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Monday, January 30, 2012

Dream Lover

rerun of Fancy standing on the back of one of my swings

When exbf was here this last Tuesday, he said that one of the girls came and squatted and he petted her. I reminded him that hens present themselves to the food provider and protector in exchange for the food and protection. She was presenting herself to someone who would give her Big Chicken Love. He laughed.

Actually, if you shake the hen by roughly pushing down and back and forth, she thinks you did the deed and shakes herself, ruffling her feathers. He laughed again.

Sunday, I called and awoke him from a nap. He said that he dreamed about the girls last night. He either refers to them by name or collectively as "the girls."

In his dream he was sitting down and each of the girls came one at a time and squatted before him. He roughly patted each of them. Then, each hen relaxed, sort of settled down, sat a bit, and walked away, leaving an egg for him. In his dream, he was so amazed that each had come to him and laid an egg. He was amazed at his own dream.

I laughed lots. It was a funny dream.

Keywords that found my blog today:"pratical pasimony" [sic] and "save the twinkie." Now, tell me, when have I ever used Twinkie in this blog? hmmmm?

Your turn
Do you ever dream of your chickens? Dog? Cat? Llama?

Groupon Coupons for Health Care

Would you use Groupon or Living Social for health care ? (video with sound) I would but have never seen one. Have you?  Would you use a coupon for health care?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Small economies--heat and surveys

small card and small surveys

I have been in a financial bind. I don't need to waste energy and my money trying to stay warm. Today, I needed milk and wanted to buy a paper for the coupons. I had no money.  This little card had $6 on it. It bought my milk and the newspaper. While the first of the month won't see my finances in better shape, I will have temporary relief. Being ill will cost me for a long time.

Tuck it in
The other day, the temperature outdoors was 74F, and I was chilled, necessitating the heater use. After about a week of feeling puny AND cold, I had had enough of wasting money during warm weather. I was wearing a t-shirt, sweatshirt, pants, socks and shoes. None of this made sense. Finally, I analyzed the problem. My trunk was cold; specifically, above my waist was feeling breezes. Solution: I tucked my t-shirt into my pants. It's not a good look, but it was warm. Plus, I could turn off the heater!

I also figured out I was running a degree of temperature, so there was the reason I felt cold. It had taken a long time for all this to sink in. Yes, I was very ill.  

Survey money
Some people are disdainful of getting $3 for 10 minutes work. That figures out to $18/hour. Yes, I have made more than that, holding down a full time job. That is behind me, so there is not much use in thinking about it. The survey is guaranteed because qualifying questions have been finished. When the money survey arrives, there is no frustration at being disqualified.

Pinecone Research is a good way to keep a few dollars on the card for just such an occasion. Today, I had $6 on the card and bought a gallon of milk and a Sunday paper. It works for me. Luckily, I am not wanting much to eat since this is it. Plus, there are things that appeal to me that are in my house, like Jello.

Even if you think $3 is too small for you to even bother, what do you get paid for surfing the Internet if you don't have anything else to do? I get at least 2 surveys each month, often more. But, at the minimum, I make $72/yr. My intentions are to save it for Christmas, but that rarely happens. Things happen. Maybe this year....

Your turn
Have you ever put on more clothing, tucked in your shirt, put on socks and shoes and saved heating energy and money? Did you even realize that tucking in a t-shirt will keep you warmer? Do you know people who wear shorts in the winter and go barefoot, using the heat source in the house instead of putting on clothing? Do you know people who use Pinecone to make a few dollars here and there?

He asked me to take my clothes off....

...and I did.
No, no, no, not for Dr. Phil. But, I would
Wednesday, the 26th, I realized I was freezing when it was 74 F outdoors. I kept a heater on even as I despaired of not being able to afford the heat. I had 102 F temperature. Not only that, but the not-so-economical diarrhea and vomiting were still plaguing me, just not as often.

At 7 pm Thursday night, I made a 50 mile drive, one way to an ER. Charlie agreed to drive me to the hospital when I arrived at his house, so was waiting for me. It was raining and I almost had a wreck as I pulled out of the gas station to leave town. It was a hairy drive in the dark, the rain, and in a feverish condition.

I finally made it to his house, 1.5 hours on the back roads to get there. He dropped me off and parked the car. He left me in the ER while he ran back and got my Schweppes Ginger Ale. I was called to triage before he returned.

The triage nurse was really nice, taking all my info. I had with me a Tupperware glass with two lids, a lid on a lid. It held ginger ale. When Charlie and I pulled out of his driveway, the lid popped off, sounding like a gunshot. "What WAS that?"

I explained, showed him, and then tried to mop the ginger ale from the inside of his car. He was not really concerned, but I hate to have blasted the interior with sugar drops. So, while with the triage nurse, the top blasted off again. Now, it is the middle of the night, downtown, in a hospital with some unsavory characters waiting with loved ones. Three policeman are in the ER. "OH , $%*T! What WAS that?" Sheepishly and apologetically I retrieve the lid and show her, apologizing. "$%*T! Excuse me, I am sorry, but that scared me!" Yeah, both of us and I knew what it was. Seriously, the pop could have been gunfire.

From triage, I was shown a, lucky me. THEN, the male nurse asked me to remove my clothing above the waist and put on a hospital gown. SHOCK! I have not been to a doctor in four or five years who has wanted me to remove a stitch except the ob/gyn. I told the female nurse that my confidence was restored now.  We both howled over that silliness to cover up my nervousness.

Another nurse came in said excitedly, "Am I too late? I need a urine sample." Almost too late, but I obliged her.

Immediately, the nurse put in an IV, the kind with two places for fluids or drawing blood. She offhandedly mentioned something about my being admitted. See my wrinkly dehydrated fingers? I got plenty of fluid that did not come right back up. They put something in the IV to control nausea. Thanks!
Then, miracle of miracles, Lino handed me the remote above, and explained it. The red button is a call button. The last few ER visits I made, I was left alone for hours at a time with no way of getting help or finding out if I had been abandoned, forgotten, or if the Rapture had occurred. Lino is a nice male nurse. He said he was born in the hospital. I kidded around, asking him if he like it there too much to leave, to move on. Lino was very agreeable. Lino is an Italian name and not short for anything. Pronounced- LEE no.

Then, she pointed out that the TV controls were on the front and the sound control on the side. I fairly shrieked and acted like I was not ill. Hallelujah! TV! That contraption on the wall made my stay more palatable. I watch Dr. Phil and Law & Order and the Bob Newhart Show. Fun times in the ER! I know I could watch this on my laptop. However, having the screen at a distance really helped my viewing pleasure.

In the same breath as all this, she told me the phone was on the wall and I could dial '9' and any local number. Please, someone tell me if you have a phone in each ER room.

Finally, someone said my friend wanted to come back. So, Charlie came and sat with me. Then, since we had been there since 9 pm, he said he was going home at midnight, to call him when I was ready to leave. I was not happy at being abandoned! But, the TV took my mind off the fact he left me alone.

A bit later, a nurse brought in two Sierra Mist cans and put 1.5 cans in a huge Styrofoam cup and put about a small container of something for the contrast the doctor ordered.  Yes, the doctor was afraid I had cancer since I had uterine bleeding, a copious amount when I was throwing up and having uncontrolled diarrhea.

He said I could have all the time I needed to drink this concoction poured over ice. But, I had to let them know as soon as I finished it because they had to time the CT scan for when all the contrast stuff was in my system. I did sip and sometimes more than sipped and toddled off to pee often, unhooking the IV and taking it with me. I notified them when I finished to liquid, and they started timing the occurrence of the CT scan. I think all the contrast liquid pooled on the bottom. The last few sucks of the straw yielded me some nasty, bitter stuff.
Stock Photo - ct scan technician. 
fotosearch - search 
stock photos, 
pictures, wall 
murals, images, 
and photo clipart

There was a face, okay two faces, on the CT machine as I went in. They were gray. One turned green and the mouth was open. That meant I could breathe. The other was red and had a closed mouth and bulging cheeks--hold your breath.  Then, right beneath those faces, about 6 inches from my face was a little window that had written underneath it a warning--Do not look at this window. Laser ray inside. So, I covered my eyes and hoped for the best.  Granted, I had only looked at it once, but I had been put inside about 6 times with my eyes close. I am not blind, so I suppose all will be well!

I had to have a sonogram (I think, or was it ultrasound) of gall bladder and pancreas. The sonogram/ultrasound was painful because the woman pushed really hard. The last time I had a sonogram/ultrasond of my gall bladder, it did not hurt at all!

About 3 am or a little later, the doctor returned. She said that I had an infection, a uti. From the looks of the sonogram, CT scan, and blood tests, it appeared I did not have cancer. Uterus, gall bladder, and pancreas were fine. I asked if she tested for e Coli. She said there was no use. The antibiotic she was giving me for the urinary tract infection would take care of it.

For this visit I carried the records from visits with the other doctor that included allergies, medication and dosage, and blood tests that the doctor here in town refused to review unless I made a second, fully paid visit. He also refused to replace meds that I threw up and might do so if I came in to the office. Having all this information on hand made the visit less stressful for me.

Charlie picked me up at 3:30 am. I arrived here at 5 am.  I had to sleep because I could not safely stay awake until the pharmacy opened at 9 am. I fed the hens and slept from 7:30 until 2:30 and got my two meds--antibiotic and nausea medication. I was able to let them out for about an hour Friday night.

I feel, rotten, horrible, want gravy and mashed potato. Coke tastes rotten. I don't have money to buy anything. Charlie lent me the money for gas. I gave him a check to deposit on the 1st. I may make some jello to drink. Or, just to eat. I am having a hard time getting enough fluids in me, so anything works. Yes, I am getting fluids in the form of tea. I really love water, but it is too hard to swallow. I think all the throwing up as has caused temporary damage.

So, that was my night in the ER--6.5 hours and entertained by TV. I was gone from home for 10 hours.

After Charlie retrieved me and we were driving to his house, I said I was surprised I was called back so soon to the triage since there were other people ahead of me, and I did not have to come back out and wait for two hours. He said he had asked when I was coming out to the waiting room. The nurse said I was not coming back at all because it sounded like I had a contagious disease that they did not want to spread to the 50 people in the waiting room. Imagine!

Oh, I have lost 16 lbs. I was trying to cut back in 2012, so maybe 2 or 3 lbs could be attributed to my efforts. Probably another 13 or 14 lbs has been lost in the last thirteen days. I feel bruised from my breast bone down.

Your turn
Does your ER have a TV in each room? A telephone? Have you been in an ER lately for yourself or someone else?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free College Tuition

Free tuition.
As anyone knows, especially parents, the tuition is very expensive. Take a look at this site to find how to send your child to college for free. In some cases, part of the room and board will be waived.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My friend wrote a novel

A friend of mine, Fred Arceneaux, wrote a novel, Mirrored. I read his supernatural thriller straight through, one sitting, so you know I found it fascinating. You can buy this from Amazon or Barnes & Nobles for your Kindle, to download to your computer or in paperback.

I was able to read the first few chapters last summer and made a few edits to punctuation. Finally, I was able to read the whole book as published.

Mirrored is an easy read, filled with action on every page.  Even though there are twists and turns set in the modern-day South, based on two-hundred years of family history, you won't get so bogged down in details that you lose the story.

If you like a good story about demon possession and oppression, this book is for you.

Go here to read a short synopsis. I have nothing to gain by sharing this new book with you. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tiptoe through the Tulips and other Plants


I am still going to put these tulip bulbs one to a pot and see what happens. They have been in the warmest place in my house and are starting to sprout! My friend said I cannot put them several in a pot and expect them to make it to the next season. It seems that potting them more than one in a pot kills the blooming forever. But, but, but....I see them in magazines potted that way for spring. sigh....sigh. I may tuck a few in the large pot with the Hosta and see what I can Exbf has been working, so his nails are dirty.

More bad news--she just told me that they will not make it to another season, only this one since they were not put into the soil, so I should put them all in one pot and enjoy hoo. So, I buy tulips for the first time and am killing them!

I don't think I have 14 pots that are large enough...10 inches across, I am told.  I need to wander out to my table, pots, and potting soil and see what I can salvage.

Big fat question for all the garden design magazines and television people and Martha Stewart: Why don't you inform people that bulbs squashed in a pot to create a lovely design will never make flowers again? Hmmm....answer me that.

Today, the temperature was 60 degrees F at 4:00 and not dropping. The balmy feel is enhanced by the chirping and singing of birds. Brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky are not hurting my feelings at all. An April day peeping is out of January.  I feel wonderful.
4-inch daffodils
riveting photos, right?

5-inch daffodils, still January
Daffodils are up about 4- and 6-inches. Actually, I noticed the 6-inch ones between Christmas and New Year's Day. That's very early, even for the deep South.  Momentarily sitting in the yard enhanced my feeling of physical and mental well-being. Maybe this weather will persist and not give in to the thunderstorms that are predicted for tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed with me.

Today, the Episcopal Church had their monthly lunch. All the poinsettias were up for grabs. Mine that I got is still is in good shape and with plenty of red! Let's see how long it takes me to kill it. My friend sent pictures from Yemen showing 10 ft poinsettia "trees."  At the lunch, I saw people from the market, people who are now going to help me figure out the best place to get rhubarb plants. Last year, no one in north Alabama knew where there was a stalk of rhubarb. This year, I also plan to advertise me want much earlier.

You noticed I never got my salad greens planted? Yes, things happened. And, things did not happen.

bird nest

I suppose this could not possibly be a new nest. (Exbf says it is old.) I could not look inside because it is too high for me to see. The camera held over the nest was the best I could do. You notice the bird first lined the nest with plastic. She was smart enough to put nice leaves and twigs next to the babies. Those baby birds are so buck nekkid that you would think the rough leaves and twigs would scratch their red skin. Maybe the mother bird lines the nest with her feathers.  

Your turn
Do you have any tulip advice? I know it is very cold someplace. Surely it is. How is the weather at your place? If I find someone with rhubarb growing, can it be divided and still make this year?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Milk and cereal coupons

3 x$.55=$1.65
$8.35 for above

The store coupon was for 3 boxes of any Special K at $9 and get a gallon of milk free. I used 3 coupons valued at $0.55 each. However, I was charged $8.12. Don't ask because I don't know why.
I love Special K Red Berries, but at $5.49 it's just too expensive.

$9 for three Special K an milk is free.
I used a $1/3 Special K with the store coupon.
$9-$1 coupon=$8 for above

I was absolutely shocked when the same special was repeated the next week. The second week, I had one coupons for $1 off three boxes of Special K. The store ad and coupon was once again--Buy 3 boxes of Special K for $9 and get a gallon of milk free.

Yes, I used the same picture twice because I did the deal exactly the same each week. This was before I was ill.

Your turn
Did you get this deal where you live? Did you get it two weeks in a row? Are there any great deals in the works that I need to watch for? 

Wasted Food and the Weather

Yes, I was ill. The last two days I felt like slicing and dicing to dehydrate. But, before that when I was so ill, I wondered if preparing food to heat for that long and might have germs on it was such a good idea. Storing germs is not my idea of a prudent practice. My focus the last two days has been on laundry and dishes and getting my strength back, not food conservation.

Bananas and celery and blueberries would have to wait. I wasted 10 lbs of bananas, bought at $0.39/lb. Three pretty heads of celery mostly wilted because of the wait for me. Then, there were four quarts of fresh blueberries that Charlie gave me, all moldy. Really, I would have dumped the blueberries in a pot and cooked them down, but I had nothing clean in which to cook them. sigh....sigh. Two quarts remain for me.

Bananas would have lasted for a week even if they were bruised and going South fast. However, the temperatures at night have been in the 60s. Yes, January in the South was warm this year. The kitchen is the warmest room in the house. This all makes for very warm bananas this last week. Some developed mold, making them unsuitable for the hens. Plus, they are too far gone for me to handle without gagging, even for freezing them.

Just a few smoothies have been made from salvaged bananas and blueberries. I still crave gravy! No, I am not indulging, just feel like gravy would be good for me. What? You mean gravy is not infused with miracle drugs, minerals, and vitamins?

Just the weather for a minute
I love warm weather. I hate cold weather. However, a warm day in the winter fills Southerners with a nagging little dread--will we have a tornado? Yessiree Bob! Last night, we did. It was 68 degrees at 3 am this morning. We had a night of violent weather, tornado warnings, and tornadoes. It all hit south of me, and only one six-foot, one-inch limb fell from my huge trees! I did get the tremendous winds and rain. The hens and I made it!

So, being ill proved to be wasteful to me. It cannot be helped. Cooked food is out in the garbage can. Produce goes to the compost. Hens are eating lots of protein-filled chicken. I am trying to regain control over the kitchen and food.

Aaaack! I forgot about the dozen apples that did not like sitting around in a warm kitchen...mumble...mumble.  It was one whole week, just lost.

Your turn
Does illness along with poor planning ever force you to throw out food?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Renewing Clothes Washing Supplies

All this, plus Clorox

For obvious reasons, I had massive amounts of laundry this last weeks. I was out of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, except for enough to bake a bit. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda has never been on a shelf in this town that I have found.  About twice a year I buy Fels-Naptha soap but have never made the recipe for homemade laundry soap. Of course, the 20 Mule Team Borax had just all been used. AND, I had not had Clorox in about two months.

That meant I had a bit of money and a huge need. Luckily, I remembered the store credit on a Walmart card. It saved my life this week.

Rarely do I use Clorox. My illness meant I thought some things needed Clorox. This will not go in the laundry. One bottle will last me all year or maybe three!

There is enough ALL liquid detergent for maybe another dozen loads of laundry since I use about a teaspoon at a time. I could not afford to buy more ALL, but will have enough. Maybe I will finally make my own detergent since I obviously have all the ingredients.

Part of the Baking Soda is in the kitchen for cooking. The rest resides in the bathroom for cleaning and in the kitchen for cleaning, and in the shelf in the laundry room.  

Your turn
Do you use any of these products? If not, why? Is the Washing Soda harsh on elastic? What is your favorite recipe for dry detergent? I just don't want 5 gallons of cooked, liquid detergent! Does rubbing Fels-Naptha bar on fabric remove more stains than a regular bar of soap?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Downside of Downsizing

In a effort to be trendy, catch a compliment, or live with less clutter, many people are downsizing their possessions. Okay, some follow trends and need to do so. Anyone looking for kudos should desist. For those who are hoarders or have OCD, this may be a lifelong chore, a fight. If a person or family moves into smaller quarters, obviously, this is a necessity.

For the detractors who say I have too much "stuff," that I could live with less, I disagree on most counts. I just took a load of white clothes from the dryer. There were eight towels in the load with many washcloths. I took a load of white clothes from the washer and put another 8 wet towels into the dryer with more washcloths. I loaded dark clothes and put three dark towels, amongst other dark clothes to wash.  That is 19 towels. There are no more clean ones on the shelf.

Before my illness described here and here and here, I needed to wash clothes. I had just taken a dozen pair of panties off the line the day before I became violently and suddenly ill. There were also plenty of clean washcloths. I have 8 horrid purple sweatshirts I bought too large and for $1 each last year, my winter indoor, outdoor, and sleeping wardrobe. LOL  The hens don't care if I wear purple every day. These sweatshirts keep me warm indoors, especially when worn two at a time. And, it is luscious to warm a sweatshirt and t-shirt and put a fresh change on before bed. They never are worn beyond the yard. I hate purple! But, I also hate wearing my beloved pink and red sweatshirts indoors, cooking and cleaning, and ruining them unnecessarily. By the way, I made the red and pink sweatshirts 20 years ago, and kept them nice by not cooking and cleaning in them.

Okay, 8 sweatshirts is a little much. But, I bought 2 to cut an outfit for my g-daughter. When the shirts proved to pill beyond belief, I forgot about that good idea.

By some standards, I have too many of the items so far mentioned. I don't have a person living with me who can wash as I soil clothes with uncontrolled poop. There is no mother or sister to help.  If I had fewer pairs of socks, I would have had to wear poopy socks or go barefoot. Believe me when I say that washing clothes was not in my capacity for two days.

Oh horrors! I like the last socks I bought so much that I bought another bag of them for later. It seems when I find something perfect, it is discontinued when I need it next year or in three years. I prepare, but am not a prepper. These are basic white socks with grey heel and toe, not the kind I wear when going out someplace.

When I started washing this afternoon, there were no clean towels or washcloths and few panties. Yes, I would have had to drag myself in to wash clothes today, no matter what. That would have meant soiling myself in another room and dripping it back to the bathroom. This was some serious shit!

If people are so concerned about hard times coming, I never understand why a few extra clothes are not a concern. I am by no means stocking up clothes. The $1 sweatshirts looked like too good a deal to pass up. My 5 pair of $3.00 fuzzy, colorful pajama pants were a deal and soooo warm. And, my house is soooo cold! So what if it takes me 10 years to wear out all this stuff?

Then, there are other considerations. The white towels with the pink stripes are over 20 years old, serged to keep from raveling further. The pink ones were bought new several years ago, along with their matching washcloths. The other odd pink towel was a quarter at a yard sale. The pear green towel was found in a park. The huge bath sheet that has "Jennifer" embroidered on it was left at the end of an estate sale, new, just soiled from the trash. Soon, all the oldest towels will be rags, cut to be my tp. Then, my supply of towels will be diminished.

White washcloths with pink stripes are already tp on the back of the commode. Many of the white washcloths were bought for a dime or quarter at a thrift store. The white washcloths with the one pink embroidered stripe are starting to age. Washcloths that don't get reinvented by placing them on the commode for tp often end up as cleaning rags.

My 40+ washcloths were all soiled today. All were used to clean my body the last two days. Some of them are threadbare but work for pee. None are new. Some are from thrift stores.

Back to the sweatshirts--thankfully, I had more than the two sweatshirts people often say they need. Mine had gotten poopy, so I could not continue wearing them. If it had just been grease or spilled chocolate milk, wearing a dirty sweatshirt would be okay.

I don't mean to reprimand or make an example of anyone who is getting rid of 20-year-old clothing that does not fit. That is not the point. Those things probably do need to go to a good home. A nice, planned, workable wardrobe is a good thing. A pared-down wardrobe is good. I have that myself. But, for the everyday items, I have multiple of the sweatshirts and pajama pants because I knew I would wear them strictly at home. Yes, it is a huge stack, but they can be stacked on a shelf, but in a plastic bin, or stored in a box. All I need to do is reach in and grab what I want, no are the same. I can keep them in a laundry bag or trash bag shoved under a bed!

In a bid for attention and kudos, a woman on a site got rid of all but one wash cloth and one towel.....ewww.  Okay, maybe she had two.  Think about the implications. If that is all a person has, that's fine and they can worry about keeping things clean. She did it to get praise.

Now, I don't drag home everything I find for free or cheap. But, this wash day/evening got me to thinking what I would do if I got rid of everything "extra" that I owned. The last three days would have been nastier nightmare than they were.

Seriously, I am not afraid the supply of towels, socks, or cheap sweatshirts will dry up. I don't fear doing without. There is no urgency to my buying of things on sale. I don't scavenge for used or free items for any other reason than saving them from landfill and saving money.

(There are no paper towels or any other paper products here.)

Each day, I dress in my home clothing (purple sweat shirt and pajama or knit pants) and change to go to store or drive out of the driveway. When I return, I change back into my home clothing. Some of my friends wear their new outfits all day at home, cleaning, cooking and eating in them. They buy clothing continually and don't spare the costs. That's not me.

Your turn
Do you see value in downsizing to the point you can only go three days without washing clothes? Do you see any value, like I, in having more than just enough? Do you wear worn clothing at home rather than soil or wear out clothing fit for wearing to work or to the store?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A turn for the better

Thursday, around 3 pm, I ate 3 inches of a banana. When I suffered no ill effects, I was elated. Around 4 pm, I ate leftover cabbage. Not many ill effects!
When I posted last at 6:30, I felt miserable and was still suffering from the same conditions as yesterday, just less.

Around 8 pm, I became ravenous. Then, I started feeling my blood sugar crashing. I wanted food, real food, not saltines and Sprite like I had been taking in and evacuating all day.

KFC! Kentucky Fried Chicken, if anyone on earth does not know.

 That sounded good. But, I only had $8 in bank and $2 in my purse. Yes, and a lot of month to go. I checked my account online. Amazingly, there appeared a deposit, a very small one for online work I had done. Yes, I reconsidered spending the money. I reconsidered subjecting my gastrointestinal tract to fried chicken. But, I wanted gravy. Gravy. By this time I am doing the g r a v y dance.

Amazingly, my head was clear. I could walk without staggering. I did not lurch about. Thoughts of gravy strengthened me.  I suppose saltines and Sprite does a body good and makes it yearn for gravy.

You are going to die when you hear what I ordered. just die....breast (original), green beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, side of gravy, biscuit and free senior tea.  I ate. I gobbled. I spilled stuff all over myself in my haste. I slowed down after the first frenzied minute of eating.

Never have I ordered this much at KFC. Exbf will be shocked, absolutely shocked. I could barely talk at 5:30 when I had spoken to him. I was so weak, and he was so concerned.

It has been over 3 hours and only one untoward "event." The phenergan has the throw up under control. I am a well-stuffed little pig.

Let me tell you about gravy, me, and throwing up. Throwing up is not something that happens very often in my life. Once, I was ill right after the birth of our first, and ex would not take me to doctor. He refused to allow my mother to take me. She came to take care of me and 5 day old baby. She cooked ex roast or chicken or something, but there was mashed potatoes and gravy. I had 106 temp. My normal is 97.2. After giving birth, I had an infection in my kidney. He said there was nothing wrong with me--"you just gave birth."

I begged my mother to feed me mashed potatoes and gray as I lay limp and feverish. She begged me not to eat it and refused me. I was too weak to walk without help and could not sit. She kept telling me I would throw it up. I cried like a baby, I was so hurt, and she relented. I ate a cupful of mashed potatoes and gravy. She was amazed and said I was just like Daddy, nothing ever upset my stomach.

Why the thoughts of gravy when I am ill appeals to me, I don't know. I was a little pig tonight, eating all that and then loading up on saltines and Sprite once more.

Now, milk is what I want--chocolate milk. But, that will wait until tomorrow.

This has been a once-in-a-lifetime event for me. Maybe it is all over.  Hopefully, it will never happen again.

Thanks for all the kind thoughts. They made my spirit feel better, bouyed me up.

Maybe I will toddle out for chocolate milk right now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Useless Degrees

I heartily disagree with this  list of useless degrees. While I don't have the energy to lay out my objections to these degrees being called useless, I am giving you credit for being thinkers who can unearth the truth.   They should say you won't be in high demand or make a million bucks! But, useless? Hardly!

No, I am not better.

Your turn
Do you agree or disagree that these are useless degrees? Why do you agree? Why do you disagree?

Under the weather update

Look in the comment section of the previous post. I feel horrid, started answering comments, and it's all there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Under the weather

If you are squeamish, STOP. Both ends going off here. Doctor said I should have be in hospital. Having soooo much fun. Hens have not seen me since Monday. That is how ill I am.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sausage Balls and a Dilemma

yes, they did look red
Although sausage balls are not very frugal, I wanted these at Christmas. The sausage was free; cheese was $2.58. Bisquick was expensive for the box, but not for the bit I used. The sausage had been in the freezer, and I bought the Bisquick last year. It will take me forever to use the Bisquick since I only use it for strawberry shortcakes and sausage balls.

I know that there are recipes to make substitutes for Bisquick. But, I don't know which recipe is best. The commercial Bisquick had hydrogenated fat, so I think I may not be able to make a healthier substitute. It would probably just be cheaper. Okay, that's something.  A coupon makes it even cheaper. I also buy the smaller box.

Since I store this in the refrigerator or freezer, it stays fresh. There is no need to finish the box of Bisquick before it spoils or loses "rise" ability.

My dilemma is whether to make my own mix next time or to just use one box of this every 18 months. I rarely make sausage balls. This is the first time in about three years.

Note to self<----don't buy HOT sausage next time so that allergies won't flare up.

Edit: Ingredients for Bisquick--flour, hydrogenated oil, leavening

Your turn
Do you make sausage balls? With Bisquick? With a mix you make yourself? Will you share the recipe you use and are happy with? I can just pick out a recipe, so I don't need any untried recipe.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My New Snack

banana, pecan, semi-sweet chocolate chip

Several weeks ago, after I decided to lose weight, I made a few money-saving, thrifty, healthy changes to my snacks. One change was the occasional (maybe once a month) purchase of Fiber One bars. I love them. But, the ingredient list turned me off, especially the high fructose corn syrup. A new reduction in financial circumstances came right after I made this decision.

The pecans are fat and fresh, stored in the freezer by me last fall. I store them in a Ball canning jar with a lid and ring. I dehydrated the bananas this past December. The semi-sweet chips are Hershey.

Lest you think I am just gorging on these, let me assure you that I carefully count these out in a dish or plastic container for travel. The count--12 banana slices, 12 pecan halves, 12 chocolate chips.

The problem with snacks and the reason I liked to buy a bar was that I would overeat with bags of anything. At first, I just dumped this snack in the bowl. Now, I count. And, I only eat this once a day. If I am going to get healthy and still eat a treat, this is the way for me. This little ritual has been going on for about a month now.

Eating method: put a banana chip down, place a pecan on that, and then top with a chocolate chip. It's a great combination. It usually all falls apart, but I do it each time, sort of a game.

Your turn
Do you make a snack that does not contain hfcs? Don't those fat, fresh pecans look yummy? I had someone not from the South declare that pecans should be dried and crispy! Not so. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tearing a family apart?

Lend your support to these two guys. Sluggy has blogged about this so well, that I am going to be lazy and allow you to go read her blog and follow her links. This is m. who comments here. If you are not a supporter of LGBT rights, you may want to skip this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wet Hens

No camera=no picture

Last night, I went to bed very early, about 11 pm. So, I awoke at just before 4 am and got up and sat, reading blogs. At 6 am, I decided to go back to bed. No luck sleeping. Then, I remembered a payment I had to make on the 10th or pay a penalty of $28 on $61. I jumped from the bed, jumped in clothes, ran a pick through my hair, wrote a check and left in a hurry.

As I opened the door, I heard the hens. They were right outside the door! I know I locked them up last night. There was no time to secure them or feed them. They started begging and following me to the front yard. Feeding never happens in the front yard; I throw pine cones to make them go back; I honk the horn to get them to go back. So, they lost interest in following me this morning once I dashed to the front yard.

On the way back a crack of thunder and flash of lightning immediately preceded the skies opening up. I wondered where the hens took refuge. They have a favorite  bush for rainy times.

As I ran to the house, trying to dodge little streams in the yard, I did not see them. Dashing up the front porch, I finally did. All three were pressed against the door, waiting for me. As they plead their case, they finally allowed me to get to the door. Then, they stormed the doorway as I stepped up and inside the door I unlocked.

At times like these, I just want to go ahead and let them in. But, then I reconsider and think maybe I should put them in their night cage and let them stay dry and warm inside. I am getting soft in the head as I get older. No, they are still on the porch, talking through the door to me.

They will stay there and poop all over!!!!  Newspaper will be put over the poop and DE until I can properly clean it. There is no use cleaning it one poop at a time al day long. Exbf will be here soon, so the paper needs to go down so he won't have to navigate the poopfield that my porch will become. sigh....sigh.

Chickens can be so dumb and, why can she not find the door on her pen that she goes in and out of every day? No, she goes round and round two sides, back and forth, desperately putting her head in the chain link as though this link might magically be larger than the last 20 places she tried.

It only takes them two days to learn a new home. It took them that long to come to the door to be put away in the cage after the raccoon attack in October 2010. For two days, I had to pry them out of their Rubbermaid boxes, stuff them, squawking, into the cage and carry all three in the cage up the stairs and into the house. After those two days, they came willingly and jumped in the cage.

They know where they sleep now--in the fortified pen. They just prefer the dryness and warmth of the house. Poor girls. Maybe someday I can make them a not-windy enclosure inside the fortified pen where they will not get damp from blowing rain and become chilled.

Chickens are so endearing. I love them--Thelma, Louise, and Fancy.

If I lived outdoors in a blue box, I would try my best to talk my way into a warm house. Wouldn't you? Well, this house is cold, but it is warm compared to a box outdoors.

Exbf arrived. As we sat here, I kept hearing a noise. I finally looked and they had left. On the porch was an uneaten apple from the bag of apples I scrounged for them. They helped themselves. Cute.

Dinner: roast chicken, potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers
This afternoon I put 8 leg-thigh quarters and a thigh into a turkey baking bag with celery, onion, salt and pepper to roast. In a stock pot four leg-thigh quarters and a thigh boiled away. Exbf ate one for dinner. I had just a bit of meat.

I cooked a head of cabbage with a bit of salt. Cabbage was $.39/lb. Yum, it was so good. When I got the chicken produce today, I was thrilled because I have been wanting potatoes. In the box: four onions, mostly good and about three pounds of potatoes. I salvaged cucumbers for him. He picked out three of the apples from yesterday's bought box of apples.

He took home a divided dinner plate, Tupperware, with leg-thigh quarter, cabbage, oven-cooked potatoes. He is thrilled. Besides that, he took a bag with 6 leg-thigh quarters and a thigh, enough for thirteen meals of meat.

The other 4 leg-thigh quarters are destined to become chicken and dumplings. For the next few nights, the temperature will be about 10 degrees below freezing, so chicken and dumplings will warm me nicely.  The kitchen beckons me to come back and cook more.

I still have chicken breasts I cooked last Wednesday, so those will be frozen shortly. By the way, the ten-lb bag of chicken breasts said it held 26 servings. That's about what I figured when I cooked these.

The chickens will receive the ample pieces of fat, gristle, skin, and bones to eat. All the broth from the baking pan will be theirs, added to rice or pasta or cornmeal. They are going to be soooo happy!

There is no picture because I cannot find my camera.

Your turn
Would you like chickens coming to your door and pooping, begging to get in? Or, do yours stay in a pen. Surely you find joy in your chickens personalities? Are you meals getting cozy-like as the weather gets cooler?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apple Butter or Apple Pie?

36 apples for $2

Today, there were a only a dozen free apples at the market for the hens. I took them. Not the ones above. He mentioned the box was for apple butter and $2/box. Cheap! Frugal eating! I snapped them up. Now, I realize I have to do something with I really like nice crispy dehydrated apples. An apple pie would be nice. I don't really want apple butter.

There are a few hours before I have to make this decision before the bruises develop into a more serious problem and I lost more of these.

My pie I make for myself is just pie filling--apples, sugar, cinnamon, and flour. None of this is ever measured. There will be no crust. I don't need the crust and no one will be judging my pie-making skills.

One thing I do for myself and no one else--I don't peel the apples. It gives me more fiber and pectin and maybe not too much pesticide. Also, instead of apples slices, I make chunks of each slice so the apple peel will not be in huge pieces.

Maybe a half dozen of these will be saved for eating. Exbf  (still) will be glad to take them.

Getting these cheaply was thrilling. I figure there is probably $8 worth of apples, at least.
They are all crispy except for the bruises on the apples. Understand, these are fresh and edible, just mishandled. None are old and soft.

Your turn
Do you ever buy apples past their prime? What do you make with them? Have you ever  made just the apple filling and eaten it with no crust? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Propane Explosion

Fire! (look at the exploded top of the camper)


There was a man in the camper.

Rear end

Closer view inside from the rear...this debris inside was on the pavement.
Yes, the whole thing exploded and scattered flaming debris.

I went to Walmart about 10:30 one night, and was trying to ask a customer service manager if anyone could get a gallon of white vinegar for me. There was none on the shelf. She said she had to get a key to unlock the propane because a customer wanted a tank of propane. I waited.

Finally, I wandered off and asked someone else. With vinegar bought and ready to leave, I stopped to talk to the greeter about his knee injury. Just about then a woman and child came in. She stopped to speak to the greeter. "Is it okay if we come in?" "Sure," he said as we both looked puzzled.

She explained that it appeared someone had set the garden center afire or tried to. This sounded exciting and rather dangerous. It was no exciting and dangerous in a good way, just sort of scary. She said a camper was on fire and one of the ambulances just went screaming off to the hospital. I went out to find both ambulances gone, two big fire trucks, a fire pickup and two fire dept cars. I ventured no closer than the middle of the parking lot.

I thought maybe the people who were buying propane had problems. Another day, I found out that was not the case. BF and I drove by and checked it out. I took pictures.

A woman there at the camper was picking up pieces of the camper and insulation. She said her son had bought the camper only a week before. It seems he found a leak in the gas line when the tank exploded and caught fire or just the other way around. At any rate she said he was lucky to be alive. His coat caught on fire and his hair and eyebrows were singed.

Propane is dangerous. Those little bottles for camp stoves always make me relax. Nope, they are not safe.  I would never let a child within ten feet of propane. Of course, I have a huge propane tank on my BBQ grill, so I don't know. This experience makes me want to move it further than 2 feet from my house. When I use it, the grill is still only about four feet from the house.

I don't know if he was living in this or if he bought it for the family to travel. At any rate, check often for leaks. Better yet, let the people at the propane station check it. Or firemen will come and check it out. They did this for me once.

When I was the mother of two children and an infant, our grill exploded in a fireball as I stood before it...another story, another day.

Stay safe.

Your turn
Have you experienced any problems with propane? Do you heat with it? In what capacity do you use propane? Friends or relatives use it or had problems?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Uncle Sam Expects You . . .

Small print:
"Even the smallest backyard has room for a flock large enough to supply a house with eggs. The cost of maintaining such a flock is small. Table and kitchen waste provide much of the feed for the hens. They require little attention--only a few minutes each day.

An interested child, old enough to take a little responsibility, can care for a few fowls as well as a grown person.

Every backyard in the United States should contribute its share to a bumper crop of poultry and eggs in 1918."

This another war effort to free food for troops. It is a patriotic act.

Today, there are HOA rules and city regulations and zoning ordinances. In earlier times there were not so many restrictions as to what a person could do in the backyard, especially regarding having chickens.

For me, raising hens for eggs is a means to get eggs from grass-fed hens, hens not brutalized in factories. I don't personally know anyone else who keeps hens. Vendors at the farmer's market sometimes do keep hens. But, the only personal friend who sells at the market does not.

Two hens per person is just about right. Since I put mine out of the house, the three of them don't lay enough for me. Of course, this is their third winter. They will be 3 yrs old in March.

Your turn
Do you live in a city and have friends in the city who keep hens? Do you keep hens?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Day 2011: Part 3

How the day started:
Christmas Day 2011: Part 1

And, then it went like this:
Christmas Day 2011: Part 2

Now, for the end: Part 3

After I left the Christmas dinner, I went downtown to visit Jeff from the Food Not Bombs event to see his place at Occupy Birmingham.

For further information about this event:

There are signs for people to use who drop by
                                                        to support Occupy Birmingham.

Occupy Birmingham
Jeff is toward the back on right
A one-person room/house made of pallets and covered with blue tarps.

 A double-occupancy, guy in the left side is asleep. Note the tarps.

We had to be quiet since he had to get up and go to work in the morning.

"Practice Economic Disobedience"
You can see the pallet and tarp construction.

Finnish flag and I forgot why it is here.
Food storage area
Jeff is putting away the ham, turkey, rolls, and green beans.

I think that may be the trash can on the right.

Jeff invites everyone to follow the movement in Birmingham at Now, I will probably be detained indefinitely as a terrorist since President Obama signed the bill into law today. Just great! Tell him Linda sent you to the site.

An information station is necessary anywhere you visit.

Jeff took this picture inside his pallet house to show the shelf he built to hold his cell phone, clock and radio.
                                                     Once again, inside Jeff's "home."
                                         Christmas lights don't show up well with the flash.
More Christmas lights


There is someone making these Occupy sleeping bags. They were given to the people who are at this Occupy, so I suppose this company supplies to other Occupy site. Does anyone know? The guy who owned this particular led me to his "home" and straightened it for me, telling me I should take a picture. I could never have recognized many of the things I took pictures of that night.

Solar panel for charging cell phones, plugging in computers, and supplying light. The Christmas lights are using solar energy.

They are camped out in front of a Regions Bank in downtown Birmingham, AL.
Bottom Left says, "This is an attempt to collect debt. Any information will be used for that purpose."

Christmas tree

Guest accommodations
Obviously, people visit from other towns.
Some of these guys have jobs. All have homes but choose to sleep on this site. They are not bums. The ones who don't have a steady job work when they can at various trades.  I met Jeff about three years ago at the home where I ate Christmas dinner. When I went to the Food Not Bombs event at Southside (area of Birmingham), I invited him to the dinner. He chose to spend Christmas with the guys at Occupy Birmingham.

That was my Christmas Day. I did not make it to the burn unit at UAB hospital. Before Thanksgiving  2001 was the occasion for my writing  HOARDING LITERALLY KILLED MY BEST FRIEND.  I was there Christmas Day in 2001 and saw people who had left their homes with only the clothes on their backs and had driven 300 miles to be with loved ones who had received horrendous burns. Most years, I drop by with food (cake and candy) for the people sleeping in the lobby and waiting room. Actually, I only missed last year because I was in bed on Christmas Day. This is the only place I have seen a hospital allow sleeping in the lobby. The children know Santa might have left their toys at home. But, they cannot get home to see. Next year, I promise. It's a sad place for all. 

Your turn
Have you been to an Occupy Site? Do you know anyone who is or has been a resident of an Occupy site? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chair Caned

My first! I did it all by myself! This is a cheap and fun activity, resulting in useful chairs and stools.

When the local community college offered a one-semester course in chair caning, I signed up. The problem was--I had no chair to cane. Everyone else did. So, I set off to find a reasonably priced straight-backed chair.

This chair was originally two identical chairs. The owner told me they were over a hundred-years-old when I bought them from him about 1988 for $2 each. Maybe? At any rate, I brought them home and cannibalized one chair to form one good, whole chair. This only required a lot of strength. Nothing had to be glued because the chair is constructed with notches holding the whole thing together. Once it is reassembled, the caning will hold it together.

Yes, it creaks a bit. All the ones I sat in at relatives' houses creaked a bit, too. These were so ubiquitous in my youth. Of course, I am old! I rarely see them anymore, except in antique shops.

The chair lived on my side porch for almost twenty years. Whenever I needed extra seating in the yard, it could be gotten easily. Eventually, I asked someone to put it in the basement. When I retrieved it last week, it was in horrible shape. Okay, someone else retrieved it at my request.

Lately, water can run in my basement, something that never happened until just a few years ago. Obviously, from the look of the legs, this chair was placed in the back windowless corner, the wet corner of the basement. Exbf confirmed that when I asked him where he found the chair.

Even though I was disgusted at the sight of the legs, I sat down to do something in the yard. As you can see below, the seat had rotted because of too much moisture.

This is the result of continual dampness and my putting my ample behind down on the seat.  Now, I must evaluate the damage to the legs to determine if this is worth my time to re-cane. Maybe I will set the chair legs in buckets of borax water to make any rotting stop or prevent rot to the wood.

The wood must be thoroughly saturated and then thoroughly dried several times in order to make it rot and bug proof.

Back to caning. The cane is here, ready to go, bought several years ago for another project.

The other type caning is another post.

Your turn
Have you ever caned a chair? Do you have chairs that need re caning? Does anyone teach chair caning in your community? Have you ever used the community college as a resource for learning a practical skill?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Squirrel Tale: Evidence of a Killing Field

This squirrel tail was on the bottom step at the side door. I am perplexed. Was it a cat or raccoon? Raccoons are out mostly at night; squirrels are not. Cats are out all hours of day and night; Squirrels are only out in the day.

If this were a raccoon that did the killing, it would have struck after daylight or at least as soon as squirrels are out and about. That is a great possibility, considering my past experience of losing a hen and then a squirrel that was in the live trap. (Only the head was left in the live trap.) However, I saw a cat trying to get one of my hens.

Last Wednesday, all three of the hens were sounding a predator alarm. I ran to the door and screamed at the cat that was trying to get Thelma where she stood against the door, calling out to me for all she was worth! I screamed in a loud, coarse, boomingest voice I could manage and the cat ran away.  I am continually amazed that my hens are so smart.  Thelma actually ran to the door to either get in or get me out to help.  My throat hurt the rest of the day from the exertion of trying to really frighten the cat. I digress....

At first the squirrel tail was all I saw when I went out. Then, I noticed that skin from the behind was still attached. Then, I noticed shreds of skin. You can see the shreds to the right of the tail and above, too.
This strikes terror into my heart.  I don't know if the hens' pen is really secure. Each morning I check to see if there is any evidence of a breach of security, evidence of tampering by a raccoon.  Not losing hens is not evidence the cage works against raccoons.  Losing a hen will provide evidence that the cage is not secure.

Your turn
Do you go through this kind of agony with any of your livestock? Well, maybe your pets are in continual danger. I don't know. Do you think this kind of damage was done by a raccoon or a cat? There is no evidence that I can find to tell me if there is more of the carcass? Help!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions


Last year, I had a goal or two, not resolutions. Well, instead of losing some weight, I gained 10 lbs. I suppose I can attribute all the weight gain to further reduced activity. However, my eating habits had to be the reason I did not even lose a single pound for over a few days.

My outstanding and singular goal this year is to lose weight, so I don't develop diabetes or other conditions, exacerbate injuries with weight, and generally look lots better in my skin and clothing.  Yes, looks counts for me, but not as much as my health.

Generally, I do want to improve my status with:
weight loss
growing more food
getting rid of extraneous things in my house
reducing clutter (different than above goal)
dehydrating/canning more
improving my social life

The last may need explaining--improving my social life. Mark and I played backgammon one night. I need the playing or board or card games. I also need to rid my life of negative people, downers who see "keeping hens" below them. Now, these people have nothing and eat prepared food, spending way too much money on food, money they do not have. They ridicule my education and professionalism and have started being bullies when I am out and in their presence in a church setting--the free dinner. One slimy guy wants to comfort a few of us women.

All the fine Christians make fun of me just because I don't go to church. Way to go, people. These are welfare cases. The other free dinner is filled with my friends from 35 years ago who are retired professionals. We see each other often in passing at the grocery store and cultural events. We have real conversations. Retired doctors, attorneys, school teachers  come to the dinner to eat. Politicians come to politick. lol They all love my hen-keeping. Okay, maybe they are just too polite to ridicule

It appears that being physically and mentally healthy and happy are my main goals in life. Well, that makes all the difference in performance in other goals I have defined on paper or in my head.

I hope this was not a downer post.

Your turn
Do you have resolutions or goals that you can share? Have any of your resolutions involved getting away from negative elements in your life? Is avoidance a goal? Is prioritizing your health through better eating habits on your list? I am looking forward to 60 comments on this post and questions. Will you help me reach my goal of sixty comments?