A blog about "nothing"!

Monday, July 25, 2016

I've been doing things right and I didn't even know it!

Hi everyone!  I just got home from the hospital on Saturday after having a procedure done to correct/eliminate the heart problem that landed me in the hospital back in March while I had the flu.  Glad that is over with, feeling good, just a bit sore.  I have to watch what I do for a week or so, but other than that, back to business!  Fingers crossed that what they did will take care of it.

I encountered something while I was in the hospital though that I definitely did not expect.  I can't tell you how many times I had someone tell me how healthy I am.  I'm not going to lie, I am overweight, but when I have my bloodwork done, usually the only thing that is even close to being an issue is my cholesterol, and it's not even bad enough to consider medication.  I take no medications at all and several of the nurses as well as the person who took my data when I was registering said that it was extremely unusual for a person of my age not to have to take any medications.  For once in my life, I'm the exception and not the rule! 

I'm not someone who watches what I eat continuously.  I do have to watch to a certain extent because of my food allergies, but otherwise, I generally don't deny myself something.  I'm not in the habit of eating deep fried foods, my oven is my best friend, but I do eat them periodically.  Most of my weight gain I attribute to inactivity because of my completely screwed up knee.  I never had a weight issue until that happened, I've always been a fairly active person.  I actually think that is part of the reason my doctor is hesitant to refer me for a knee replacement just yet, he knows me well enough to figure out that it wouldn't take long for me to wear it out. 

I come from a family with a not so great history of heart disease as well as respiratory ailments.  However, most of those people also smoked for a period (if not all) of their lives.  The only cigarettes I've had in my life were 2 that I bummed back in my (much) younger days during a night of heavy drinking.  Smoking is one of those habits that I've never quite understood, plus I'm too cheap to spend that much money on something like that.  I used to tell my mother that it was just a dirty habit, why not pick your nose instead, at least that is free!  I also learned very early on that salt is the enemy.  I use table salt very sparingly, there are only two things that you will ever see me salt before I start eating them: cottage cheese and corn on the cob.  Otherwise, it's not very often you will see me salt something.  I think we still have the same container of salt that I bought when we moved in here 6 years ago and most of it has been used either by my husband or when I disinfect the sink.  I really do think that by not eating much salt, I have managed to avoid some of the heart issues that other family members have had to deal with.

There has been one thing that I've done my whole life that I never thought about in a million years as being a good thing.  Every morning for breakfast since I was in grade school, I've had a glass of chocolate milk.  I love milk and I love chocolate, so it just seemed like the best thing in the whole world.  When I was in grade school we had chocolate milk available to go with the lunches.  Then someone decided to take away chocolate milk because it wasn't good for us.  We rebelled big time!  I don't know of many instances when a class of 140 sixth graders got their point across as well as we did, but we got our chocolate milk back.  We organized our own form of protest by having everyone bring their own lunch on that day instead of buying the one the school offered, it even trickled into the 5th grade.  We were mad and we wanted our chocolate milk back.  I shudder to think about how much food was thrown out that day because it went unsold.  But it worked and we got our chocolate milk back.  After reading an article this past weekend about chocolate milk, I'd love to find the moron who made that original decision so I could shove it into their face as to just how wrong they were.

Turns out that chocolate milk is fantastic for you!  I was really surprised at the info in the article, I never in a million years would have thought about the benefits.  In fact, chocolate milk is better for athletes to drink after a work out than most of the sports drinks available or even water!  Take that misinformed person in 1976 who took our chocolate milk away!! I've since read several articles that are similar in information, and I now understand part of why I may be heavy but healthy, I may have a higher muscle tone than the average overweight person.  Who knew?!?!

So, now I just have to make it to 100, for no reason other than to have someone ask me "what do you attribute your long life to?" My reply: "CHOCOLATE MILK!"

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefit-drinking-chocolate-milk-athletes-6965.html

https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/new-and-featured-articles/sports-nutrition/10-benefits-of-drinking-chocolate-milk-for-nutrition-recovery/

http://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Dairy-Facts/Chocolate-Milk.aspx

Friday, July 15, 2016

I'm still here...and random stuff!

Hi everyone!  I feel bad that I've been neglecting this blog, but I'll be honest: I didn't have much to write about lately.  I don't think everyone wants to hear about me cleaning my house! 

Let's see, what's new since I wrote...I'd been feeling very horrid since the end of May when I had a horrible realization and thought perhaps it was related to the medication they gave me for my minor heart issue.  I was right...I had gout!!  I actually realized I had gout before I figured out what caused it.  It's not a fun feeling to look at your feet and think "gee, those looks just like my mom's did when she had gout", put 2 and 2 together and come up with 7.  The reason I say that is because I don't eat most of the items that cause it, so I had to do some logical reasoning, and you can imagine how surprised AND annoyed I was to find out that this medication can definitely cause it.  I'm not taking it anymore and with managing my diet, I am thankfully on the mend.  I've never hurt so much in my life before though.  I don't know how people who have regular bouts of it can deal with it.  Hopefully I'm not going to find out.

The doll blog has been keeping me busy, but it's a lot of fun.  I got backed up on things back in March when I initially got sick, so I've been catching up on things.  It's definitely much more "high energy" than this blog, and sometimes I feel bad that this blog gets neglected because of that.  Someday I'll find a happy medium!

I've found a new "guilty pleasure".  Fortunately it is only on Friday for 2 hours but it's a blast.  And I've made a new friend because of it.  I have Twitter to thank for it too, that surprised me.  Last year sometime I started following a woman from Scotland and one of the things she re-tweeted from another user frequently were things from the 80's, sort of a "remember this" kind of thing.  I love stuff like that, so I favorited and retweeted some of them too.  Before too long, I had another follower who shared this love of 80's stuff, a woman from Ireland.  I followed her back and she posted a lot of fun 80's stuff.  What I didn't realize at the time was that she was a DJ for a radio station there.  As I followed her posts, I noticed a post about the station and that I could listen to it online.  I decided to give it a try.  What a fun time!  They have a very social media interactive show, taking online requests, reminiscing about different 80's subjects each week and just having a good time in general.  I'm hoping to make another trip to Ireland one of these days and get together with her, I think that would be so much fun.  Now if airfare would just come down in price...

I also managed to do some thrift store shopping the past few months that yielded some fun stuff.  This past week I went to the city, bought 7 items, 5 of which were brand new!  I'm still amazed at the things I can find.  3 of those items were shirts with the price tags still on them, had I paid full price I would have spent $50, instead I paid $14.  I also found a brand new pitcher for my kitchen, I had one but I really wanted a second so that when one is sitting in the sink dirty,  I don't have to hurry up and wash it if I need it!  Lazy, I know, but I couldn't resist.  Also brand new.  I took my husband with me on one of my thrift store runs, stuck him in the men's department and he ended up spending more money than I did!  Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

No gardening this year, and boy am I glad!!  It has been SO hot, the few flowers I did plant are now looking dreadful.  We need rain desperately, it seems like every time we have it in the forecast, it ends up missing us for whatever reason.  It's a shame, up until about two weeks ago they looked great, now they are a mess.  I need to go deadhead most of it, give it a good drink and hope for the best.  What can you do?  Just Mother Nature being a bitch again.

That's about it for now.  I'm not sure when I'll have anything else to write about, but when I do, you'll be the first to know!  I hope you are enjoying your summer (or winter depending on where you live)!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Feasability Studies: Not Just For Business!

When someone hears the words "feasibility study", they most likely think of it in a business context.  I myself had to do several after I took over my supervisor position in my last job.  I filled several jobs that had been done by the same people for many years, and as times changed and new ways of doing things emerged, as is often the case, they were still doing them the same way.  Not only were these old ways of doing things not time efficient, they also weren't cost efficient. 

It's not difficult then to think of how well this way of thinking might affect things in your home as well.  One thing I've found that helps in several areas is doing a larger than average grocery shopping trip.  It saves me in time because I'm making one trip as opposed to making several.  That in turn saves me gasoline.  It also saves me time once I get home because I'm only having to haul the groceries in from the car to the house and putting them away once.  AND, the biggest savings is money not spent on impulse items because I'm not in the store to begin with!  Interestingly enough, I find that we also eat better when I shop this way.  It may take a little planning to begin with, but once implemented, it becomes second nature. 

At the moment I'm dealing with something that is not so fun.  I'm suffering from severe arthritis pain as a result of menopause.  Some days are good, some are not so good and once in a while it's horrible.  As a result, I've been doing a lot of thinking about easier ways to do things.  For the most part I'm still able to do the majority of things around the house, but one task in particular has become a pain (literally).  Laundry.

Our house is mostly one floor.  Unfortunately our laundry is downstairs.  When I'm having a bad day, that trip up and down the stairs can be absolute agony.  This got me to thinking about how I did laundry and how I could change it to make it easier and more efficient.  I'd been doing alternate week laundry--one week I did nothing but clothing items and the opposite week I did linens.  I would do one load a day until they were all done.  Once in a while I would make an exception if something was dirty that was needed, but overall it worked well. 

Then I got to thinking about how that was wasteful in a "trip up and down the stairs" way.  If I'm washing towels, sheets, blankets, it's a two trip load, one trip to put it in the washer and one trip to move it to the dryer.  I wouldn't bring it up until the following day when I went downstairs to do the next load.  However, with clothing it often ended up being three trips for one load--the trip to wash, the trip to dry and then the dash to the dryer when it buzzed so it didn't end up a wrinkled pile of clothing.  Hmmm...

It was after a bit of thinking that it dawned on me just how wasteful this was!  So now my new way of doing the laundry is to do two loads a day, the first load being clothing that needs to be hung and the second load being something that doesn't.  I still have to make three trips, but I'm doing double the laundry!!  DUH!  My hope is to eventually get it caught up enough that I'm only doing laundry either every other week, or 2 loads every couple of days.  The other bonus to this is that it will be more energy efficient in the winter months, it won't take the dryer as long to heat up for that second load. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

Do you have an area in your life that you think could use a personal "feasibility study"?  Or do you have an example of where one worked for you?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The best 25 cents I've spent in a long time!

Let's be honest here: in this day and age, 25 cents isn't going to get you much.  You can't even buy a candy bar for that anymore. (unless you happen to find a clearance sale)  About the only way you are going to find anything that cheap that's worth buying is in a thrift store.  You see where this is going!
 
I haven't been doing as much thrift store shopping recently for a number of reasons.  I need nothing, I've been busy and being sick made it difficult.  A couple of weeks ago I was really itching to go, so I checked out my favorite Pittsburgh haunts.  I found some doll stuff and a few personal/household items: a tie for hubby, a summery shirt for me and a coffee mug to replace the one I broke a couple of weeks earlier.  Nothing very exciting though.
 
Last week I decided to go again, this time sticking a little closer to home.  About 20 minutes away we have a placed called "Easter Seals Yard Sale".  It's all donated items and the proceeds go to the Easter Seals organization (they work with a variety of special needs folks).  They have a space in an abandoned mall storefront which is only opened several times a month.  I hadn't been there for a while, so I decided that it sounded like a good place to start.
 
I found a few cute doll sized things which I was excited about.  The last thing I picked up was something I've been curious about for quite some time.  I'd never bought one because quite frankly, I never needed one before and I was skeptical about how well it would work.  The crazy part is I almost missed it because it was brand new, still in the box, and I picked up the box to read what was in it.  So glad I decided to do that!  Are you curious as to what it is?  A brown sugar disc.  I know some of you are saying "what?!"  Maybe you've never heard of one, so here is what they look like:
 
Basically it's a formed piece of terra cotta that is placed in a container of brown sugar to keep it from getting too hard to use.  I'd never had an issue with my brown sugar doing this because I generally kept it in a bag, but the last time I bought a bag, I decided to place it in a storage container I had to make it easier to get to.  BIG mistake.  I don't use a lot of it, so it takes a while to use up a bag of it, and my bag had progressively gone from being a nice, soft sugar to a solid lump that resembled a brick.  The last time I needed to use it, I literally had to chisel it out of the container.  When I saw this disc for 25 cents, I figured it was worth a try.
 
After I got it home, I took it out of the box.  No instructions, but something told me that you didn't just go and plop it in and hope for the best.  I was right, and after poking around on the trusty internet, I found instructions.  All you needed to do was place it in a bowl with water for 15 minutes, then pat the outside dry and place it in the container.  At this point I was still skeptical, but what did I have to lose.  It didn't help that I asked a friend if she had ever used one, to which she replied "I had one, but I don't anymore.  I don't remember, but I assume because I don't have it now, it wasn't impressive."  Hmmm...
 
That was on Thursday.  Yesterday (2 days later) I decided to check and see if anything happened.  I was not at all prepared for what I was going to experience.  I opened the container and looked inside.  The sugar appeared to be softer, so I got a fork and poked it.  WOW!!!  It really worked!!!  I now have a container of brown sugar that looks like brown sugar again.  No using it for construction purposes! I was impressed.  :)
The online instructions I found said that it lasts for about 3 months per soaking, so sometime in late summer I will need to get it out and do the process over again.  So worth it in my opinion.  And I'm so glad I decided to take a chance with my quarter.  Probably a better payoff than if I'd put it in a slot machine!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sorry, but no, your screaming/misbehaving child is NOT cute!

Recently a fellow Twitter user posted her frustration involving her wedding and her decision to make it an adults only affair.  Apparently someone invited is all upset because she isn't allowed to take her children to the wedding.  So much so that she's refusing to come.  While the bride is hurt, she is not letting this bullying affect her decision.  Good for her!  As she explained, she is getting married in a place that is not suited for children and as she put it "had to sign my life away" when she booked the place.  She doesn't want children "running around breaking things".  I totally get it.
 
She isn't alone.  It seems as though every time this subject comes up, there is always someone who falls in the "well, that isn't fair" camp.  Life isn't fair.  Suck it up.  I personally don't understand the need to drag your children everywhere with you, especially to something that A)they are more than likely going to be bored stiff with and drive you bananas and B)won't remember anyhow.  I personally would look forward to having an adults night out for something like that.  Perhaps I should start dragging my dog to things like this and see how people react?  There are plenty of times I've left her at home, even though I know that the place is dog friendly.  While I think she's cute as a button, she has some personality traits that I'm well aware would drive other people nuts.  I'm not about to inflict that on anyone else.
 
 
This brings me to my point:  while you think your child is adorable, I hate to tell you this, not everyone else does.  Parents need to realize this.  Many do not.  And they tend to turn a blind eye/ear to a misbehaving child instead of doing something about it.  I've never forgotten a Christmas eve service I went to several years ago.  It was a packed house, and seated near me was a woman with an infant.  Part way through the service, the child started crying, very loudly.  The mother DID NOTHING.  She just let the baby scream, to the point that we couldn't hear the service.  An intelligent and courteous person would have gotten up with said child and left the sanctuary in order to allow the other people there the ability to hear, and perhaps investigate why the child was screaming.  Not her.  The sad fact is that this woman is not alone in her rudeness, I've seen it at so many functions and public places, it's almost epidemic. 
 
Let me just tell you folks, allowing your child to misbehave is not doing it any favors.  You may be doing more harm than you realize.  I know of someone who let her child do whatever she wanted and made no effort to discipline her.  Several years later I learned of multiple instances where the child was not invited to various things (parties, clubs, etc) because of this.  It wasn't the child's fault, it was the parent's.  Unfortunately because of this child's continued bad behavior and lack of any guidance, she was excluded. 
 
I grew up as one of 5 children, and we were taught at an early age how to behave in public.  Keyword in that sentence is "taught".  I guess that has all gone out the window!  My parents weren't abusive, but we were told "if you misbehave, you won't get to go again."  I have friends and family who fall on both sides of the fence on this, some have kids who are holy terrors and others have children who can be taken anywhere.  The funny part is that the ones with the well behaved children think their kids are "bad" at times.  They don't know what bad children are!  I'm a firm believer in letting kids be kids, but there is a time and place for that.  Just like you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, running around, screaming like a banshee at an event where the majority of the guests are adults is also not appropriate. There is a fine line between cute and annoying.  We as adults need to guide children into what is appropriate behavior.  They don't naturally know this.  Remember, they are kids!! 
 
To those parents who continue to let your children run around like wild animals at inappropriate times and places, perhaps I should lock you in a room with my dog and let her bark for 15 minutes.  Then you'll get what I'm talking about.  It's not cute, it's not amusing, it's downright annoying.  Be a parent.  And those people who smile and then turn their heads...hate to tell you, but they are just being polite.  Been there, done that.
 
 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Walmart.com

I'll start this out by saying that I'm not a huge fan of Walmart.  I have issues with how they treat employees as well as some of their merchandising methods.  But I live in a medium sized community with only a few shopping options, and on certain things, Walmart not only has the best price, but sometimes it's the only place I can find some of these items. 
 
Unfortunately, our Walmart is what they call a SuperWalmart.  Not only is the store huge, but so is the parking lot, and it can take you almost as long to get in the store from the parking lot as it does to do your shopping!  Ridiculous.  For that reason, I only go there about once a month because not only is it hard on my poor, wonky knee, but I hate wasting that much time for shopping.  Plus it is clear on the other side of town, so it can take me as long as 15 minutes to get there, depending on traffic.  I remember many years ago someone I know saying that she shopped in the grocery store that was closest to her home even though it was more expensive because "my time is worth something too."  I have to agree.
 
Last year we had the winter from hell.  Again, thanks to my bad knee, I worry about falling.  If I injure it any further, I'm more than likely looking at surgery, and not only do I not relish that thought, because of several factors, neither does my doctor.  So I'll do whatever it takes to keep from doing that!  I try to time my shopping around the weather forecasts at that time of year, but sometimes even that isn't always foolproof.  Enter Walmart.com
 
I'd ordered things online from Walmart before, but when their site first started, it wasn't a full offering of everything (or almost everything) they sold.  Now you can get just about anything they sell in the store through their website.  I decided to give it a try, making sure that I met their $50 minimum to get free shipping.  About a week later, my order arrived on my doorstep.  Talk about convenient!  I was hooked.  Now I order from them about once a month.  So far this year, I haven't set foot in their store since early January.
 
So, what do I order you ask?  I have a list of staple items that I regularly order.  Breakfast cereal, gluten free pasta, tissues, toiletries, you name it.  And I almost always order a large package of toilet paper because that quickly adds $13 to my cart, and let's face it, you ALWAYS need toilet paper.  It's not like it's going to go bad either.  Periodically I order something that isn't grocery either, recently I ordered a bunch of nightshirts because I needed them and the price was good.  It's not difficult to come up with $50 worth of stuff.
Just because...
 
Any caveats?  Yes, there are a few.  Not everything is available on their website.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect it's perhaps because some items are more difficult to ship than others.  Obviously, perishable items like milk, vegetables, meat, etc. aren't available.  They sometimes have stock issues, with items being out of stock for extended periods of time.  You also have to pay attention to make sure that the item is actually being sold by Walmart and not by another outfit because that can result in additional shipping fees.  And you also need to know what you have been paying for an item at your local stores, once in a while I'll see an item turn up on the website for way more than what it would be if I just went to the store and bought it.  Fortunately for me, most of the items I buy are fairly stable in their pricing.
 
The benefits:  saves a ton of time (driving to the store, wandering around to find things), saves you money because you aren't as likely to put impulse items into your cart and it's delivered to your front door! Sometimes it's interesting trying to juggle that box into the house if it is a large one, but it still beats having to push the cart to your car, loading multiple bags into your car and then having to carry them all into the house.  And the boxes--wow!  They aren't flimsy cardboard, they are super sturdy and are great boxes to reuse for storing things or shipping items that might need extra protection.  At the moment I have one sitting in my dining room that I am saving for a craft project once I get to feeling better.
 
Over the past few weeks, shopping online has been a godsend.  I haven't felt well enough to go much of anywhere.  It's also my husband's busiest time of year, so I hate to make him run to the store to get things when he is already kind of frazzled.  Point and click has made it possible for me to get a lot of our essentials (and a few not essentials LOL)  and not have to bother him.  He just has to pick up perishable items and the rest turns up on our doorstep. 
 
I have shopped online since the 1990's, but I have to say that sites like this have definitely changed the way I shop in recent years.  Statistics show that traditional brick and mortar stores are seeing a decline in business due to online shopping, and I can see why.  I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing though.  To me, online shopping can be a tremendous time saver, allowing someone to spend more time on more important things.  To those who may have problems with mobility it gives them the ability to shop without fear of injury, or better yet, avoiding the frustration.  If you have ever had to shop from a wheelchair or assisted someone with a wheelchair, you know exactly what I'm talking about!  I don't know that online shopping will ever completely replace traditional shopping in a store, but I think it will absolutely continue to change how we shop in the coming years. 
 
Do you shop much online?  And if you do, what do you shop for and what are some of your favorite sites?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Stay home dammit!!!

I'm still recovering from my bout with the flu, and today I am grumpy.  Very grumpy in fact.  I had a major sleepless night recently because I couldn't stop coughing.  Earlier today I got a phone call from the state health department, because I tested positive for Type A flu.  They have to collect information to report to the CDC.  So they got information from me, but what about the person who I got this from???  Not only do I feel like crap, but I'm not very happy about the monetary expense involved with this whole ordeal.  I dread getting the bills from the hospital because I swear they did every test known to man.

This brings me to a VERY sore subject.  People who are sick who choose to continue about their business, infecting the rest of us.  Before you go all "well, there are shots for some of that" on me, that isn't an option.  The majority of vaccinations are in an egg base and I am HIGHLY allergic to eggs.  We're not just talking a tummy ache or a rash here, we're talking full out, anaphylactic reaction.  So it's not possible.  As a result, I've had to get everything the hard way, including all of the childhood illnesses.  Grrr...  Let me just tell you that having chicken pox when you are 39 isn't much fun and horribly dangerous.  Thanks so much for whoever passed that one on. 

Yes, I realize that some people don't have sick time where they work, and have to go to work or fear for losing their jobs.  That is just awful and something that needs to be addressed.  But what about people who just flat out refuse to admit they are sick or that they are too "important" to their job to take the day off?  STAY HOME! 

I used to work with a woman who came to work sick every time you turned around.  Inevitably it would result in me getting it and I would miss a couple of days of work.  I wasn't sorry when she finally left.  When I had the aforementioned chicken pox, I couldn't believe the number of people who thought it was ridiculous that I didn't go out in public.  Excuse me???  As I said to several people, how would I feel if I accidentally exposed a pregnant woman who also couldn't have the vaccine to it and she ended up not only getting them from me, but ended up giving birth to a child with birth defects because of it? 

I've never forgotten an incident at one of my first jobs.  A woman who worked in the same department as I did came to work with a dreadful sore throat.  She thought it was no big deal.  Glad she did because it was a big deal, I ended up with strep throat and missed 3 days of work as a result.  Thanks a lot.  I had no sick time at this job and ended up having to borrow money from a family member so that I could pay my car payment.  The kicker of it is this woman had no financial obligations to speak of, she could have easily taken the day or two off necessary for her to recover, but instead, I ended up paying the price, both health-wise and moneywise.  It shouldn't have been that way. 

So, in short, if you are sick or starting to get sick and it's not going to break the bank, STAY HOME!  Think about others who you may be exposing to whatever germ it is you are incubating.  You don't know if they may have underlying health issues that could make what seems like no big deal to you a serious health threat.  Right about now I'd like to get my hands on the guy who was on the plane with us, hacking his head off and choke him to death.  Or send him a bill...