Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 30: My Word for 2017...Goals

2016 was a year of change, of going into debt because we moved 2,300 miles to a new state and had to wait a month for my hubby's background checks to finish so he could begin working. When you've lived in two previous states in two year's time, background checks take longer.

For me it was a year of recovery from major surgery. For my younger daughter, it was a new life in the Midwest after her husband said he wanted a divorce because, well, they had grown apart, so they were nothing more than "roomies". She came here to help me after my surgery, because I was mostly helpless for a few weeks. She took a family leave and put in a transfer.

If it wasn't for her I don't know how we could have managed. My husband was new at his job and had taken several days off, plus he was sleeping in the hospital with me and then driving 40 miles to work. With my daughter here, he reduced his time at the hospital because she visited me everyday. Once I was home, she helped me with everything, because for awhile, I couldn't even pick up a glass from the cupboard, nor lift my arms to wash my hair.

I do believe that 2017 will be goal-driven. My husband has established himself as a reliable and hard worker with the company where he works. He will have been there one year in April. As he goes into year #2, he wishes to pick up some training which will give him more opportunities, or perhaps work the weekend shift which has higher pay.

We also have an aggressive savings plan, because we would like to buy a house in the next year or two. Our dream to own a home with a front porch might be realized here. Hartford has many.

My car will be paid in full in just three months, and it still runs great. It's been across the US from Indiana to California and from California to Wisconsin, over loaded both times. It drove like an army tank through near gale-force winds in Wyoming. They were closing I-80 behind us all the way to Cheyenne. Having my car paid off will allow even more income to go into savings.

Trip to hubby needs to see his parents. They are very old, and sad, because they are mostly alone. He thought about not going, but I told him he should go, because what if he waited too long. We are hoping he can also meet up with his brothers. He hasn't seen his older brother in years.

Me...I continue to improve. My shoulders and neck are still not as strong as they should be. I will forever have a limited range of motion, but I'm pretty much used to it now. I can sleep without pain (pillows were a real issue for awhile). My hair is growing back. I think it will be shoulder-length again by spring.

I would like to buy a better camera. I am torn between point and shoot and professional. I like the small, lightweight point and shoot cameras. I cannot lug around a full-size DSLR with lenses. I would like to find a small camera with some capacity to take a picture of the full moon, or to zoom in and not become pixilated. Also, my Canon fails with sunset colors or bright oranges and reds. I might look at Nikon.

That's about all I can think of right now. I won't quit writing, it just won't be as often. Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 29: Today's prompt: What was your most embarrassing or scary trip to the doctor?

Well, I never got to the favorite toy prompt.

I've had some scary trips to the doctor. In 1996 I had a lump in my breast. It was tiny, but it was growing fast. Because the doc I was seeing left I didn't have access to a doctor right away. It was something like more than 2 months before I could see a doctor. Those were the grand ole' days when Indiana kicked everyone under the bus unless you #1, had insurance or #2, were dying enough to be seen in the ER. I was terrified. Finally I was sent for an Ultrasound.

I really don't feel like getting into the details again. Yes, it was cancer, stage 2 on the left and in situ on the right. I had lumpectomies, chemo and 16 weeks of radiation that made me feel like my boobs were hamburger.

Long story short, after all the hell, I'm still here. It's been 20 years. The disclaimer papers I had to sign listed all kinds of reasons I might not be here. It could come back in 5 years. I could have leukemia in 20 years, or heart disease. So far none of those have surfaced.

Now...the toy. I had to think about that. I had a collection of toy horses, but I don't have them anymore. One thing I do have is a toy cow. It's not even an attractive cow. I don't even like cows all that much. I mean, I like them but I don't collect them. I really don't remember why this particular toy was so special to me.

Once one of my friends had some other toy I wanted, so I traded my cow for that toy. Then I wanted my cow back. I got my cow back, but the tip of one horn was chewed slightly. Ugh! My cow was defiled. I still have my cow.

I haven't been in the mood to write from prompts, yet I have been busy, and without much time to write. This was a very poor excuse of a blog post tonight.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 28: My Most Precious Possession When I Was a Kid...hmmm

Here's today's prompt: What was your most precious possession when you were a kid?

No post tomorrow

Day 27: Missed Again!

Ok, it's late, I'm tired, I forgot to write again, I shopped and cooked and enjoyed time with hubby before he left for work and invited my daughter over this evening for a bite to eat and fun talking. We laughed a LOT. We made up memes for all the "old" things we remember.

My first computer...a whole whopping 16 Megabites of RAM hahahahaha and Dial-Up OMG lolol it was 9,000 something kilobites per second. Then I Upgraded to 14,000-something. hahahhaha.

My daughter remembers her first video had to Program it before you could play!

Cell heavy, then ity bity, then big again.

All so much fun.

Nite all.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 26: Awesome Soup

When hubby and I went out to eat in West Bend, hubby had a beef and vegetable soup with cabbage in it. He said it was delicious, and asked if I could make it. I peered over at his bowl and calculated what was in it.

"Sure, I can make that."

This morning when hubby was sleeping, I went to the store and bought this:

Stew meat (beef)
(I already had onion and potatoes)
can of diced tomatoes
tiny pasta (I bought Creamette "Rings")

I never use soup bases or flavor packets. They are full of chemicals that make me sick.

I browned the meat well, until it was brown. Non of that gray stuff, it must be brown. Don't let it burn, or the broth will be bitter. Then I added water and set the meat to simmer. I chopped onion and celery and sauted them in a little olive oil. Then I tossed in two peeled and sliced carrots. I like them cut like medallions. I set that aside to while I transferred the meat and broth into a dutch oven. I then added the veggies and the can of tomatoes. At this point I peeled and cut up two potatoes and sliced up a wedge of cabbage. After everything was simmering together for about an hour I added a handful or two of pasta rings. I added a spoon of paprika from Kosovo, which would be Hungarian paprika here in the U.S. After simmering for another hour I added some black pepper and some salt, to taste, of course.

"Red Pepper" in Europe, or at least in the Balkans, is Paprika, but with flavor. It's not hot, but it's not the flavorless Paprika we use as garnish here. Here in the U.S., "Red Pepper" is Cayenne, which is flaming hot, so don't get them mixed up!

Not much left, but you get the idea.

I served it to hubby after he woke up. He loved it! He said it was much better that what he had at the restaurant. I have to admit, it was one of the better soups I ever cooked.

Yay me!

Day 25: Missed Again

Well, we were busy. We went looking for shoes for me, didn't find anything (normal for me, to not find anything). Then we popped into a couple stores we never were in before. Then we ate at a restaurant that we won't go back to (not great food, but the coffee was good). That was all in West Bend. Then we came home and I cooked hubby's lunch (for work) while he took a nap. After he left for work I decided to take down and put away all the fall decorations. I got out my lights but have no way to hang them in the window, well, that I can reach, anyway. I was disappointed to realize my LED candles won't sit on the too-narrow window ledge. Unless I tape them to the glass, it will be the first time ever that I haven't had LED (or some other type of electric) candle in the window. I took some fake flowers and glued them to an embroidery hoop and hung them on the door. So that's why I'm late posting.

Moved the flowers and raised the LED candle so you can see it. Too bad the hall light is so bright you can't hardly see it

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day 24: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hubby and I are both thankful he has tonight off, and we are thankful for my daughter's company. We are thankful my other daughter and her family visited last weekend.

We had a nice dinner, not as fancy as I normally would cook, but it's all I could do with my neck and shoulders, and this tiny kitchen. I am extremely grateful and thankful that my daughter washed the dishes for me while I dried and put them away. Otherwise I would have been hurting a lot more than I am by now. She also baked an awesome pumpkin pie, her signature dish.

No pictures tonight. I'm tired and sore. Hubby went to see his cousin for a little bit after dinner. We will probably watch movies when he comes back.

That's all for now. Need to relax.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 23: Up in the Air

Hubby has been off work since last week. He is working tonight, and I'm waiting for 10:05 pm to check his work schedule for tomorrow. If he's working, then he and I will have a bite to eat before he leaves, and then my daughter will come over after she gets home from work at 6 pm. She is baking homemade pumpkin pie. I'm doing the sides and a roast chicken, because a turkey is too big, and hubby doesn't like turkey.

This morning the gloomy weather had us both in a funk. It seems like all the things we want to do just keep getting pushed to the future. My neck and shoulders are still not strong and exercise is still difficult. My neck is stiff, with limited mobility. Oh, woe is me. Anyway, we went to the store and came home and took a nap together and felt better.

I've been dabbling in some things to keep me busy. I'm doing a few surveys online. I'm getting paid $25 to do one on food. I'm playing more with photography, trying to learn more, and hope to figure out what a good camera would be for me, because I can't lug around a heavy one. I really want to push more into my hobby. It just so happened that all three of us (who were taking pictures) shot the same scene. Here is Lake Michigan at Port Washington. Samsung S7, Maxx Droid 2 and my point and shoot Canon. I think the Samsung wins hands down. My hubby wanted the one that was blowing up.

Hubby talks about buying a house, but he isn't settled into a job he wants to keep "forever". What if we buy a house here and he finds a better job in another town? Well, credit cards first, gotta pay them off. We are nearly done there. Then there is his trip to Europe to visit his parents and brothers. He has mentioned postponing it but he already told his mom he's coming and she has been crying. We've thought about just renting, but darn-it, can I ever have More Windows than just facing One Direction? Our plans are up in the air.

Two more minutes and I can look at his schedule.

Yay, he's off tomorrow. It says "Holiday Shutdown".

Well, one thing is settled, we are eating together tomorrow, the three of us.

I purchased some online photography courses. Yay

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 22: What the Heck Are We Seeing??

Earlier in the month hubby and I drove down to Germantown to do some shopping. The sun was setting as we were driving home. We love to take the rural roads, and they are the most direct way to travel from Hartford to Germantown.

Just after the sun dipped below the horizon I noticed a bright star with a tail near the clouds.

"I didn't know we had a comet in the sky, but it's tail should be more opposite the sun," I thought.

Then I watched in amazement as it DRIFTED SLOWLY to the west. It looked like a meteor but it didn't move like one. As I fumbled for my camera it began to fade. "It's moving behind a cloud" I thought. "No, it actually faded away!" Just then I noticed another bright dot appear in the same place as the first! It grew a tail and drifted. By now my camera was ready and I was desperately trying to take pictures in spite of the motion of the car.

I told my hubby to pull over. "See that bright thing in the sky with the tail?" "There...There!" I pointed. He finally saw it, while driving the curves of the road. "PULL OVER SO I CAN TAKE PICTURES!!!"

"I can't! Cars behind!"

"Pull over there!" I pleaded, or demanded, or both.

He found a spot near the corner. I hopped out and grabbed as many pictures as I could. I saw at least four of them, all originating from the SAME AREA of the sky. My hubby speculated they might be UFO's. I told him, "Well, they are unidentified flying objects, but they move WAY TOO SLOW to be meteors."

I've been a sky-watcher all my life, I've seen lots of meteors streak across the sky. I saw a fireball when I was a teen in L.A. I discovered a comet when I was five and we lived in the California desert. I told my parents it was a comet. My sighting was confirmed when the morning paper announced a comet named by two Japanese astronomers. I've watched the International Space Station cross the sky. I've watched high-flying jets leave trails. I know what things look like.

I shared my photos with as many pages I thought might have an answer to what they were. Never got an answer. That happened November 8th.

The today I watched a video of the SAME THING filmed by a teen in Japan!

Amazing, I thought. At last, someone can show how crazy SLOW these "meteors" are. The article "connects" the slow moving meteor to the earthquake, which is pure speculation and coincidence, since we saw the same objects on the 8th. here in southeast Wisconsin.

Here is the video:

And here are my pictures from November 8


Closely cropped with an enlarged view inside the circle

Brightness lowered to show it better

Another one, drifting off to the west

Have you seen any of these? Do you know what they are?

Day 21: How Much Do You Spend On...

I use Mint to keep track of all expenses. I use a Spreadsheet of my own design to keep track of bills. Hubby and I have a pretty good handle on things. I have helped him become a saver more than a spender, because we have saving goals. However there is one area where we fall short, groceries.

The FDA uses "the Thrifty Plan" to figure that a family of two adults our ages should be spending $496 a month on food in our zip code.

I have a question about the thrifty plan...

What . Are . They . Eating?

Is it just Wisconsin or is food costing like hell everywhere? I also need to factor in the fact that we don't eat dollar a box junk. I steer away from highly processed food with a lot of chemicals. We don't eat pork, which is pretty much the cheapest type of meat. I won't touch fatty beef with a ten foot pole. It needs to be lean. I only eat chicken breast, but not often. Hubby eats legs, which are cheaper. I can't eat a lot of the cheap meal fillers like potatoes and rice because of my health. Coupons are normally for food we don't eat...brand name prepared foods full of chemicals. I shop at Aldi a lot, but I can't buy everything there.

I found this handy budget calculator.

Family Budget Calculator

And I missed posting this before midnight. I guess I will elaborate in the morning. <sigh>

Update---another website said $688, so that's closer.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 20: Happy Birthday Hubby!

We had an enjoyable day with my older daughter and her family. We were going to walk at the Lion's Den in Grafton, but it was closed for hunting season. We were bummed about that, but decided to make the short drive north to Port Washington. It turned into a fun shopping trip. My daughter and her hubby completed some of their early Christmas shopping at Port Washington's unique shops. We took a frigid walk in the wind around the park and took pictures of Lake Michigan. Then we went to Smith Bros. Coffee House to warm up and then shopping. Afterward we drove back to Grafton and ate dinner at The Ale House overlooking the Milwaukee River. Hubby and I had been there earlier in the year with his cousin. It was good, but maybe next time I won't have fish and chips. They seemed greasy this time. There are other places to eat in town. Time to explore more. Here are some pictures:

Port Washington, two lights that mark the harbor entrance

Bundled up against the chill, we took turns at the lookout

I zoomed in and cropped to you can see the waves out there on the lake


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 19: Short & Sweet

Hubby's birthday is tomorrow. We celebrated today. My daughter and her family are in town. We had a lot of fun. Made a cake for hubby. I am sooooooo sleepy, gotta go to bed!

Here is the cake. We were hoping the top layer wouldn't slide off (it didn't). Those are strawberries.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 18: Did We Fight?

Today's blog prompt is "What is the dumbest thing you and your partner ever fought about?"

I'm listening to the wind. The windows rattle occasionally. I can hear leaves blowing around outside. My husband is napping an hour before he needs to get up for the night shift. I'm listening to his soft breathing. He is the love of my life. I'm thinking about my blog. Did we fight about dumb stuff? Did we fight at all?
My hubby and I walking last June, a month after my neck surgery

Why, yes. Yes we did. When he was a new immigrant, he came face to face with all the laws and regulations we have here in America. "America is not free" he once told me. "In my country if you want to hunt you just pick up a rifle and go to the mountains." I restrained from the common American knee-jerk reaction of "why don't you go back, then" and explained that we have too many people here to just go off in the woods to hunt like that.

We argued over street lights. Apparently in the parts of Europe he drove in, when your light is green, all the on-coming traffic is stopped, so you just pop a left turn, or even a U-turn, with no danger.

"Stop!!! They won't stop, they will hit us!" I don't know how many times I yelled that at my husband as he cursed the drivers that nearly hit us when he pulled his daring left turns.

"Stop!! There is a stop sign!" is another one. Kosovo is devoid of stop signs. I think I saw two in the whole city of Prishtina. Most smaller intersecting streets have nothing, no light, no stop sign, nothing. Cars just drive at the intersection from all four directions. When they get there, they slow slightly and instantly figure out which way is busier. The busier street gets the right of way, so the others stop. But then, you must nose your car into the intersection to stop the other cars, or you will be sitting there All Freakin Day.

The first time my husband tried to nose my car into traffic to stop it, I freaked! STOP!!! They won't stop for you.

In Kosovo you need to drive like you are King of the Road, because there are no signs. Thankfully my hubby has learned to navigate the stop lights, street signs, arrows on the pavement and stop signs that are literally plastered everywhere. He is relaxed when driving, and a safer driver now. I'm pretty much over the fear of being T-boned.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 17: I'm Addicted to Rocks

Apparently I am addicted to the same rocks. Well, I like different ones, too, but since that majority of my collecting has been done by the Pacific Ocean, the Smith River, and now our Inland Sea, Lake Michigan, I mostly find rounded ones. My favorites are pure white round or egg shape, flat black ones I can stack, sparkly ones, and anything else that grabs my attention. I was looking through my California rocks and did a double take. California rocks on the right, Lake Michigan rocks on the left.

I thought it was interesting that I picked up almost identical rocks over 2,000 miles away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 16: Summer in November

We had a foggy start to a sunny day. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, and then we crash into winter. We washed the car and then drove to the Lion's Den in Grafton. I got a few decent pictures. Of course I filled my pockets with rocks. We walked some distance along the shore. The air is very fresh here, no steel mills in sight. The brisk breeze was kicking up some rolling waves, the signature of our inland seas. You can listen here.As I panned across the lake, my hubby decided to recycle a stick of driftwood. You can hear me giggle as it goes ker-splat. (you might need to click twice to start the video)

Here are some pictures:

The Tide Pool

Looking north to Port Washington

Just a big rock too heavy to carry

The Dunes

Fog shrouds the Lake in the distance

One can never have too many rocks

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Day 15: Shopping, Walking

My hubby bought a jacket, which seemed to fit great, except the sleeves. We really didn't notice until he wore it while driving and the sleeves crept up his arms. We took it back. He got another style. It fits great, and was $10 less. Hubby tried to find me something and I insisted that he not. I never knew a man who loved shopping more than a woman. If we had the money he would need his own walk-in closet. Just give me a couple pairs of jeans and a few tops and I'm fine.

It was a foggy, gloomy day all day. Finally, about 2 hours before sunset there was a break in the clouds, so we went for a walk along Pike Lake.

The colors were soft and muted

I call these "Poldark clouds". They are the same color as in the intro

Poldark is on Masterpiece Theater on PBS. One of my favorite shows.

I decided to try doing some surveys to kill time and alleviate boredom when hubby is at work. I think I've earned about $10 in 3 hours time. That's pretty low, but they are supposed to offer higher paying ones after some time. The biggest drawback in signing up for one survey company leads to half a dozen others. It also takes some judgement calls. For instance, the offer for a free iPhone 7 came along with an agreement to receive texts and/or phone calls from advertisers. The list must have had 200 companies on it. No way!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 14: Crazy Computer Day

Today I did a complete backup. Something is wonky with my computer. I ran scans. Everything seems to be ok. This morning I had problems with boot up. It's done it before. It boots up, but then my email won't open because my computer is "busy". No, I don't have a virus. It's not that kind of "busy". Once the antivirus program is finished scanning I can check my email. It's the processor. It can't multi-task. But today the issue seemed much worse.

Well, this was a free computer, given to me by my former "boss". It has served me well. It would probably work fine in Linux. I'm not sure my favorite programs would work in it, though. I would need to move all my photos to an external drive before taking such drastic measures. It's been a long time since I fiddled with Linux.

My hubby got his Wisconsin driver's license today. He tried to get it after we moved here but his 2 year Green Card was expired. He has his extension letter but they won't accept that. It took almost 20 months from filing for him to receive his 10 year GC.

We are still have mild weather. Here is a picture of the Super Moon tonight:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 13: Almost Forgot to Post

I'm too tired to write a lot, so it's just headlines tonight.

My daughter in Indiana and her family are coming up next weekend!

It's my hubby's birthday next Sunday.

The Savings plan is doing well.

My hubby works too hard. He's taking off Tuesday and next Saturday.

He's flying to Kosovo next spring.

We're talking about buying a house again, which involves more savings.

I miss working from home, but not at the capacity I was at before.

Some pictures from today:

Squirrel in a tree

Lousy shot of the super moon because my camera is incapable of taking moon shots

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 12: Good Morning!

It was cold last night. We had a pretty good covering of frost when I woke up.

The window sill seems to be warmer by a couple degrees, maybe because it's near the exhaust for the boiler, I still have flowers blooming!

I've been shopping for a phone case. My hubby is giving me his Samsung Galaxy S4 after he gets his new phone. I want a new case, and since I intend to take a lot of pictures, I want a wrist strap. What I don't want is one of those cases that folds up into a wallet. Do I want to talk with a wallet stuck to my head? No. And speaking of that, maybe I will get a blue tooth thingy....not sure yet. Do I want a thing clipped to my ear? Maybe not. I don't know. I'm just really undecided. What I want is some way to hang onto my phone so it doesn't cascade off the side of a cliff or tumble down into a gorge because I didn't have it attached to me.

Here are a couple things I'm looking at:

This one is made in the USA. The one thing I don't like is the lanyard and ring it clips to are big. I could use a wrist strap, but still, that ring...
Samsung Galaxy S4 Nonslip Protective Case and Neck Lanyard

This one looks nice, but it's not real leather. The strap could easily be modified. Ships from Mainland China
Samsung Galaxy S4 fake leather case

And, my hubby got his 10 year green card!! Finally. It was a 20 month journey.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Day 11: Stuck in the Middle With You

I was going to write about the pretty sunrise and sunny day today.

And then I was going to write about the Fire Alarm and the police and fire department showing up because the guy upstairs had a freakin' FIVE GALLON bucket FULL of cigarette butts and it was ON FIRE.

But then everything I wrote got lost and it wasn't saved. The fire was put out, my hubby and I went for coffee, and all is well with us.

So then we were talking a little bit about all the stuff going on since the election. Now, a little backstory here. My parents were democrats and even though they weren't religious, they taught me to be kind and tolerant. My first husband was a Republican. I learned early on that people don't need to be on the same political party to love each other. My second husband cannot vote until he is naturalized.

Fast forward to the election. Well, we have no TV, only Internet, so we are a bit isolated from the news, to say the least. I honestly did not want to vote for either candidate. I certainly was put off by Trump, and his comments about Muslims were deeply troubling. Hubby asked me, which one was more likely to protect Kosovo, after all, he has family there. I told him Hillary. He said he felt she was more level headed and a better choice. I agreed. I was actually choked up when I voted, because I was voting for a woman for the first time. I was also voting for my and my hubby's choice, because, as I mentioned, he cannot vote.

I stayed up until Trump was declared winner. My hubby was at work. I texted my younger daughter, "F**k he won. She was as angry, stunned and upset as I was. However, I suspected my other daughter and other family members as well voted the other way. I knew they were not bad people. After my shock wore off and the riots started, I gradually began to learn a few things, like, most people who voted for Trump were not horrible racist people, they were hard working people who wanted to prosper again. Mind you I am not talking about @ss holes who are doing @ss hole things. Trump being elected didn't cause them to be @ss holes. They were already @ss holes. We could argue forever about being tired of political correctness and all manner of things, but I'm not here to argue.

I'm not going to try to defend one side or the other. There is enough of that chatter going around. With the whole nation in an uproar, the one constant in my life is my husband. I started hearing a song in my head, as my hubby and I drove home from Starbucks.

Stuck in the Middle With You ~  Stealers Wheel

Well, I don't know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down those stairs

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, and I'm all over the place

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

Well, you started off with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

And you started off with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please.

Yeah, I don't know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down those stairs

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you
Stuck in the middle with you
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day 10: My Head Hurts

Well, not literally, but so much has happened it's mind-boggling. I don't have TV, so I rely on facebook for news. I don't know if that's good or bad. There are riots, there are cases of people being bullied, and opinions about everything are all over the place.

So, I'm taking a break. No comments today.

In other news, my daughter and I had an "Apple Tasting Party" last night. I cooked tacos (my hubby doesn't like tacos, and he was at work) and my daughter brought 8 apples. I cut two slices of each on a paper plate on which my daughter wrote their names.

I discovered I am terrible at evaluating apples. "They taste like apples." Some were stronger, some were more tart. I was too tired to take good notes. I didn't sleep much on election night.

We both agreed the Red Delicious was the best

In other news, there are succulents planted OUTSIDE at the library, and one of them is the one I named "Bumpy" and left behind in California.

Firesticks (a type of euphorbia)

"Bumpy" (Lampranthus deltoides)

Out the front window is fall's last hoorah, the last tree to turn color.

That's all for today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After the Anger, After the Shock

Excuse my Rant that I posted early this morning. I would like to say I am hearing a lot of good things from a lot of people. Many people are talking about pulling together, about watching over our neighbors, especially if we feel or see that they may become victims of hate crimes. I think what many people are saying is, hate is not what we are about, and we shouldn't let our President define us as such.

"Set Back 50 Years"

It looks like %$@$#@ is going to win, not that I liked either of them, but I felt she was the lesser of two evils.

I hope and pray we don't end up in a nuclear war. I hope and pray that f'tard doesn't play into Putin's hands and destabilize the Balkans. My hubby has family there.

All these angry people here who voted for him....what are they thinking? Do they think this asshat will draw a line around America and cut off everything? What...make America great again? What they really mean is "make America white and Christian again". That's stupid, because there have always been other religions here and other colors here and other races here.

Ok that's all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day 8: VOTE!

Another sunny, beautiful fall day here. Hubby is off so we will be doing lots of stuff together, after I vote of course, and after he sleeps some, since he worked all night.

In short, I've been flip-flopping around this election. I have friends and family on both sides. I tend not to discuss things, because, well, I'm not into political fights with family.

Two important discussions came up between me and my hubby, because with him I discuss everything. I said "discuss", not "give into", for anyone who doesn't know us, my hubby is my soulmate. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, something was resonating with me, with us, and that is Hillary will defend Kosovo and Trump will dump it. The other important discussion was that Hillary has a level head and Trump is a knee-jerk jerk. My hubby is not a citizen yet. He cannot vote. I will be voting for both of us.

The other thing I want to bring up today is, although I'm posting everyday, I'm not in a contest to win any awards with my blog. I like to write and talk about stuff, and about life. I'm not into themes or making money with my blog. If you are here reading, great! Thank you and hello!

One thing I will be working on is some page or linked blog with the best of my photos. Not sure how I want to do this yet...still thinking. I have a vast number of photos that are not categorized, and that are spread across several blogs and folders on my harddrive and back-up drive.

I leave you with another picture of my sedums, this time in the sun. I am thoroughly enjoying my tiny piece of outdoor garden.

Monday, November 7, 2016

She Wanted Me to Hold Her Paw

It was my son-in-law's birthday and the household was all rushed with cleaning and cooking. The kitties were in the spare bedroom, except for Sophie, who was in the front room, because Murry and Macey didn't like her. My husband and I had moved into the other spare bedroom earlier in the month. It was our chance to get out of the dirty city air where I had lived so long. Anyway, that's another story.

Murry, Macey and Sophie became my charges in 2002 when my daughter married and moved to Australia. I was their "foster mom". Eight years later my daughter divorced and left Australia. After a time she and the kitties moved to new hubby and I, also in California in 2014.

Macey and Murry, like brother and sister, "The Gang" or "Kitty Mafia"

Macey had "Catatude"

Sophie ~ "So Soft Sophie", luxurious thick, fine fur and very shy. She sounded like Chewbacca.

My daughter got Murry from a pet store in the fall of 1998. He almost died from a severe infection when he was a kitten, which left him "dumb as a box of rocks". We finally figured out that he caught the infection at the vet's, because I recalled maybe the table had not been wiped down before I put him on it. We never went to that vet again.

My daughter found Macey in a Walgreen's parking lot on the south side of Chicago. She was working for an inventory company, and someone had found a dirty, abandoned kitten. My daughter agreed to take her. It might have been the spring of 1999, if I recall correctly.

"She looks mean", I told my daughter. "Look how cute she is! She has extra toes!" Exclaimed my daughter. Macey was a polydactyl, with extra toes. She turned out to be the most intelligent cat we had ever known.

Murry and Macey became best friends. They were a team, always backing each other up. When Sophie joined the group as a new-found kitten with a slight limp, Macey and Murry teamed up to get rid of her. Sophie was shy, and hid from them. In the years they lived with me, and after when my daughter took them all back, Sophie had her own room separate from "The Kitty Mafia". Macey actually accepted Sophie. Murry was almost always sleeping, so most of the time it wasn't a big issue. If he woke up, he would attack her. Sophie fine-tuned herself to run to her room if he twitched.

As I mentioned, Macey was the smartest cat we ever knew. She was too smart for her own good. She was a "people cat". She would greet company with a chirp, sort of a trill that started with a "B", and a rub. If they sat down she would be in their lap purring. I often thought it would be a good idea to build a "catwalk" at eye-level all around the house so Macey could trot along side us as we walked. That's where she wanted to be. My furniture had the scratches to prove it. She had the annoying habit of jumping up on anything so she could "talk" to me, even if I was cooking. She never jumped on the stove, but she would jump on the kitchen island. One evening I was rolling dough. I saw her sitting on the floor looking up at me, twitching her tail. "Stay down!" I scolded. "I'm cooking. Don't you dare jump on my dough." In a blink of an eye she landed on the very edge of the Island, all four feet as close to the edge as possible, not a single paw on my dough." "Chirrrp!" She said, as if to say, "See I didn't touch your dough." That was Macey. Always in your face, the "interactive pet".

I had checked on Macey in the morning of the party. She and Murry were both of advanced age. We knew Macey didn't have much time left. Three years earlier she had been diagnosed with Hyperthyroid disease. She needed a daily dose of medicine to slow her thyroid. It's that time most pet owners hate...learning to say goodbye. Macey looked bad. I tried the best I could to make her comfortable. I tried to offer her water, gently touching her lips with my finger dipped in water. I closed to door and went back to cleaning and preparing for the party.

People were arriving. I checked on Macey again. She cried faintly and reached for my fingers with her paw. I held her paw, tears began to flow.


"Macey, I have to go," I gently told her. I rushed to wash my face and rejoin the party. I didn't say anything. I didn't want to ruin my son-in-law's birthday. My heart was breaking.

Guests were leaving, finally all of them were gone. My husband opened the door to check on the kitties. "Come! Come quick! Macey is bad!" We all came running. My daughter found a clean towel and wrapped her in it. She held her until she died in her arms. Then we buried her at the back of the property.

Beautiful Macey R.I.P. 1999 - 2014

A few months later Murry passed, and a year or so later, Sophie was gone, too. Murry didn't want to be bothered, but Sophie wanted to be held. Like people, some animals want to die alone, and others just want you to hold their paw.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Day 6: Sunday Short

It's another beautiful sunny (but short) day here in Wisconsin. The good thing about the time change is that now the sun is up by the time my hubby comes home, so we sat outside on the porch, in the sun, and talked, before he went to sleep. I have strict instructions to wake him at 1 pm so we can do stuff together. Then he works tonight (Sunday - Monday), then he's off Tuesday.

Here are a couple pictures from the porch:

"Million" leaves in the early morning sun

Misty morning with squirrel

Because of the time change last night he actually worked 13 hours. He currently works 7 pm to 7 am, but with the time change, in reality he came home at 8 am, which is what some of my clocks said before I changed them. I hope they pay him the extra hour.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaBloPoMo Day 5

It's day 5 of National Blog Posting Month, and it's Saturday. I don't know what to talk about. The mail just came, my hubby works tonight, it's sunny and 62 degrees and climbing.

Hubby and I talked about staying here, in this apartment another year. It's cheap but clean and secure, the heat is included, in fact, gas is included, so I can bake to my heart's delight. Also water and sewer and garbage are included. We only pay electric. The downside is it's tiny with very little storage. I have downsized and downsized and still have things packed in bins. The kitchen is tiny and barely functional. Well, the stove is normal but the frig is small, and counter space is so limited everything I do is "move this to do that". The upside is that we are seeing our savings grow and our bills from moving paid down faster.

Yesterday Hubby and I went shopping at Burlington Coat Factory. It was a half-hour drive, almost to Milwaukee, but when I told him I found a store up here he wanted to go. He found a couple items for himself (they have lots of other clothes besides coats). He kept asking me to find something for myself, so I picked a few things to try on.

Me...typing to Hubby on phone...."Omg i tried on a sexy dress i look like a kitty cat hahahaha"

Hubby answers "Hahaha im coming" as he walks to the doorway of the fitting room.

It was a junior sweater dress in leopard print and I was totally rocking it. He said buy it, I said, "No, I will be embarrassed to wear it". Later, on the drive home, he said, "That dress showed too much of your figure." I said, yeah, I wouldn't want to wear it anywhere."

Still, it was nice to know I have a figure at my age.

My age....yeah, that came up at my husband's visa interview, not the ROC interview we just had, the first interview, for his visa to immigrate. Yes, my daughters are slightly older than my husband. I am a Cougar. My husband has never brought up my age. I have. I guess it's just insecurity on my part. He always stops me. "Shhhhhh, I LOVE you." The "shhhhh" part was to make me stop doubting myself. He has stuck with me through surgery, hair loss, sickness, ups and downs of all kinds. He has no problem at all with my age. I still beat myself up occasionally, but totally enjoy the love of a man who thinks I'm beautiful and sexy.

It was June, and I was still wearing my neck brace. I still hurt, I was still weak. My hair was a mess. The weather was quite warm, and the brace was making my neck feel like 110 degrees. I took it off. Hubby turned to me and said, "You're so pretty!" I hugged him, tears welling up in my eyes.

All I ever wanted was to be beautiful in a world that said I was ugly.

"Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer! hahahaha!" "Your ears stick out hahahaha!" (Heard this my whole childhood, kids at school)

"You could be a model if you were taller and you nose was narrow instead of round like a ball." (Heard this at age 17, male family member)

"So-and-so has such beautiful daughters!" (Heard this from male family member, more than once)

"Wow, have you gotten ugly!" (Heard this around age 30, same male family member)

"Why are you always mad, why don't you smile?" (Heard this from my first husband and other people because of my nasolabial folds on either side of my mouth from age 50 and up) See Wikipedia

After all the people who said I was ugly were dead I fixed my cheeks. 

With the nasolabial folds gone, and CHEEKS, beautiful cheeks, I was on top of the world.

Me in 2011

I still have cheeks, but they aren't as "puffy". Five years of time have caused some jowls and hollowness. I'm not happy about that. I'm loosing my confidence. I'm starting to hide from the camera again. Cheeks are a drug with me.

And another thing. I wish AARP magazine would stop publishing pictures and articles of rich women (actresses and performers) with the headlines about looking great in your 60's, 70's and beyond. You know darn well some of them got some fillers in their cheeks.

Ok, here it comes.....ALL the advice about vanity and stuff about loving myself the way I am, bla bla bla....whatever. The fact of the matter is, I'm shallow and vain, ok? Well, not too shallow, but vain, apparently yes.

I guess I found stuff to write about after all.

Friday, November 4, 2016

From Pain to Blessings

Six years ago, when my first husband could no longer hold on and passed away from colo-rectal cancer, I was told by a grief therapist from Hospice that I would be blessed. I didn't know what she meant. I had cared for my husband 24/7 except when he was in the hospital. I remember he used to ask the doctors to admit him just so I could get some rest. I washed his wounds, fed him and slept in the same bed, the best I could, with a man who needed to sleep on a bedpan. Yes, it was that bad.

We finally got him a hospital bed in the living room, making it easier for me to care for him, and to sleep, and to have the ambulance guys come get him when needed. I also told my younger daughter and her husband in Australia to "come now". They wanted to come in January. "No!! That's Too Late. Come Now." They did. It was September 22. He died October 3, one day before our 41st Anniversary. On our anniversary I was sitting in the office at the funeral home making arrangements.

I will never forget the panic I felt when the funeral home people came to the house to take him away the morning he died. The evening before Hospice helped me understand how to make him comfortable and gave me two medicines to administer under his tongue, by drops....morphine and something else. They told me to call any time if it got too tough for me to handle. By 5 am, with my younger daughter by my side, I was so exhausted I could no longer stand. Her dad was breathing loudly and we could not help him to breath easier. My daughter and I decided to go to bed. I figured I would wake up if there was a change.

My daughter woke me up. The sun was shining. It was 8 am. "Dad is gone." Later I wrote a poem.

You never wanted to see me cry,
You didn't want a sad good-bye.

Quietly you saw us sleeping,
So you left before the weeping.

by Candy

Three years earlier my mom passed away in a nursing home, also under Hospice care. I didn't want to put her in a nursing home, but I couldn't care for her any longer. She was living with us, and it was straining my marriage to the breaking point.

I first learned about loosing a close loved one in 1987 when my dad passed away. My mom and dad had moved to a small 2 acre farm in Arkansas, the first land they ever owned, bought with my dad's $10,000 early retirement from Norris Industries in California. They had lived there more than 10 years when my dad go sick. He had some rare lymphoma. My mom had been camping out in my dad's hospital room in Little Rock, 150 miles south of the farm for nearly a month when she called and told me to come there now.

I flew in from Indiana on a Wednesday. My dad passed on Saturday. I had a nervous breakdown prior to his passing. I saw the hospital therapist. I told her I was having dreams where I would find band-aids with clocks on them all over my dad's bed and I had to keep picking them up to shake them to keep them running, because if they all stopped he would die. By the time I was done talking we were both crying. She told me I had to let him go.

Three months before my husband died, my older daughter's husband died from liver cancer. She was devastated. She and her dad had been close. Four months after her husband died she was dating. "Mom, I don't want to spend the rest of my life sad like our neighbor did because her husband had died and thirty years later she was still sad and lonely."

I had no intentions of marrying again. I thought I might move out west somewhere.

Then love found me, all the way from Europe. I had joined a chatroom that played music. I enjoyed chatting with everyone. Once in awhile someone with an unusual name would log in and start talking about things, things I understood but no one else seemed to notice. He was talking about a war in the Balkans. I started talking with him. A month later he PM'd me. We started talking about everything. We had a million things in common. I saw his pictures. Every nerve in my body wanted to meet him. He wanted to meet me.

"Don't trust him, find someone in your own community."
"There must be some American man you could have a relationship with."
"He's going to use you, don't trust a foreign man."

My friends and family were worried.

I wasn't looking for a husband. I wasn't looking to get married. Forty-one years married to a closet alcoholic left me lonely for a soulmate. I married my first husband in 1969 and raised a family. I have lots of good memories. We had lots of adventures before his health declined and he found comfort in bottles of beer.

In the summer of 2011 I flew to Europe. It was a fairy-tail romance. We were married in his country. I stayed there 6 weeks. I had a new life and I loved it. We talked about me moving there, but I couldn't handle the heat in summer. I was also concerned with winter because of the choking coal smog, plus he wanted to have better job opportunities (there are still next to no jobs in his country). So I flew home to start the immigration process.

The process is long. A year after filing for him I flew back to visit for 10 days, which was all I could manage that time. I made him promise not to be so sad this time, for surely we will be together soon. Finally in the spring of 2013 he got his visa and immigrated, home to me at last.

We are inseparable, though we have our own space as well. My husband is a hard-working man, and he takes good care of me. On his days off we go places together, for coffee or shopping or walking nature trails in nice weather. We respect each other, worry for each other, care for each other, love each other.

So, last night I was thinking about all of this, and thinking about all the self-help books and teachers. I had tried to watch some videos and read a bit, but I kept thinking, "why go somewhere to find myself when I wasn't feeling like I needed to?" "There is no place I would rather be than by my husband's side."

Then I realized....I know who I am. I am the Mrs. to my Mr. I am the soul to my mate. My husband doesn't subtract from me, he amplifies me. He encourages my hobbies. My place, my ah-ha moment, my happiness, is my life adventure with my best friend, my husband.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Finally! At Last!!!

The waiting and waiting and waiting is over! We have been waiting for my hubby's 10 year Green Card for a year and eight months! We had an interview in September after which the interviewing Officer told my my hubby would get his card in about 10 days. There had been no case status updates (I check online every day), and we were becoming concerned.

Then today I logged in to find this:

I cried tears of Joy!
My hubby is sleeping. I will tell him the good news when he wakes up :)

Just to give you an idea of the immigration journey we have shared, here is a simplified list of our timeline:

17-Aug-2011 Our Wedding Day in Kosovo

07-Nov-2011 Filed I-130 (petition for alien relative)

21-Nov-2011 NOA1 (notice #1 saying the USCIS received our paperwork and cashed the check)

23-Aug-2012 NOA2 Approved 276 days (notice #2 saying Homeland Security approves the case to move forward)

10-Jan-2013 Case complete (received via email from National Visa Center)

28-Feb-2013 Interview (hubby was interviewed in Skopje, Macedonia), result Administrative Processing....meaning they were waiting for more paperwork.

11-Apr-2013 Embassy appointment - VISA APPROVED and issued in 4 hours (he needed to wait for the visa as he needed his passport to return to Kosovo)

30-Apr-2013 POE (Port of Entry) Chicago O'Hare - He's home!

04-Sep-2014 Moved to northern California

12-Mar-2015 Filed ROC (Removal of Conditions because the 2 year GC is conditional, meaning we continually need to prove we have a bonifide marriage)

16-Mar-2015 ROC Documents delivered

18-Mar-2015 Check cashed

19-Mar-2015 NOA1 dated 03/16/2015 received in mail

13-Apr-2015 Biometrics completed (fingerprints, photo and signature....done in Sacramento, CA)

02-Feb-2016 Contacted USCIS about case, was told it's on hold because of security checks (email)

04-Mar-2016 Moved to Wisconsin

12-Aug-2016 New Biometrics appointment in Milwaukee, WI (because they "expire" after 15 months)

14-Sep-2016 Contacted USCIS again about case delay (email said we should hear from them by Oct 6)

22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 explaining the Service Request is currently being reviewed by an officer.

22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 with Interview appointment for both of us for 28-Sep-2016

28-Sep-2016 Interview in Milwaukee, both of us, separated, not hard, 10 min. each, many questions about the moves we've made, result---said hubby will get GC in about 10 days

26-Oct-2016 *****STILL WAITING*****

02-Nov-2016 Card is being produced!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Rainy Cloudy Wednesday

It came down in buckets, just as my daughter and I were driving to West Bend. Thankfully the rain lessened to a gentle sprinkle by the time we arrived. We searched for a coat for her. Not happy with the options. I asked a lady if there was a Target in West Bend. She said, "No, we have Shopko." So we went to Shopko. It was not a good substitute for Target. My suggestion would be to close Shopko and put in a Target.

We enjoyed the drive and the time together. We bought bird feeders. My daughter bought a Hamster and I bought a small succulent.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

National Blog Posting Month

It's National Blog Posting Month and I signed up to post every day. I don't think that will be a problem, since I've been pretty chatty lately.

Today hubby and I went to Brookfield Mall. Usually I find mall shopping rather spendy, but I caught a sale at JC Penny for leggings. Hubby said buy three. I bought 2 black and one charcoal. They were under $10 each. They should last me awhile because they aren't something I would wear all the time. I have two tops that go great with leggings, a top hubby bought for me in Brookings, Oregon and the other from Kosovo when we were there together in 2012. They are long enough to cover what they need to cover. Hubby used to buy me chocolate, but my protests about sugar and diabetes finally ended that. So now he buys me clothes, even though I insist we need to save more. Mostly we go window shopping, and for coffee at Starbucks in Delafield. It's our day off from work date.

After Brookfield we came home, ate and then drove to West Bend. Hubby wanted to return a pair of shoes he changed his mind about. Most of the fall colors are done. We had wind and rain that knocked many of the leaves down. Some trees are still green and are just beginning to show, so we may have a second wave of color. Anyway, here is a nice grove of Oaks on the way to West Bend.

That's all for tonight.