Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Inspired Cooking

Sometimes I look at the food in my fridge and whine [to myself, like a 4 year old] "But I don't want to make that!"  Meaning the dish I had planned when I bought that meat, cheese or veggie.

Today's quandry?  I have a heckuva' lot of fresh veggies from my beloved FIL's garden.  And? I don't want to make that.  Whatever that may be. heehee

I have zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, snap beans, onions and garlic Very exciting, but sort of overwhelming.

I usually will take the zucchini, squash, 'maters, onions and garlic and saute them in a pan and serve them as a side for dinner.

But today? Nah. . .that isn't working for me.  Knowing how much my family loves my [completely made up recipe] spinach lasagna and yesterday being National Lasagna Day [who votes for this stuff?]  I decided to make the saute and use that in lieu of the spinach and white sauce I use in the spinach one.

In a large skillet I melted a few TB of extra virgin olive oil and 2 TB of unsalted butter.  Into that I tossed the sliced zucchini, squash, diced onion and minced garlic. [I know, I know - I should do the onion and garlic first, but I like to just let this all simmer. It keeps me from hopping up and down to check it. And I'm not just standing there watching a pot boil.]  Let that cook down until the onion is translucent and the zucchini starts to soften.  Throw in a few diced tomatoes [about two cups - no need to peel, but you can deseed if you like] and cook through.  I also used salt, pepper and dried oregano to taste.  Let simmer, covered until everything is soft and the tomatoes are cooked down.

For the lasagna I prefer the regular, cook first noodles, but you can use the no cook ones too.

I mixed about 2 cups of ricotta with one egg and more dried oregano.  I also use 2 - 3 cups shredded mozzarella.  I also prefer to shred my own in my ninja [mini food processor]. So much better than the pre shredded stuff.

In a lasagna pan [that's what I call my deep 9 x 13 inch pan] I ladled 1/2 of the veggie mix on the bottom. Then I layered the cooked noodles.  Next I covered the noodles with the ricotta mix. I am a sucker for all cheese, so I put the ricotta on thick.  I then ladled about a cup of the veggie mix followed by a few handfuls of mozzarella. Repeat until you run out of . . .something.  I usually go about 3 more go rounds. Finish with the mozzarella.  It makes A LOT of lasagna for a family of 3 [2 actually because I probably won't eat this, although I want to], but I will just cut up the leftover, freeze in single serving containers and Steven will have lunch for 5 days.  I don't know how long it will last in the freezer because everytime I make lasagna and store the leftovers they never make it to freezer burn stage because he and Evie eat it so fast.

I will bake this at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes covered, taking the cover off for the last few minutes of baking.

Thanks to everyone who voted for Bizzy yesterday. The voting continues for the Extended Stay America Recipe Contest - and you can vote once per day, per email address until August 22.

Happy Day All!  See ya' on the flipside.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Awesome Friend, Awesome Cook, Awesome Contest

Our great pal Bizzy, over at  My Bizzy Kitchen, is a finalist in the Extended Stay America Recipe Contest.

For those of you that don't know our beloved Biz, she is quite the cook. She is also a very dear, kind and loving friend who means so much to so many. I can't tell you or begin to explain the support and love she has given to not only me, but so many of the people in her life.

Her husband "Tony" is undergoing tests and treatment at the Mayo Clinic, which is hundreds of miles from their home.  While at Mayo, they are staying at Extended Stay America and Biz is working her magic in the fully stocked kitchen their hotel room/home away from home provides.

I love Biz and Tony like family and would love to see her share the goodness of her cooking with the world by helping her win this contest.  She is absolutely one of the most upbeat people I have ever met and I know it would just be a topper during an otherwise difficult time for her and her family.

So Tadpoles, if you would be so kind, do you think you could click the link and enter your email?  You can vote once a day, from each email account you have.  It is SO easy and they won't contact you with ads or spam or nuthin'.  And you get a really cool recipe out of the deal too!

Could you do this for our buddy Bizzy? Please? This link goes directly to her recipe:

Apple Honey Mustard Sauce and Rosemary New Potatoes

OMGOSH, does that not sound delicious? It's a winner for sure gang! If we all vote it'll be a landslide victory.

Thank you for all you do Tadpoles.  You know how much you all mean to me and my family.

Hugs and love, Janine

Who DOES That?

Well known to most of you is the fact that, oftentimes, I have to use a wheelchair.

Now, I don't like my wheelchair, nor my cane on better days, because . . .well. . .I just want to be me and not some "lady in a chair". I hate being stared at and I hate the pity looks. But?  I don't have to use it all the time, and for that I am very blessed and thankful.

This story involves my chair.  A few weeks ago Steven and I took the girls to Richmond, VA to see our local AAA baseball team, the "Flying Squirrels". Great name, right?  Knowing the car ride was long and there would be a lot of walking involved we took the chair.
At the game. I always "cheat" and pull my mask down a bit for pics' ::wink::

We purchased handicapped accessible seats and took the elevator.  [It was kind of a sketch elevator, I must say, but since no one plunged to their deaths - we're cool. heehee] When we arrived at our seats we discovered they weren't accessible for my chair.  Couldn't exactly figure out what the stadium considered "Handicapped Accessible" but whatev'.

Okay.  No problem.  I can walk, it's painful, but I can and I am glad I can.  So, I did.  I had to leave my wheelchair on the concourse with a promise from the usher that it would be well guarded.

As long as it wasn't stolen I thought "Okay." Said "Thanks." and we went to our seats.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the best balance and this older stadium is quite steep in the stairs and the seating.  We did make it to our seats with me holding onto Steven.  Beautiful night, wonderful view - I love me some baseball Tadpoles.  Heck, the whole family loves baseball.  We tend to get excited when rooting for our team.

Let me rephrase that. Mom tends to get excited, too excited when rooting for our team.

In the second inning I stood up to cheer [bad idea] lost my balance, due to me and the steepness of the rise, and began to take a full header into the second row.  Steven shot his arm out, across my chest and grabbed my left arm to keep me upright. It did, but I hurt myself doing it.  Not bad, but enough to warrant going to the ladies' room to check it out.

Emily agreed to go with me and helped me up the stairs and out to the concourse to find my chair.

We walked out onto the concourse and what should we find?

A man, SITTING IN MY WHEELCHAIR, eating nachos.

Who in the hell does that?

Phyllis the security lady saw me coming with Em and turned to go and bring me my chair.  Imagine her surprise when she turned around and saw him sitting in it.

When she told him to vacate it he had the nerve to ask "Why?"  Um, dude? Asshole It is MY chair and doesn't belong to you.  The security lady just said "Get out. Now."

He stood up, nary an apology upon seeing me and walked off.

Grrrrrrrr.  Are people nuts? Isn't sitting in someone else's wheelchair akin to sitting in, I don't know, their car?

I understand there isn't a lot of seating in the concession area and gee, wouldn't it be nice to enjoy stale chips with day glo cheese in the comfort of a padded seat with wheels?

But the simple fact remains, It.Does.Not.Belong.To.You.

I should've brought my cane too.  I might've been able to smack the stupid out of him.

And with that thought. . .I am off to Confession. Have a great day Tadpoles.

Life is a gift and I am so very lucky to have you guys in it!

See ya' on the flipside. Love, Janine

And Jules?  If you're counting? Yes this is the second time in as many weeks that I have wounded myself at a ballgame.  Steven has decided "No baseball FOR YOU." [me.] heehee

Friday, July 25, 2014

And the Results are IN!

Woohoo!  The judging is over for the Orange County Fair and may I just say we have one happy little girl.

This pic' was drawn with charcoal on newsprint.  It is from a pic' her friend gave her. He wanted her to draw it.  He will receive it after the fair.
This one cracked me up.  It is pastel [again on newsprint] and the photo quality is bad, but?  It is a vivid purple orchid with antlers. Don't ask.  Like I always say "It's Evie."
 My favorite.  Acrylic on canvas. The glare is from plastic sheeting they placed over it due to rain, and the gray, black and white you see on the far right is not part of it.  It is an overlap from another painting.
 Family favorite.  This was also shown in our town art gallery and the owner offered to allow Evie to sell her work there because the owner loved this one so much.  It is Evie's Grandfather's day present. He has had to wait a bit.  It is scratchboard.
 Pencil on paper.  Evie didn't expect this to place and is happy for the ribbon. She told us the 1st place was amazing.  And it was! :)
 Colored pencil on paper.  She named this "Victoria".
The pictures aren't the best - but you get the idea.  Five 1st place and one 2nd for her art.

As for her 9 pictures?  She placed in every single one - YAY! ::skippyhappydance::

First place ribbons were awarded for the following:
The fence with the blue sky [everyone seems to love that pic' :) ]
The black and white of the boy with bowtie and his girl friend
Sun over the lake
The pond in the field
And Momma's favorite - the Ferris wheel

Second place ribbons were awarded for the pics:
Roller Coaster in sunset
And the self portrait of the butterfly and converse

Third place went to:
The two friends on the dock
And surprisingly?  The steps with the flowers.  She very happy with a third, but that is the second pic' everyone seems to love so much. :)

All totalled?  She entered 15 pieces and won 10 1st place, 3 2nd place and 2 3rd place.

I have never heard her happier.  And that? Makes me the happiest Momma in the world.

Thank you SO very much for your support here and on FB. Tadpoles she shower her with so much love and confidence boosting I can't imagine that she wouldn't have grown in her skill and passion without you.

Steven and I thank you.
[Evie too! Big goof smiles so big whenever she reads my pages and your comments. heehe]

Hugs and love, Janine

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happier Stuffz

It's that time of year Tadpoles.
It's time for the Orange County, VA Fair!

What's great is we finally live in the county. Hee - and since they moved the fairgrounds we are now only 5 minutes away! WOOHOO.

And you know what the fair means, right?  Evelyn is entering her pictures and art again. :)

Thought I would give you a sneak peak of her pictures. She is only entering 9 this year and 5 pieces of art. If they had more categories she could certainly enter more. I swear that's what the child does morning, noon and night - art.

It's a good thing.

Here are the entries for pics - we'll keep the art for later.

I did post these on FB too, so sorry if this seems to be a repeat. :)

Tadpoles you have always been so very supportive of Evie [Wallene] and I truly think that your kudos and love have gone a long way in her following her passion for something that she loves so much, but questioned her talent.

I thank you all, again.

Hugs and love, Skippy

Monday, July 21, 2014

You Want the Truth?

I am going to lose readers over this post. What I am about to write.  I don't really believe any Tadpole is going anywhere, but if you wish, then I will understand.  No harm, no foul and no hard feelings.  I deserve whatever comes from posting this.

I also know I am going to receive some random emails and comments from people that read me often but don't comment [but love to email me, what is up with that? I don't mind, really,, weird?] - this post is going to pull them out the woodwork and I am ready for the attack.

After this week?  I am pretty sure anything y'all sling at me is going to be cupcakes With pretty icing and sprinkles

Have at it.

So?  Here we go.

I won't time line this because that is boring as sh*t - but to do this in a one-two-three [and four! yes there is a four] is what is going on, in succinct fashion.

Well, succinct for me. Get snacks.

Initially we were told I had Lupus, which it turns out I don't have [they THINK]...but I do have a sucky ticker.  Meaning? I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. We'll get back to the Lupus misdiagnosis in a few, but bear with me because the CHF happened first.

Let's visit how fun that was/is/always will be, shall we?  It means my heart does not pump to the capacity yours [you healthy bitches you] does - and works extra hard anytime I do ANYTHING.  Stairs, bend over to get a pan out of the cabinet, raise my arms to take a shower, drive my beloved Ozcarz.  Oh hell, I am pretty sure picking flowers would congest my heart at this point. I spend more time spitting ....well never mind that.

They told me 4 years ago that a heart transplant would be a good option because I am so young and the damage had been done to my heart was enough to warrant a transplant.

Anyone want to ask why the damage had been done? No?  That's Okay....let me tell you....

I have had anemia my whole life. And not the run of the mill "Oh I am having my cycle and I have lost that blood"  This is severe anemia - to the point I have had several blood transfusions, including one to save Evie's life while I was a week from giving birth to her [my life too, but let's focus Janine, shall we?]

I was told time, after time and time and again "We simply don't know why you suffer from this and we can't fix it." heart was working overtime to make up for the lack of iron in my blood and dingdingding - BAM - my heart failed.  We just didn't know it. For years.  And you know what? Don't argue with me. . .this is what happened.

Okay, moving on.....two years after THAT skippy little diagnosis, I was told my liver was shutting down. I was hospitalized for 7 days for that fun rodeo while they tried to figure out what the hell happened. Considering I don't have hepatitis, don't abuse drugs or alcohol and gee.....those blood transfusions couldn't be corrupt, COULD THEY?

Nah - turns out it's a whole other thing - but the transplant I am actually waiting on, IS my liver.   Which can be done by live donor.  Which means anyone who has my blood type and wants to go through the pain and bad hospital food can donate to me.

HOWEVER.  And y'all had best listen to me - I never told this story before because I know you Tadpoles. I would have [partial] livers lined up on my doorstep, because you are that way. Heck. I am that way...except I don't think anyone really wants "Larry" [yes, I named my liver. I figure he is giving me such sh*t he deserves a name.  And "Larry the Liver" has such a ring dontcha' think?]

I love you all so much for all that you give me and offer, but this?  Let's just pretend it doesn't exist, okay?

Oh, gets better [laughing here!] no I don't have Lupus [they think] but all of my tests [blood and x ray] explain the pain I fight everyday as advanced rheumatoid arthritis. Which is JUST the most SPECTACULAR, TICKLEY DISEASE EVER!!!!, I will have you know.

And the sarcasm drips down the screen.

Holy hell.  THIS? On top of the fatigue and the breathing and the whole "Great car Skip but you are too busy barfing into the sink to drive, how's this working out" thing....


I can't even begin to explain how bad this hurts. I read back through this blog and realize how many years things were so bad and I was never diagnosed.

I have been in pain for years.  I am not going to talk about the failure that are the meds they prescribe or won't prescribe to me for this pain.

This is absolutely unimaginable to me.  I wonder everyday what the hell I did so horribly to have to put up with it all.  Is this the price I pay for wonderful kids, a great husband and still being alive?

I am terrified at how bad this going to become in the future. I re read over my posts from the past years and I shake my head, wondering how everyone missed this [doctors] , but Sunday?  Today?

I could not walk down the hall.  To go to the bathroom.  The combination of everything is just too much.

I am sitting in a padded chair, too scared to go to bed because I know how bad it will hurt.  And that sounds simple [simply stupid?] to you Tadpoles, but it isn't to me.  It hurts being alive at this point and all I want to do is sleep, oh. . . .sleep, the idea of it, the beauty. . .. yet - not within my reach.

I honestly pray for death some days.  And there is the truth I don't think you all can handle. I shouldn't be that selfish, when so many have it worse. And what about the kids? Steven?

Sorry if it isn't Skippy enough for you or you see me playing so nice on FB, but if you had the days I have had you might' be  praying for death too.  The only difference is I have been in this pain for years. And lying about it.

I will do my best to post a happier post soon. This isn't the Skippy you like. I know that.

But I warned ya'.  Sorry about it all. [and look at me, apologizing and stuffz.]

See ya' on the flipside.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Not the Best Feeling In the World

Remember the peach pie I posted about a few day ago?

My favorite pie?  I eat very little Mostly in an effort to not hock up food I love and then not desire it again because anything you throw up after eating really isn't all that attractive the next time around.

The peach pie.

I made it.  Had one small slice and {bravo for me] held it down.

And then it sat in the fridge for a few days during our pseudo vacation.

Tonight Steven decided to reheat it in the oven [no, we do not own a microwave] without benefit of cover [think tinfoil, etc.]  It is almost an entire, homemade pie.  That is going to be ruined by reheating in that fashion.  But I have to keep my mouth shut.

So, there's that.

Would someone like to remind me why I even bother with this sh*t anymore?

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

My husband surprised me with an anniversary present.  We don't exchange presents, but the JMU sticker showed up in the mail a few days ago.  I know how much you Tadpoles love my husband - and yes, he is a great guy - so please, a resounding chorus of "awwwwww" s is okay ::rolling my eyes:: giggle

Why are the stickers important?  Read here:  Noonish? Who said Noon. [I know you guys remember that is just for someone swimmin' by and reading this post first.]

The Vikings sticker is from a dear friend and fellow Vikings fan [honestly? She sucked me into that fandom and I am loving it. hee] That is the "special" sticker I was talking about when I went out to the car to put it on and saw the girls' stickers were gone because of the accident.

I can't replace the Titans band sticker because Evie no longer goes to that school, but I can probably find an OCHS sticker to go in the other corner. It does look a little incomplete in the meantime, and that makes me a little sad. But it's a stupid thing to be sad about.  It's just a sticker.

In other news...since my driving days are nearing an end, we have decided to give Ozcarz to Evie for her 17th birthday.  We are ordering plates with her name [nickname] on them, and giving her a set of keys.  She prefers driving him over our mini van [you think?]  but there's really no reason for me to have him as my car as she will be driving it all the time.

And then?  All the stickers come off.

So who knows why this is even making a difference in my life right now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day #4 of Vacation

We are doing nothing. Steven and me, that is.

The girls are at an amusement park in VA.

Meanwhile I am back in the house, staring at white walls and watching my husband watch the British Open.

Sorry.  I am doing bitter really well today.

OH WAIT - BONUS! I get to make lunch and dinner too! WOOHOO.

And drive back 1 1/2 hours to pick them up. Then drive back.

This "last vacation" is working out so well, dontcha' think?

We're Sorta on Vacation. . .with Pie

Give me any excuse to make pie and I will.

To wit:
Add in the fact that is my grandmother's rolling pin I used [unearthed that in the "Great Yard Sale" hunt] on the bottom rung, and the pie is peach.

My favorite pie.

Oh, and I made homemade pizza too.  So, yep. . .vacation, at home, for everyone, but Mom.


The yardsale went great. We met super, dooper nice people [with the exception of one shrew who is getting her own post because really? Don't lie to me. I will vilify you on the interwebs semi anonymously] AND we made $500..

Unfortunately that wasn't enough to get us to the toes in the sand scenario I wanted for the family.

Here we are. Stuck in Virginia. And before anyone mentions the stupid word "staycation" to me, remember I have lived here for 43 years, my husband 50 years and our kids their whole lives. We have seen it, done it and bought the postcards.

But, as usual, we are making the best of it. What else are we going to do?  It's nice to want something, but I am a firm believer in you only get what you need.  In my case anyway - and then it's the bare minimum.

I don't mind.  Really.  I am still here. That's the most important thing, right?  Just another day for the doctors to give me a new toe tag and big Pharma to steal our money!!! WOOHOO!"

Yeah, I don't do bitter really well, do I? giggle And I'm not. Bitter, that is.  Honestly. I am just tired.  And what's new about that?

Supposedly the girls are going to an amusement park tomorrow and Steven has a plan that involves wheeling me around somewhere in this godforsaken state in my wheelchair, ending with a picnic.

Funny thing is?  I planned the whole damn thing, yet on FB he gets all the credit. [He took it, but I didn't help on FB either]

Just a few more bucks and I wouldn't have had to be the master planner of anything.

Who am I kidding?  At least I would have had the nice backdrop of the sea air and the sound of the ocean while I orchestrated the beach trip.

Here?  I am still cooking, cleaning, taking care of the dog and enjoying what few pleasures I can, like peach pie and playing a card game, while I fake not being in pain and throwing up outside in the early morning hours so the kids and Steven can't hear me.

It's going to be really interesting when I don't try so hard next week. Don't you think they are going to wonder how I did "so well" for a week?  And it's hell hiding this - but who wants to ruin someone else's vacation?

WANTED: Martyr
No one need apply. Position has been filled.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We Have Made a Decision

I just hope we can pull it off.

And, no. . .we are not robbing a bank.

We have decided to have a yard sale.  Perhaps, we're thinking, we can raise enough money to get somewhere out of this state for a few days.

Found this little gem today. My Dad's 1938 Erector Set

I don't do yard sales well. I know all the rules and how to price and blah, blah, blah - but the  few I have held for my parents sucked. Because the people suck. Can't wait to hear the comments on that statement.

I do love to go to yard sales and when I go I am always polite and respectful and if the price is reasonable I won't barter. I don't mind people bartering at my yard sale, but I am no good at it. I won't even ask.  I think it goes back to the one and only time I tried to get a lower price on our washer and dryer and the little woman shot me down like the Red Baron.

Some things I have found while running a yard sale:
- People are insulting, thinking they are going to get a lower price.  "Oh this old thing? I can get that for pennies new."  Honey, that is a Longaberger basket and no one can get that for pennies anywhere.
- People steal/shoplift.  This is probably what makes me the most likely to scream "Citizen's Arrest".  I have seen people pick up clothing, purses and hats, put them on and walk off towards their car. When we did catch up to them, in every single case, they pretended not to speak English, but did hand back the merchandise with a shrug. No real chance of this happening here, considering [the not speaking English part] but. . .
-People who pay in pennies.  They think if they are wasting your time you'll just stop them and let them go at $7.80, instead of the $10.50 they owe. Nope. I have all the time in the world and you just paid for a set of books with a 20 bill. You have change. But pennies spend. . .keep counting sweetie.
-People who try to pay by check. NO.
-Kids who aren't supervised and actually break the stuff for sale. I don't mind them trying out the stuff, but really kid?  Why are you touching a glass vase? Planning on buying flowers for your kindergarten teacher? Put it down. But heaven forbid you say anything to the little dumpling, 'cause Momma will come over and give you what for because you interrupted her important decision between a .50 Harry Potter DVD and a whisk. "Don't talk to my child." Why don't you? No works.  So up went a sign "You break, you buy. Price asked, no bartering."
-People who want to go in the house/people you find in your house.  I grew weary of this scenario during the first yard sale - "So what do you have in the house? Think I could have a look around?" NO. It's a YARD SALE, see the grass?  My brother and I roped the house off and posted signs that said there was nothing available in the house. Sigh.

What else have I forgotten erased from my memory?

There will be a lot of history and memories going, but that's okay because I am not so much attached to stuff as I am to my family - and no I am not selling anything the kids want to keep or belongs to them, this is specifically my stuff that just doesn't mean that much to me or I can't use anymore [sewing machine anyone? I have three! :D  ] and some larger furniture we can live without. How did I end up with three armoires? giggle  The things are hard to move. So, out go two of them. One is my Grandma's, that stays.

But if this is what I have to do to make this happen, then so be it.

And before anyone screams "Avoidance" to me - I remember specifically asking you not to question what we do with our children. Well, that took three days.  Anyhoodle - I know I have to tell them if we can't pull this off but I thought I was pretty clear that our older daughter is still at school - which leaves her younger sister home alone. What do you suggest, I call Emily at school and break the news on the phone? Or do I  tell Evelyn, here at home, who is incredibly close to her sister and let her suffer while we wait to pick up Em?

I am not a dink - I know they have to be told. But I am certainly not going to break a heart by phone. Or leave our littlest alone, knowing the news without the ability to share it with her sister.

If you had any idea how excited the family was the I was willing to risk a long car ride and a bed not my own, hours from my doctors and hospital - then I think you would better appreciate what THIS vacation means to them. To me.

And for those that emailed and mentioned that there will be other vacations?  Well, you seem to not understand why I stopped this blog in October or why when I came back I told ya' all that it wasn't good.  Sorry that you missed that, but I know, my husband knows and my kids know, this may well be our last one together.

They live in this house everyday with me. The rest of the world doesn't.

I realize I am pretty damn upbeat and happy in internetland, and for the most part I am. But, what would you prefer? I be Janinie Downer everyday?

You all know how much I appreciate and love you, but I guess I am just not clear enough. Am I?

Have a great Thursday. In the best way you know how.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Don't Think This is Working Out So Well

I am sitting here today listening to my two youngest daughters chatter on the phone about going to get their nails done and buy new bathing suits at Victoria's Secret for our vacation. Emily's treat.

A vacation they don't realize ISN'T going to happen.

Because of me.
And I can't stop crying.

Any of you who have read this for a long time, know how shitty this last half a decade has been, with my health, losing the house, temp living, finding a new home, the heinous commute for Steven [4 hours a day?] - oh, freaking name it - it's happened.

The one thing my family, in 19 years, has only done once is go on vacation to a place we chose and paid for, in 2009: we went camping at the beach, how cheap can you get? because we are usually given family vacation homes to use for free.  Not to say we have been on 19 vacations in that time, but we had Steven's parents home in the country and my parents' golf condo in Longs SC.

My parents are gone and now we live 20 minutes from the country house. We LIVE here. So, not a vacation.

Don't get me wrong - it was a great gift. We were very blessed.

We face medical bills, with insurance, that would curl your toes.  Still, we always manage.  My health sucks and I live month to month. Not being morose, but I do.  When I thought I was making it to summer this year - I started to save again.

I shouldn't have bothered.

We found out last week that the medication that is keeping me alive until my transplant - a med that is made by one company, no generics, I have to have it - went from $80 to $1,455.00

Any guesses on how much I had saved for vacation?

I argued with Steven. Told him I wasn't going to give up this vacation - the one I promised him and the girls - to take that stupid med.  The pharmaceutical company is being greedy.

As, I guess I am, because I WANT this vacation.  To see the excitement on the kids' faces and in their voices - my kids, who are GOOD KIDS, who don't complain, who work hard, don't give us a lick of trouble - who put up with me and help me. They worry about me.  To give them this.

Steven, and my doctor, insisted a month without taking it would make a difference. We had to get most of our deposit back [in fairness, wouldn't give it all] from the rental and give the rest of our spending money saved, to buy a month of the meds.  We have made arrangements for the future for this stupid med, but for now we are out $1,455.00

And still I cry. Because I simply can't tell them. Could you?  We are supposed to leave Sunday for 6 days. Emily is still at college, so I don't want to tell her via phone - and how can I face Evelyn?

Next week is the only week Steven and Emily can get off from their work and her school.

I don't know what to do, except sit here and cry.

I never thought ANYTHING could hurt this bad.

I am tired of being thankful for being alive or having it "better" than so many others.  We are good people. We are fair, honest, hardworking and I didn't make myself sick.  Yet, everyone is trying to take it away from us.

I am in pain every single minute of everyday. I spend half my days throwing up. They spend all their days worrying about me no matter how happy I hide it.

Why in the hell is it so wrong to just want a week at the beach, in a run down motel - believe me I found the most inexpensive place I could find - and we're not going to eat out? I just wanted to spend six days with our toes in the sand, watching them smile.
This is the type of  motel.  It's actually my kind of place....sigh.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We Have to Talk

I do have a little bone to pick with y'all.

Get back here Tadpoles. I am not going to yell or anything, but this is important. To me anyway.

I have already had it out with the family, but it's been bugging the beyeeshesh out of me for months.

I know y'all think I have this weird obsession with my weight. I don't. Really. I have always been a pretty slender person, genetics or something, who knows, but.....BUT....

I have tended to talk about it a lot in the past few years. It gets tiresome, I realize that. But, when you are sick, and the doctors are requiring you eat this way, take that pill, don't drink too much liquid and OMG! try not hurl on a daily basis - one does have a tendency to fluctuate in weight.

It also doesn't help that I have shrunk in height in the past few years from 5'8" to 5'6 1/2" - and yes, I am claiming that half an inch - because then I don't know what in the hell I am supposed to weigh. The shrinking thing is definitely genetic.

I was always a good, healthy Skip at 135 lbs.  Even when I shrank - which was a stunning surprise two years ago - that is what the doctors wanted me back out.

Then came another hospital stay and I was so congested I was 176 lbs. Came out and lost 56 lbs in a little over 6 weeks.  Water. All water.

Do any of you know what it is like to suddenly realize under all that weight you thought you had you suddenly weigh 1/3rd less than you used to?

Then came the meds - and we all remember what happen there...I went down to 97 lbs.  I was a walking cadaver.  The doctors kept screaming "You need to gain weight!!!!"

Well, what exactly was I supposed to do when I am on a restricted diet, meds that make me violently ill AND for an added treat the one med they gave me for nausea made me sicker than all the others combined?

I learned to love chocolate and low/no sodium bake goods. This from a girl who never even liked chocolate.  Or cake. But? I managed to gain a whopping 13 lbs.

And I held steady for almost a year.

Then came the dreaded Prednisone.  I have never mentioned my meds actual names because some of them are damn scary - and that lil' bitch IS - but the one thing it did was cut down on the swelling of [I don't know, my entire body?] that was keeping my body in constant pain. Oh and it's also the drug in the post I wrote about the "good side effect of wearing hockey gear". Remember that?

BUT, those two things aside - I gained back 50 lbs. Mostly retention of water, but the pills make you ravenous and made me eat things that I should never have put in my mouth.

Alas...the roller coaster was back, and it was a ticket to a ride I couldn't burn for love of God or Country. Just get me the freak off of this thing - I want to be ME. This being a daily lament to my long suffering husband.

NOW...[how much do y'all miss how much it takes me to get to a point? giggle...yeah, well, lotsa' time on my hands, my apologies].....Here comes the reason for this post...

While on this fun little ride - ha - I never heard one peep out of my family, my friends or a single Tadpole about how AWFUL I looked when I was so thin.  When I plateaued out at 110 lbs, I obviously had a new wardrobe - and you guys were very, very generous in listening to me cry about the pain in the ass that was shopping for it ["Thanks for not bedazzling my behind"], and telling me I looked fine. I was healthy - okay, I don't think anyone used that word exactly, but no one happened to mention I was a walking stick figure. Heck, I was the losing guy in game of "Hangman" now that I look back.  I was being told by everyone that I looked "beautiful" and "fine" and said "No worries. Steven and the family love you", as did you - but even they lied. For good reason, I know.....but. . .

OMGosh, how could anyone allow me to post those pics?  I shudder to look at them now. [Then again my number one rule is "My blog, my rules." - So not too sure how that would've worked out. heehee - but still...I can't even look at those posts or pics here anymore.]

Then I began on the Predisone and when I started to gain the weight is when people started to admit I was looking better and how worried they had been.  Heck, my own husband would tell me I was pretty at 110 lbs, yet wouldn't come within 3 feet of me - for fear of breaking me, as he told me later.

Nice honey. Love you! MWAH!

But, to hear it from so many people about broke my heart.  It isn't that I don't understand your wonderful intentions and know you meant well....

BUT TADPOLES - what have I always told you? Huh?

I don't want you to worry about me.  It's all good. IT IS....regardless.  But gang, if I can't trust y'all to tell me the truth - and evidently my family isn't going to do it - what do I have? You don't have to do it in comments but I am easy to find.

You are such true friends, but to know you thought I looked horrible, and were worried....well, that is why I ultimately stopped the blog in October '13.  They had put me back on some of the meds they had stopped, because of the weight loss, and stopped the Prednisone because I had been on that for a long time, but a patient has to eventually go off. It is dangerous to be on long term.  Talk to your adrenal gland. It'll tell you, it's doesn't like that med either.

Well, what do you think has happened?  Yep...wave good bye, because the weight is going south again.  I put on a pair of my old/new jeans, took one look in the mirror and said to my daughter "Well, guess I won't be taking a pic' of me in this outfit again, will I?"

You are not allowed to worry. And if you are going to you can't read my blog anymore.  So, there :P

And if you see me, and think I look like crap - spit it out!  Please. Tell me.  You let me get all my worries off of my [bony, flat little] chest - so why not say it?  To me.

I am a big girl - I can take it.  I've heard worse. Aw heck, I hear stuff every week that sucks worse than hearing I look like my funeral was yesterday. Have at it.

You know how I love you - and it isn't fair to ask you not to worry. We're all human, and have emotions.

I have to say, I did hesitate to write this post, only because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Honest.  You guys have always been so supportive and I realize that is probably what you were doing.  I just can't stand that you are worried.  I would've told you I was okay. None of my doctors was putting me in a clinic for weight gain reasons.

Still, I did write it. And I hope you forgive me. . because when you spend your nights dry heaving in the kitchen sink, random cups and an entire box of tissues, you do have a tendency to let your mind wander about your next post.

Sigh. Goodbye size 8 [again]. It was nice knowing you.

And no. No more pictures for you. heehee

See ya' on flipside! And EVERYONE smile loudly! Life IS a gift.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Living In a Small Town

In this post Tadpoles I am going to share details of the Ozcarz accident. I know a lot of you on FB know about the accident, but I didn't share the whole story there because who really wants to snooze off reading your friend's FB page? Okay, I may be the only person who dozes, but it's not the writing, I just don't get a lot of sleep. hee

So, grab a pillow, a comfort and snuggle up. I have a story to tell. It's small town living at it's finest - great and bad.

This past holiday season we had Emily home from college and, of course, Steven and Evelyn were home from their respective job and school.  It was a nice, quiet time. We did a little visiting, a little cooking, but nothing extravagant like in previous years. Momma is tired most days, but it was fun to just not do much of anything for two weeks.  Even getting out of our pajamas was optional.

New Year's Day rolled around and we were all hanging out, watching football. At one point Emily looked at her Dad and said "You know, wouldn't a glass of wine taste good right now?"  We don't keep wine in the house, but the kid had a point, because along with football are snacks - good snacks - and I suppose wine would taste good with that. Dad said "Sure. Let's go over to the store and grab a bottle and a little beer." Steven is a beer drinker, the wine was for Emily.

Evelyn, our 16 year, heard the exchange and piped in "Can I drive? Ozcarz, please?" Of course, looking straight at me. And of course I said yes.

Off they drove to our local convenience mart - where you find the BEST wines I am so sure. ::eyeroll::  Evelyn was driving with her provisional/learner's permit, Dad was in the passenger front seat and Emily was sitting directly behind her sister.

Here begins the part about small town living.  We live IN town, right off a certified, offical "Main Street" - no kidding, we are actually certified by - okay I don't know who - but there are signs in town that say just that- "Certified American Main Street Community".  We're small and thus the speed limit in town limits is 25 miles or below. So many people walk because everything is so convenient.

Remember 25 mph.

Okay...I stayed home while my family traipsed off to purchase their beverages. The store is less than 5 minutes/2 miles away.  Since Evelyn is a new driver she is cautious and it takes a bit longer, but I didn't think anything of it when they weren't home in 15 minutes. I just thought they had taken a tool around the country side.

Oh, no. . .nope.  The phone rang about 20 minutes into their foray and I saw on caller ID that it was Steven. I answered the phone with a cheery "So where did your daughter manage to sucker you into driving this time Dad?"  He paused and calmly said, "No, Janine. Listen, okay? Everyone is fine, but Ozcarz has been hit."

Bwah? My family is IN that car and who in the hell hit him? A blind man on a donkey? Who in the freak misses MY car? To refresh everyone's memory THIS is Ozcarz:

I parked him in the driveway one day, sideways, to make Steven laugh. It worked.

But?  Everyone in town knows this car - he GLOWS in the dark for gawd's sake. It's the only shiny, green Chevy Spark for THREE counties.

I asked "How bad?" My poor husband had to tell me "He looks damn near totaled Janine. We were rearended."

Oh shit.

My family. Were fine right? He said so. I kept calm - surprising for me, because these are the most important people in the world and I don't tend to be so-o-o-o calm if they are hurt, tho' I have learned to shut up and go into fix -it Mom mode. You all probably refer to it as "Being a Grown Up" but it took me a few years to get here.

I immediately asked Steven "Emily was in the back, right? Is she okay? Is she standing? What? How about Evelyn? Is she freaking out? [she had only had this license for a few months and she is driving that car] Did she hit her head?  What about you? Are you okay?"

He responded "Everyone is fine. I promise. Shaken up of course. The police are here, but the girls are outside the car and standing, no cuts...."

I sighed and asked "Where exactly are you?" Turns out Evelyn was turning onto our street and had stopped to wait for an oncoming car.  Our turn is half way down a hill.  To describe it - you crest the hill back from where she was sitting approximately 100- 150 yards before you have to stop to turn onto our street. Remember the speed limit is 25 mph, so to maintain that speed and not exceed it, you have to put  on your brakes. Even if you aren't turning onto our street, you will still pick up speed going downhill that many yards before you reach Red Hill Road.

Apparently Jethro, the idiot driver, never even hit his brakes.  He simply plowed right into Evelyn, Emily and Steven - with Ozcarz stopping his forward movement.

He was driving one of the larger SUVs - it was more of a truck size than just a standard SUV.  Here is his vehicle:

Where his bumper is indented? That hit the middle of the back of Ozcarz, that is how high the truck is.

Our turn is back behind him in the pic'. Ozcarz, who you can't see, is about 15- 20 feet past the turn, where this truck pushed him.  All the glass on that truck's hood? My car's back window.

Here's the small town living - Steven told me later that when the cop showed up he approached the truck driver first, shook his hand and said " Hey Jethro, had a little accident?"  Jethro responded in the affirmative, I suppose, and greeted the cop BY FIRST NAME too.  Sigh. Meanwhile Skippyfamily is still getting out of our wrecked car. The cop, nice fellow, but. . .comes over and asks is everyone all right, and explains the other guy had been talking to his son in the back seat and hadn't seen Evelyn stopped. Yeah, right. How long a conversation can you carry on with a toddler with your head turned completely away from the road for over 300 feet?

::BUZZEER:: Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. Liar.

He wasn't even BEHIND Evie when she started down the hill on Main Street.  He had over 100 yards to LOOK THE HECK UP and see a shiny green car stopped IN FRONT OF HIM.

The jerk was texting.  He knew it, the cop knew it and we knew it. And he thought the road was clear? Who knows [okay I do, and just explained it]. . .but my car.:?  The car we paid a little over $13,000 for, brand new, 2 years ago? Sustained $12,412.00 worth of damage, not including the 60 days of rental car at $3,000. He hit the kids and Steven so hard that it crushed in the entire back of the car. The only saving grace is the Chevrolet Spark is the highest safety rated sub-sub compact car on the market. In fact, it is the only model in the class of little cars [Minis etc] to be rated 4 out of 5 stars. So Chevy did this one right.  Because? The backseat compartment, where Emily was sitting, held firm, while the back and sides caved in around her. They were hit so hard, that even with seatbelts on all of them, Steven and Emily both hit their heads on the roof of the car.  Evelyn actually saw the truck not stopping, knew they were going to be hit, yelled "Oh My God" and braced.

I am very, very, very blessed that my family is fine. I know this, of course, but to say I wasn't a bit peeved at the guy and the cop, well....understatement!

The ticket Jethro got for hitting our car?  "Following too Close". Don't you actually have to be tailgating someone to get that ticket? He wasn't even behind her when she stopped at our street. She was waiting to turn. He crested the hill after she stopped. ARGH. It is a minimal fine.

Apparently, knowing the cops in this town is quite a pay off. sigh.

On a happier note, besides a safe family, is that I met one of our neighbors. She is very sweet - and gave me a ride to the end of our street to where the accident was.  I had run* out of the house in pajamas, snow boots and my full length, formal wool coat, with the lovely addition of a baseball cap and one of my stunning blue masks I have to wear.  I looked ridiculous, but I also must have looked sort of in a hurry because she stopped and asked me where I was going. I told her and she said to hop in and took me there. YAY for sweet neighbors, who actually care.We are now friends.

And that Tadpoles? Is a "best part" of small town living.

Have a great Monday. It's nice to see so many of you back. I can't believe how much I've missed you all. ::skippyhappydance:: We'll see ya' on the flipside.

*Okay, okay. I walked really fast.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Noonish? Who Said Noon?

Yeah, I know - I am a notorious time management blogger. I SAID I would be back around 12 pm today..but, uh...

Life got in the way.

That, and I have so much to tell everyone I don't even know where to begin.  I couldn't decide on what to post about first.

Then IT happened.

And I didn't have to decide, because I don't even know quite how to explain it.....

But you know I am going to try, so here goes.

The crux of this post is I think I had the beginning of a nervous breakdown today.  I don't throw the words "nervous breakdown" around easily.  I have never had one, but I have seen panic attacks before and I know what to do for the person having one.  I have actually seen a, no two actually, nervous breakdowns, and the person was hospitalized.  This was a damn near nervous breakdown.

And what finally triggered it is going to make you shake your head. I can't even describe it.

Since some of you aren't on FB, let me just say that this week was kind of LONG.  Those that are on FB know what I am talking about....and I AM going to write that post later this week, because I am still angry at big Pharma, but I didn't realize how much it affected me.

Here's the long story short of what set me off:

And don't kid yourself - no story is short. hee

I went out to put a sticker - a little bitty sticker - on the back windshield of Ozcarz.  I am not a believer in bumper stickers or window stickers, especially on MY pretty car, BUT this sticker is special.

And I had actually put two other stickers on his window after I bought him because they represented my daughters.  JMU Marching Royal Dukes and The Dominion Titans Marching Bands.

I just realized after proofing this [pick yourself up Fitz] is that a lot of you aren't on FB and don't know that Ozcarz was rearended by a full size SUV on New Year's Day.  Evelyn was driving, Dad was in the passenger seat and Emily was in the back seat.  Everyone is fine.  Okay, that's another blog post too - but it took out the entire back of my car, if you could see it you would know it could've killed Emily.

What I didn't realize and I guess [?] had forgotten was that dumbass on his cellphone had rearended Ozcarz on New Year's Day [text and drive? I will cut your tail off Tadpole.] and he took out the back window of my car. Not to mention $12,000 worth of metal and seats and oh, hell..whatever else.  Thank God he didn't kill my Emily. Or my husband, or my Evelyn.  I have a small car....but Chevy did this one right.

Anyhoodle.....I knew where I wanted to place my special sticker.  But when I looked at the window and saw the girls' stickers from Band gone....I lost it.

LOST IT. To the tune of "Find a doorknob and a phone number, 'cause girl, there is a face full of pavement in your very near future. Get your behind inside."

It was as if the whole year just came down.  EVERYTHING, just hit me. My girls?  Where were they? I couldn't picture them safe. The boys?  Where? [They are all fine btw] but the doctors, the meds, the moving, the house, the commute, the pain.  But that blank glass window screamed back at me and I heard,  "YOU FAIL"

BOOM!  Stickers gone, but GUESS WHAT? "Hi - here's your life and it is sucking Skippy. Have YOU noticed?"

Happy isn't an illusion I work at. I am happy [and I don't know why I feel I have to say THAT], but I absolutely fell apart looking at that windshield. I still can't explain it.

I got back into the house and called Steven first.  I never bother Steven at work during this time of year, it's busy...and after two decades, HELLO, I get this. But? If I call he knows.  Unfortunately, he was on a job [rare] and his phone was in the truck.  Second choice? Not a good one, but I picked Emily. My 22 year old college senior.  I was freaking out and I thought if I could just hear her voice.....but no answer. I am kind of happy about that now.  We see her tomorrow.  Keep breathing Skip.

So, final choice?  My beloved MIL.

And yes, Tadpoles, she talked me right off that ledge.  I was panicking. If she hadn't have answered, my next call was my PC doctor and then 911. Evelyn wasn't home [thank goodness] but my MIL is the most rational person I know. And didn't make me feel like I was crazy - and guess what? She KNOWS NOTHING about what is going on, because we don't want to worry her.  My own Mom would've told me to shut up, get over and called 911 to have me committed. Seriously. [I am not slamming my Mom, she just always handled things by passing them off]  I wasn't incoherent today, I just felt like all the life had gone out of me....and the tears were taking my life with them. My shirt was soaked.

God Bless our Connie.  I so, so much am blessed by the family I was given by marrying Steven. She is a gift I will never take for granted.

I used to apologize for scary, worrisome, bad posts. Can't do that anymore.  This is what it is....

I DO apreciate your comments on this mornings post.  So much - so a raise of hands - who is glad I am back after this post? too.

See ya' on the flipside.  If you can handle me, I will be back tomorrow.  Love you all. Smile loudly. Life IS a gift.  Soaked shirt or not.

Okay...Here Goes. ::GULP:: A Little Bit of Hypocrisy and A LOT of Humility

I swore I would not do this.
I SAID I hate bloggers that leave their blogs and come back.

Well...hey. I am back. So, right now I HATE me and I am a big hypocrite.
I accept that.

Forgive me other bloggers that have done this...I am in your tent now.

I simply have too much to say - and those of you that followed me over to Facebook were all, like, "Gawd Skip...get a damn blog already. You are wordy as hell."

Yeah. I do tend to talk a LOT.  Not FB or Twitter worthy, believe me. I was close to getting banned. [KIDDING!]

So, I am back. Just a bit different, this time.

I always said I wrote "I Make Soap" for my family. THAT is true.  But guess what...the kids grew up.
And they know what is going on....and it ain't pretty. My health is sucky. Has been. You guys know this...but now...all those niggly little questions you SO wanted to know?  I will answer them.  I didn't write them before on the blog or admit because the kids didn't know. Now they do.

And? Now?  I get to talk about the GREAT, the BAD and the UGLY. Plus, the ridiculous and funny that seems to keep happening in our part of the world.  And if you are lucky you MIGHT get a recipe.

And know there is going to be a helluva' lot of fun stuff on here.  I never disappoint.  Steven and I have spent many a night re reading what I have already written - just stuff that happened - but we discovered I am pretty damn funny. To us anyway. Some of the conversations I have written down don't mean a lot to you  all, but my gosh, they make us stupid laughing.   So? There. giggle

And, no my punctuation is not getting better. It will continue suck. I can't proofread to save my life, [then again I am wondering who can HA - YES - sick humor is still around. What did you expect?]  and I think I need to start an orphanage for how many commas I *adopt* when I write this blog. [that was for you Fitz] I am a comma hoarder. I know this.

So..THAT is all going to stay the same.

But, now? I am going to cuss a bit. Not much..but some things make me so incredibly mad [think health care in THIS country] that an occasional "shit" and "fuck" are going to sneak in, sorry about that.

Right now? I am back in the house, stuck [and I LOVE our home] occasionally out in Ozcarz and trying my best.  But I am now writing this blog for ME.  Stay, insult me, love me, this point, I know who my friends are and I will take care of you and try not to offend you.

You guys are tried and true - and I would NEVER have made it this far without you.  I only ask that you not question what I do with my children - that's all.

Question, complain, bitch at me if you will...but Sr, Dee, Tee, Squirrel and Wallene are off limits. That's all I ask.

Steven and I are fair game. Just when you hear our decisions - don't question our position with the kids. Okay?

I know you all.  My Tadpoles. Gosh, I love you guys....there is a lot of honesty have probably already figured out a lot...but ....I need this.

I need this blog.

Otherwise I think I am going to chew Steven's ear off.  Ask those on FB - they know. giggle

See you on the FLIPSIDE! I AM BACK - about 12 pm today.

Love and miss you all.  JG