Thursday, December 31, 2015


Tomorrow is New Year's Day.  A brand new year - a new canvas that we all get that is clean and ready for us to make our marks.  I cannot speak for everyone, but there are certain traditions that I follow to make sure I have good luck for the upcoming year.

For as long as I can remember, my mother was very specific about having the following for good luck:

Boiled cabbage with hog jowls
Black-eyed Peas

In that mix, she would make her potato salad and sometimes, have deviled eggs.

Yesterday, I had a pretty easy time of getting ham, black-eyed peas, and stuff to make cornbread.  However, the hog jowls were a bit trickier.  My usual Kroger only had salt pork.  I was not happy because the grocery store carries the hog jowls all year long and the day before New Year's Eve, the store is out.

I run to the next Kroger in search of the hog jowls.  No go there, either.  I had not been to the Tom Thumb near my apartment in quite awhile, but I made the decision to run by there.  I think mom and God were watching after me because, lo and behold, there was hog jowls.

I actually thanked God and my mom for helping me find that elusive item.  I remembered how upset my mom would get if I brought home salt pork.  There was an obvious difference and, oddly enough, it proved to be true.  Eating the hog jowls made a difference on how my year went.

So, today, I only went out to get some ice, water, and breakfast.  The rest of the day, I plan to stay at home.  I am going to play video games, watch movies, listen to the radio, and cheer the Dallas Stars onto a win, and just relax.  The party season is about to wrap up for the year and I am pretty exhausted.  I suppose I am a wimp, but this party animal just wants to find a warm spot and hunker down for some rest.  I know two little dogs that will be happy that I chose to stay home.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!

Diabetes: Riding the Highs...

Dealing with Diabetes is a daily - no - hourly challenge.  When I meet someone who has diabetes, I understand their struggle.  Some have a difficult time and others are able to manage well.  One thing is always true - one has to ride the highs and lows of their blood sugar. 

Holiday seasons are hell.  As I say that, it is really my job to stay up on my blood sugar and manage it.  This year, I had to sit back and realize that I had more going on than just the holiday season that was rocking my blood sugar to heights.  Since September, I was taking several different pain medications for my back and knee.  I have never been a person who took a lot of aspirin, Tylenol, Aleeve, or even Advil.  Basically, if I had a pain, I would take the OTC of choice for that day and I was done.  Never touched the bottle for over a year.  Now, I have almost emptied the Tylenol Arthritis 100 count bottle.  That is unheard of for me.

Next, I have had a change in my diabetes medications.  I no longer take Kombiglyze based upon the insurance company.  I started taking Januduetta, but my PCP wanted me off of that due to the kidney levels being high.  Now, I am taking Trajenta once a day.  Also, no longer taking Lantus, but Toujeo - 70 units every night.  I am really horrible about taking this medication at night before bed.  I figure I probably will try to work this in with when I take my final medications at dinner time.  At least, I will have gotten my meds.

Lastly, right now, hormones are on the rage.  Every month, I will go through a week and half of high numbers because hormones.  I have been fighting this battle since I found out I had diabetes in 2006.  I never can win.  I can get close and for me, I am good with that, but overall, I hit those highs and ride them out as best as I can.  

At this time, I know my numbers are also high from getting the cortisone shot in the knee.  However, I will bear with the high numbers as it has made such a HUGE difference with my knee.  I am still pretty stiff, but I can work that piece out with the work outs that the doctor printed out for me.  A lot of that is due to stretching and building up those muscles.  Depending on how well I do, I may contact my personal trainer on information regarding more stretches or invest in yoga classes.  Right now, I need to be kind to my poor knee and give it the time it needs before I go that route.  I just feel so terribly grateful not to have that pain that it brings tears to my eyes.  My life had been such hell for the past 4 months.

So, sometimes, you just have to ride with the highs and accept what will be will be, but continue working on bringing down the number as best as you can.  My hope is that as I get better physically, that will help me lower my numbers and get back to normal.  I have to be positive - high or low - this too will pass.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Realizations Upon Observations...

Growing up, my mother was the sole person cleaning the house.  Now, that I am much older, I realize why she used to get so angry with me.  I was, and still am, a horrible house keeper.  I admit that straight up - I suck at cleaning...or am I too OCD?

When I was told to clean my room, I would proudly ask my mother to check to get her approval.  It was never clean enough.  I remember a time when I had dusted the furniture and she ran her finger across it and there was dust.  How frustrating that was as I had just dusted minutes before her entering my bedroom.  Furthermore, it took me a long time to get things cleaned.  No matter how hard I tried, it always took a lot of time making sure every nook and cranny was properly cleaned.

Some friends have offered to help me clean as they have no connection to the clutter, so for them to toss something is easy.  Problem there is that they may mistake something important to me as "junk" and toss it.  Hire someone to do a "deep clean".  While that is a possibility, I still need to do major clean up on my own.

The other day, while driving to meet a friend for lunch, I realized something from visiting so many homes over the past month.  Many of my friends have a maid that comes to their homes to clean.  I mean, I get it is pretty easy to keep clean when you have someone that comes in either weekly or bi-weekly to clean your home.  I also get how tired one is to have to deal with cleaning after work or wanting to do stuff on the weekends.  

My problem is probably a head case one.  I feel I should have the strength and energy to clean my apartment.  Then, again, the place went under disarray for about 5 years - First, I was never home when my mother was dying and I have either double or triple the underwear and such because I was basically back home living there.  Second, work had me so busy that I never had time for myself, let alone getting to do any cleaning.  Third, when I had time, I would get some physical set back and my week would be shot.

So, life has changed a bit in the past year.  I moved to another position where I can relax a bit.  I have had physical issues where I cannot stand quite as much.  Hoping that with some shots that will help my knee, that will alleviate that issue for the upcoming year.  My goal is to get the major clutter out of the apartment and get some dusting done.  I hope to clear my "office" and get back to using it as such.  However, I am very cautious on how that will go.

My main objective is to do the following:

Clear the clutter and so forth.
Do a good bit of cleaning
Contact a good maid service to do a thorough deep clean
Make it in my budget for a maid to clean the apartment every other week

Once the place is cleaned, it may be easier for me to keep my head above water and I will feel a good sense of calm in my life.  Heaven knows I have lived with chaos long enough.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Procrastination and Other Things...

For most of this year, I have been putting off getting U-Verse installed.  Mainly because my home is in such disarray and I have not been physically well enough to get anything done.  When I have been trying, something happens to prevent any progress or I get a set back.  

Yesterday, I changed the appointment from today to sometime in January.  Unfortunately, that change did not take and the appointment was still scheduled for today.  I was able to call and reschedule and I felt bad about that, but I won't be here and I would hate to waste that person's time.

Yesterday, I also went to visit the orthopedic regarding my right knee.  My back pain was so bad on Sunday that I ended up over cooking my prime rib roast and I had not meant to do it.  I had to sit down a lot to get relief from the back pain.  That is how bad my physical situation has been over the past several months.  It has slowed me down so much that I cannot get anything done.

Anyway, I prayed that the doctor would try shots in my knee, even though I cringed at the thought.  Everyone said how much the shots in the knee hurt.  While sitting there and watching them prepare the cortisone shot, I grabbed a pillow in order to bury my head for the pain.  Quite honestly, I am so tired of pain period.  

The doctor got a good laugh regarding my silliness.  The nurse deadened the knee, then the doctor gave me the shot all the while talking to me - I never even felt it go into my knee.  He laughed and said "You really are one of those."  I said I could not stand the pain and needles.  However, that was so painless, I promised to forward his card to as many people as possible.  It is true - it was painless.  The steroid shot in my left hand in 2014 hurt a hell of a lot, but this was no issue.

This morning, I experienced very little pain when I got up and walked around.  However, when I did walk the dogs, my knee started to hurt a bit, but I was feeling a lot better and not broken down.  For that, I am very grateful.  Yesterday, I felt so broken down that I could barely stand straight due to the back pain.

I am praying that the shots will improve my situation with my knee and allow me to walk and such without pain.  That one shot in my left hand did so much to help me back in 2014.

My other problem issue has been my blood sugar.  It really has gone crazy.  I never can seem to get the numbers down.  However, if you consider the foods I have eaten, it all makes sense.  I am going to have to start getting more fresh vegetables and such in my diet.  All of the casseroles are killing me.  It will probably be awhile before I have any pasta dishes as well.  I figure I need to avoid Tex-Mex places as well.  

While I say these things, I really need to figure out the moderation pieces.  That is what is most important.  In regard to the casseroles, I really need to start bringing some sort of fresh vegetable dish such as baked sweet potatoes or even steamed veggies.  Maybe fix a large portion of asparagus and broccoli.  If no one else eats them, I will and I can always take back the left overs for those.  I just have to make a point to do these things from now on.  I just do not wish to offend anyone, but I have got to make efforts on my part.  I cannot expect nor do I want people to go out of their way for me.  That makes me feel uncomfortable.  However, if I bring something, I have a better chance of eating what is better for me and I can eat the other starches in moderation.

At this point, I am trying to rest my knee a bit more after the shot.  Also, trying to properly analyze my eating habits.  I need to locate my triggers for eating too much or eating something I really should take a pass.  Everything should be considered the same, but those items that cause my blood sugar to spike should be allowed in moderation.  That is where I want to be - finding that niche where it all works together.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve - The Mad Rush...

Well, not for me - not this year.  I refuse to fall victim.  

I did not buy a whole lot this year.  Mainly, due to the fear of money I need to spend to mend my worn out body.  I believe that yesterday, I logged the most steps I have taken since all of the body issues have started, 7858 steps.  Believe me, my body let me know it was not happy about it.

Just wrapped up making fudge for a friend of mine.  Not sure how much longer she has, but I admire her tenacity to keep moving forward and saving as many cats as she has time.  She never asks for much and she likes my fudge a lot, so I see no harm in making it for her.  I would make some for myself, but I would never eat it all.  I still have a container of it in my refrigerator from last year!  Time to throw that out.

Today will be a bit busier that I would like, but I will get through it.  I have an appointment with my new orthopedic on Monday.  I hope that no surgery will be involved and get some good drugs.  I want to get so much done, so that I can just relax. 

My plan had been to cook Christmas dinner and watch a bunch of movies and play video games.  Next week, I work two days, but I have plans to sit down and plan out the next year.  What will be the theme and what should I really do with my year?  These will not be resolutions, but life changes I MUST make.  

In the meantime, I will focus on finishing out the year doing the best I can to make everyone happy.  After that, I will focus on what makes me happy and do it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

World Stopped for Me...

The other day, I realized that the world stopped for me in 2008.  I was getting something from the refrigerator and looked up at the white board calendar.  I had not changed it since June 2008.  

That month had been an incredibly busy one and the following month would be the one where my mom found out she had inoperable lung cancer.  I never got around to changing the white board.  There was never any time.

As I talked to a friend of mine, I noted that life had stopped for me in 2008.  I have been able to do a few things since that time, but essentially, everything came to a halt.  I realized I need to give myself a bit of a shock and get back to living.

Not sure I really want to keep the white board calendar.  I need to think about its true usefulness.  I have a lot on my mind for what I need to be doing this upcoming year.  More importantly, I need to get back to living a healthy positive life.  I have lived in the dark for far too long.  It won't bring my mother back and it is not helping me deal with other life matters.

I do not expect miracles.  I do expect progress.  As I told someone the other day complaining about his "Biggest Loser" weigh in - he had lost another 4 lbs after the final weigh-in.  You have to see where you came from and admire the big picture.  This friend had gone from 295 lbs to 201.  That is a LOT of weight to lose and nothing to be ashamed.  So what if the Biggest Loser has you four pounds heavier.  Overall, you are still a winner.

Christmas Spirit Alive and Well...

Since I only have to work half a day today, I ran over to McDonald's and Starbucks for breakfast and coffee.  I still need to get my Keurig up and running, so I have hopes for that happening by tomorrow.

At McDonald's, the person in front of me paid for my breakfast and Starbucks comp-ed my coffee.  I paid for the person behind me at McDonald's and thanked Starbucks.  I decided to reload my card this morning in order to get other goodies later today.

I was incredibly thankful for such kindness.  However, I did feel someone else deserved it more than myself.  For me, I am just trying to survive the holidays to move on to more important things - such as getting my life off of life support and moving forward.

My God bless those wonderful people who think of others and do just the simplest of things.  It makes me feel that there is more to Christmas than the retail hype.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Downhill Week for Christmas...

Yesterday, I had a rude awakening.  I had to realize that this week is the downhill rush to Christmas on Friday.  Why was it a rude awakening?  I had an appointment to get my hair cut at the mall and the parking lot was damn near full.  Holy cow - the number of people in the mall was incredible.

I made a point to get some pretzel bites and the wait in the line was painful.  It took forever and my back and stiff legs and butt were giving me hell.  

To be honest, my whole day got trashed due to having to check on a work maintenance that took place that morning.  I was late to my appointment, so my regular stylist was not available.  I had someone else cut about 1" off and just shape up my hair.  My regular stylist kept apologizing for not being able to work me in, but I told her I was the one who was late.  That is not her fault.  I was angry that I was late due to some issues that could have been prevented.  However, that was then; this is now.

Today, I need to get some regular shopping done.  I also need to figure out my budget.  That is the part that I am rather annoyed.  Quicken and Chase have mucked up my account, so this will be a manual process.  I figure I have overspent a bit, but hoping that is not too much.  Luckily, I do have my Christmas money to use just in case.  I think I am okay, but I like being comfortable, so I need to be sure.

Saturday night, I went to a Christmas party.  I had a lot of fun.  I am getting better at eating and drinking.  I am good with drinking non-alcoholic drinks at parties.  I know I have a long drive home, so I barely drink.  I have always been that way.  However, I was good at staying away from the sweets and I only ate what I thought was decent food - olives, veggies, and meat.

At the party, the hosts had a Jenga like game.  I love that game.  Everyone has fun, help each other out, and generally have a great time.  People inside the house are able to eat, drink, talk, and watch TV.  We were doing the same outside on the patio, but playing the game was a lot more fun.

However, I still feel sunken in with all of my set backs.  The pity party is taking too long - time to get up and get it all sorted out.  I have gotten tickets to see a few movies.  That is my own present to myself.  I may pick up a few games today, but I won't get to play them until Saturday or Sunday.  I do plan to get a prime rib roast.  I will cook it on Sunday and make mashed potatoes, and prepare either broccoli or asparagus.  I may even get some brussel sprouts.  I also need to get some salad makings.  With the left over meat, I can also make beef and noodles.

The following week, I will get a small ham, cabbage, hog jowls, and black eyed peas.  I will pick up some potato salad from Red, Hot, and Blue as well as make some deviled eggs.  I need some luck for the upcoming year.  

After the holidays, I will need to crack down and get busy with making my own happiness.  Cook more; eat out less.  Measure my food and make myself accountable for what I eat.  Work on riding a bike for 30 minutes a day.  I may need to build up to it, but my goal is to go to YMCA and ride the stationary bikes there.  Maybe I might be able to get more walking done at some point.  Also, build myself to drinking a gallon of water a day. 

I want this coming year to be better than this year.  I had a lot of sadness and set backs.  I want to work myself to being much better - emotionally as well as physically.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Correcting a Mistake...

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my 2016 Master Planner in order to start entering appointments and such for the upcoming year.  Unfortunately, I had some issues locating it and was afraid I had thrown it away.  

I did what I always do when I think I have thrown something away - I ordered another one from Levenger's.  I felt a bit silly when I found the original and even worse when I got the new one in the mail.  

I thought about giving it away to a few people, but no one seemed interested.  However, I just had a great idea.  My first Master Planner is dedicated for work items - to keep me on point.  I have a new use for the second one - use it to help me stay on point with my diabetes and health changes.  This way, I can journal my eating habits and easily see where I am going wrong.  I will have more room to write down everything I ate and what I am achieving.

My mistake may be my solution for keeping myself responsible for managing my health.

Holiday Rush...

What is it that I want for Christmas this year?  Peace and quiet.  All homeless animals and people are able to find a home.  All of those people who have been searching for a new job are able to get one.  No more fighting and wars - political and religious.

There are so many things I would love to have for myself, but no one can buy those things.  The price is too great or there can be no value put.  Christmas is just not the same anymore.  There is so much sadness.  One person found that he owes a great deal of money to a home that his mother is staying.  Another person is about to lose his bed and wheelchair.  One other person is fighting a battle to keep his home as he has cancer and the prognosis for recovery is not good.

Since the middle of November, I have heard of people losing loved ones.  This time of the year is heart wrenching, when it should be filled with cheer and joy.  And then, everything I experienced with my own mother dying comes rushing back to me.  I understand others sadness and pain.  However, I try to muster the smile and move forward.  

I wish I was better emotionally and physically.  I try working at getting the apartment sorted out, but with the confirmed knee problem, that is a daily struggle.  I have thought of dropping my membership at the YMCA, but suddenly, I think it would be good for me to go and ride the bike.  I really cannot walk, but I can peddle a bike.  Not sure an elliptical would be a good idea for me, but I can always ask.  I need some activity in my life.  I need to get the weight off of this frame.

In the meantime, I really do not want anything for Christmas.  I either already have it or it is buried in the clutter.  No point in adding to it.  As I said, I would like to be better emotionally and physically.  Perhaps, that is in store for me in the new year.  I would like to get a house.  I would love for Chloe to have a backyard to run about before she passes away.  At least, I would feel I had accomplished something for her and Bo.

Rather than being in a Christmas Rush, I want to take it slow and just enjoy the time.  I hope to be off on vacation on Tuesday.  On Thursday, I want to go to Whole Foods and pick up a prime rib roast.  I may not get to cook it on Friday, but I can cook it on Sunday.  I will fix homemade rolls, mashed potatoes/baked potato, and asparagus.  I also want to make a cheesecake.  I just want to have my Christmas dinner as I would like.  It is not much and it would mean something to me.  I did not get a chance to make my own Thanksgiving dinner this year due to the oven being broken.  Now, that it is fixed, I could at least fix Christmas dinner.  I will try to do Thanksgiving dinner another night during January.

I have to work Monday and Tuesday the following week, then I am off for the rest of the time.  I was invited to a party on New Years, but I may stay home and just enjoy the night for myself.  I do not like traveling a long ways on that evening and trying to get home with all of the other drunks.  It is not meant to be rude to my friends - just that it is quite a trip and I would rather stay home and watch the hockey game.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Animal Abuse...

Everyday, I see it on FaceBook on my time line.  This last one just kills me.  Boiling a dog, then throwing it off the 4th floor just because the animal chewed up a phone.  The dog survived, but needs help.

You know, it is a small wonder I have anger issues.  I see stuff like this way too much and I feel that this world has just gone nuts.  Sure, I get frustrated and angry with Bo and Chloe.  However, I would never do anything to harm them.  If your stupid phone gets chewed up, that is your own damn fault.  It is one thing to correct a dog, but boiling the dog, then throwing out a 4th floor window is murder.  

I cannot stomach the sick things people are doing in the world today.  I have to remind myself all of the time - this is nothing new.  This bullshit has been out there all along - with social media, it is amplified.  I pray that the owners are punished as God sees fit.  I am so tired of seeing such horrors.

I just do not get why people are like this.  I so desperately wish people would pull it together.  It is complete insanity!


This week, I had my first session with a therapist.  I have a lot of emotional baggage that I carry with me and I need to figure out some sort of release.  Some days, I break down and lose it.  Now, it is time to really learn to "let go."

At the same time, I realize I have a few toxic relationships.  Why am I continuing these relationships?  Maybe it is because I feel badly for these people?  Maybe it is because I have a difficult time lying? 

I went out to dinner last night and again, I left feeling worse than I had meeting this person.  Not really interested in hearing about my stuff, but goes on about how another person's brother, who has diabetes "like us", had his leg amputated.  Getting an 8 lb dog for her son because he wants a dog to love him as her dogs love her - she has 4 large dogs.  I know some people are able to get a large and small dog to get along, but she has a pack.  My worry is that one would get rough with the little dog and break its neck.  I tried to dissuade her, but not having any of that.

Poor dog.  My prayers is that someone finds that baby a home before she gets the dog.  Her son needs to move out, get his own place, and dog.  

I need to get all of that out of my system and look for more positive meetings.  I will miss my former co-worker who used to sit across from me.  He would always remind me - "Always look on the bright side of life" and sing the entire song.  His family and he will be missed - they were great.

I have run bouts in my mind of moving back to my home town.  As of late, friends there have been inviting me to gatherings and such.  It has been fun, but how long will that last?  

Before I moved to Plano, I rarely went out with friends, so I figured I would move and hang out with the single co-workers and friends I had living in Plano.  Well, that did not work out as I had hoped.  In fact, I have grown used to staying home a lot.  I am not sure moving back to my home town is a sound financial choice.

I want to get rid of the "clutter" - physical and emotional - that is in my life.  I would love to just sit in front of the TV and play video games or watch some really good movies.  With my physical issues as of late, I have no energy.  The pain sucks the life out of me.

Not sure what God's plan is for me, but I just have to have faith that things will work out in the end.  It seems a little crazy right now.  So, maybe I am headed in the right direction?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Just Want to Chuck It All...

I have lived in my current apartment complex for 10.5 years.  It is located in a nice area in Plano.  As I have renewed each lease agreement, most of the time, my rent increases.  This past September, my rent went up an additional $70/month.

So, here is my problem - maintenance issues.  From the beginning, I have complained about a dripping air vent in my second bathroom.  All that ever gets done is removal of the filter and being told I need to change the filter more often.  Problem is - the vent continues to drip.  This generally starts in mid-May and stops when the fall begins for the year.

Now, the A/C coolant runs out and I am left with simply a fan blowing air.  Since the week before the end of October, I have had to call every 2 weeks regarding the A/C.  Last week, the maintenance men were supposed to come in and check for a leak because this problem continues.  Not sure what they did, but the left the heater setting at 90 degree with the dogs in the apartment.  It was a good thing I was only going to PT, but I was more pissed that they would not call to let me know when they would be arriving.  I have two smoke alarms where I need the batteries changed.  That did not get done as I had asked in the work order.

All that gets done is adding coolant, then the maintenance men close out the ticket.  Sure, the A/C is running now, but ask me in two weeks!  Tonight, the apartment temperature is 78 degree and neither the dogs or myself are very comfortable.  I even have the windows open and nothing is getting cooler.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, a maintenance man came in to fix the running toilet, which I reported broken on August 19th when the apartment representatives came in for an inventory check.  Three months to fix a running toilet?!  I ended up paying over $300 in wasted water due to the failing toilet.  What was the fix?  A new flap in the tank.

I make sure my rent is paid before the first of the month.  I keep to myself and I do not bother the neighbors.  I walk my dogs in the appropriate places and pick up their mess.  So, explain to me why I must wait to get a chronic problem such as the A/C unit fixed?!

I bet that they do not even have the work order to fix my oven as well.  Needless to say, I am so peeved at this situation that I cannot see straight.  Is it fair that I have to go stay at hotel for the night because I need the sleep?

I am so stinking tired of this mess.  It is really old and I am so disgusted and fed up.  Tomorrow, I will have to have that nasty meeting with the apartment management about what does it take to get the A/C fixed - NOW?!  Do I need to call someone from outside to fix the issue?  If so, I expect not to have to pay rent for a couple of months.  Better yet, allow me to break my lease and move to another complex, which is not what I want - I would rather move into a house, but I want that to be my choice.  

I am so angry, I really have no clue what I can do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Making the Minor Changes...

The past few days, I have been experiencing a sharp, pinching pain in my lower back.  It has gotten so bad that I cannot stand straight.  I end having to go lie down on the bed and it is so frustrating.

So, now, I am trying to curb my tendency to drink diet sodas.  I am working harder to drink either straight water or unsweet tea.  I am better off that way.  Maybe, in a month when I see the kidney doctor, my blood work will look much better.  

Try harder to eat healthier and curb the tendency to overeat.  I would like to say, I would not mind overeating the vegetables.  However, I know it is possible, but the calorie count would be less than overeating potato chips or candy.  Perhaps, that might have a positive affect on my weight - by dropping weight.

I am so tired of dealing with the back and knee pain.  The pain wears me down and I get depressed because I cannot get those things done that I was able to do back in early 2014.  It is pretty annoying.

I noticed that a yoga studio is opening up right next door to the apartment complex.  It would be nice to get past a lot of this pain and see if yoga could help.  I am tired of being exhausted and worn down.

I have noticed that I am walking more.  I am working harder to get more than 5000 steps in each day.  It is a small goal because for a while, I was getting less than 4000 steps done in a day.  I am not going to push 10,000 steps just now.  I need to get past the 5000 steps and try for 6000 steps.  Baby steps.

I just have to keep reminding myself - this is a LONG haul to change your life.  This is not a diet or whatever where I go back to eating like a fool.  I have to make life changes.  I do not wish to get weight loss surgery - there are way too many "NOs" when I should be able to make the right changes in my life now.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mind Spinning Out of Control...

So many things to write about and everything seems such a blur.  I am angry, scared, upset, worried, and over all feeling of boxed in.

The recent shootings upset me to no end.  Furthermore, to realize those shootings are done by religious fanatics takes me over the edge of sanity.  I overheard some information about drowning a deer.  I had to turn off the radio because I simply could not stand to hear any more about the subject.

This world has no value on life.  None at all.  For me to be upset over all of this to some makes me a "radical Christian."  No, I do not think so.  I am simply tired of a group of individuals who have no value for life, no feelings, and no heart or soul.  They care nothing for society as a whole - it is all about how to force others to follow their will - Power.

I am fucking tired of it.  It disgusts me to my very core.  People demanding gun control believe that is the answer.  It is not.  It is not just about guns, people.  It is about brain washing, chemical warfare, creating bombs out of every day products, and so forth.  "If I bring fear to people, then I can control" and too many of us think we are so above it all until that one day.

While walking my dogs, I thought about how horrible it would be for the world to be controlled by one group of people.  I personally do not think it is possible, but what if it were?  

Let's put this into another dynamic that no one ever thinks about - social media.  In the past year, I have found that my opinion means nothing unless I agree with the masses.  WTF?!  If you even try to engage in some decent debate (not trolling or even name calling), you are bullied until you leave or never heard because the other side has shut you down.  I simply stepped away from posting very much.  I repost other posts, but if I post something, someone has to get a bit ugly.  Basically, okay for them to condemn you, but not the other way around.

We do not even listen to one another - everyone talks over each other.  On two separate occasions, I have been talking to someone on the phone and each time, they interrupted me before I properly concluded my statement/question.  That irritates me to no end.  You may have the answer, but what if you do not because you do not have all of the information?  

Small wonder I feel like crawling back into oblivion.  There is no point because no one listens.  No one cares.  No one sees.

None of us will agree on everything 100% - it is simply impossible.  However, I think society as a whole has got to quit looking for blame and band aid solutions and really look at what is going on in the world.  Stop trying to run everyone's lives and let's help one another - help us all be stronger.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Phone Surveys...Don't Call Here...

I recently got a call from some place, CCI.  I get this drivel about a survey regarding television programming and children.  While I consider my dogs my children (with fur), I do not have children or grandchildren.  Before I can say anything, the woman on the other end, blurts out about having the ability to choose the programming that I want for my children or grandchildren.

I told her I had no children or grandchildren (by default).  However, I am so tired of these busy-body groups who want to change TV programming because something offends them.  As I was brought up, you have two choices:  1.  Change the channel  2.  Turn off the TV.

There is a third option - check the TV scheduling and pick out your own programming.  If there is nothing on TV, then just turn off the boob tube, play board games, or read.  Spend time with your families rather than sitting in front of the TV.  Furthermore, listen to some radio shows.  Good grief!  Look at everything I have come up with just sitting here.

Being overweight, people consider me lazy.  In some instances, true, but you know what, I am not so lazy that I realize what my choices are in life and make them.  You have to be pretty damned lazy to sit back, get offended, and demand changes.  How is that allowing other to live their lives as they see fit?  Maybe adults enjoy these shows, that should not mean that someone who cannot figure out other activities other than sitting in front of the TV should be dictating what I can and cannot watch.

Be a parent and make the tough choices.  Don't fall into the trap that everyone else should be following the same patterns.  

Panic Mode *OFF*...

After the past few days, I have been trying to keep myself from too much worry regarding the latest health update.  When I contacted the kidney specialist's administrator, she told me that while my numbers were high, no need to be in panic mode.  I am 0.4 points above the high number for the range.  The time to panic is when my number reaches 6+.

Right now, I am just trying to drink more water and less soda.  I do have an appointment with the specialist in January.  So, I am going to try to calm down and relax.  I do not wish to ask for trouble.  The past two years, health wise, have been one thing after another.  I would like to be in much better health for 2016 and continue to have good health.

Now, to get over the fact that the maintenance men were in my apartment without my being here.  For whatever reason, that just gets under my skin.  I needed them to install new batteries for the smoke alarms in the living room.  I can tell that was not done.  However, I am beyond angry that they left my apartment with the heater set for 90 degrees.  WTF?!  I realize that they were checking the A/C, but leave the heater at 70 degrees as I had set, so that you do not roast my dogs.

That really made me very angry.

Time to get some breakfast and work out the plan for today.

Monday, November 30, 2015

So It Begins...

I should have known better than take vacation this week.  Seems like work wants me to fix stuff that they refused to check on the weeks before Thanksgiving.  Oh, well, it is what it is.  I am not going to spend my entire day working!

I did get a phone call from my doctor's office.  I have my referral already.  I got the name and number of a specialist and have already called.  The specialist's administrator is out of the office until 1 PM, so I am to expect a phone call to arrange an appointment for an initial consultation.

Next, I have tried reaching out to my endo to provide him with the information I have received.  I need to know if I have to change my medications based upon the new findings regarding my kidneys.  My PCP is very concerned - one of the medications is not to be used by someone with kidney issues.

I am trying very hard not to worry.  Not to be disgusting, but my pee is still clear, so I need to find comfort in that.  As long as the pee is clear, I know I am still doing okay.

I am drinking water - almost finished with the 33.8 fl oz water I have with me now this morning.  I have not eaten and that is bad.  Mainly because I have been running about doing this and that.  The apartment maintenance is supposed to show up today to change the living room smoke alarm batteries.  On top of that, a co-worker wants me to pick him up for lunch.


I am going to just try to focus on getting stuff done around the apartment, get cleaned up for lunch, then pick up some groceries.  Also, I WILL get my kitchen counters rearranged - TODAY!  If anything, I want to bake a batch of cookies to see how the new oven works.

Hoping that I can keep a clear head today.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Scary Moments...

Friday, I went to my PCP to get my 3 month blood check up.  My PCP is more concerned about the creatine levels in my system.  I just got my results this afternoon and it seems that I need to see a kidney specialist.

That scares me.  Anyone that knows me knows that think the very worst of a situation.  Here I sit wish my mother was alive.  I tried to contact my father twice and no answer.  I tried to call other family members, but no answer, either.

Where I felt the worse, I reached out to someone in worse shape than myself.  I reached out to my friend who has bone, liver, and other cancers throughout her system.  She has a limited time on this plane of existence.  At this point, she is fighting with all of her might.  She stays busy by rescuing cats/kittens from kill shelters and helping them find homes or fosters.  I admire her greatly for her tenacity to keep going and doing what she knows is the right thing.  Her doctors say she has another year or so left.  I hope she lives much longer than that.

She helped me to feel better about my situation.  I teared up and cried a bit.  Still, I am a bit scared about everything.  I hate all of this.  It just makes me crazy, but what makes me more crazy is not having my mom here to help me get through this.  It is times like these where I feel more alone in this world than anything else.  I would give anything in the world for my mom to be here - she would help make me feel better about all of this.  I thank my friend for listening to me and trying to make me feel better.  She is so much stronger than I am and I realize it every day.  Not sure what I will do when she passes away - that is why I want her to outlive all of the timelines her doctors give to her.  She is needed in this world.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to Change My Life?

Last night, I watched The Fluffy Movie, which is a comedy show featuring Gabriel Iglesias.  In the beginning, he talked about visiting his doctor, getting diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and being told that he only had 2 years to live.  He discussed his doctor sending him to see someone about gastric bypass surgery.  Due to this constant touring/traveling, he was not a candidate for the surgery.  Basically, he would need to adhere to a very strict diet program.

Before I saw the movie last night, I was driving around after seeing my doctor.  My weight had gone up to 311 and now, I had to worry if my liver and kidneys were functioning correctly.  I realized that my back, hips, and knees have been hurting since June 2014.  I have a YMCA membership and no good reason why I am not in there doing something.  Yes - my knee has issues, but when I am at physical therapy, I have to ride the bike for 10 minutes.  There is no reason why I cannot go to YMCA and do the same thing for 30 minutes each day.

Thanksgiving is over and I have limited left overs.  With the oven not working, maybe I can work on my portion sizing while using the convection oven.  I need to drink more water and lay off the sodas.  I do enjoy drinking tea, but it has to be unsweet tea.

During this time off from work, while clearing out the clutter and doing straightening, I need to get my head straight and begin some new focus.  There is no reason why I should not be going to the gym each day to ride the bike.  While it may not be walking, riding the bike will help me lose weight and possibly make my knee stronger.

I need to change my life.  I know a few people in my life that I would not want to turn out to be like.  I want to be happy, positive, and have the ability to let things go.  I allow too much to affect me and my self-esteem suffers from it.  I need to quit worrying about not being part of someone's life.  If they want me, then they make an effort.  If they do not make the effort, then I need to move alone and find happiness within myself.  Perhaps, that bothers me the most.  I need to be able to move forward and be at peace.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Another Thanksgiving in the Books...

I survived yesterday!

I ended up reserving a room at Aloft again due to the A/C problem.  Today, the weather is quite the opposite - it is cold and the temperature in the apartment has hit 70.  I also think it is time to change the living room smoke alarm batteries.  I believe I heard something chirp and that was when I turned on the heat.  Still, I must tell the complex today that the A/C has an obvious leak and needs to be fixed.  I will also ask them to come in and replace the batteries in the two smoke alarms...if I do not call Rent-A-Man first.

I made it over for the Thanksgiving gathering.  Sitting on the bar stools always make me hurt and this year, it really kicked up the knee pain.  Considering the bad rains I had to endure getting there and back, I really think I probably should have just stayed home.  I "white knuckled it" home.  People were driving crazy and the splashing of the water onto my car where I could not see was abundant.

I got home to an apartment that was 80 degrees - WITH THE FREAKING WINDOW OPENED!  Considering the rain, there is no way I could allow the window to remain open, so the whole scenario was ridiculous.

I grabbed a few things and put into an overnight bag, got the dogs, stopped by Applebee's to grab a sandwich, then headed to Aloft.  I was so soaked from the rain.  I had to walk the dogs in the rain, then was continually getting drenched every time I had to go outside.

While the room was nice at Aloft, I was not able to get a first floor room.  That did not make Bo very happy.  It is a major undertaking to get him into an elevator - he hates them.  However, once out of the elevator and to the room, both Bo and Chloe were able to relax, especially once the room temperature hit 65 degrees.  

Me?  I sat at the desk after getting everyone else settled and looked out the rain covered window.  How could a holiday like this be so upside down?  I was upset over some things I had learned at the dinner.  I was looking for how do I let it all go - how to get past the pain?  I missed my mother terribly.  I had been an hour and half late getting to the "gathering" due to weather and sorting out how to keep the dogs comfortable in the apartment.  Driving in the rain is not my most favorite thing to do since the accident in 2006 with the "Bug."  I was going over there to have dinner with my father.  Going home, I continued to wonder if I had done the right thing with fighting with the weather and the emotions waving over me.

Next year, I will just stay home and do what I had intended to do - Relax, make my own dinner, and enjoy the day being Thankful for the dogs in my life and blessed with the opportunities I have been given.  Let my mother know how thankful I am for the time I had with her and how I am trying hard to stand on my own.

My prayers for the upcoming year - finding a way to afford getting a house and being able to breathe again.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful, But Very Annoyed...

Today is Thanksgiving.  While I sit here and feel thankful for the privileges provided to me in this world and life, I am really annoyed beyond belief.  Technically, I am trying to find that place where I laugh this all off, but I am finding it difficult right now.

My oven does not work, so I am not too confident about cooking anything in it.  Starting Tuesday, the A/C quit working.  True - this time of year begs for cooler temps, but living in Texas, the weather is psychotic.  Freezing one day, blazing hot the next.  

Nothing pisses me off more than to have been jacking with the A/C throughout the summer.  Before the really bad heat of summer, I contacted the maintenance that the A/C was not working.  I was told to change the filter.  I had already done that and the one he took out was not that dirty.  However, he also charged the unit with coolant.  Towards August, it happened again.  I had already changed the filter, so it could not be that.

The unit got another charge of coolant.  In the past 6 weeks, the unit stops cooling after 2 weeks exactly.  It is obvious that there is a leak and it needs repair.  However, it is also apparent that they do not want to "fix" the issue - just band aid it until winter really hits and I am supposedly using the heater.


Come Spring - I will be very intolerant of the situation.

The carbon monoxide unit chirped last night - indicating that the battery is drained again after 8 days.  I changed the battery, but with the 80 degree apartment (with the windows opened), the dogs were just not having anything to do with it.

I am eternally grateful that Aloft hotel in Frisco had a room available for the dogs and I.  I was so angry that it had to come to this - having to get a hotel room for the night just to get cool and some sleep.  

For as many times as I have been to Aloft for an overnight stay due to something haywire at the apartment, I have never taken a shower.  This time, I did it.  I felt awful and nasty and tonight, damn it, I was going to get a good night's rest.

Once I got the dogs settled with their leashes off, bowl of water, then setting the thermostat to 65, I headed to the shower.  Even though it is just a shower stall, I really like it.  With my knee hurting, having to lift my right leg to get into the bathtub for a shower at the apartment is a pain.  However, this was so nice.  Bonus for the dogs, I did not lock them out of the room.  As long as I am in their sight, they will lie down and wait for me to finish whatever I am doing.  

After that, I felt a lot more relaxed.  I dried my hair quickly with no styling - no point.  I climbed into bed and the dogs found their spot and we all settled in for the night.  Chloe hardly left my side - it was sweet.  She was not breathing heavy due to being hot - I knew she was comfortable.

I would say that we all slept well last night.  It stayed cool and it was very comfortable.  This morning, as I walked the dogs around the hotel, I even considered getting the room again for tonight.  However, I thought better of it.  I was very grateful that we were able to get the room, have a good night's sleep, and the room was on a discounted price.  

As I was lying on the bed thinking before getting ready to leave the hotel, I thought about how I was fortunate to be able to have gotten the hotel room.  Also, here I am complaining and getting angry over this business with the apartment and I realize that there are some people who wish that they even had that choice.  At that point, I felt stupid for being so angry.  My situation could be a lot worse and I need to be more thankful for the ability and choices I have.  Others less fortunate than myself do not have that.  I hope that for those people, their lives will get better and that for today, they can get a hot meal, dry place to stay, and blessed with an opportunity.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Technology Woes...

One of the things I missed on my "To Do" list was paying bills and such.  I would have done this last weekend, but I got a bit lazy.  Now, I need to do it, so I have that off my mind.

I ran my errands.  Prescriptions have been either renewed or new ones dropped off for filling.  Friday, after my doctor's appointment (what in the hell was I thinking - blood sugar check up AFTER Thanksgiving?!), I will run my errands to pick up my meds that I have reordered.

Now, I am home and trying to backup and redo my iPad 2's set up.  This poor Dell laptop is catching all sorts of hell.  I bought it in 2009 before my mom passed away.  It was primarily to be used as a gaming system for when I was over there taking care of my mom.  I needed a release and blowing away aliens would always make me feel a bit better.  Farmville simply was not cutting it.  Sort of where I am with Sim City BuildIt on my phone - I set things to be either grown, baked, or made, then forget to get them.

Anyway, I have rebooted this system several times.  Not sure why the laptop is having so many issues with the iPad2 connected.  iTunes takes forever to start and run.  It is beginning to really annoy me.  All the more reason I need to put aside some money and create a Windows 10 main server.  That way, it would be so much better.  

It is pretty disgusting the "lab" I have created.  I have a bunch of systems, one that is about 20 years old.  I like using it because I can practice some of the interesting things using networking and so forth.  No such lab at work.  The company won't provide that to us, but it would be very helpful.  I gain so much from just "playing" with new software and such.  Much easier to break and fix a system and not have a bunch of people yelling at my desk to fix it.

So, I guess another reboot is in order.  Maybe I will sort out the budget and all will be good.

Making the Most of My First Day Off...

I tried to do some work Monday and Tuesday on the apartment, but was only somewhat successful.  Today, since it is a bit dreary, I have a plan to do the following:

  • Clear the kitchen
    • Get rid of the clutter
    • Organize the pantry
    • Set up the new items on the counters
    • Put or throw away those items that either no longer work, expired, or not used.
  • Get prescriptions filled
    • New injectable insulin medication
    • New oral medication
    • Regular refills
  • Relax
That last one is important.  I think stress and such make the whole situation with my back and knee worse.

I am annoyed with the fact that the a/c is out again.  This has happened every two weeks for a month.  It simply proves that the maintenance has no clue on how to fix the a/c unit.  Also, they are waiting out the weather, so that I am not using the a/c unit.

I hate being of that age where one's hormones or high blood sugar drives your weather conditions crazy.  Most people are cold when they step outside.  Not me - I find it refreshing.  If I wear a jacket, I am too hot and start sweating.  This past weekend, when the temps dipped pretty low, it felt darn good to me.  It was so good that both dogs and I slept in later than normal.

Tonight, I will prepare dinner and kick back to evaluate the other things I need to do this weekend.  I really want to make the most of this time off in the apartment.  I am tired of the craziness.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

BAH! Working on Plan B...

I had noticed that my oven was not heating up as quickly as it normally would.  It was not until I attempted to cook a Papa Murphy's pizza in the oven that I actually realized the issue.  The bottom heating element is no longer heating.  That spells disaster for getting anything cooked properly.

So, Thanksgiving is around the corner.  I do not figure I will be able to cook a proper Thanksgiving dinner for myself this year.  What is Plan B?  

First, I plan on ordering a meal from Buca di Beppo.  I had ordered such a dinner from the restaurant back in 2011.  I had tried getting a meal from a nice restaurant, which I will not name, but what we got provided no leftovers.  Thanksgiving without leftovers is a bad thing.  My father hurried off that night to have Thanksgiving again with his girlfriend and never invited me.  (That would not be the first time that my father takes off to celebrate a holiday without asking me - it is where I truly feel my father wants nothing to do with me since my mother's death.)

I had nothing in the house to eat, so I sat in the apartment watching TV.  That was when I saw the Buca di Beppo commercial about Thanksgiving dinner and the place was opened.  I felt horrible, but I called and asked if I could place an order.  What I got for a small meal was enormous, yet, so very delicious.  I was very thankful - while it was not my mom's traditional meal, it was very satisfying.  I even had plenty of leftovers - I felt blessed.

Second, I am researching getting a convection oven while I am awaiting for my oven to be repaired.  I could buy the part myself, but getting it installed is another matter.  Also, since I live in an apartment, it should be the complex's responsibility to take care of such matters.  The broken heating element has been reported and I have been told that the part must be ordered.  So, I have to wait.

I think I have found what will work for me.  It is at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I really do not like the idea of spending more money, but honestly, microwave foods are getting a bit old.  Also, there is an advantage of using the oven for cooking smaller meals as well as using it more when the weather becomes hotter.  

Now, I just need to make sure that Plan B works.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Being Older and Single...

This weekend, I was able to meet up with a small group of high school friends to catch up on activities since the reunion.  It was great seeing people and catching up.  It also gave me the feeling of "family" that I had not felt in some time.  That was nice and heart warming.

One friend is going through a divorce.  I had known that the marriage was having some major issues, but I had not heard of everything that had happened.  This friend was very sad over her current situation and she said she thought of me when it came to "How do you do the dating thing?"


Well, first, I have never been married.  That opportunity has never been presented to me.  Furthermore, my friend was married for 26 years.  That is quite a long time to be together and for the marriage to fall apart is heart breaking.  I have no basis of where to even understand that other than the loss of friendship.  However, this is about love and marriage - very different.

Second, as I have probably mentioned here, when I turned 40, I gave up.  Yeah, that sounds like the easy way out, but then again, what do they say, "It will happen when you least expect it"?  Dating had been difficult for me from middle school to today.  As they also say, you cannot compare your life with mine.  This is so very true.  My friend was always fortunate - when she was younger, she was never without a boyfriend or companion.  I was quite the opposite - I never had anyone.  No one wanted to be with me.

I look at her and know that deep down, she won't be alone for long.  While I would not suggest getting on Tender and what have you (I can joke, but seriously, no), I really think it won't take long for her to find someone or someone to find her.  Heck, the group were already suggesting that she and another single man from our high school days get together.   Not to be that selfish, but no one offered to help me.  Get my point.

When I decided that marriage and children were off the menu for me, I wanted to work on "me".  Be selfish and do what I had learned later from watching a Tyler Perry play:  Learn to live alone - get your peace.  If you have no peace in your life, then you do not need to bring someone else into it.  No one *needs* someone to get by in life.  You have to learn to be happy with yourself and find your peace.  Once you get to that part, the rest will come together.

I just have not found my peace and happiness.  I am trying, but I have been allowing other things to cloud my goals - Dealing with my mom's illness, her death, my father moving on, then the loss of my childhood home.  That last one sort of sticks with me in that I remember my mom crying after my grandmother's home and land had been sold.  It had to be done, but she cried about not being able to go home.  The whole idea that her own mother was gone from this world and there was no going back.  I understood it perfectly and would cry - I still cry.

Here I am - 49 years old - never married and no relationship.  Most people would think that I am socially inept.  I do not think that.  It is about physical appearance and attitudes.  No one dates the fat woman.  I hang out with guys as they are my friends and they treat me like a sister.  That is how it goes.  If I have any feelings towards anyone, I withhold because I know my heart will break.  Hell, it does anyway.  So, it is just easier for me to deal with the friendships.  Also, many of my male friends do not mind hanging out with me because I am no threat.  Their wives know it, so it works.

My advice to this sweet friend:

Go back to school, join a work out group, go to the park, or visit the church group for singles.  There are plenty of opportunities for you to find someone.  You will not be alone for long - this I know in my heart.  Your situation regarding being single is much different from mine.  It was easy for you in the past and it will be easy for you now.  You are a beautiful person inside and out.  Just have faith in that.

My Thoughts on the Paris Bombings...

I just happened to be listening to The Ticket when I heard the news about the bombings in Paris.  Oddly enough, the next show would spend some time discussing the breaking news and activity.  

I was horrified to know that bombs were detonated at a soccer stadium, people were shot while simply enjoying their meals outside, and those who were held in the Bataclan and being picked off.  It was just something unimaginable and threw me back to how I felt when the twin towers were hit by the airplanes.  The sick part of the twin towers incident was that I watched in horror when the second plane hit the second tower.  I was sick to my stomach.  

I remember 9/11 and the day after as being so somber.  Driving into work, I would see the military airplanes flying around the Dallas/Fort Worth skies.  I wondered if life would ever return to any sort of normalcy.

I realize that there are places where bombings and such terrorist activities take place every day.  Suddenly, people are offended by those who wish to show their support for France during this time.  We should show support for all who endure these issues.

While I do not disagree that all who suffer at the hands of terrorists should see support, France showed us support when 9/11 occurred.  My ancestors are French and I have a special place in my heart for France.  I always will.

I would love for those who go on about the vicious cycle of violence to take a hard look at the situation.  While those will point out peace talks with Putin and so forth, remember Israel and Palestine - Decades of peace talks and there are still bombings there.  It never ends.  

The reason it never ends is because the terrorist factions must be eliminated completely.  No one wants that because that means killing men, women, and children.  However, if a leader is taken down, then another one just pops up.  If you want a sick mindset, let's discuss those terrorists in Africa where they capture the boys and train them to kill.  No one ever wants to hurt a child, but what do you do when they are carrying out the duties to kill you?

Terrorists are exactly that - Terrorists.  These people have no care for human life.  It is all about power and control for them and as many have said, let's not let them have that.  It is what they seek; it is what they desire.  Do not allow those people to take that from us.

Am I angry that France began bombing areas?  No.  I do remember that France was not behind us when we started bombing Iraq.  Remember the Freedom Fries?  Is it wrong?  Who is to really judge?  I can say the following - every country needs to band together against these terrorists.  Locate who is fueling these terrorists groups with "blood money" and eradicate the financial backing, then go after the leaders, then those who would follow up.  In the end, you have to kill all of them before you are done.  As disgusting as it seems, that is more or less the end game.  The only problem, someone will rise up to do the same again.

I have come to the belief that there will always be violence in this world.  We can all preach about peace and love all day long, but at the end of the day, someone will have done something.  It never fails.  In order to stop the circle of violence, we must look within ourselves and stop that which begins at home.  

As for France, my thoughts and prayers for those who lost their lives, still in the hospital, the loved ones suffering from their losses, and the country as a whole for being put into fear.  I know the French are proud and will continue to show the world that they are strong.  Just know that there are many who are there with you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why Is It 80 Degrees In Here?!

Last night, I came home and when I entered, the apartment had this stale feel to it.  That is never a good sign.  I was in a world of pain with my back, knee, and felt like I could puke at any time.  I got upstairs and realized it was rather warm.  I check the thermostat and it was 73 degrees.  That is not good because I keep it set at 70 degrees.

The temperature continued to rise through the night to 76 degrees.  To say I did not sleep well was the understatement of the year.  I was truly uncomfortable for my own physical reasons, but top that off with hormonal heat flashes and cannot get cool.  I am NOT a pleasant person to interact with when I am in that condition.

This morning, the temp started with 76 degrees and continued to rise to 80 degrees.  

I called first thing this morning to get someone to check the unit.  Backstory:  Two weeks ago, same damn thing happened - I think all the maintenance dude did was charge the unit with freon, but not sure.  No one ever called to let me know that they did anything.  Today, I am a very unhappy camper.

Nothing seemed to be moving, so I called again.  I was told that a work order was opened to look at the unit.  They realized two weeks ago, I had called about the same issue.  I would think - A/C unit is jacked - fix it right this time!

The dogs are very uncomfortable and they are not alone.  I have fans on and windows opened.  Bo is driving my current PMS state over a line with his Bark-A-Poolza.  Bark, bark, bark.  He hears every little thing and has to bark about it.  I just want to be in an ice-cold room and sleep.  It has been awhile since I have had a good night's sleep, so all of this is not helping.

Praying that the maintenance person will get the unit cooling soon.  Unfortunately, I have a few other issues to get fixed as well.  Problem is - complex people were in here in August and took inventory of those issues.  No one has done anything about them at this time.  Time to start opening more work orders and stay home to make sure the work gets done.

How About We All Quit Being So Over Sensitive?

Okay - so Starbucks does not have those lovely decals of snowflakes, snowmen, and whatever on the holiday cups this year.  Seriously?  We are going to spend our days pitching a fit over that?  

You know, I want my skinny vanilla latte - I could give a rip about the damn cup as long as it is the right size.

Starbucks is not declaring war on Christianity.  Get a HUGE grip and realize that we have so many groups of people just looking for some damn excuse to get rid of Christmas.  What the company did was rather than go overboard on what all was on the cup, the company just said "Too much energy on this - just go with a solid color - red".  How about we all tell the company - Look, want to avoid more critical comments, just avoid the whole seasonal shit - period.  Hell, I would not mind getting a pumpkin latte or peppermint mocha when I wanted.

No one can do anything without some group of people getting offended.  Good God!  In this country, maybe freedom of speech has been taken a little bit too far.  

All my life, I have been called "fat", "lard ass", and heaven knows what other adjectives for overweight.  Does it hurt?  Hell, yes, it hurts my feelings.  Does anyone give a flip and take a stand to change people's attitudes?  If they do, it never works.

People are so worried about exclusion, but they do not seem to see where they have inclusion.  Rather than complain about Christmas offending them, how about we all observe every religion's spiritual holidays?  Does that ever happen?  No.  Maybe that is where my thoughts regarding religion is bad stems.

I will always be proud of our forefathers for providing us with a place to live that allows anyone to practice their own religious beliefs, say what they feel, and be free.  Let's not soil that gift by being selfish.  Generally speaking, I have never known the holidays to ever leave anyone out - no matter what religion you practice, it is the time of the year that people generally open their hearts.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Too Many Cooks - Oral Fixation...

I submitted this one for the "Too Many Cooks", but it, too, did not make the cut.  I am not sure I have anything for the other themes for the rest of the season.  However, I figured I would post this - It was to honor my mother who was OCD about cooking.

Just looking at me, I bet you could not tell I was a “Foodie.”  Well, I am.  I love eating all sorts of new and interesting foods.  One of the many things I thank my mother for having taught me.  I learned to love broccoli as “little trees”, Brussel sprouts were “little cabbages,” and asparagus as “tall trees.”  However, in my honest opinion, no one could cook like my mother and probably never will.

The repertoire of meals may have repeated themselves from time to time and my mother was keen on trying new recipes.  However, the holiday dinners were always a standard:

Easter – Ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, some green vegetable, and coconut cake

Memorial Day/4th of July/Labor Day – BBQ pork butt, potato salad, corn, and some dessert

Thanksgiving – Turkey, corn bread dressing, candied yams, broccoli or asparagus, rolls, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pecan pie, and maybe a coco-cola or chocolate candy cake.

Christmas – for many years was the same as Thanksgiving until my mother grew tired of cooking turkey, so we would have prime rib roast, mashed potatoes, broccoli/green beans/asparagus, and ring of coconut cake

In the early days, not sure how my parents managed it, but we would go to both relatives homes for the holiday dinner.  My mother was keen on telling me the story of how she had cooked a turkey and on their way to Chauvin, LA to see my father’s side of the family, my father had cut pieces off of the turkey to eat.  By the time they got to his home, the turkey was completely gone.

By the time my family had moved to West Monroe, LA, we started staying home to have holiday dinners.  My mother would slave in the kitchen and my father and I would either play some board game or watch TV.  As I got older, my mother would start trying to introduce me to some cooking aspects.

Most of my life, I lived in a mobile home.  The mobile home was easier to move with every time my father’s company would transfer him to another area.  So, the kitchen was pretty small.  It was very easy for people to step on one another if there were a lot of people in the house.

As I got older, my mother was growing tired of being the one always cooking the meals.  Most of the time, she was not feeling well or was not getting enough sleep.  Before the holidays, my mom would have a temper regarding being the one slaving in the kitchen.  At this point, I had learned how to make iced tea, bake corn bread, and clean the vegetables as she liked.  I was horrible at handling a knife when peeling potatoes.  She would watch me and finally give up, telling me that she was afraid I would cut myself in addition to have taken off more potato than skin.

This particular year, I said I would help with cutting the celery.  I wanted to help.  I felt bad that I was not doing more.  Then, again, I also had other things I really wanted to do, so guilt won that decision.

As I sat at the table, I asked my mom to show me how she wanted the celery chopped.  I watched intently as she chopped the celery.  My mom was very precise with doing the chopping, so when it came my turn, I worked to chop the celery as she had.  It was fairly nerve-wrecking to be chopping and my mother watching me like a hawk.  When I would chop a piece not to her liking, she would promptly say “Melissa, that is not right.  It is too large.”  “No, that is too thin.”  “No – you want something a little thicker.”  “Why are you not getting this?”  Finally, she got fed up with my chopping ability stating that I had no clue what I was doing and was better off doing it herself.  Furthermore, I was wasting her time if I was not going to do the job right.  She ordered me out of the kitchen – immediately.

I went to my room, closed the door, and put on my headphones.  Part of me was happy I did not have to be involved in that.  It was way too stressful.  However, I had, again, disappointed my mother.  The one thing I worked so hard not to do – I always wanted to make her proud of me and I felt like a total screw up.

After that incident, I backed away from offering help.  The jobs I knew I could do well were making the iced tea, baking the corn bread, toasting the bread,  as well as making pies, cakes, and rolls.  I lent a hand when I was asked, but one needed to realize that there was only one cook in that kitchen and that was my mom.  Otherwise, there were too many cooks and that did not work.

In 2000, my mom had been diagnosed with colon cancer.  She endured chemotherapy for several months.  She was tired a lot of time, but when it came to doing the holiday dinner, she was in the kitchen doing her thing.

By 2001, I decided it was time to move out into my own apartment.  Earlier that year, my mom and I had talked while doing some shopping.  She felt it was time I move out – not because she was pushing me out, but wanted to make sure that I could make it on my own.  Her worry was that if something happened to her, I would not be able to make it on my own.  Oddly enough, when I did get the apartment to move out, she got really pissed off.  She acted supportive by getting me a sofa, flatware, microwave, and other items I needed.  However, when she talked to her friends, she was really angry at me for moving out on her.  I was really shocked when I learned of this.

During this time, I would cook the things I knew I could do, but I knew I had to open up my own repertoire of recipes.  I would go home on the weekends, so I would sit and watch my mom cook.  I finally asked her to show me how to make the goulash she would always make.  I wrote down everything and learned that many of her recipes were to taste – not measured.  That was why I was so good at baking because one did not go off the recipe too much.  However, with cooking, one will cook the original recipe, then tweak it the subsequent times.

In 2005, I moved into a nicer apartment.  The first apartment had a galley kitchen and the new apartment had a larger kitchen.  I was cooking more meals for myself and I needed more space for doing the prep work.  My mother was so happy over that, for Christmas, she got me a Calphalon cooking set. 

In 2008, my mother was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.  Even before we knew what she had, I knew whatever illness she had was going to be cancer and this time, we would not be so lucky.  As she was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, that Thanksgiving, my father, mother, and I had to share cooking responsibilities.  I worked to get everything chopped for the dressing the night before as I was preparing the cornbread and toast.  The next morning, as my mother was putting everything together for the dressing, she was pleased with how the celery and onion were chopped.  Oddly enough, the turkey that year fell apart when it was removed from the oven.  It was not a bad tasting turkey, but it made everyone laugh.

My mom’s health began to deterorize rapidly in 2009.  I spent more days at my parent’s house than my own apartment helping to care for my mother.  I would cook dinner from time to time.  Even though what I prepared was generally okay, my mother would tell me she knew it was good, but due to chemo, everything tasted like shit.  I would only smile and try something else, but not much I could do. 

However, at one point, my mom asked me why I did not try to cook more meals while living at home.  I smiled and said “mom, I never cut or peeled anything to your liking.  It was better to cook without you in the kitchen because no matter what, the food would come out tasting good.”  She was not happy about that, but she knew I was right.

That Thanksgiving would be the last one with my mom.  I worked hard to prepare the meal as she would have liked.  I knew she enjoyed it when she gave me the thumbs up and told me how good it was, even though she just could not eat much of it.

My mom passed away January 2010.  The holidays have never quite been the same without her.  One year, my father decided to spend Thanksgiving with some friends.  While I had invites from friends to spend the holiday with them, I chose to stay home with my furry family and I fixed Thanksgiving dinner for us.  When saying “grace”, I thanked my mother for helping me learn how to stand on my own.