Monday, October 26, 2015

Not Much Doings

Howdy, Y'all.
In my last post, I said Summer hadn't got the memo that Fall is here. Fall did make itself known this past week. Tom even turned on the furnace yesterday for its trial run. (It's fine. And all the dust is now burned off, so even better when we do have to have it.)
Sam's truck wasn't quite as fixed as we thought it was. It ran almost a week, then, on his next day for class... he called and said he was having to have it towed. $100 and a new fuel filter later, it was running fine. Until Mr. C drove it to work. It is still sitting in the parking lot there, having stopped running (again!) as he was on his way home for lunch. Mr C has spent three days troubleshooting- and one or two more tests will determine if it is the fuel pump. A second $100 was spent on a fuel pump relay- so if  the new relay isn't bad- it is looking more and more like the fuel pump. Meanwhile, we are sharing two vehicles getting four people to work.
Mr C's routine is being disrupted for the next 3 weeks. A class from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Mondays through Fridays. Eight hour days instead of ten... so an extra day to get up. Not that he isn't already UP... but they have thrown off his groove. Mondays are grocery store days, and running errands. Mowing the lawn (Which is about done for the year, anyway) and house hunting online.
For "my birthday present", I went to town and hit Hancock Fabrics and the Hobby Lobby. I got a big three ring binder, and fabric and padding to make my own custom photo album. I also got a 12x12 "photo album" and refills at Hobby Lobby. I wasn't paying good enough attention, and ended up with scrapbook pages- 50 sheets of 12x12 plastic covers that aren't sectioned off to hold photos. (I remedied that by ordering some photo pages to fit the 12x12 album from Amazon!)
I also got some fleece to make a stuffed animal for a grandbaby. I know what I WANT it to look like, but I am not always successful on translating my vision to actual fabric. Looking on Pinterest for patterns just gave me even more ideas.
 Yesterday, I got my sewing machine out, but before I could set it up, I went in search of the iron. I THOUGHT I knew just where it was in the pit of despair laundry room. Mr C had teased earlier that he guessed he was going to have to clean up his own dresser, since he had given me quite a few weeks and I hadn't done it. His dresser is in the laundry room. The laundry room here not only holds his dresser, but a full sized mechanics rolling tool box, a six foot chest freezer (for those of you who may have six foot chests), a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, a kitchen Mini-island/ microwave stand, a small portable storage pantry, a dehydrator, and a closet overflowing with items that I refuse to take to storage. (The storage unit isn't climate controlled, and all my books come out mildewed, and photos ruined.) There is a whole lot more stuff in this room, which is more of a garage than an actual laundry room, as we lack an actual garage. ANYWAY- the room is a perpetual disaster area. I couldn't find the iron. I chided myself: "What are you doing starting a fun project when this room looks like this?"
  Tom was off working on Sam's truck, but Dan was here. I set him to lugging and toting.. and we emptied the room of all but the major appliances and stuff inside the closet. By the time Tom got back, the entire living room and kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off, as I had stuff stacked everywhere. With his and the boys help, I scrubbed the room down, pushing appliances away from the walls and sweeping and mopping. I did some rearranging... and eventually most of the stuff found its way back into the laundry room. (I found the iron!) And left out my three totes of crafting and sewing supplies. I can work on my photo album cover this afternoon without guilt!
  This morning, I took people to their jobs, then bought a small supply of groceries. Mostly, it was NOT groceries, but cleaning supplies we were out of. I would think it weird that we run out of all the cleansers at the same time- but we really don't. We run out of something, and substitute some other product, until it too, runs out. We continue substituting things until we are out of everything... so it seems we have to buy it all at once.
I suppose I will get started on my projects. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"To Infinity... and Beyond!" (Or at least the year ahead...)

This week marked my 55th birthday! Thank you to all who remembered it.
My birthday buddy, Kimber Ann turned six. I am trying to keep up with the grands birthdays- and get each a gift. Keeping it under $20 is hard. I have sent magazine subscriptions to some- to remind them CowGranny and Umpaw think of them all year, NOT just on their birthdays. I try to keep the parents in mind as well... some tolerate small piece toys such as Legos better than others. :) .
In a few weeks, Dakota and Althea have birthdays. It looks like we may be abandoning the Individuals to fend for themselves this Thanksgiving. (As we once did Ben and Tommy.) Mr C has his final week of vacation, and wants to go to Ohio. (Where he can watch Ohio State beat that team up North). Anyway, while there, I am hoping to have a party for his 60th birthday. Phase one! It will be more than a month early, but will be a chance for his family to gather and join in the celebration. With the boys staying home, we won't have to take Jaffa along. (He DOES know when he is being left behind. It upsets him.)
Then, Phase TWO! On Tom's actual birthday, the kids are going to all try to be here on Dec. 27th. December birthdays are hard- everyone already has Christmas plans and such. (I can talk birthday plans here... Mr C read my blog ONCE, several years ago.)
Daniel and Sam are talking of trying their winter hike that they missed doing last year, while Sam is out of school for Winter break. Just over 200 miles, and that here in Arkansas.
The detox has been a rollercoaster. I went off completely while visiting in Texas the one weekend. I went off for my birthday- not that I got any treats other than wine, and a flour tortilla! I can't say I have noticed feeling any better. That is, until I went OFF the program. Then I felt awful. So it must be doing me good, right? "They" say the first several days of detox makes you feel like you have flu. I felt like I had flu after the tortillas, and wine.
Oh yeah, I also fell off the program at work... those hushpuppies! After last Friday, I ought to be cured of my hushpuppie addiction. I make the pups. I am supposed to try one, and have another person try one. (Over the course of a typical Friday night, I usually eat several.) My test one was HORRIBLE! Apparently, a lump of salt managed to stay intact until I bit into mine. Nothing like an unexpected mouthful of salt to send you spitting into the trash can! I was afraid I had ruined the entire batch, but no one else got a salty one. Good for the customers that I got the ONE bad one. And good for me- my brain decided I could avoid further snacking on hushpuppies! (Another good: I work ONE night a week!)
I am growing accustomed to the taste of stevia. At first, I just couldn't stand it at all. Becky told me it is probably the aftertaste of whatever they mixed with the stevia that I don't like. I researched stevia online, and came to the conclusion that if I were not using it as a sweetener, I should be taking it as a supplement. It is actually GOOD for you, and sweetness is a side benefit. So I got the purest form I could find- and really, it isn't nearly as bad when it isn't mixed with carriers. It seemed expensive, a little salt-shaker sized bottle was over $12. But I compared it to white sugar prices- and found out that serving to serving, they are about the same price. The little bottle of powdered stevia has as much sweet in it as two and a half BIG bags of sugar.
Learning to cook without flour and sugar has been getting easier. By "flour", I mean the typical ground grains. I use almond flour, coconut flour, and (some) rice flour. I use vegetables in place of pasta products. (I can't believe how much the guys all LOVE the pizza crust made from cauliflower.)
Perhaps by the end of the year, I will have some weight loss. (Not GAINING is a positive!)
That's about all from here... I am officially a "senior citizen" now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October! (Wait, WHAT? It's already the middle of October!)

It seems fall is ambling along masquerading as summer. With weather still quite warm, it is a debate some days as to whether we will turn on the AC or not.
Fall still hasn't settled into a routine... unless lack of routine is the new normal.
Just over a week ago, I had a call from Chris. We chatted the allotted time, during which Mr C came home for lunch. I reviewed Chris' call with him, and Mr C remarked how we needed to get to see Chris more often. It had been nearly a year since I last saw him, and the previous time was more than THREE years back.
I spoke to Becky, who hadn't seen Chris in quite awhile. She would like to go with me on a visit. She arranged child care with "Granola" (Thank you SO much, Nola!). The best time for both of us was either immediately, or quite a distance down the road. We opted for immediately.  So, last Thursday I headed to Texas.
On the way down, I made a spontaneous decision to stop in Shawnee to see if I could find where my great grandparents were buried, and where my Great Granny Daisy Gibson had lived. I knew the house was gone. OK, last time I was at Great Granny's house I was not quite 10 years old. Shawnee has grown tremendously in the last 45+ years. From the freeway (Which probably didn't exist in 1970!) there are five (Three, sir!) exits. I chose one at random. I remembered the cemetery had large rock walls surrounding it, and knew GG's house was west of the main road where the cemetery was located. If you ever read Dean Koontz, you have probably heard of psychic magnetism. I seem to have the same ability as Odd Thomas in that regard. I drove down the highway, hoping to see the rock walls. Suddenly, there they were- but on the opposite side of the road I had expected. So I was in the wrong lane entirely... and the gates were closed. But being in the wrong lane meant the GG's house should be an easy right turn, and over a block or so. I turned... and sure enough, found where her house had stood. It was a tiny, tiny lot- I doubt anyone would THINK of building on one so small these days. Turning around, I went back to Fairview Cemetery.      

As I wandered around with my camera, the maintenance crew asked if I needed assistance. They marked off where the graves should be, and assisted me in locating them. I learned that Beard's actually founded Shawnee. I didn't stay long, but was glad to "pay my respects".

I stopped overnight at my Mom's house, where Tommy met me. We hung out with my Mom and Ralph for the evening. It was such an abbreviated visit! The next morning, I forced Mom to go to Aldis with me. (I think she may go back!) Then I was on the road to Becky's. Ben and Paula were at Becky's and Stephen's... waiting the long overdue Mom! When one takes a shortcut, one should never take for granted one will
"remember" the exact way... I forgot a zigzag in Coleman... and ended up almost back to Abilene before I realized my mistake. (Add an hour and 20 minutes on for the shortcut!)
Ben and Paula didn't stay too late, as Ben had to work Saturday, and Becky and I were hoping to be on the road by 4:00.

It was actually closer to 4:30 before we were finally underway.
We hadn't gotten terribly far- the second town past Becky's house- creeping along at the town's very slow speed limit, trying to see the lanes (Boy, do they need to repaint the stripes!) when suddenly- THERE WAS A DEER!
I couldn't avoid it- I hit a wee small deer. It wasn't much bigger than a medium sized dog. I pulled over to check for damages... there were no damages! And looked for the deer. It was gone. So whether I just knocked it over and the body of the car passed over it, or whether it was injured to the point it hobbled away and died, we don't know. I know the tires didn't hit it.
The rest of the trip was without incident.
It was Picture Day, which we didn't know before we arrived. I got the first "good" picture of Chris in more than six years. It was good to get to visit. I wish it were not so far to travel- or that I could of stayed overnight.

Since we had traveled all that way, and were only another 45 miles to the Gulf- Becky and I headed down to spend a few minutes on the beach. Sadly, the wait for the Port Aransas ferry was 90 minutes. Becky and I both needed a potty break- so we turned around. After grabbing a bite to eat and relieving ourselves, we drove to the Corpus Christi end of Mustang Island. There was much going on in Corpus- we were on a minor surface street, and got quite turned about. It probably took us a good hour and a quarter to find the causeway to the island. Once we were actually on the beach, we didn't have much time. Becky did a bit of wading... her first time to get to play in the waves without having to keep an eagle eye on children! There were almost NO shells along the beach- most of the ones were saw were happily occupied by the pretty little mussels we watched burrow beneath the sand with each incoming wave. All too soon, we had to face the five and a half hour drive back.
We walked in the door, wiped the salt water residue from our bodies, and collapsed into bed.  It was a wonderful, first time ever Mom-Daughter road trip.
Sunday, we decided to just visit with Ben and Paula, rather than go to church. Tyrel opted for church with Granola, Stephen had to work, so Becky and I and the girls went to San Angelo. It was dark as we got back... and I had to head home early Monday.

Whether it was from going off the detox program and eating all sorts of sugar and flour foods, or whether I caught a mild gastrointestinal bug... I had a MISERABLE drive. With numerous stops. I made it to mom's house shortly after noon. She fed me soup, and gave me the cutest shovel bird for a birthday present.

 I headed out before 1:30... my planned route altered due to construction warnings and lane closures. And so much for altering plans to avoid construction and lane closures. After enduring something like 200 traffic lights (do not even SUSPECT I exaggerate!) and 80+ miles of road construction (with lane closures, flagmen, and one spot that even had the highway dug down to compacted soil with NO pavement!)... I made it home after 8:00pm.
Yesterday was back to the detox program.
 Sam called in the late afternoon. He had been headed to school (after work!) when his truck just stopped running. As we were already down to three vehicles for four people, it is good I was home with the car! A friend helped Sam get it towed home. Mr C took off early and also assisted. Today, I am the chauffeur. Tom studied some YouTube videos... and found a reset button on Sam's truck this afternoon. It started and ran! So, MAYBE? it is fixed.
This has been a long one... but you are caught up with me now! Write me a letter, give me a call, send me a card... or even comment here! Thanks for reading!