Monday, December 30, 2013


Today I attempted to fix my shower. For the last week and a half my shower head has been losing pressure and hot water. At first I thought it was a hot water heater problem but Brenda was saying when she took her shower the water was piping hot and had a strong flow. It took me a few days to figure out that Brenda and I use different shower heads. I use the regular head and Brenda uses the rain head. So on Saturday I used the rain head and sure enough the water flow was strong and hot.

So, the problem is the regular shower head. I figured out how to take it off (with a little assistance) and soaked it in vinegar. I read this cleans it out. I am not sure it did anything but the little screen inside had some gook in it and that got cleaned out. I tested it and it seemed to flow better but not like it used to. A plumber will have to be called. But I got the head off and back on again.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 29, 2013


For about two weeks every morning when I wake up, I am dizzy. I mean like I stand up and if I don't hold onto the wall I will fall over kind of dizzy. Then if I get back in bed and I roll over, I head a head rush when I move my head.  It is quite disconcerting. Especially when I wake up in the middle of the night and I forget. Suddenly I am falling over when I try to stand up.

I did what the experts say not to do; I searched the internet. The internet says I could have a heart problem, a sinus problem, an inner ear infection, or low blood pressure. I doubt it is a heart problem or low blood pressure. 

I guess this means I need to call my doctor. I had this before but I can't remember what I did about it.  I thought it would get better but it doesn't seem to be.  This weird thing is so bizarre and makes me crazy! 

Until tomorrow...


We had another neighborhood party to attend today. It was a nice gathering. I ran into someone I have not seen in awhile. It was good to catch up.

Movies: I have been on a movie binge. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Empire State, Turbo, Blackfish today.  We're the Millers and the Hobbit II yesterday.  The Hobbit on Thursday.  American Hustle, Joyous Noise, and Stand Up Guys on Wednesday. 

I would recommend both Hobbits, Blackfish and We're the Millers. I fell asleep during Empire State. 

Until tomorrow...

Friday, December 27, 2013


Woke up early because I needed to take my car in for service. Right before Christmas it started making this loud rattling noise and I took it to the shop and they said it probably was a heat shield or something. Bring it in on Friday.

My plan was to bring it in, run an errand and then go to the movies. Why not? I was stuck downtown and there was a movie I wanted to see and Brenda didn't. So that is exactly what I did. I went to see The Hobbit. Well, The Hobbit II. 

The movie was great. I won't give anything away but if you don't like spiders this is not the movie for you. I was glad Brenda stayed home. There was this one scene I swear I would have had to scrape her off the ceiling. I didn't see it in 3D because I would have had to wait another hour but I could definitely see the benefit with this movie. I don't see the benefit with all movies. 

About half way through the movie the car place called and left a message telling me the it was my catalytic converter that has died. Also my water pump is going. Doesn't need to be replaced now but in a couple of months. Such good news! I have been thinking of getting a new car so do I pump more money into this one or buy a new one? Since I am not ready to buy a new car today, it is pump more money into this one. 

Until tomorrow...


A lot of people I know love day after Christmas shopping. The sales, the bargains. Not me. The day after Christmas shopping is just like Black Friday shopping. Crazed shoppers willing to do anything for a bargain.  Even though I have to return two things, we are waiting a few days for the crowds to mellow. 

I usually send my packages by I have a scale at home and I print out the labels and drop the boxes off at the post office. It is really easy and quick. This year UPS and Fed Ex both had problems delivering all their deliveries.  I am surprised that the USPS is not using this opportunity to market themselves. We deliver on time through rain, sleet and snow! We got your packages there in time for Christmas. Another missed marketing opportunity.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Today started as a Merry Christmas but ended not so merry.  We woke up and opened presents. Skyped with family.  Happi had a good time ripping open as many presents as she could.

Then we went to see American Hustle. It was good. I sort dozed a bit in the first 40 minutes. It is slow for the first half. It has to set the stage for the hustle.

Then we came home to talk to more family and eat dinner. We watched another movie while we ate dinner. We watched Stand Up Guys. It was entertaining. It moved along a lot faster than American Hustle!

After the movie I checked my email. That us when I found out our ex-neighbor and dear friend passed away. His name was Darrel and it is a bit of a shock because we received a Christmas card from him a week ago with a very nice note in his handwriting.  

Dear Darrel, we will miss your kindness and smile.  

Until tomorrow...


It is Christmas Eve!  I am so done that I was bored and antsy today. I went to the post office twice today because Brenda's present was sent to the wrong post office. I finally got it 10 minutes before the post office closed. It really helps that I go to the post office a lot and everyone there knows me. They worked extra hard to find my package.

Then we had a neighbor come over to take our family photo. A little late this year. I think she was shocked by the chaos. Two dogs and a bird. The little dog barking and growling at the bird. Jumping up and biting his tail feathers. The big dog squirming to get down.  Brenda not happy about having to do the photo at all. The photo is for our annual family ornament. Every year since we have been together Brenda and I have a yearly ornament. Some times it has a photo and sometimes it just has our names. Since I was in a hurry I bought the ornament where I put in a photo.  Of course our friend canceled on Sunday. I was going to have her take the photo. Then I had to scramble to find someone else last minute. It turned out okay. The good thing is that the photo is so small it is forgiving!

Happi under the tree

Then we went last minute Christmas shopping. Brenda needed to get a few things.

Then I came home and printed the photo for the ornament and wrapped the presents.  After a quick rest, I started cooking. I made almost all the food for tomorrow. Stuffing, stuffed baked potatoes, mushroom gravy, and brussel sprouts. It is all in the fridge waiting to be warmed up tomorrow. I just have to crisp some polenta and I am set.


People have been stopping by with baked goods. Usually it is just my two neighbors bringing cookies. I was worried that I should be bringing them something. I called my etiquette expert and she said since I threw the big holiday party people were bringing me baked goods to say thank you. Since I threw the party I don't have to bring them cookies. I didn't think so but I wanted to check.  I did bring cookies to a few people who missed the party.  I also brought them to a neighbor who brings me warm scones every Christmas morning. Isn't that amazing? Every Christmas morning on my doorstep I have warm baked goods!

I feel weird having nothing to do! I will have to get back to work on Thursday.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


With one day until Christmas, I spent the day running around. I went to PT, took the car to the shop, the post office (my package was sent to the wrong post office!), food shopping, and Sports Basement. I was exhausted. This evening some neighbors stopped by with some shortbread and then I wrapped presents.

I have been checking my credit and my credit card website because I shopped at Target during the time the credit card information was stolen. I have a credit protection service but I have been paranoid with each news report. 

Tomorrow we are cooking for Christmas so we don't have to cook on Christmas Day. 

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Today we went to the mall to do a little last minute shopping. It wasn't as crowded as we expected. Target was giving 10% off due to the credit card number thefts. 

After shopping we decided to go out for lunch. There is this Dim Sum place near us that Brenda has gone to a number of times with a friend. I told her we would go today. Dim Sum is not great for vegetarians and is awful for vegans. I had a veg rice roll. Eh, it was okay. The rice wrap was rather pasty. Then I had veg chow mein. It was sort of greasy. Then I had a veg bun. It was very bun-ny.  Overall I was unimpressed I don't think it was a good veg meal. I kinda felt a bit nauseous at the end if the meal.

Tonight we went to a holiday party. It was good to see some friends. 

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today I went out to buy a small Christmas tree. The first place I went had no more trees. The second place I went had one small 3.5'-4' tree. I asked how much they wanted for it: $40.00. I said Are you kidding me? I could not buy it.

I went to an art fair and bought a soy candle that smelled like spruce for $16 and came home and set up my small Charlie Brown fake tree.  I will miss a real tree but it is late in the season. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Some people are so rude. We have a driveway that is on an angle. It is very hard for us to enter our garage if people park too close. We have paid the city for a red zone that says people can not park in the four feet near our driveway. Occasionally (more often than we like) people park their cars in the red zone. If we are home we ask them (politely at first) to not park there.

Tonight we were babysitting the kids Brenda used to nanny.  Some lady pulled into the red zone and began to park. Brenda leaned out the window and said "you can't park there it is a red zone".  The woman said something like "I won't be long" and Brenda explained we are babysitting and the parents are coming soon to pick up their children and need to park in my driveway.  The lady didn't move. So I went outside and waited for her to get out of her car.  (Mind you we have two sleeping toddlers and two barking dogs inside.)  Once she got out of the car I told her she had to move her car. She then did my favorite thing. She went to the back of her car and looks at my driveway/garage and tells me I have enough room to get my car in and out despite the fact that the city has given me a red zone because I can't get in and out when people park too close to my driveway.  I proceed to tell her that it is a red zone and if she leaves her car it will be towed.  She then asks who I think I am. Then tells me I don't own the whole block.  No, I say, but I own the red zone since I pay for it. She then calls me a c**t. I tell her Merry F***ing Christmas. She then replies FU.

It was a lovely encounter. Brenda went down and got her license plate and 30 seconds later she moved her car.  

What happened to Good Will Toward Men?  'Tis the Season? 

Until tomorrow...


About a year after I met Brenda my knee began to hurt. Then it really began to hurt. Then I couldn't walk up or down stairs without it hurting terribly. Then it hurt when I walked but mostly only after I took a step and I was bringing my leg forward for another step. 

Do you think I went to a doctor? Nah! 

Okay, when my knee gave out going downstairs I finally thought I should contact a doctor.  I ended up having an MRI and it looked like miniscus tear. I scheduled the surgery. You would have thought I would have stayed at home with my leg up. Nah!

Three days before surgery we went to a Great America amusement park. I hobbled around all day. Of course by the time I went in for surgery my knee was swollen up like a watermelon. The surgeon said it was hard to see in my knee it was so swollen. 

To finish this story, I had two surgeries on my knee in 6 months and was on crutches and a cane for 9 months.  It was a miniscus tear and he had to go back in to do an adjustment. 

Lesson: don't walk around an amusement park a few days before knee surgery! 

Yesterday my knee began hurting in the same way. I can barely move it without pain. I have it elevated with hopes it is just swollen and not something worse. It is the same knee so there isn't much cartiledge left to tear.  Hopefully a few days of elevation will help.  It is not the knee I fell on while on the cruise, ironically.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


'Tis the season to buy random things on the internet.  I find myself buying things off websites I would not normally purchase off of.  Not that I am reckless and just buy off any website.  I am careful but I veer off the normal Amazon, Costco, Target, etc. websites.  I really like buying from small businesses.  Since I am a small business, I try to buy from small businesses.  I also like to Buy American.  Keep American businesses working!  We keep American workers working we fix the economy! 

Which makes me laugh.  During the Summer Olympics in London the Ralph Lauren Olympian designed clothes were made in China.  Big controversy!  Congress discussed it and everything.  Congress decided that the clothes worn by Olympians would be made in America from now on.  Yeah! 

For the Winter Olympics in Sochi the outfits the Olympians are wearing are made in America BUT the GO USA gloves for spectators are made in, wait for it, CHINA!  ABC News did an expose and they found an American company that can make the mittens in America for the same price. 

So, I am back to buying things on the internet on sites I would not normally be buying off of.  Carefully.  Buying presents on the web.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


The rush of the holidays is in full swing.  I was crazy before our party but now that it is over I am much more calm.  Usually I am crazy up until I get the packages sent back East.  That is my only goal each year.  Get those packages in the mail in time for Christmas morning.  I have become an expert in and getting those packages sent on time.

Unfortunately this year I sent my brother's package to the wrong place.  You see my family split up and go to certain locations.  I sent my brother's package to the wrong brother's house.  I sent his partner's package to the right place.

It sure would be easier if my family all stayed in one place or always went to the same place. 

The next decision is whether we get a Christmas tree or not.  I was gung ho on getting a tree last week but could not because of the party.  I could not fit a tree and 30 people in my house.  So no tree.  But now that the party is over, I have to decide whether I want to get a tree now.  I usually love a tree, the lights and smell.  But I decorated so much this year I feel decorated out.  Maybe a small tree.  I saw some small trees at Lowes a few weeks ago.  Maybe Friday I will go by and see if there are any left.

Until tomorrow...


Today I got a letter about my healthcare. Last week I filed for premium assistance. I think I was approved. I need to call and figure it all out. I think I need to send (again) my proof of loss of coverage and proof of income. It is crazy confusing.

Tonight I finished my Christmas shopping. I mailed my boxes out last week. I had a few presents left to buy online. Tonight I took care of all of them. All will arrive wrapped in a few days.  Yeah!  Now I just have to buy a few things for Brenda and I am done.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Last night we cleaned up after the party so today I didn't have much to do. I spent much of the day on the couch. I watch a Hallmark movie that I recorded back on February (gosh, was it that long ago?), and caught up on some TV episodes. I think I fell asleep at one point. This way I will be ready for this week.

Here is a photo of the food table from last night. 

Folks were so nice. We had said bring no foodstuff folks brought cake, wine, champagne, juice, a poinsettia, cookies, all sorts of stuff!  We have a dining room and a living room. I set the living room up with a sorts of places to sit. For the first 2.5 hours not one person sat down! Everyone hovered around the dining room table. Which is funny because Brenda and I had this argument/discussion about whether to use our little dining room table or bring up the big table top. Brenda wanted to bring up the big top and push it up against the wall. I said no we should use the little table and keep it in the middle of the room and let people walk around. We ended up using the little table mostly because we were too tired to bring it up the stairs. Half way through the party Brenda came up to me and said "you were right, it is better with the little table. The food is crowded but the people are happy milling around it." 

We had too much food. I took some of the leftover veggies, some tofu and made a stirfry for dinner.  I made enough for tomorrow's lunch too. 

I have these really dry hands. I am not sure why. I wonder if it is the Sjogren's or what it is.  It is horribly painful. Between my fingers is so cracked.  I have to figure this out. Any help is appreciated.

Tonight I am watching the Survivor finale.  I love to see this show. I could never do it. Not because I could not be away but I could not go without food with my meds. 

Until tomorrow...


Tonight was the party. Overall about 30 people came to the party over the four hours. It was great to catch up with folks. We made way to much food. The favorites were the cooked Brie and the swirls. Brenda will be eating shrimp for days.

Anyway it was fun. Tomorrow I will post a picture if I have one.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, December 13, 2013


I spent the evening making more cookies. This time I cut and baked the cookies that I mixed the other night. Not sure freezing them was helpful. The recipe said I could do this but it made it hard to cut the batter. The cookies look good and taste fantastic.  The prep is almost over.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Tonight I made one of the cookies for the party. They are called Roasted Almond Thumbprint cookies. They were pretty easy to assemble.  Not too many steps. You mix the ingredients then roll the dough into balls. Roll the balls in sugar and put on a cookie sheet. Make a thumb print in each cookie. Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 13 minutes. When they are cool put preserves or lemon curd in the thumb print. Voila! Cute cookies.

Tomorrow night I will make the other cookies. 

Until tomorrow...


My friend gave me a nice surprise tonight. Brenda and I were supposed to go see a play tonight. Brenda was not feeling well. I called my friend K and she went with me. She kept saying pinch me I must be dreaming. 

After the play K gave me a bicycle coalition membership for one year.  That was so sweet. 

I am so tired.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 9, 2013


Tonight I made cookies. Okay I prepped the cookies. I am going to cook the cookies on Thursday. The batter is in the freezer.  They look good. Chocolate pistachio cookies with sea salt. Yum!

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I won't sugar coat it. My feet are killing me. I guess it is plantar faciatis. All I know us that I am walking like I am 100 years old. Like my feet are on fire. Like I am walking on fire.

I need to keep my feet up and try to stay off them which is hard this time of year.  Parties, shopping, cooking...

Today was my second Christmas party of the season. I had to bring something to eat to the potluck. I brought mushrooms stuffed with cashew spinach pesto; a vegan (and raw) recipe.  I was not thrilled with them because I don't always like pesto but the folks went wild for them. I brought 24 mushroom caps and 22 were eaten. There were less then 30 people in attendance. 

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Today I got up early and got on the road. I ran all my errands before noon. I then began decorating the house. It has thrown up Christmas in our house. By late afternoon I had to get ready for the first Christmas party. We went 1.5 hours. The host gave us one of his dried roses to throw in the fire and make a wish.

Then I came home and wrote out all the Christmas cards. I had already labeled them and put return address labels on. Once Brenda signs them they are ready to mail.

My feet have been killing me. Sometimes it hurts too much to walk. I have no idea what is going on but it needs to stop now. This is not the season.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, December 6, 2013


This evening I started Christmas wrapping.  I had to wrap a birthday present so I decided to begin wrapping some of the Christmas presents too. 

A few years ago I began using and it is so easy.  No standing in line for stamps or to mail packages.  I print my own labels, pay for it online and either drop them off at the Post Office or arrange to have them picked up.  Last year I had them picked up but the Post Man who picked them up was not very cordial about it.

I am always so much more relaxed once the packages going back East are out of the house and on their way.

I have set a bicycling goal.  I want to do an organized bike ride this summer.  In order to do this I need to get in shape and get my resistance up.  I have to practice riding on a schedule.  Since I can't always ride outside, I will ride the indoor bike.  I am adding Bike Challenge Updates to my posts.  That way I am accountable to you all.

Bike Challenge Update: 
On Thursday I rode 9.6 miles on the stationary bike.  Not just a flat 9.6 miles either.  It was a route with hills and valleys.  Some of the hills kicked my ***.  The bike was telling me I should be at speed 11 mph.  I was at a 7.  Then it said I should be at a 14, I was at a 8.  Those hills were hard!  But I made it the whole 9.6 miles!  The plan is currently one day riding and one day rest.

Until tomorrow...


Tonight I spent an hour and a half signing up for healthcare. And I am not done. I got as far as picking my plan and the site slowed to a crawl. I gave up and will sign on tomorrow and try again. I will get an almost $200 subsidy so that will help. 

Now I have to deal with Brenda's healthcare and get her squared away. Then we can relax about this big change. 

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This afternoon I watch the deconstruction of the hot tub.  I have to say it was not in as bad shape as I suspected.  I really thought the whole inside was torn up but it was not as bad as I envisioned.

First the Eco Haul guys tried to demo the hot tub.

But that didn't work.  Then they decided to cut it in half.  But then they realized they would not be able to get it through the door.  So thirds it was.

When they turned it over guess what we found?  Spiders.  Not just regular spiders but Black Widows.  Tiny ones but poisonous ones none the less.  It is the legged thing above the big leaf.

Then they realized that thirds won't fit through the doorway and they couldn't lift the thirds anyway!  So, we cut some more.

That is when we started to see the critter homes and tunnels.  Like I said it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  The insulation was in better condition than I expected.  But below you will see where a critter had a tunnel built.

Here you will see where the critter had his or her home right near the warm motor. Oh, we found a rat.  I took a photo but it didn't come out.  He or she was quite dead.  I am sure he or she was not alone but we found one dead when they lifted the tub and he or she fell out.  (Better dead than alive, I say!)

Saying goodbye to the hot tub one last time.  It was in the truck going away to hot tub heaven or wherever hot tubs go when they get cut up and torn apart.  So sad to see it go!

You gave me many great soaks in your hot water and bubbles.  
You will be missed.  
R.I.P. hot tub.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


At 1:20 am I was woken by a horrible pain in my tummy. I got nauseous and dizzy. I couldn't figure out what was going on. I had visions of a middle of the night emergency room visit and having to wake Brenda and tell her. Instead I got a heating pad and curled up. I slept for an hour at a time. Waking up constantly from the pain.

I am not sure if it is food poisoning or a stomach thing. I still feel out of it and pretty crappy. My doc (who I coincidentally saw today) sent me for a blood test and another stool sample. What fun!

Brenda ate the Thanksgiving pie for dinner so that will be the test to see if it was food poisoning. She ate it before I got back from the docs.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 2, 2013


A few weeks ago I was watching The Chew (you know that cooking/entertainment/artsy show on ABC) when this little kid who came on and shared his recipe. He took all the leftovers from his Thanksgiving meal and put them in a pie crust and baked it. At first I thought it might be gross but all the hosts on The Chew really liked it. When I bought our Thanksgiving ingredients I also bought a pie crust.

Today I decided to make the Thankgiving pie. First I had to make more gravy because I had moldy mushrooms on Thanksgiving and could not make enough gravy. Today when I made more gravy and I think I cracked the gravy code. I can't hover. I have to leave it alone. Let the liquid simmer away and it gets thick.  

I put in my pie: green beans with pomegranates, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, stuffing, and mushroom gravy. It is delicious! Like Thanksgiving in a pie!  It is my new favorite leftover meal.  (And my first pie!)

I made the appointment to have the hot tub picked up on Wednesday afternoon. Yeah! 

Until tomorrow...


Today I finished cleaning and dismantling the cover and lifter of the hot tub.  It took three trips to a hardware store to find the proper instrument to remove four screws.  Who uses screws that have a square thing instead of an X or a - ?  Trying to find a screwdriver with a square head was a challenge.  If I had that type of screw driver, I would have had the hot tub demo done days ago.

The cover looks practically new!  Hopefully I can sell it and make back some of my money.  Now I call the haulers to come take it away.

While I was at the hardware store I saw this Christmas decoration and it made me laugh!

Brenda and I made a trial run of the meatballs we want to make for the party today.  She says they taste great.  Yeah!!

Until tomorrow...