorting through, organizing as I go so I can actually find what I need when I need it.  So far I haven't tossed anything.  I am a quilter.  We keep even the smallest of scraps of fabric because they might come in handy for another quilt.  That's just the way it is.  Sigh.

When I planted my windowsill garden some time back, all the plants died off.  Except for the green bell peppers.  They are still flourishing in my kitchen windowsill.  They have been blooming like crazy and I actually have one pepper that is about as big around as a quarter.  There may be more, but so far they are too small to be sure.  Anyway, the pot of pepper plants is pretty, so even if I don't get more peppers, it is alright.

My granddaughter, Boston, emailed me this.  Boston is on the left and I believe her dance instructor is on the right.



Then she called me to tell me about it.  It is an honor for her to participate in this show.  Years past in dance competitions she nearly always had a tap solo.  She loves what she does and is really good at it.  I hear that she did a good job dancing in the show.  She also told me it had been a busy week.  She found out she was to be inducted into the National Honor Society.  I am so proud of this girl.  But the best part for me was that she made the effort to call her Grandma to let me know what was going on in her life.  I just love that kid to pieces.

That's pretty much all of the excitement here in my little 'Home Sweet
Apartment.'  The days go by, stuff gets done and now and then one of my grands makes me smile.  It really doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sense of Humor

When I told my youngest daughter that my goal in life was to live long enough to be a problem to my children, she replied that my work here on earth was done.  I love her sense of humor.  And this has become a family joke.

While being interviewed for the county services, I was asked about my goals.  At my age, waking up tomorrow is a pretty good goal, but I didn't say so.  And I didn't mention my goal of having at least one year's worth of food put back, for most folks think you are a hoarder or you are crazy. 

I did make the mistake of quoting the above mentioned family joke because my youngest son was sitting there and I thought he would find it funny.  I then went on to talk about more serious goals like keeping the cellulitis under control in order to stay out of the hospital.

I suppose I should have explained the family joke to the interviewer.  Not everyone has a sense of humor or the ability to recognize humor.

I received a printed copy of the interview in the mail.  Sure enough, under the heading of Goals were these words.  "Vicki has the goal of living long enough to be a problem to her children."

Sheesh.  Now I suppose I will need to explain to a case worker the difference between real goals and family jokes.  :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Have Been Evaluated...

and it appears I qualify for the services I need. 

A cheerful little woman sat at my kitchen table, went over my paperwork, asked me some questions, put my information into her computer and announced that I could get the home health care for my legs and I could get someone in to do the heavy cleaning chores.  Works for me.

This service is through my County.  They required one family member to be present.  I suppose they deal  with elderly folks whose memories are shaky at best or some who are sadly living with some form of dementia.  My youngest son, David, acted as the designated relative.  Basically he just listened.  Except when the questions concerned my memory.  I allowed that it was still functioning, but occasionally I will go from the living room to the kitchen and forget why.  He piped up and said that he could ask me about an event fifty years ago and I could remember the details.  I guess that means I passed the memory test.  :)

Anyway, it takes about three weeks to get everything set up.  I will be assigned a case worker who will schedule a nurse to check out my legs and who will train nurse's aids to take care of my legs.  The case worker will also arrange for the house cleaner. 

The lady who interviewed me said what I already knew, that Medicare does not pay for home health care unless it is needed following a hospital stay.  So there will be a fee for the two services that is figured according to income.  She told me the amount per month and it is a small amount that will not in any way wreck my budget.  That was a relief, as I feared I would not be able to afford this.  I can.

I am of two minds about this whole new situation.  I hate that I need to ask for help.  And I am not thrilled about having strangers come into my home for any reason.  I am a private person who likes her solitude.  You, my readers, probably know more about me by now than do some of my family unless they read this blog.

But on the other hand, I know that I absolutely have to keep my lower legs from becoming infected.  Cellulitis includes in some like me, open, draining wounds that may heal and may not.  There is no cure and if infection sets in, it means time in the hospital, which I want to avoid.  It also, if it gets too bad, can be life threatening.  My oldest son, Duane, has done a phenomenal job of helping me stay as healthy as possible by doing the application of gauze pads where needed and the Ace bandage wrapping of my legs two and sometimes three times a week for nearly two years.  He says he would continue, but I think he has already gone above and beyond.  All of my kids are helpful, but if I can get done what needs to be done without having to call on them, then I will not feel like I am a burden.  That is important to me.

I am not overjoyed about becoming involved in a government program, even if it is at the County level.  But so far nobody has asked any questions that I would refuse to answer.  And I found out that there are many other services available to me should I want to use them.  Meals on Wheels was mentioned, but I thought it would be rather silly to request that one considering my deep prepper pantry!

So I will give this program a go.  I will admit to being relieved at having some help with those things I can't seem to manage any more.  I am grateful to my kids for all their help and for setting up this solution to a problem.  Sometimes a person just has to swallow a little bit of pride and do the sensible thing.  Not something I am very good at doing.  :)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Still Alive and Kicking

I have been busy.  I am getting closer to finding the floor of my freezer.  Cases of my home canned food are being transported to Oldest Son's apartment, giving him easier access to them and freeing up storage space for me.  The people in charge of such things will be here in the morning to go over the paperwork and evaluate my living space to see if I qualify for home health care and for basic apartment cleaning services to help with those chores that have become difficult for me. 

With any kind of luck I will be able to get caught up with those blogs I enjoy sometime next week and may even find the time to post more of my usual drivel.  Just wanted to let my blog friends know that I did not fall off the edge of the earth but am up to my elbows in dealing with the stuff I want to get done before the snow flies.  Check out those folks listed in my sidebar.  Good stuff there.  :)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why?

I find it troubling that I was not surprised early this morning when I saw the headlines about the Las Vegas shooting.  I was even less surprised when Hillary Clinton's Tweet about the event was a condemnation of the NRA.  And the newscaster's reports consisting of speculation before the facts are in was expected.

It was reassuring to see how many police, firemen and first responders heroically ran in toward danger to protect and save those in the line of fire.  And the civilians who put themselves in harm's way to save others and the ones who used their personal vehicles to get some of the wounded to hospitals when the ambulances were full are to be commended for their humanity and unselfishness.

What I want to know is why we have gotten to the point where mass killing has become the norm.  Why are we seeing more violence in one years time than I saw in the first 50 years of my life.  Thugs protesting at college campuses, riots in the streets, banning anything that can possibly offend someone and crazies shooting up schools, churches, nightclubs, offices and concerts have become a way of life.

Perhaps we need to take a long, hard look at what has changed.  Perhaps laws should apply to everyone.  Perhaps schools should go back to teaching the basics and not worry about diversity or white privilege or free speech zones.  Perhaps a good work ethic should again be an important trait to have.  Perhaps plain good manners and respect should be the norm again.  And perhaps it was a mistake to remove God from so many areas in our lives.  Perhaps.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Singer

In the past couple of months I have heard someone singing outside my window.  She never sang more than a few lines of a song.  By the time I got to the window she had stopped singing, so I had never seen her.

Minnesota doesn't allow smoking in public buildings, including bars.  So of an evening there are often groups of people out on the sidewalk.  The bicycle shop beneath my apartment set out a wrought iron table and four chairs, and often those are filled with people, talking and laughing.

Such was the scene when I heard the singer again.  This time she sang a song all the way through.  I don't know what the song was, but it sounded like one of those lilting Celtic songs.

I was able to see her standing near the table and chairs out front.  She reminded me of the hippies from the 60's.  She wore a long full skirt, a blouse that we used to call a peasant blouse and a short embroidered vest.  Her hair reached her waist.  She had the voice of an angel.

The bar crowd, while not rowdy, can be loud.  By the second or third line of her song, the only thing I could hear was the sound of her voice.  When she finished singing the last verse, there was silence.  And then applause.

She smiled, turned and walked away.

I hope she sings again and I hope I am here to listen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Argument

So I am sitting in my recliner a couple of nights ago, happily sewing fabric hexagons together, listening to an audio book when I hear a ruckus outside.  Nosy old bat that I am, I went to the window to see what all the fuss was about.  My line of vision includes the sidewalk in front of the bar next door.

I see a big hulk of a man standing there, arms flailing about while trying to make his point and he is bent over some at the waist, which brings him nose to nose with a little bitty woman who is cute as a bug's ear.  The argument was along the lines of, 'Yes, you did,' 'No, I didn't.'

Finally the little lady takes two steps back, puts her hands on her hips and says, 'Homer, you are drunk.'

His arms fall to his sides, he straightens up, hangs his head and says, 'Yes, I am.  Will you take me home, please?'

The last I saw of them, they were quietly walking down the street, hand in hand.

Wouldn't it be nice if all disputes could be reconciled so easily?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Today...

the temperature had dropped 30 degrees.  The air conditioning is shut off.  The windows are open.  There is a light rain falling.

Tomorrow I will drum up some ambition to clean a closet and sort through boxes and tubs of fabric and yarn.

But today is a good day to stay in my jammies, sew little fabric hexagons together on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and watch old movies.

I love retirement.  :)

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Last Hurrah of Summer

It is hot.  The temperature is headed toward the 90's with a heat index of at least 100.  The humidity is in the 80's.  I know this is nothing compared with what our friends in the South live through, but we Yankees just wilt in anything over 80 degrees.

The combination of heat and high humidity has an adverse effect on those of us who have achieved geezer status.  We can become a bit short of breath and arthritic joints complain loudly.

So I shall be spending the weekend as quietly a possible.  I'll be back Monday when a cool front is due to chase away the hot and damp and usher in some fall weather.

Fall - my most favorite time of year.  :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stuff

I am not one of those people to whom shopping is a recreational activity.  When I still could get out and about, I would make a list, go to the store and buy what was on that list, get out and go home.  And I am not an impulse buyer.  I generally would look online and compare products and prices before buying anything major.

Now either my kids shop for me or I can order what I want online.  And the same applies.  I check it out before I order it.

Even with careful comparison shopping, somehow I find myself knee deep in stuff.  There are tubs of stuff on the floor of my closet.  There are boxes of stuff on the deep shelf above.  There are clothes on hangars that I haven't worn for maybe 10 years or more.  I have two night stands with drawers and shelves full of stuff.  I have a bookcase full of stuff.  And I have no earthly idea how I managed to accumulate so dratted much stuff.

I have begun the task of sorting and tossing.  Some stuff is in good shape and will go to Goodwill.  Some I will keep - but not that much.  The rest is destined for the dumpster.

It is amazing what I have found so far.  I have no idea why I have a shoebox full of floppy discs.  It has been years since I had a computer that would read them.  I know there is nothing important on them.  Out they go.

I have the dress I wore to my oldest daughter's wedding over 20 years ago.  I couldn't get into that dress even using a shoehorn.  Goodwill can make use of it.

I will keep the photos and the box of picture frames.  The old letters and printed genealogy material will stay, too.  And the tools.  But I think the dumpster might just be overflowing by the time I am finished.

There is just way too much stuff!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mother Nature...

is a bit cranky.  Last week it was warm enough to turn on the air conditioning.  By Friday this week it looks like I will need it again.

But today at 12:19 pm, the temperature is 56 degrees and it is raining.  I have the heat cranked.

So my green fuzzy blanket and I are spending quality time in my recliner.  There is some hand sewing and some crocheting and some reading to keep me occupied.  And naps.  Don't forget naps.

Mother Nature, please make up your mind.  Is it still summer or has fall arrived.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It has been a quiet day...

here in my little corner of the world.  The biggest excitement here was my grocery order delivery.  And that was pretty dull as I just ordered necessaries and no fun stuff.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I usually order one treat like Little Debbie Nutty Bars or maybe a small bag of butterscotch candies.  Guess I can suffer through with the cookies I made a couple of days ago.  :)

Our cool weather went away and has been replaced with heat.  It is nearly 6 pm and the temp is 91 degrees.  The humidity is up there as well and we have an air quality alert from smoke blowing in from wildfires.  But it looks like a cool down is coming by Sunday.

I'm pretty much having to confine myself to reading just the headlines.  My blood pressure can't handle the details.  For a time it seemed like common sense and goodwill had returned, what with the efforts of citizens helping citizens.  It did my heart good to see all those folks showing up with their boats to rescue those stranded in the flood waters.  Race, diversity and white privilege be damned.  People just helped people.  But now that the storms have passed, it seems we are right back where we were before.

I saw where a bunch of bottom feeders were busy helping themselves to high dollar shoes in the wake of the Florida hurricane.  I was glad to see that a couple dozen of them had been arrested.  Oddly enough, no work boots were stolen.

Black Lives Matter found it necessary to cover the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia in a black shroud.

Berkeley is ramping up to deal with the violence when a (gasp) conservative speaker shows up.  In typical response, the administration is offering counseling to those who can't handle opposing opinions.

And just this afternoon there are reports that the lunatic in North Korea has launched another missile.

I know I need to keep track of what is going on around us.  But for this evening, I believe a glass of lemonade, a cookie or two and a good mystery book are in order.  Perhaps my sanity can be saved after all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Chocolate Chip Cookie Kind of Day

The first two cookie sheets full are in the oven.  I haven't done much baking lately and was craving cookies.  I may have to make some gingersnaps, too.  The gingersnaps bring to mind evenings on the porch with family and friends.  Mother always served gingersnaps in the summer with ice cold glasses of homemade lemonade.

I thawed out eight quarts of sliced apples, with another eight or so still in the freezer for another day.  I filled quart jars and used plain water to cover them.  They were in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  They will be good to use for desserts like apple crisp.

I found two whole chickens underneath the apple slices.  They look OK - no freezer burn.  I think later this week I will boil them up and can the meat in half-pint jars for use as sandwich meat.  I am low on chicken broth, so I will be able to can that as well.

I also found ten quart bags full of pumpkin and another dozen bags of butternut squash.  I haven't decided what to do with them, but am leaning toward dehydrating.  I have seen where others have dried both pumpkin and squash and then ground them into a powder.  It seems they rehydrate well and can be used anywhere one would use canned squash or pumpkin.

And way underneath the squash and pumpkin are maybe four quarts of shredded zucchini.  One day in a week or so, those will go into a few loaves of zucchini bread.

I think I actually caught a glimpse of the floor of the freezer.  When it is all cleaned out, I will ask Duane to come over and wipe it out.  I am way too short on one end to do it.  Chances are if I tried to clean the bottom of the freezer, I would wind up with my head inside and my legs sticking out the top.   Not a good position for a chubby granny.  :)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Prayer Request

For those of you who are so inclined, I have a prayer request.  My daughter has a friend.  She is widowed.  She is in a wheelchair.  She is on the east coast of Florida.  For several reasons she can not leave, so she is riding out the storm at her house.  Prayers for her safety would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Ramble

It was a peaceful day here in my little corner of the world.  There was laundry to do and dishes to be washed.  Dust bunnies vanished from a few surfaces.

Yesterday Duane brought me a big bowl of venison chili for supper and I finished it off for lunch.  It was really good.  I am still amazed at what a good cook he turned out to be.  I still remember that his specialty as a child was peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches!

I have been watching Hurricane Irma's advance toward Florida.  That is not going to be pretty.  My heart goes out to those in the path of that storm.  I found out that a cousin in Texas lost her home to the storm that went through there.  Everything was ruined by the flood waters as were the stables for her horses.  She and her husband managed to get their motor home to high ground and they were able to move the horses.  But everything else is either covered in muck or under water.  I feel so bad for them.

In between household chores, I have been entering information into my genealogy program.  I am amazed at the amount of data I have accumulated over the years.  I have been fortunate enough to acquire pictures from other relatives to add to the information.   It is nice to see what those ancestors looked like and many times I can see a family resemblance.

The moving project seems to have come up against several brick walls.  One wall is the price of rent compared to what I pay now.  After I pay my rent which includes all utilities except phone and Internet and after I buy my groceries each month, I still have enough leftover to be able to enjoy life a little bit.  It might be a bit selfish, but I don't want to give that up.  I want to be able to do some of the things that make me happy without having to decide if I want to pay rent or buy groceries.  There was a time in another life where I was hungry.  I won't go back there.

And then there is the problem of home health care.  Medicare will only cover that after a hospitalization.  And there are no home health services that are at all affordable.  My daughter is coming over tomorrow with some paperwork to fill out for County services.  I am not overjoyed about getting involved with any government programs, but I will take a look to see just what is involved.  If they have too many rules and regulations or if they want my soul in payment, it won't happen.

I mention the above just for anyone in my situation to know what we have found here.  It looks like I might just stay put and hire someone to do basic cleaning once a week. I would rather deal with the stairs than become so poor I look longingly at a can of dog food.  :)

Otherwise, all is well.  It has been cool for this time of year.  I turned the heat on a couple of nights ago when I saw it was 51 degrees outside and 62 degrees inside.  I like cool weather, but that was a bit much for this granny.  I am not ready to dig out the long johns just yet!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Minnesota Students Get It

The following was posted on Facebook and on the Internet news page for the local television station.

"MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some students at ROCORI High School are taking issue with the school’s policy that would prevent them from displaying flags in the parking lot.

The policy was revealed to students this week as they returned to class for the new school year.

According to the text of the parking permit application, “students are not allowed to display flags or banners from their vehicles while parked in the ROCORI school parking lot.”

Furthermore, the school says that “any violations of these procedures can and may be given a ticket or towed away at the expense of the owner.”

On Wednesday, a number of pickup trucks at the school arrived with American flags prominently displayed.



Community organizers have also set up a 2:30 p.m. “Support Our Students And Our Country” rally at ROCORI in support of the students displaying those flags. As of noon, about 30 people had responded to the Facebook event page."

We have allowed any mention of God to be taken out of schools.  School administrators have been known to send kids home for wearing a t-shirt with the American Flag on it, saying the picture of our flag might offend immigrant students.  A couple of years ago a kid here in Minnesota had been hunting the day before and forgot to take his shotgun out of his vehicle when he parked it in the school parking lot, which was against the rules.  He did the right thing by telling those in charge what had happened and asked permission to drive back home to remove the weapon.  School administrators called the police instead.

Political correctness is at an all time level of stupidity.  Under no circumstances should our flag be banned  From anywhere.  Period.

What really got to me were the comments on FB from adults condemning the kids for breaking the rules.  I suppose I should have expected it since I live in the middle of dimmocrat land.

But I will say this.  If my kid chose to break such an idiotic rule and fly the American Flag on his truck, I would stand behind him 100%.  Those students have more courage than the rest of the population who just follow along like lambs to the slaughter.

Good on you, Ricori students.  You make me proud.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Of Sharing Memories

Since my sister was here and since we talked of family memories, I have shifted gears and am spending more time on organizing the mountain of family history I have accumulated over the years.  I had let it go by the wayside while working on my food storage and on my sewing endeavors.  But I need to get back to preparing our family history to share with others in my family.  None of my offspring or their offspring are showing signs of taking up where I leave off, but I need to remember that I was well into my 60's before 'genealogy bug' bit me.

When I got to the point where I needed a genealogy computer program to keep track of my findings, I tried out several.  Some were too complicated.  Others seemed like there was more interest in cool graphics than in entering information.  Still others required the family information be sent on to their websites to be used for whatever purposes they wished.  And still others stole information that I later found listed elsewhere.

I finally found a program that is free and easy to use and has no restrictions.  It is 'Personal Ancestral File' from the Mormon website, 'FamilySearch.org.'  In checking the Mormon website before writing this post I found, sadly, that they have discontinued that program and now offer online solutions.  Lucky for me, I have saved my original download and when I have entered all I wish to enter, I can put the program and the information on a DVD and send it to any relatives who wish to view what I have entered.

When I first started this journey into researching my family, I found many websites where folks had uploaded their family tree information.  I thought I had hit the motherlode of genealogical information until I discovered errors in the family relationships.  Not only that, but specific errors were found in many different family trees.  People were just copying someone else's work and claiming it as their own.  I knew the work was wrong because I had personally known some of the people who were listed in error as to parental relationship or spousal relationships.  Birth and death dates were often wrong.  As were the names of places where the families had lived.

So I started doing my own research.  Many state historical societies have websites that can be searched for birth, marriage and death information.  Other websites have searchable Social Security information of the deceased.  Another called 'Find A Grave' is searchable to find the burial locations of ancestors.  I have found it reliable and useful.

Now I just enter into my program those that I know or knew personally and those for whom I have found to have proof of their existence.  This way I know that the information I leave behind is true and accurate.

This research thing may seem as dry as dust to those who have no interest in family history, but I find it fascinating.  I found details of one ancestor who, upon his arrival to North America spent a couple of years living in a cave.  When he finally obtained a small farm, he was such a disagreeable neighbor that he was literally run out of town.  Another has documented statements of his bravery during the Revolutionary War.  And another was fined 6 months pay for being drunk on guard duty during the Civil War.  It would seem that I have more rogues than heroes.

Not everyone needs to go to the lengths I have in finding my roots, but I think my grands need to know something of their history.  They need to know that their great-grandfather on one side of the family carried on his family tradition of farming the land that had been in the family for generations, both milking cows and raising beef cattle.  And another great-grandfather (my Dad) spent most of his adult life caring for his invalid wife, sometimes working three jobs in order to do it.  Both of those men had a work ethic second to none.  This is part my grand's heritage.  They need to know.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Family Stories and Pictures

I have decided that the easiest way to share family stories and pictures was to set up another blog.  This is not a genealogy blog.  I tried that, but with such a large family and with the mountain of information I have collected over the years, that one soon became cumbersome.  This new blog is simply to share family stories and writings as well as photos.  I am starting with the Paul family for I have lots of writings by my grandfather and his brother, Walter.  Later on I plan to get into the other branches of my family.

The name of the new blog is "Remember When."  When setting up this blog I found that every genealogy or family related name had been taken.  So I finally gave up and used an address that I knew would be available.  It is:

vickimatheny.blogspot.com

I have hard copies of all the stories I am posting for this branch of my family and will do the same for the other branches, for we can not count on the Internet to always be here for us.  But until then, it is my hope that my children and grands will take this opportunity to acquaint themselves with those who went before, for they had a hand in making us who we are today. 

It is important to remember.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sisters

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with my sister.

She and her husband came to see me.  We don't often get to spend time with each other, so this was particularly fun for me.

My sister and her family have lived for years on the family farm, which is a hog raising operation, in the southern part of the state.  My brother-in-law took over the farm from his father and has now passed it on to his son.  I like that the farm has stayed in the family all these years, rather than being sold to a corporation as so many here have.

They brought presents.  There was a box filled with pork from their farm - ham and sausage and bacon and a roast and chops.  I thawed a package of sausage links and shared them with Duane for breakfast this morning.  He said that was the best tasting sausage he had ever eaten.  He was right.

And there were tomatoes fresh from my sister's garden.  I sliced one for breakfast and have been nibbling on the cherry tomatoes all day.  Delicious.

We got each other caught up on what our kids and grands had been doing and we talked of the past.  Some memories were shared by both of us and others were new to one or the other of us.  We talked of our parents and aunts and uncles, all gone now.  They and their stories live only in our memories, which, we decided, weren't all that great any more.  We need to write the stories down, but it is doubtful they would be of any interest to the younger generation.

I knew they needed to get back home, but I was sorry to see them leave.  It was a truly nice afternoon.

I am adding some pictures here.  My sister says she reads this blog, so she should see these and hopefully remember.  She is five years younger than me and is the cute blondie in the photos.

I think this is my favorite picture of me and my sister.

There were few hills where we lived, so Sister got her snow sled rides by big sister power.

Mother sewed our clothes.  These were Easter dresses.  Mother would have preferred we look like this all the time, but to her chagrin, there were bicycles to ride and mud puddles to splash in and trees to climb.

At Grandma Paul's house with Aunt Margaret's Cocker Spaniel puppies.

This is my favorite photo of my sister.

It is a good thing - spending time with one's sister.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Heartfelt Thank You

This moving business is not easy for me.  I don't do change very well any more.  It is hard to think about leaving my home of well over 20 years.  The home where I lived with my husband until his death several years ago.  The home that is jam-packed with memories.

I am slowly getting used to the idea.  The notion of living where I might be a bit more mobile is a definite plus.  A place where I can go outside without having to use the dreaded stairs.  A place, perhaps, where I can see green grass and trees rather than concrete and asphalt.

The wheels are turning.  Oldest daughter is checking out home care options to deal with my physical limitations.  And looking into light housekeeping services.  Youngest son is in charge of finding a suitable place for me to live.  He has suggested that perhaps I might enjoy living close to his family (45 miles away from my present location) so that I could spent time with my three youngest grands.  That would be delightful.

I am doing my part.  The canning and dehydrating, aside from the food still in my freezer, has been put on hold.  I am beginning to sort and toss - some for charity shop donations, some that my kids might find useful and some for the dumpster.

All of this will take time, but there is no great rush.

I write about many things here on this silly little blog.  Sometimes I debate with myself whether or not I should post about my difficulties or less than upbeat topics.  But what it boils down to is that this is life.  And life is not always unicorns and sunshine.  There are storm clouds now and then.  So I write about them, too.

What really amazes me is that there are folks out there who stop by and visit and leave comments who are caring enough to offer suggestions when I find myself in a place that is less than ideal.  Many times those suggestions have helped me deal with one thing or another.  I want you all to know just how much I value the friendship of each and every one of you, for even though we have never met, I still consider you as friends.  Thank you for continuing to stop by, even when the unicorns are not here.  I am truly humbled.

Monday, August 28, 2017

There comes a time...

when a person has to stop pretending that all is well and face the harsh realities of life.  That time has arrived for me.

I finally had to admit that I need help.  Simple day to day housekeeping chores have become overwhelming.  What should take an hour of my time now takes the better part of a day.  I can still cook my meals and wash my dishes and do my laundry.  I can take care of my personal hygiene and can dress myself without help.  It is the rest of it that has become a bugger.

So yesterday I talked to all four of my kids about the problems I am facing.  They mostly agree that I need to move into an apartment that is more suited to my needs.  My apartment is too small to be able to use the walker.  There just isn't room.  I need additional help in dealing with the cellulitis in my legs.  I need additional help in maintaining the cleanliness of my living space that the arthritis has made difficult.  And I need to live somewhere that doesn't have stairs as the only means of getting to and from my apartment.

So my kids are researching the possibilities.  There are several options.  The only option I refuse to consider is a nursing home.  I need my personal space.  I am somewhat ornery.  I do not play well with others.  Should some fresh faced little nurse's aide tell me it is time to eat, time to sleep or time to go to the community room for a sing-long or for arts and crafts, I am apt to throw something at her, even though she would just be doing her job.  Aside from my family and those blogging friends I have made, I mostly want to be left alone.  Living somewhere that has a schedule that must be kept and that expects participation in activities that hold no interest for me is my idea of what Hell would look like.

I kind of feel sorry for my kids.  They have their work cut out for them in finding ways to do what needs to be done and still stay within my budget.  But they are smart.  They are good at finding solutions to problems.  And even though I have made good on my promise to live long enough to be a problem to them, they still love me and are more than willing to help me through a time that is not much fun.

I am not telling you about this life changing time because I desire sympathy.  I do not.  I still enjoy life as much and sometimes more than most.  But I know there are some who might read this that are facing a similar change.  I put it off longer than I should have.  I am a stubborn person.  And because my stubbornness got in the way of common sense, this isn't as easy as it could be.  There is no shame in admitting you need help, especially in the later years.  I still do as much as possible for myself, but it has gotten to the point where it just isn't enough.  And if this helps even one person, then it has accomplished what I hope it would.

And even with complications, life is still grand.  :)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey...

has made landfall in Texas with high winds and rain being measured by the foot rather than by the inch.  All reports indicate it will continue to wreak havoc for several days.  If you are of a mind to do so, please join me in prayer for the safety of those folks in the path of this monster storm.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Weird Weather

I suppose there have been times when the month of August has been cool, but I don't remember any.  In a normal year August is hot and sunny.  Today at noon, even with the sunshine, the temperature was only 68 degrees with promise of the 50's for tonight.

Those who delight in days spent lakeside basking in the heat are not happy.  Gardeners are bemoaning the fact that their tomatoes are very slow to ripen this summer as are other vegetables.   There is talk of an early fall and a long, cold winter.

But I don't care.  It is now cool enough for me to drag out my green fuzzy blanket at nap time.

It takes very little to make me happy.  :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Frozen Treasure Hunt

Cleaning out my chest freezer is proving to be interesting.  I have found all sorts of things I had forgotten were there.

I knew about the gallon bags of cranberries.  I have been putting off dealing with them, I suppose, because I knew the work involved.  But I finally dragged them all out and thawed them.  I intended to make juice to can, but the recipe I use calls for much lifting of heavy pots and straining of berries and time standing on my feet stirring.  My physical limitations put the brakes on that idea.  So I just filled jars with the thawed berries.  I used plain water instead of the usual sugar syrup.  By canning them in water I can use the cranberries multiple ways - for cranberry sauce, in muffins or cranberry bread, or I can make juice, a couple of jars at a time.  I wound up with 20 pints and 20 quarts of whole cranberries.

I found seven one-pound packages of yeast.  Those I stacked in my closet pantry.

I also found a bunch of those small snack sized Ziploc bags full of chopped onions.  I thawed them out, cooked them until they were translucent, packed them in half pint jars and pressure canned them for 45 minutes.  I got 7 jars of onions.  I usually use my dehydrated onions for cooking, but these canned ones are handy for when I need onions for dishes like hamburgers or meatloaf.

The next projects are a stack of quart freezer bags full of pumpkin puree to be dehydrated and a layer of quart bags full of sliced apples to be turned into applesauce.  Those are going to wait a few days until the latest arthritis flareup subsides.  Until then, it is quiet time for this chubby granny.

I can hardly wait to see what treasures lay underneath the apples.  :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Because I Can

My youngest son, David, stopped using Facebook a while back.  He said he was tired of posts from a few friends and relatives that were dedicated to Trump bashing.  I understand why he just eliminated that hassle from his life.  But David was really good to post pictures of his family.  I missed that.  So when he and his family stopped in the other day, I whined.  I asked him if he wouldn't reconsider just enough to post some pictures for me.  He did.

This is Boston on her way to dance auditions to see which team she will be on this year at the dance studio where she is in competition dancing.

This is Maddie Mae just being Maddie Mae.

This is Jacob at the end of the summer baseball season, with his other grandparents.  I'm so glad they can go to his games to cheer him on.

And this is Oreo with her favorite squeaky toy.  She is just so stinkin' cute!

David's sister Jill posted this photo of my grandson Zach at Aviation Camp in July.

I love it when my kids post pictures.  It helps me stay connected to family and that's important.  So thank you David, for indulging your mother and going back on FB long enough to give me more pictures.  And thank you Jill, for all the pictures of Zach.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flying South

It is a lovely day here in southeastern Minnesota.  Temps are in the high 70's.  The sun is shining.  I have windows open to let in the soft, summer breeze.

We have a large number of Canadian geese here.  They fly south usually in late September and October and return in the spring.  But today I have heard the unmistakable honking of several fairly large flocks of them, all heading south.

I wonder if they know something we don't!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It has been quiet here...

in my little corner of the world.

I guess the nut jobs were congregated in Charlottesville, busy with beating each other to a pulp and doing their best to run over as many as possible with a car.  Didn't seem to slow Chicago down much, what with 5 dead and 22 injured in shootings over the weekend.

But in my world, laundry was caught up, floors were mopped and scalloped potatoes and ham were consumed.

The politicians are trying every way possible to blame each other for the grievance of the day.  I don't pay attention to them any more.  World leaders are rattling sabers and making not so veiled threats to one another.

But in my world, brownies were baked and grandchildren were properly hugged and the words, "I love you, Grandma" were heard.

The headlines still scream gloom and doom.  Nearly every crime and perversion is touted in bold type.  And nothing changes.

But in my world, raspberry pancakes from a mix given me by my grands (along with a jug of real maple syrup) made a memorable breakfast this morning.

Often I find myself wishing I had exciting things to write about like so many other bloggers do.  And then I take a look at the world around me and quickly decide that I am perfectly content with my life here at my little apartment.  Nobody tries to shoot me.  Nobody tries to run over me.  I get to see my youngest son and his family when they stop in after a day at the local arboretum.  I get to spend time with my oldest son at least twice a week.  My daughters are close by as are the rest of my grands.

I get to do what I want when I want, which usually includes a damn good cup of coffee and a mystery book.  Or time spent doing things that make me happy like sewing or crocheting.  Or canning and dehydrating.

I will take this less than exciting life any day of the week.  :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fabric Fondling and Other Pursuits

'Hello.  My name is Vicki and I am addicted to fondling fabrics.'
I wonder if there is a 12 step program for that.  :)

I have spent the last few days pinning and sewing and marking and cutting fabric.  One quilt top is nearly finished and two more are in the works.  Photos will be posted when I have finished them.  I hope to spend time working on them over the upcoming weekend.

But until then, it is time to get on with the food storage thing.  I don't think I should put it off any longer, considering that the North Korean lunatic is threatening to nuke us either at our military bases in Guam or here at home.  Might never happen, but with a loose cannon like that, you just don't know.

At any rate, there are 24 lbs. of butter melting on the stove in preparation for canning.  There are about a gallon and a half of Great Northern beans (the ones the bugs didn't find) to can and two gallons of cranberries thawing to can whole.

So I am off to spend some quality time in my kitchen.  If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send in the Rescue Squad.  I will be the chubby granny buried under a stack of canning jars.  :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Other Day...

my phone rang.  It was my brother.  He was about two minutes away from my apartment.  I urged him to hurry.

We had had a phone conversation a week or so earlier.  He wanted to know about my physical condition.  I assured him that I was doing alright, considering.  That wasn't good enough.  He had to come and see for himself that his big sister was OK.

We have a long history of little brother looking out for his sister.  Kelly is 15 years younger than me.  When he was about four years old, he spent quite a bit of time with me and my young son.  At that time we lived in a rented house.  The landlord was an grumpy old man who liked to yell at people.  That landlord had yelled at me for something long since forgotten, but he did it  when Kelly was with me.  The next day my mother discovered Kelly with pockets full of rocks.  When questioned about the rocks, he said they were to throw at the mean old man who yelled at his sister.

Once Kelly had seen for himself that I was getting along just fine, we sat at the kitchen table, drank coffee and strolled down Memory Lane.  And we talked of his kids, my kids and all the grands.  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Kelly  wanted to know if there was anything that several thousand dollars would fix as far as my physical condition is concerned.  I told him no.  I told him that the best I can hope for is maintaining.  He remarked that I seemed so happy.  I am.  I have made peace with the facts of my situation.  Mostly I am just content.

We don't get to do this very often.  Kelly lives at least a 4 hour drive north of me and his job takes him further afield for months at a time.  When he was getting ready to leave, he expressed regret that we couldn't do this more often.  I told him that he knows how much I love him and I know how much he loves me.  And that is enough.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Apparently...

plants growing in pots on windowsills have a shelf life.  All were doing well.  They were starting to put out blossoms.  And then.....they keeled over and died.

I noticed all was not well when I saw that the blossoms would start to open and then they just withered and fell to the floor.  And the leaves began to curl up and fall off.  And those plants standing tall sort of leaned over and gave up.

But I had fun trying to grow veggies in my window sills so it wasn't a total loss.

Oh...and my harvest?  One bean.  It was delicious.

So now I am cleaning out the pots and putting them away until spring.  It gets too cold in the window sills in winter for plants to survive.  Come April or May I will plant things that do not need blossoms to produce food, like lettuce and spinach and beets and maybe celery.

I have one pot of bell peppers that is still healthy.  I will continue to care for that one just for the fun of it.  Like I have said before, it takes very little to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cowboy

Sometimes of an evening when the work day is done and when the foot traffic between the several bars in my neighborhood is at its peak, filled with Happy Hour revelers, I will pour a mug of coffee, pull up a chair and watch the comings and goings on my street.  It is a great time for people watching.

This particular evening found me watching the groups of ladies, having been released from their office cubicles, strolling down the street in a cloud of perfume and giggles.

Along came the office girl's counterparts, having ditched the suit coats but retaining white shirts and ties, trying to impress each other with the deals they had put together at work that day.

The construction workers, retail sales people and fast food workers came in, all in good moods, happy to be released from whatever jobs they held.  Many had husbands / wives / boyfriends / girlfriends in tow, all determined to create a memorable 'partay.'

Half a dozen Harleys lined up at the curb across the street.  Their riders were all decked out in leather and dew rags.  They looked tough.  They looked mean.  And because I recognized a couple of them, I knew they would go back to their jobs at the local grocery or accounting firm in the morning.

And then I saw him.  Strolling down the alley across the street, headed for the bar next door.  He wore starched Levis, a plaid western style shirt and what looked like brand spanking new cowboy boots.  I'm not sure he was quite used to walking in boots with heels, for he sort of listed a bit to the left every now and then.

But the hat.  That magnificent white cowboy hat.  The hat that had been worked and manipulated to create just the right effect.  The hat that sat at a rakish angle on his head.  The hat that was bigger than the one worn by Hoss Cartwright in 'Bonanza.'

Keep in mind that there are no working ranches within several hundred miles in any direction.  This is farm country with Holstein milk cows and fields of corn and soybeans.  We have horses, but they are either used as kiddie rides at the apple orchards locally or they are the subject of bets placed at the track on the other side of town.

And yet, there he was  Doing his best impression of a cowboy.  And all I could think of was...

All hat - no cattle.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Vacation

Just because I am retired doesn't mean that I don't need a vacation now and then.  I seem to have hit a brick wall when it comes to writing.  So I am taking time away from the computer to relax and refresh.  I am not going anywhere, but daydreams put me on a sunny beach with a fruity, paper umbrella enhanced drink in one hand and a good mystery novel in the other.  I truly appreciate those of you who stop by this silly little blog.  I will be back in a week or two.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

"The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere." - Wikipedia

That seems to describe the mood here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  Except that our weather hasn't been all that hot, with temps in the 80's during daylight hours and the humidity at mid-range.  Of all the descriptive words used above, I think that 'lethargy' best describes it.  My 'get-up-and-go' seems to have 'got-up-and-went.'

I have been doing just enough of the housekeeping chores to keep my apartment from reaching pig-sty status.  Otherwise it has been naps and reading and naps and entering data into my genealogy program and naps.  I think this might just continue over the weekend and with any kind of luck I may acquire some energy by Monday.  I have several projects waiting for me to wake up enough to do them.  Until that happens, those folks listed in the sidebar are leading lives much more exciting than mine at the moment.  Go visit them and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some mornings...

are better than others.  This morning is one of those.

Beautiful sunrise.
Cool enough yet to have my windows open.
Birds singing their little hearts out in the tree outside my window.
Slight breeze bringing fresh air into my apartment.
Rain shower helping to keep the heat at bay, at least for now.
Good cup or two of coffee.
Bacon and eggs for breakfast.

The rest of the day is a crap shoot what with storms and heat predicted, but for now it is a good morning just to be alive.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Responsibility

There are several YouTube channels I like to watch on a regular basis.  Some are about artsy craftsy stuff.  Others are about quilting.  And some fall into the category of homesteading.  They include everything from gardening to raising small livestock to food preservation to frugal living and a self-sustaining lifestyle.

One of my favorites is called 'Deep South Homestead'  and is done by a couple living in southern Mississippi.  I have learned much from watching their videos.  At present they are doing a series about financial freedom.  Unlike many videos with similar topics, they do not give tips on money management, but rather show how experiences from childhood and beyond can influence the way an adult manages their finances to be debt free.

As I watched their video this morning, it got me to thinking about how the way I was raised was similar in many ways to the things they spoke of and how different things were then from the way they are today.

As a child, the rule was that nobody played until the work was done.  That meant that at suppertime, the table was properly set and the family sat down together for the meal.  After supper the dishes were cleared, washed, dried and put away.  Only then were we free to relax and pursue whatever was of interest to us.

I was 15 years old before our family had a television.  Before that, we listened to the serial programs on the radio like Dragnet or Abbot and Costello or Amos 'n Andy.  Sometimes we could get musical shows, mostly country or western, my Dad's favorites.  Whether it was radio or television, mother believed it was a sin to just sit and watch or listen, so I always was doing something at those times.  Maybe it was knitting a scarf or hemming a skirt or embroidering a dish towel, but my hands were never idle.  I have continued along those lines to this day.

If a person kept animals of any kind, their needs came first.  No matter if it was raining or if there was a blizzard raging, the animals had to be fed, watered and their living areas had to be kept clean.  Only when these tasks were accomplished could a person even think about their own needs.

Gardens were more than just a hobby.  The produce grown was essential to keeping the family fed over the winter months and until the garden of the following year began producing.  Early mornings would find us weeding.  That was also the time of day when vegetables were picked, cleaned and made ready for either freezing or canning.  When the vegetables were in the freezer or in jars cooling on the counter, then and only then were we free to do what we wanted to do.

Saturday mornings were not for watching cartoons, but were for cleaning the house 'just in case we get company.'  Wooden and tile floors were scrubbed, rugs were vacuumed, bed linens were changed, furniture was dusted and bathrooms were made to sparkle.  After that there were cakes or cookies to bake to make sure there were treats to go with coffee should any neighbor or relative drop by.

Another thing we were taught that I find sadly lacking today were manners.  It didn't matter whether or not we liked an adult, they were treated with respect.  'Yes, Ma'am' and 'No, Sir' was the correct way to respond.  We never, ever called an adult by their first names.  It was always Miss, Mrs. or Mr.  I suppose it might have been easier then because we were clear about gender rolls.  The only time first names were acceptable were when addressing Aunt Emily or Uncle Oscar.

I think the whole thing boils down to being taught responsibility.  Making sure the garden was well kept insured that we would eat over the winter.  Working before playing instilled in us a work ethic that would last a lifetime.  And good manners combined with respect for others is what separated us from the savages.  All of these things, even those learned as children, went a long way to attaining responsibility in all areas, including financial.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I Am Tired...

I am tired of hearing about the Russians.

I am tired of listening to celebrities telling me how they think I should live while they are paid millions to pretend to be somebody else.

I am tired of all the reports of people being beaten to a bloody pulp for the crime of wearing a Trump cap.

I am tired of Congress spending so much time trying to get rid of Trump and so little time on doing what we elected them to do.

I am just plain tired of Black Lives Matter for dozens of reasons.

I am particularly tired of California Representative Maxine Waters and her ilk screaming impeachment at every turn.

And I am tired of news articles like the one that set me off on this rant today.  It seems that two black ministers are suing Coca Cola because they believe too many persons of color drink too many sodas that cause them to become obese.  It's because Coca Cola advertises their products, don't you see.

Let that sink in.

Seems to me that if you drink sodas and you are fat, one thing you could do is, oh I don't know, maybe stop drinking sodas?  Of course, that would require some personal responsibility.  Can't have that.  Being personally responsible means that you have to work on the problem yourself and stop blaming others for your actions.

I can't do anything about any of the above.  People are going to be mean and hateful no matter what I say.  And so far, I have found no way to fix Stupid.  I can't just stop checking the news reports because I think it is important to keep an eye on what is going on in the world.  That is part of the preparedness thing.

But I can spend far less time on the headlines and much more time doing what makes me and mine happy.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Kicking that well used soapbox back into the corner now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beat the Heat

I know that our temperatures here in Minnesota can't come close to those in the states west of us, but nonetheless, it is hot.  And muggy.  Staying indoors in my air conditioned apartment is the best possible option.  I don't do well with hot and muggy.

I have 10 lbs. of potatoes waiting to be dehydrated and beans ready to be canned up into pork and beans, but I believe they can just wait a while longer.   The central air in my building works fine as long as I keep the windows closed and don't run the dehydrators or the stove too much.  I am glad that I canned several varieties of soup earlier.  Lunches this week will be soup from a jar that I can microwave and maybe a sandwich.  The crockpot will be getting a workout this week as it throws off very little heat.  I thawed out some chicken legs and will add some broth, a jar of diced potatoes and carrots, some dehydrated onion and let it cook all day.  Dumplings added  about a half hour before suppertime will make a good meal.

My scrawny bean plants have a few more blossoms on them and so does the cantaloupe.  Looks like I should have blossoms opening up on the zucchini in a week or two.  So far I haven't killed off any of the plants in my little windowsill garden.  I thought for sure I would have murdered at least some of them by now.

Aside from a few minor housekeeping chores, I think it will be quiet here in my little corner of the world.  I have sewing projects and books to read and I need to make some entries in my genealogy program.  Lots to do without having to deal with the heat and humidity.

Life is good.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Never Too Old To Learn

So two or three months ago I bought half a dozen one pound bags of Great Northern beans.  Thought about taking them out of the original packaging, but got busy and just tossed them into an empty box in my pantry closet.  Well, that's not quite true.  There may have been some laziness involved.

My grocery order this week included five bags of the dry beans.  I brought the box of beans from my pantry out to the kitchen table with the intent of repackaging part of them and using some of the older ones to can up as pork and beans.

To my horror I found the original six bags crawling with little black bugs.  And so was the box they were in.  I double wrapped the whole shebang in trash bags, sealing the tops with tape.  Now they can live in the dumpster and not in my pantry.

So I learned that dry beans should be removed from the original plastic bags to be repackaged, the same as I do with anything I want to store that comes in cardboard packaging.  I know that bugs like to hide in cardboard.  I didn't know they also like plastic bags full of dry beans.

I opened the five bags I just bought, sorted them to remove any bad beans, put them into freezer bags and stacked them in the freezer where they will stay for a few days, just to make sure nothing is crawling around in them.

We are never too old to learn.  I am glad all that lesson cost me was a few bags of beans.

Friday, July 7, 2017

An Artist in the Family

Artistic talent has shown up from time to time in my Mother's side of the family.  My Aunt Margaret painted beautiful portraits.  I have no examples of her paintings, but I do have this pencil sketch she did of me when I was young.



Uncle Duane painted landscapes.  Here is an example of his work.



Sadly, the artistic gene bypassed me.  My attempts at drawing or painting looked like something done by a toddler.  Sigh.

So I was delighted when I learned of my granddaughter Maddie's interest in painting.  She sent me a card thanking me for the birthday money I had sent her and telling me she would use the gift to purchase art supplies.  I asked her Dad to take some pictures of her paintings for me.




I would like them even if I weren't her Grandma.  Her Dad tells me that she loves to paint.  I hope she continues.

Oh, and Maddie May - I'm pretty sure I could find a frame and a blank wall.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Have Four...

count them - four actual, for real snap beans growing on my three leggy, raggedy looking snap bean plants in the window sill.  And I'm not for sure certain, but it looks like the cucumber and zucchini plants might be thinking about setting some blossoms.   What I think may be blossoms are tiny, so it will be a while before I know for sure.  Hope springs eternal.  :)

That's about all the excitement this old heart can stand.  The rest of my week and weekend is planned to be pretty quiet and has me dehydrating hash browns and more onions.  My grocery order this week includes several bags of Great Northern beans to replace those I have taken out of storage to can into pork and beans.  I am using a new recipe so I won't post it unless the finished product is really good.  I will do those maybe next week when the outdoor temps cool down a bit.  

I did have a nice phone call earlier this week.  Granddaughter Boston called to tell me she had passed the test and had received her learner's permit to drive.  She was so excited and I am glad she thought to share that excitement with me.  David, my youngest son and her Dad, called me a couple of days later and during our conversation remarked that he could barely make it in the door in the evening before Boston was right there asking, 'Can we go for a drive, Dad?  Let's go for a drive.'  I laughed.  I'm sorry.  Just couldn't help myself.  Especially when I think of the fact that this is the first to learn to drive and there are two more waiting in the wings.  I expect one day David will laugh about it, too.  But not just yet.  :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Independence Day



I will be back after the holiday.  Until then, this is me...wishing all of you a safe and happy Independence Day, enjoying whatever family traditions you observe.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Look! Green Growing Plants!

And they are on my windowsills.  And they are still alive.  It is a miracle.

As you all know, I am the serial killer of indoor plants.  But somehow, these vegetables I planted are still alive.  Must be really tough to have survived this long.

These are cucumbers, cantaloupe and zucchini.



These are two pots of cherry tomatoes and one of green bell peppers.



And here we have peas and yellow snap beans.  And the beans have blossoms.



It takes so little to amuse me.  :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What Do You Do...

when life smacks you upside the head to get your attention and then proceeds to add some difficulties to your life.  When you get to be my age, those difficulties are mostly medical.

Those who are regular readers know of my physical limitations because I whine about them periodically.  Those new visitors, take heart.  I promise to keep the whining about fun stuff like arthritis and cellulitis to a minimum.

To my way of thinking, there are two things a person can do.

The first is to crawl into bed, pull the covers up to your ears and just wait to die.

The second, and my personal choice, is to just to get on with it.  Make peace with the fact that life has changed and there is bloody little a person can do about that.  So after you get through the initial anger and frustration and periods of weepy self pity, find ways to adapt to the situation.

Everyone has different situations to deal with.  Many are much worse than mine.  I still have a mind that works - well, sort of.  I can still walk - sort of.  I can still take care of myself as far as personal hygiene, cooking, keeping my apartment clean enough to stay the health department, etc.  But each task needed to be thought out as to how to do it in my present condition.

The hardest part for me was knowing that I was not the Wonder Woman of the past who could work hard from dawn to dark and beyond.  That fact pretty much shredded my ego.  I have never been one to cry for help unless it was obvious that the task at hand could not be accomplished alone.  So having to call on my kids to do for me was not high on my list of things I enjoyed.  But, after swallowing some of my pride, I did it.  Thankfully I have grown children who are more than willing to help out when needed.

Adapting to current limitations has been a challenge.  I know that I can not stand or walk for more than 10 minutes at a time before the arthritic pain becomes overwhelming.  So I have learned to do the chores either in ten minute increments or do what I can while seated at my kitchen table.  Youngest Son and his family gave me a walker for Mother's Day so I can now leave my apartment and enjoy the outdoors.  Admitting to myself that I needed a walker was tough.  I have learned that if I do too much one day, I will spend the next day quietly recovering.  Sometimes it is worth it - sometimes not.

I believe the most important thing about dealing with limitations is attitude.  I suppose I could sit around in a puddle of self pity, but I won't.  I haven't the time nor do I have the patience for it.  I think that concentrating on what I can do rather than what I can't makes all the difference.

The point of this post is not to dwell on my physical problems, but to encourage anyone out there who is facing life-changing obstacles.  If just one person who reads this is able to realize that life, even with limitations, can be good, then this was worth posting.  Just do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Oh yeah...keep your sense of humor.  Laughter is the very best medicine.  Really - it is.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More Canning and Dehydrating

It is one of those busy days.  I dehydrated three good sized heads of cabbage, filling the dehydrators last evening.  I got about three quarts of dried cabbage, all bagged up and ready to use in soups, etc.

This morning I am browning 12 lbs. of hamburger to jar up and can.  I had seen a video about packing raw hamburger into the jars without browning it first, so last time I canned hamburger, I tried that method.  It turned out just fine, but I find I like the texture of the precooked meat better.  It is just a personal preference.

There are 6 bananas sitting in the fruit bowl on my kitchen table that need to be turned into a couple of loaves of banana bread, so as soon as the pressure canner full of meat is going, banana bread making will commence.  I will share a loaf with Oldest Son.  He loves banana bread as much as I do.  He reads my blog, so I am guessing he will show up tonight after work to collect his loaf without my having to call him.

And that's the extent of the excitement here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  When the chores are done, some sewing will happen.  And quite possibly, a nap.

There was a time when I would tease my Dad about his afternoon naps, but the older I get the more I realize, the man was on to something.  :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stretching a Meal

When I was a kid, it was not unusual for friends or relatives to show up at our house on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  TV was a rare commodity then.  My family didn't have one until I was 15 years old.  Personal computers and cell phones were somewhere in the future.  People went visiting.  They sat on front porches and talked about the weather and the condition of the crops and wasn't that daughter of Aunt Ruby's acting just disgraceful with that boyfriend of hers.  And when the sun was getting low in the western sky and the visitors showed no signs of leaving, they were invited to stay for supper.  And most times, they accepted.

My mother was one of those women who planned.  She knew that on Monday she would wash clothes and on Tuesday I would iron them.  She planned nothing for Saturday morning except setting her daughters to cleaning the house.  If you have ever experienced scrubbing out the corners of a set of stairs with a toothbrush, then you know the extent of my mother's planning.  And she knew exactly what each meal would be for a week.

Mother didn't take it well when her plans were disrupted.  So it was always a wonder to me how she coped with guests for the supper she had planned for four people.  She took it in stride and never batted an eye.  Thinking back, I realized how she did it.

If she had a roast beef or a chicken in the oven, she sent one of us kids down to the basement, which doubled as our cold storage area, to bring up more potatoes to be boiled and a handful of fresh carrots to be cleaned and cut into carrot sticks.  She had us get a quart jar of dill pickles and a pint jar of relish.  And added to that were a couple of jars of home canned peaches for dessert.  A plate of homemade baking powder biscuits rounded out the meal, now with enough food for company.

I remember once having supper guests when Mother had made a pot of chili that was enough to feed just our family.  Mother calmly cooked up a pot of rice and made a double batch of cornbread.  She added a plate of sliced cheese and another of raw carrots, radishes and sliced cucumbers from the garden.  She filled bowls half full of rice and topped that off with chili.  Dessert was sliced strawberries from the garden, with cream and sugar .

The point is.....Mother was prepared.  She was a girl growing up during the Great Depression.  After that came the WWII food rationing.  Her mother taught her how to stretch a meal.  Although my Grandfather was one of the fortunate ones to be employed during the Depression, he still had seven children to feed.  That was not always an easy task.  My grandparents grew a garden.  They canned as much food as they could.  My father grew up in a similar environment with the added benefit of living on a farm where they could have meat and milk animals to feed his family of nine children.  Both my parents carried on the tradition of preserving as much food as they could in the summer and fall.  They passed on that lifestyle to me.  One of the best things they taught me was how to stretch a meal.

I don't always have fresh food on hand.  I can't raise a garden.  But I can go to my shelves and pantry and get the fixings for any number of meals.  And like Mother, I keep on hand ingredients to be able to stretch a meal when needed.  Just makes sense.