Thursday, September 29, 2016

Catching Up

On September 22 my hubby received a letter from immigration with an appointment for an interview on September 28 at 9 am with instructions to bring me. My husband's 2 year conditional Green Card expired in 2015, and we had filed for ROC (Removal of Conditions) at the proper time. Hubby had his Biometrics (fingerprints, photo and signature) done in Sacramento last year. He had his one year extension letter. One year came and went. Nothing from the government. Finally they called him for new Biometrics in Milwaukee in August. Apparently they expire after 15 months.

Needless to say I spent the next few days preparing paperwork and printing pictures. We were separated and interviewed individually. Scary, right? Well, apparently they wanted to hear it from each of us why we moved from Indiana to California and then to Wisconsin in such a short time, and to compare our answers to confirm we made the moves together.

It was an easy interview. My hubby was nervous but answered all the questions. I was all confident and chatty. The officer was even asking me about what I said regarding mold in Crescent City and smog where we lived in Indiana.

"Mold was growing around the windows on your car?" he asked.

"Yes, on the rubber, on the outside. And we had to use Damp-Rid or it would mold on the inside. But it's beautiful there. You should visit, but in the summer, when it is dry and sunny. They get 90 inches of rain in winter" I answered.

"And why did you leave Indiana?"

"My house was in bad shape and the neighborhood was getting bad, plus I had asthma problems from the bad air." I said.

He looked at our Indiana address. "Oh, you lived near the steel mills."

"Yes, and I had breathing problems from the mill smoke." I answered.

He wanted to know why we just didn't stay somewhere else in Indiana.

"The humidity" I answered.

"And what made you decide to move to California?"

"My daughter lived there and I visited a couple times. It's beautiful there and we thought it would be a good move for us. But we didn't know my husband was going to be so sick from the mold. The mold was in the air, everywhere. And no good doctors."

"Why did you decide to move to Wisconsin?"

"Well, when we knew we needed to to you choose a place? You can't just plop your stuff down in some town and know what to do. So my husband found out his cousin lives in Hartford and his cousin helped him get a job and I rented an apartment long distance."

By now I had the officer totally engaged in my stories, though it wasn't my intent, it just happened. I offered the photos and he looked at them. He asked me some questions about where we were in the pictures. He added that he could tell we like nature. I briefly told him about the trails we walk and how we like to explore other towns and that we've been to Oconomowoc, Grafton and Port Washington.

I offered the paperwork to him and he said, no, he didn't need it. FIVE pounds of paperwork and he didn't need it. Yes I weighed it on my postage scale.

The interview was over. We stood up and the officer said, "Your husband will receive his (10 year) Green Card in about 2 weeks."


Next step....Naturalization. Hubby says he wants to relax and wait until next summer.

In other news, the sunscreen I bought seems to be working.

I really think my hair has stopped falling out for real this time.

There are a few Sandhill Cranes around but I don't hear them. I have seen them flying now and then. Lots of geese are forming "V's" and flying south.

And look what I found! The ONLY apples I like, McIntosh :)

I could not find McIntosh apples anywhere in California.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

The Robins left at some point. I didn't notice when. The Sandhill cranes have all flown south and the geese are heading that way, too. And it's Tuesday.

Today's post is in two parts, five in each.

Part One: The 5 Best Things I Did This Summer

1. Swimming with my daughter from Indiana and her hubby and his kids in the local pool.

2. Cooking out at Pike Lake with my daughter from Indiana and her family.

3. Exploring Wisconsin with my hubby on his days off.

4. Seeing Oconomowoc, Port Washington and other towns.

5. Visiting my other daughter (next apartment building) and laughing at the stories she tells.

Part Two: 5 Things I Am Looking Forward to Doing This Fall

1. Watching the leaves turn colors.

2. Taking walks with hubby on his days off.

3. Taking lots of pretty fall pictures.

4. Coffee on the balcony in Grafton

5. Cooking in the oven more since the weather will be cooler.

Some other things on my mind right now. My doctor upped my thyroid medicine from 75mcg to 125mcg. She upped my vitamin D3 from 2,000 IU to 6,000 IU. She also added Zetia, since I have no tolerance for statins. I must take 100 mg CoQ10 with the Zetia. She also added prescription-strength fish oil ( burps...hate them). This is all in addition to the Biotin I take for my hair and other herbs I take. Too many pills, although half of them are supplements and not actual medications.

It seems like my hair fallout is finally slowing. I know I said that before but it wasn't true. It continued to come out in fistfuls. It may be coincidence but the fallout seemed slow significantly with the increase in my thyroid medicine.

It's a beautiful, sunny day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Succulent Rock Garden

I really, really want one. Succulents....planted in the ground, with rocks around them. A few flower pots on a porch. I want that, too. And if I can see the sunrise and sunset without a bazillion darn electrical wires, that would be enough for me. Hartford is in zone 5a. Here is a detailed zone map of part of the upper Midwest.

So...succulents in the ground, in the Midwest? Yes! You just need to choose the correct ones.

Not my picture. These are Sempervivums, hardy to -20 F
Webpage for picture can be seen here: Simply Succulents
I have not ordered from this website, but you get the idea of the colors available! I see they are in zone 3 in northwest Wisconsin, so I will definitely be looking at their website some more.

More borrowed pictures. These are Sedums, also zone 5 hardy, and some colder, all the way to zone 3. Assorted ground cover Sedums in a riot of colors (also called stonecrop)
The taller type that blooms in the fall
The pictures are from Mountain Crest Gardens. I have not ordered from them.

There are other types of cold-hardy succulents. You can do a Google search or visit the websites above for more pictures and info.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Feeling Better!

My thyroid was getting low, so my doc upped the dosage. I'm back on the Tradjenta. My blood sugar is better. I'm not feeling like I want to sleep all day. It's a beautiful, sunny day today and I feel like I can enjoy it. I think the low thyroid was the root of a lot of my issues.

The Aveeno Baby sunscreen lotion I bought seems to be working. I've not had any breakouts. I've figured out the burning sensation I get is from the retinol I use. It's a new tube, so maybe it's a little stronger. I've dialed it back a bit. This sunscreen has "soothing oatmeal" and I think that helps as well.

Yesterday hubby and I went to Grafton to shop (Target) and then to West Bend (Menard's). Between the two, along a country road (we always take country roads when possible) we stopped at a farm selling vegetables. It was an excellent choice! Here is what we bought. Have you ever seen yellow carrots?

After we told them we have been exploring Wisconsin by country roads, they gave us a copy of this guide. 

We were going to drive up to Sheboygan, but the tetanus shot I had the day before was making me feel crummy, so we went home.

Next adventure...we want to explore Grafton. The Milwaukee River runs through town and there are a couple of establishments with a river view. One has a big balcony where you can sit outside. When we lived in Indiana we used to visit a restaurant/coffee bar in Highland that had a deck facing the park. It was enjoyable to sit there and drink coffee. We miss that experience.

I've been thinking a lot about where we are and where we would like to be. We both have tumbled around the idea of buying a home. I would like more windows. Apartment living basically gives you a one-direction view. You will have sunrises or sunsets, but probably not both. Hubby would like to own a dog. I would like to be closer to nature.

Right now hubby and I are enjoying driving around to other communities. The country roads are lovely, and seeing new places is fun. We like Oconomowoc's quaint downtown and close proximity to the lakes in the area. Port Washington was fun as well, and right on Lake Michigan. Grafton has an inviting downtown along the river that we have yet to explore.

So...that leads us to where and what we want. Hubby wants a better paying job. I want a better view. At this point we don't know if that will happen here in Hartford or somewhere else. Our one-year lease is up in March. After that it becomes a monthly thing, which seems to be the norm everywhere in Wisconsin.

We are still trying to "find ourselves".  A cute town with a coffee bar with a view from a balcony, a good job, and some place to live with a view. Are we asking too much? Some things might need a little where we live. Lake front and river view properties are hugely expensive. Anybody with a lot of money has already bought them up. We are sort of "close" to Milwaukee, which has something to do with it. We don't want to live "in the boonies" because, well, hubby needs a job, and I can't live in the middle of farmlands because of the smells and allergies I have to fields that are being sprayed, plowed, you name it. Another thing is's easier to find Albanian type food in the Milwaukee area. A nearby Aldi store is a must.

Some things I'm a camper, not a tent. That would help with the nature view. However....we would need a place to park the camper when we are not using it. Not crazy about the idea of tent camping, although if we tent camped we wouldn't need to haul a camper. I was looking at would be possible and within budget to buy a small parcel in the woods near or even on the water....but....there is upkeep, and the fact that it would probably be about 2 hours drive away. It needs to be maintained, or it will become overgrown and full of weeds and deer ticks. Taxes need to be paid, whether it is used or not. Or...maybe there is an apartment complex or condo with a view...affordable? Just some ideas I'm tossing around in my head before I discuss with hubby. My hubby is very open to all my ideas. He wants me to be happy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I texted that to my daughter and she asked to buy an "O". Thought that was funny.

Anyway, hubby and I had a nice time but he was tired so we didn't stay a long time. Tomorrow my daughter is off work so we are planning to go together. I told her they have Java Hut. She used to drink their coffee often in California. probably have heard of a "Flash Mob". Apparently Oconomowoc had a "yarn mob". Yarn was on everything, and most of the pieces had been auctioned off for charity. So, here is downtown all knitted up.
Bench warmer

I like these with the flowers


Hubby said, "Take a picture of that one!"

Even the trees!

Light posts

There are a lot of places to sit in Oconomowoc


Flower pots

Window boxes!

And I just realized this is a sedum I used to grow in Indiana

We stopped for coffee (not Java Hut)


One of the numerous lakes in the area. Ococomowoc is between two of them

A duck paddled by

Another view of the lake

Monday, September 12, 2016

High Blood Sugar

Going back to the doctor on Thursday, blood test before then. I think part of the reason I'm tired is that it's been a bit higher than normal. Before I ended up in the hospital this spring I was put on Januvia. After the first hospital stint they told me don't take it anymore, but they did put me on Tradjenta, which is similar. Then my drug insurance got cancelled, so I didn't refill. I got the insurance snafu fixed in time for September, but then the Tradjenta didn't refill, maybe because it was scripted from a doctor in Milwaukee and it needed to be refilled by my doc here in Hartford.

So that brings us to today. I'm tired. It's a sunny, breezy day with a few fall colors here and there. I usually get moody when the days are shorter. But now I am moody and tired, and my blood sugar is high. I'm hoping getting back on the Tradjenta will get my BP under control so I can have more energy.

As for the moodiness....well, I was going through my pictures from California, looking for a particular succulent, because I took a picture of the name. I'm sorry I had to leave that plant behind. The cutting I took died. I had to leave a lot of nice succulents and a few beautiful flower pots behind.
 The succulent I named "Bumpy"
Nope, the Home Depot stores around here don't have anything like this, probably because it can only take temps around 20 degrees F and it doesn't grow well inside. <sigh>

I need to get cooking and washing clothes. Tomorrow I will post about Oconomowoc. Just roll the name out. It's

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Here is the Number 3 Thorn in My Side...

....and it's not a vanity issue.

3. Sunscreen. I break out from almost all of it. My younger daughter suggested the Simple brand but that causes deep, painful pimples. This morning I tried Neutrogena clear face (won't cause break-outs) it says. It burned, and instantly I started getting a rash. Washed it off, pronto.

My older daughter uses Banana Boat Kids. I seem to be ok with that except it is very oily. I use it on my neck and chest and then powder myself. My younger daughter bought CeraVe invisible Zinc. It's NOT invisible. It is difficult to apply (kind of chalky) and it gives you a bluish-white tint, so you look kind of like a Smurf.

Today I am returning the Neutrogena. I might try Aveno. I'll keep you posted.

I have a yellow tube of Walgreen's brand sunscreen but I left it in the car. It doesn't seem to break me out but it is very greasy.

I wear a hat on walks, but I really don't want to wear a hat every day.

What is your experience with sunscreen?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I Wish I Could Fix These Things

Yesterday I was going to post a "Ten on Tuesday". I wrote it, then decided not to publish it. Basically it was a list of all the ways my hubby and I love each other and do things together. Nothing wrong with that, but it's probably boring for you to read. So today I want to address a few thorns in my side.

1. My hair. It's still falling out. My hair is pure white in front. In back it has these weird patches of mostly dark hair, and in between those, a smattering of salt and pepper. I don't like the zebra look, so I lighten the dark hair to a golden blonde, which blends really nice with my white hair. The last time I lightened it was early August. So it's been a month, and I have dark roots nearly an inch long! So my white hair is STILL falling out yet my dark hair is growing. I have new hair growing at the nap of my neck where they shaved me for surgery, but I can't tell if anything new is growing where is needs to be growing to keep me from looking bald. Here is my "hair is so thin I can see the scalp" look. Not liking it one bit. GRRRRR

2. My cheeks. They are getting that hollow look. That tired, you need more sleep look. Ok, I know smiling is half the battle, but seriously, I inherited my dad's bulldog jowls. 

I think insurance companies should give women over 60 a "filler allowance" of about $2,000 every 2 years so we can look beautiful, too.

No, my hubby has nothing to do with these feelings about myself. He loves me, totally. Yes, I told him I got filler in my cheeks, because I didn't have any cheeks, and I used to look like picture #1 above. I wasn't tired, but I looked tired. And everybody thought I was mad, including my first husband. I can't tell you how much that investment improved my life.

3. I can't think of a number three right now.