WAY BACK MACHINE

My friend Sandra recently told us about a WONDERFUL site called the WAY BACK MACHINE.

Many years ago I “LOST” my original blog, 3 Sides of Crazy to hijackers and GOOGLE said I couldn’t provide enough “PROOF” that it was mine to get it back. LOL I purchased the domain from them directly, but that didn’t matter to them so I moved my whole platform to WordPress and moved on with my life. That was how I became “CHASING MY LIFE”.

So I was interested enough to see if I could see something from my original blog and I put in a random date. I was rewarded with this sweet memory.

January 26, 2013 from the WAY BACK MACHINE

“Happy times!  This is my aunt who recently passed with me and her daughter Jenn at one of our favorite places, Galveston Island.  All our lives Jenn and I would go down there and collect shells off the beach.  It isn’t that easy these days with the weird growth along the shore line, but back then we walk on the sea wall, collect shells from the water’s edge and just basque in the winter water. You can’t see it in this pictures, but we’re barefoot LOL I’m holding my socks. I also still have every shell that I keep in a crystal bowl. Sharon had Parkinsons disease. Her mobility continued to go downhill from here so this is the last picture I have of us “having fun” like this. Thank goodness for tripods and timers so we could all be in the picture together.”

STILL LUCKY

10 YEARS ago I wrote the following post. The weeks leading up to it were some of the most difficult of my life. I struggled with whether to go public or not. In the end, I’m glad I did. Now 10 years later as I prepared during a pandemic to have my momentous follow-up exam I worried. I realized I was actually scared. You see I hadn’t told even my husband about the potential of the cancer in the beginning and I had faced that testing and visit alone. But, when I got home and told him, things changed. There was not one visit to the doctor or test that I did alone. He accompanied to EVERY single one. Now here we are and he isn’t allowed to accompany me. I have to admit it concerned me to face it alone. But, he drove me there and stayed in the car, I wasn’t actually alone, it just felt like it because of the pandemic protocols. Fortunately, my fear was just that FEAR, but unfounded or not it seemed like a good time to re-run this post and the beautiful story of Lucky the dog. 😀

I’ve been struggling with a way to get back into the swing of things here in blogland. You see just 2 months ago today I was struck with those words that we all fear hearing from our doctor. You know,  any phrase that includes the words cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. For me it was the worst Christmas present imaginable so I persevered and didn’t really let on to most of the family in the beginning – no sense ruining anyone else’s holidays since no further testing could be scheduled until after Christmas. 

You truly do go through the 5 stages of grief augmented with periods of disbelief and a lack of comprehension.  It doesn’t matter how well schooled you are or how intelligent you are, those words hit you like a ton of bricks.

Last year when I began my food blog, Always Eat On The Good China (now morphed into Savory Kitchen Table), I developed the name after reading a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote when she knew she was dying from cancer.  I even put a quote from her on my side bar that I found extremely poignant.

It was around that same time that I had an appendicitis attack – I still had my appendix and it had been chronic since I was 9 years old.  Or at least I thought I was having an appendicitis attack.  We now know that I was having pain from my ovary that was growing into what was being described as a cantalouped size mass.

Fortunately for me at my well woman exam the nurse practitioner noticed what she thought was an enlarged uterus and she ordered an ultrasound because she feared uterine cancer.

The ultrasound was on the Tuesday after Christmas. The words changed, but stayed the same, cancer was still in the phrase, but now it was ovarian cancer.  To it they added terms like tumor and oncologist.

My brand new doctor (I’d never met him prior to the ultrasound tech calling him into the exam) in a brand new town thought I was in shock because I didn’t cry and react hysterically. He just didn’t know  me well enough to know I was really okay.  But, I’m a fixer, so my next phrase is always, what next?  What next turned out to be a referral to MD Anderson Cancer Center and an oncologist, whom I adore by the way!.  She and her team made it possible for me to stay both positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Motto is “making cancer history” which struck me as the right positive note for me.

The next 2 weeks and 5 days were a whirlwind of blood draws, X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, chemical stress tests, consultations, clearances and…I underwent surgery on the 1st knowing full well all the fine print, legal jargon and potential pitfalls of this diagnosis.  I also knew that because of the size, I would awake to only a possible pathology.  I awoke to hear things like “self-contained”, “non-invasive cancer” and “surveillance” as well as that the cantaloupe was actually a volleyball with a balloon twist.  While we are still awaiting final pathology I am now at home after a week in the hospital and catering to the whims of a 10 inch zipper through multiple layers of muscle and the needs to get my energy back and regenerate the tissue.

With that, for now, I’ll leave you with this email story that crossed my desk.  True or not, it’s heart warming and endearing and worth the read.  I choose to believe in the bright and positive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’ 

Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body  felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.

He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.

Lucky… He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember….live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! 
Live simply. 
Love seriously. 
Care deeply. 
Speak kindly. 
Leave the rest to God.

2021 A New Year and ALL the Possibilities

2020 has taught me to really appreciate life and all it has to offer as well as ALL it has to throw at me with a positive attitude.  There is always something to be thankful for – even when bad things happen.

While we have some control in our life, we are NOT IN control, God is!  I am stronger than I give myself credit for MOST of the time and when I’m not, it is perfectly fine to ask for help from others in my life, those that love me will help even in the worst of times. The acts of prayer and faith can give me the strength to overcome my own thoughts, doubts and fears.

So with all of this in mind, I’m entering 2021 with a renewed spirit and faith that it WILL be a better year!

AT 12:01 AM tomorrow morning IT WILL OFFICIALLY BE THE FIRST TIME EVER THAT HINDSIGHT IS OFFICIALLY 2020!

Just 3 years ago I underwent life changing surgery that they promised me would get easier and better to live with as time went on. I’m here to tell you that this was only partially true 🙁 SOME days I feel “normal” and can even eat relatively normal, but MOST days I’m still afraid to eat most things and I’m still having some severe reactions that can shut down my day at a moment’s notice.

So, when my friend Martha over at Seaside Simplicity suggested replacing resolutions with 30 day challenges I had to jump in with both feet in an effort to “regulate” my life and have an element of control over my life in general. I’ll even pop back in periodically with a progress report to hold myself accountable.

I don’t normally do “resolutions” per se, but if ever there was a year that needed to be changed it would be 2020.  So for 2021 we’ll call it “life style” changes for the better.

She gave a suggestion link to 100 different ideas to do as 30 day challenges. The challenges were listed with a side note of easy, medium or hard.  As I went through the list I found 19 that I already do:

  • Menu Plan
  • Morning & Bedtime Routines
  • Set a list of Daily Priorities
  • No Alcohol
  • No sugar & No Fast Food – this one gets a side note – sometimes this is just plain unavoidable especially during the pandemic if you had to travel at all, but this is NOT a way of life for me.
  • Stopped watching the news.
  • No credit cards.
  • Started multiple blogs
  • No smoking
  • Make or Build something
  • Make bed daily
  • Practice Gratitude – Pay It Forward
  • Random Act of Kindness
  • Talk to a Stranger – something I do that irritates hubby to no end sometimes!
  • Take a photo EVERY day – also something I do that irritates hubby to the other end sometimes!
  • Read Everyday – I always read as I fall asleep and in the car and in waiting rooms…

And another 66 I don’t want to do 😀 EVER

So that leaves these 15 or so that I am going to try and incorporate into 2021. There will obviously be some overlap since there are only 12 months in a year, not to mention we are hopeful for a BIG move for a new project house in 2021, but I will start with this list and all the good intentions hat go with it. I’ll then adapt as necessary as some are more involved than others. Many are also not just 30 day challenges, but lifestyle changes to be incorporated into a daily life.

  • Keep a Daily Food & Sugar Level Journal so I can continue trying to figure out trigger foods and/or times to avoid the dumping syndrome reactions as well as the hypoglycemic reactions caused by trying to eat “normal” food.
  • Learn to Program this is something that has always intrigued me and I know just enough to work my blog and get myself into trouble sometimes 🙂 so would like to know more.
  • Meditate this is something that I think will help with my health issues and food issues if I could learn to slow down and take things easier on myself.
  • Detox House I really want to be more ecologically responsible with using simple vinegar based cleaning products and staying away from chemically produced products. I’ll be making my own dryer sheets with essential oils and things like this.
  • Learn A New Skill… oil painting, wood burning... Learn to Draw This is also something I’ve always wanted to do better.  Included in this category is learning to paint with alcohol inks.
  • Write in my Journal Daily This category will also help with the meditation I think. I’ll split my time between a regular journal and my faith based journaling. I already do meal plan journaling.
  • Cook a New Recipe Every day This category is one that is ALMOST one I already do, but I want to do even better at. BUT, EVERY day is a super stretch as it leaves no room for pizza or hubby cooking so I’ll settle for 3 weeks out of the month or so. 😀
  • Practice Minimalism As we prepare for the BIG move this one is really important to me. I’m beginning with the Christmas decorations and sorting to donate a good portion of the decorations and artificial tree.
  • Eat Vegan (plant based) for a Month This category is going to take some research, not to mention some coercing on hubby’s part, but I really think there could be some serious health benefits by doing this.
  • 10,000 steps daily I’m usually pretty close to this, but I want to make a concentrated effort for the DAILY part of this statement.
  • Burpees daily & Whole Body Fitness Challenge We joined a gym last year and then the pandemic hit so never got into a good routine. This too will require a little research at first, not to mention some serious discipline to do it at home, but is TOTALLY doable!
  • Clean Up Digital Clutter We really need new computers, something I’m trying to put off until after the move and after I clean up all the files and photos. But, I also want to clean up my blogs and their recipe categories.

2 YEARS LATER…

It has been 2 years, but I ran across the post below this morning by accident and it bears repeating. THIS! This is not something we we will ever really recover from – financially (in the end he swindled us for over 65,000 dollars), health wise (my health deteriorated with multiple infections that are at times ongoing and resulted in hospitalization and surgery before it was all over) or heart wise (your heart is never supposed to break from the actions of a blood relative who claims to have your best interest at heart). It does serve as a stark reminder though of how strong I CAN be… SO I am re-posting this as a reminder of that strength and perseverance.

 WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST, BUT WAS THE FINAL WRAP-UP POST ON THIS HOUSE FROM HELL

While I was cleaning up the kitchen and dinner dishes recently I realized I’ve been posting quite a few recipes, but have been severely lacking on my actual “writing” about what is going on in our lives. For years I have worked really hard at keeping this an eternally optimistic blog full of grace for the great and wonderful blessings in my life, always trying to live by the old rule, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. BUT, there comes a time to call out the crazy acrimonious instigators and tell it like it is, if for no other reason than to get it out of my head so I can be more at peace.

Well, today is the 2 1/2 year mark (though it feels like 10 years), the house is sold and we are completely packed and CANNOT WAIT to have this horrific experience in our rear view mirror.

You all know my categories for this place, A HOUSE FROM HELL, REHABBING GRAMS & GRAMPS HOUSE, CHRONICLES OF MY MISGUIDED COUSIN BETH which fit REALLY well, but in the 2+ years since we started this project there are a few tags that could be added that now fit even better like GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX, THE FOX IS LOOSE IN THE HEN HOUSE, NO BALLS COUSIN and LOONEY TUNE UNCLE.

ALL of this is so sad to admit, you never want to believe the worst about your own family. This experience has lent credence to the adage that family isn’t always blood, but those you chose to love. It still baffles me that anyone can turn their back on their family, their own flesh and blood, for money which is exactly what my uncle did when my aunt passed away and he took up with the apparent GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX.

He became an even more arrogant, egotistical and abusive cheating bastard after taking up with her. Almost immediately she had his power of attorney and things took an immediate turn for the worse as they tried to swindle us beyond belief. After hiring an attorney we were able to force the sale, but are still losing a ton money on the deal. My uncle used us and our skills as well as our cash to get the work done on the house and then tried to evict us claiming we had done nothing to better the property. Fortunately, I kept a chronological progress here on the blog, every receipt to the tune of over $50,000.00 and a detailed log of hours which adds up to over $200,000.00 of labor. So, unfortunately, my blood uncle did swindle us in the end, but worse than that he abused a sacred blood relationship.

The definition of swindle is: swindle – to use unscrupulous trickery or deception to defraud others or cheat someone to obtain money or other assets.

Many of you remember how disheartened we were when we arrived here to find NOT what we were told, but the HOUSE FROM HELL full of…well just FULL and filthy! It was a rodent’s dream AND it was a hoarder’s nest. It was full to the rafters and even the rafters were full and so was the backyard and the garage.

The agreement with my uncle was that the house was ours for a discounted price if we came to help clean it out and care for my aunt. He was offering to help get us back on our feet after the cancer, surgeries, VA claim issues and health issues. Ironically, if he really loved me he would have never exposed me to this house which ultimately left me with the bacterial infections one after another that culminated in my bypass surgery. Supposedly we were going to use our abilities in the process of helping him and make some money for us too, NOT end up completely upside down and worse off than when we got here both financially and physically not to mention we never even had a chance to work on the VA red tape mess.

Here are the BEFORE and beginning AFTER pictures to refresh your memory

So on to the before and after pictures. Hubby is upset that the before pictures don’t truly show how HORRIBLY DISGUSTING this place really was. I just hope the after pictures show how truly GREAT it is now – it really is turn key now!

MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM BEFORE
There was “STUFF” everywhere! The walls where all stained from who knows what and the carpeting was full of melted wax and cigarette burns even in the closet. I have to say that my cousin was evidently suffering from some form of mental illness because this is NOT how she was raised!
The picture above is what I got out of the bedroom carpet on the first pass of available floor with my Rainbow Water Vacuum. Disgusting does not begin to describe how it looked or felt. Below was just one of the cracks to be repaired that was caused by the foundation issues.
The master bathroom didn’t look too bad until you looked close or opened a door and saw all the mold in the wood. So, it ended up getting gutted too. It took me 2 weeks, but I did get the tile clean in the shower, but we still need to find someone to professionally refinish the tile.
MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM LATE 2016

Finally a new window and completed bedroom. We used wainscotting floor to ceiling for the new bathroom walls.
SPARE BEDROOM BEFORE
The spare bedroom was stacked to the ceiling with junk! It also housed much of her “business” food products. What was the city thinking when they gave her a food license to operate out of this house? Not to mention it is completely against the H.O.A. rules and regulations for this neighborhood. In the photo below the bottom left hand corner was mouse droppings. YUCK!!
SPARE BEDROOM late 2016
KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY AREA BEFORE
THERE WAS “STUFF” EVERYWHERE. NOT ONE CABINET WAS CLEAN OR ORGANIZED .
THE CABINET HANDLES THAT WHERE THERE WERE GREASE AND DUST COATED. THE CABINET DOORS WERE HANGING BY A THREAD.

THE REFRIGERATOR WAS FULL OF SPOILED AND SPILLED FOOD, MILDEW AND MOLD – A SERIOUS SCIENCE PROJECT IN THE MAKING AND ONE THAT THIS IMMUNITY CHALLENGED GIRL WAS HAVING NO PART OF. THE SEAL ON THE REFRIGERATOR DID NOT WORK AND HAD BEEN LEAKING OUT FOR SOME TIME. THE FREEZER WAS ANOTHER ISSUE TRYING TO GET THINGS OUT SINCE THEY HAD FROZEN INTO ONE BIG GLOB BECAUSE OF THE LEAKING SEAL.
This is the pantry floor as clean as it would get! We scraped off all the linoleum and sanitized the foundation before re-flooring.
BEHIND THESE DOORS (which are off their hinges and just propped there) IS THE LAUNDRY AREA AND ONE OF THE SCARIEST LOOKING AREAS. THERE WAS A RATS NEST UNDER THE COLLAPSING, NOT TO CODE WATER HEATER base. THE DRYER WAS NOT VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE AND HAD NOT BEEN FOR SOME TIME AS THE LINT WAS EVERYWHERE AND THE WASHER LEAKED LIKE A SIEVE!

This 10 pound bag of sugar was spilled ALL over a pantry shelf and was one of the biggest sources for the ants, cockroaches and mice.
KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY LATE 2016
STUDIO BEFORE
STUDIO 2017
ATRIUM BEFORE
unfortunately we can’t seem to find the picture that shows this room stacked 10 feet tall of papers, cabinets and “crap” so have to start with this empty picture.
ATRIUM late 2016
FOYER BEFORE
The door would no longer open due to the foundation issues and she used this 24 square feet (8×3) as a “CAT BOX” area. I hate to admit that this was the MOST disgusting of ALL the house and required several bottles of hydrogen peroxide etcher after we removed the toxic 2 layers of tiles.
FOYER 2017
New floor, new door and new paint are done and looking good. I LOVE how much light the new door lets in.
LIVING ROOM BEFORE
These are cracks, tears and stains in the atrium/living room carpeting.
It took weeks/months to get the living room to this organized point LOL. Notice the crack near the vent? It went all the way to the floor and was 3 inches wide. It is also why we waited over 3 months for the highly recommended dry wall guy that turned out to be a HUGE joke. The picture below is the living room after we finally got it emptied and ready to start painting.
This is one of 3 sections of the living room carpet that had melted candle wax all over it. She had just arranged the furniture over it.
LIVING ROOM late 2016
We made built in cabinets in the living room to hold things like the DVD player, WiiU, movies and games, etc…
I could not get Whiskey to move so she’s in the picture! There are still many Christmas things sitting around as I get them pack up to put away, but all in all it’s looking good.
SPARE BATH BEFORE

There was a funky built in area above the tub for linens that needed to be removed and the walls had to be re-done after the 2 layers of wall paper were removed and the wall board was peeling away.

SPARE BATH 3017
GARAGE BEFORE
This was after hubby spent 4 weeks cleaning and and making a path for donation and trash.
GARAGE late 2016
Hubby has done wonders at creating a neat and organized garage!

It took months to get to this freezer and then weeks to get into it. The key wouldn’t work! Turns out the seal had failed and there was a HUGE layer of ice sealing it shut. It then took hubby days to chip away ALL the ice and bag the food that was there. We are SO thankful for our trash guys. For a case of beer and soda twice a week and some “special” bottles at Christmas they took ALL we gave them. Way more than they were supposed to or should have. We thank them for going ABOVE and BEYOND!

ATTIC
From this point in the attic you can turn 3 directions, but they all look about the same. We got as much stuff out of the attic as the house it seemed. It is now ALMOST empty except for some insulation that needs bagged and the storage boxes I added just around the opening for when we move.
I tried to salvage these globes covered in nicotine and dirt, but in the end it was a lost cause.
JUST A TYPICAL TRASH DAY. It looked like this, sometimes double this EVERY! trash day (2 times a week) for 9 months!
The wiring had to be all re-done as gramps and possibly Beth’s boyfriend, Tom had done some really scary Mickey Mouse jobs that left us thankful the place hadn’t been burnt to the ground. We found an awesome Electrician and while Tommy was expensive, he is a Master Electrician and left us with a safe feeling allowing us to sleep at night.

This was the path hubby created through to the back gate.

Did I ever mention that the neighbor next door in a 2 story tried to buy this place because he loved the floor plan, but my uncle wouldn’t sell until the foundation work was done? In ALL honestly this house would still be sitting here in the same condition we found it if we hadn’t come long when we did. Unfortunately for us it appears my uncle does NOT appreciate any of this. He still wants more money than it was worth and said if he’d realized it’s condition, he would have just dumped it. If that is the case I have to wonder why he didn’t sell to the next door neighbor to begin with and honestly if he’s going to “DUMP” it why not do so to the people who spent the money for the parts and labor AND did the back breaking work for over a year?

Here are the FINAL AFTER pictures of an empty sold house:

I would like to say I am thankful for this experience and the lessons learned, but I just can’t. I do know grams is no longer turning in her grave over what her son and his daughter allowed her home to become because we have restored it and made it better. The girl scout in me has taken over though and we are better people for having done the right thing by family and are DEFINITELY leaving it better than we found it.

I can say I am glad it’s over and after taking some serious time to rehab at the gym and in the pool to regain my strength this summer elsewhere, we will move forward to something better FAR FAR AWAY from any influence of my caustic, toxic, back stabbing uncle who gave such a wonderful speech at our first Christmas about how lucky they all were that we came to the rescue when they were in over their heads because of my Aunt’s Alzheimers and dementia after my cousin died and left this place such a shambles. He went on and on about how he would make it worth our while because he had no real idea what an F***ing Pig his daughter was until we spent months just cleaning out the place to begin this project. Calling his daughter, my cousin an F***ing pig were his words, not mine, but then he turned around and literally swindled us out of our time, my health, our trust and our money.

My rant is done. I know Karma and God will take care of the rest.

HOW ARE YOU FILLING YOUR TIME AT HOME?

Our old real estate agent sent us an email recently with a few ideas on indoor and outdoor projects for keeping busy during the pandemic and I thought I’d share some of those.

I hope that you and those you love are staying safe and keeping busy. Literally the world over, people are trying to find creative ways to fill their idle time and be productive at home – getting things done around the house, delving into those hobbies and activities they always think about but never have a chance to explore, and spending some good old-fashioned quality time with their family.

HOME IMPROVEMENT
BRAIN GAMES
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
  • Outdoor Fun
    • Play hide-and-seek
    • Jump rope
    • Play hopscotch
    • Draw sidewalk chalk art
    • Fly a kite
    • Take a bike ride
    • Go roller skating
  • Indoor Activities

FYI to make you smile!

I’m sitting here watching football with hubby and there was a commercial for a “NATIONAL” pinata day and hubby was like that’s not a thing!  I just laughed and pulled out the laptop to look it up. 😀  Not only was it National Pinata Day, but I found a site for National Day Calendar that will tell you what ANY given day is a “NATIONAL” thing of day.

2019 SNOWMAGEDDON update

So while the power is on and the internet is cooperating I’m going to do a quick update.  Hubby had been saying how disappointed he was that snow had been on the forecast all month, but never really materialized.  Well, I’m here to tell you BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

We’re accustomed to snow, lots of it even from our time in the U.P., but unfortunately this little town wasn’t!  They are used to a couple inches that melts away fairly quickly.  It would have been okay and even a little bit funny if it hadn’t happened ALL at once and taken down thousands of trees and the power too!  I was never this cold even during the long winters of the Upper Peninsula… Here we are a week later and still have several inches covering everything.

Hubby tried to keep the walkway cleaned off, but every time he’d finish it would start snowing again.  At one point during the 3 day outage it was warmer in the refrigerator than the house and it continued to snow even more with tons of road closures all hampering the repair crews and their efforts to restore power.  Even the cell towers took a beating leaving us with compromised communication.  My neighbor and I resorted to throwing snowballs at each other’s window to get each other’s attention. 

During daylight hours we would use the cars to charge up phones and electronics which would also help melt the snow off the cars while we sat there getting a little bit warm and charging up. I braved it and walked over to talk with my neighbor.  Neighbors checked on each other and banded together as necessary.  Some were kinda stupid running propane heaters in houses that had gas pilots, letting their kids go out and get cold and wet with no way to warm them back up or take their cars where they couldn’t get out without making a HUGE slushy, icy mess.

I have to tell you 2019 Snowmageddon will not be forgotten ANY time soon.  Remote rural areas will NOT even be restored for weeks to come. 

When we finally left the house we were so surprised by just how many trees and I mean BIG trees had fallen onto and over roadways, onto power lines, houses, cars…  Clean up will take some time!  The sun made an appearance on Friday for a few hours and it felt heavenly, but other than that it has usually only appeared at the end of the afternoon in time to start setting.

SNOW DELAY

We had just enough snow to make a mess and slow things down.  It was a wet, cold snow – the kind that sticks to everything.  There was a 2 hour school delay and the roads are icy.

It is so pretty when it starts.

And then it ends up EVERYWHERE! I’m not sure what’s in the bird bath – guess we’ll have to wait for a thaw to find out.

It’s a good day for some homemade cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  We have more ice/snow predicted for several more days over the next 10 days so I think I’m going to be a homebody and make soups, stews and jams. 😀

RECOVERY IN PROGRESS UPDATE DAY 180

It’s hard to believe we are at the 6 month mark. Sometimes it feels like it’s been 10 years already. Then when I try to eat something I’m not yet ready for I realize, it’s just been a very short time in the realm of relearning how to eat.

PROGRESS REPORT

So, for some weird AND unknown reason many food smells that were once welcoming AND comforting now turn my stomach. The doctor says this is fairly normal, but CANNOT answer why it is “normal”. Some of the once loved foods that I can no longer stand to be around are:

  • hard boil eggs
  • pancakes
  • cabbage
  • sausage

I also cannot eat much bread, potatoes or rices because they take up too much space in my egg sized portion of stomach with virtually no nutrient value.

‘REGULAR’ WILL BE A LONG TERM AND ONGOING LEARNING CURVE for the REST of my life

I have SLE (Systemic Lupus), Fibromyalgia and recently ended up with a non-weight loss stomach bypass that changed my life beyond belief.  Just 6 months ago you would NOT have been able to convince me to EVER give up ALL sugar – (nothing like waking up from a routine surgery and learning it was anything but routine and you can never again have certain things), but I have to say no sugar is NOT the worst thing ever. I ALSO DO NOT do ANY sugar substitutes or preservatives because of the SLE and Fibro. So, while my diet does become a bit limited, it is possible to cope.  The thing I REALLY miss is coffee, but am making it work with green tea which is ultimately so much more healthy.

I had needed to lose 15 pounds or so as we all do at this stage in life, but now at the 50 pound mark lost, the doctor’s concern is that I lose no more and try to maintain where I am – he actually felt that way at the 25-30 pound mark.  Because there is no “real” stomach or holding vessel for food, the body does not absorb much at all.  For that reason I have certain vitamins and supplements that will be 5 times a day for the rest of my life. I also have to be picky on what I eat as many foods still do not agree with me and I can never eat sugar again.  Anything with high fat is also an issue so it really limits my choices every day. The biggest lifetime issue will be the amount (or lack there of) of food I can eat at any given time.  My stomach is now the size of an egg.  My stomach does not and will not stretch. It also does not absorb much in the way of nutrients.  My stomach will NOT grow or change in any way.  Eating is now and always will be in the future something of a challenge.

One of the biggest shocks was the need for ALL new clothes, I went from a size 8-10 down to a 2 so far. I have had to buy ALL new underwear, bras, pants, dresses and even shoes! Yes, I said shoes. I lost an entire shoe size – I didn’t even know that was possible.  This is just one of the piles of shoes I made when trying to find something to fit on Easter morning.

SO MANY LINKS, SO MANY BLOGS… just NOT ENOUGH TIME

Somehow in Chasing MY Life I got away from my actual description of the journey.  My life became all about the kitchen, well at least primarily.  One of the discoveries I’ve made with life altering surgery that changed how I eat is that my life is no longer just about the food and recipes.

So, as we say goodbye to A HOUSE FROM HELL, put EVERYTHING in storage and begin the next leg of our journey to spend some time concentrating on working out and recovery and then search for our next project (hopefully our last) I want to return to my blogger roots and chronicle ALL of life.

I’ve been getting organized to get back into link parties and such, just searching around to see who is still out there and where the parties are at. I have found that many of my old favorites are no longer, but there are soooooooo many new parties to link up to which leads me to my post title, SO MANY LINKS, SO MANY BLOGS… just NOT ENOUGH TIME. Initially I’m choosing link parties by whether or not their title peaked my interest.

AND soooo many parties are now co-hosted which creates even MORE links to explore so I’m still reading as much as I can and finding new interests to become a part of.

I’m sure I’ll will find many more new blogs and parties on my future journeys, but for now I’m excited to be joining these new linky parties on a regular basis.

SUNDAYS
DISHING IT & DIGGING IT at Rustic & Refined
SUNDAY’S BEST at Mother 2 Mother
SUNDAYS AT HOME at Celebrating Everyday Life and My Soulful Home

MONDAYS
CELEBRATE YOUR STORY at Celebrate & Decorate,
COOKING & CRAFTING with J&J AT Julie’s Creative Lifestyle
HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY at The Dedicated House
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH MONDAY at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
MENU PLAN MONDAY at I’m an Organizing Junkie
MERRY MONDAY at Two Chicks and A Mom
MIX IT UP MONDAY at Flour Me With Love
SHOW and SHARE at Coastal Charm

TUESDAYS
LOU LOU GIRLS FABULOUS PARTY at Lou Lou Girls
TAKE OUT TUESDAY at The Painted Apron
TREASURE BOX TUESDAY at Memories by the Mile
TUESDAYS WITH A TWIST at Stone Cottage Adventures

WEDNESDAYS
DELICIOUS DISHES at Walking On Sunshine
SHARE YOUR CUP @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

THURSDAYS
FAVORITE THINGS at Katherine’s Corner
FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage

FRIDAYS
BLOGGERS PIT STOP at The Blogger’s Lifestyle
HOME MATTERS at Life with Lorelai
KITCHEN FUN & CRAFTY FRIDAY at Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons
PRETTY PINTASTIC PARTY at Coffee with Us 3

SATURDAYS
SHARE IT ONE MORE TIME at Everyday Home
SWAY SHAREFEST at The Sway Life

LIFE – IT IS WHAT IT IS!

As I was scrolling through facebook this morning I ran across this post from 7 years ago. I found it speaking to me as it still describes life so well. I’m also pleased to say that even though there have been MANY (cancer, 5 surgeries and The House from HELL just to name a few of the BIG ones) curve balls thrown at me since then, I have de-cluttered my life really well, for the most part. So I offer you a rerun of that post below.

 
“Life has this funny way of testing us and sneaking in trials and tribulations that  weren’t in our original game plan never quite fit into “OUR” plans.  That is how it’s been for me the past many months.
 

As many of you know I have spent the last 7 1/2 months helping out various  family members around the country.  First it was my elderly in-laws  (MIL just turned 90) who begged us to come help them sell everything including the house and move them closer to family (we all know how that went – FIL is still trying to assign sentimental prices to everything in sight) and now it is my aunt & uncle.  My aunt has end stage Parkinsons disease, such a sad disease.  My aunt is extremely artistic and a beautiful painter – or at least she was.  The Dyskinesia from the Parkinsons disease has robbed her of that ability. My uncle recently saw the Oprah episode on hoarders and has decided that my aunt is one.  Trust me, she isn’t.  I once worked for a real estate company as a stager for homes and they would send me in to work on homes that were similar to those on the Oprah show – those were horrible.  So ask yourself, what is my (your) happy medium on the stuff I’ve (you’ve) accumulated?  My theory?  If you have a place for each item and it’s in its place, you’re NOT a pack rat or a hoarder.  I do offer you the definitions below.

This is one of my favorite paintings of hers. She did have a LARGE collection of art supplies and empty tins for storing those items in, but in her defense men do think in simpler terms and this is just a meeting of the minds discussion.  And in his defense they should be getting rid of most of this as she is now in a assisted living home and will not be able to use these items again.  Donating them to the church or a school while they are still usable would be best, but can’t be forced.  I pray that I will have more grace regarding these type of decisions if I reach that point and give up things more willingly, but none of us can ever be in one another’s shoes and truly know what we would do.
 
  • Also called trade rat. a large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
  • A person who collects, saves, or hoards useless small items or an old prospector or guide.

HOARD 

  • a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc…
  • to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc…
Long story short (I know too late), I have decided it is time to take back MY life.  So, over the next couple of months I will be making some changes.  Some big, some small, but ALL necessary to be myself and get a handle on MY life.”
 
My aunt passed 4 years ago and in the end they found she did not have Parkinson’s disease, but did have Lewy Body disease.  Unfortunately the only way to tell for sure is through an autopsy. The treatments are similar and in the end would not have changed much.  She was offered the DBS (deep brain stimulating) surgery early on and refused it (surgery scared her to death – especially brain surgery). As her disease progressed she wanted the surgery, but had waited just too long and it was no longer a viable option.

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