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Thursday, June 1, 2017


First cataract surgery done. All went well with surgery yesterday, although the cataract was quite thick and a bit hard to remove. So I agree with everyone who said to get it done as soon as possible. What is supposed to be no stitches ended up being two. I did wait too long, but since I could still see quite well, I didn't see it so necessary to get it done before. Plus after going through all the other surgeries in the past 2 years, I was a bit preoccupied.

I have to say that this was a strange experience because they did not put me to sleep, so was well  aware of everything that was going on. But, with local anesthetic and some intravenous sedative, there was no pain. Darwin, the anesthetist, remained by my side the whole time and would add more sedative if things got uncomfortable. I didn't need it. He told me before I went back for surgery that he would be doing that. I told him I preferred not being able to remember everything but he said I needed to be awake as the doctor would be telling me what to do. When I protested he said he didn't lie. Well. . . then I really had to tease him and said he lied all the time. We must have a little laughter at times like these. He gave it back to me, too.

My eye was a little scratchy yesterday. It sometimes felt like there was an eyelash in my eye. But after a good night's sleep (a rare occasion!) the eye is very comfortable. Vision is fairly good, though it sort of comes and goes as far as clarity. It will take time for the new lens to settle down. So far it seems like colors are a bit faded, but white is very white. When I look through the eye that is not done yet, everything has a bit of a yellow cast compared to the new one.

Usually you have to go back the day after surgery for a post-op checkup but they did it about three hours after surgery yesterday instead. It seems the doctor was going to be at one of the satellite clinics today and would not be available. That worked out very well since it would have meant another 60 mile trip and needing another driver to take me. Another checkup is scheduled for Monday, and the following week is supposed to be another checkup, but that is when I have the other eye done, so I guess both will get done that day. Then there will be the followup visits for the next two weeks. I am so tired of checkup after checkup and trip after trip so I do hope this is the end of any major health problems for a long time. But at my age, that may be wishful thinking.

My friend Julie drove me yesterday and we had a very nice visit during all the waiting times. I don't think either one of us was quiet all day, even though she is more than half my age. It was a delight to have her along and I am thankful she was available to taxi me around all day.

One done, and one to go.

Friday, May 12, 2017


As I have checked out this blog after being AWOL for quite some time, I realize I really need to remodel the site, or at least do some reorganizing and updating. Unfortunately that will have to wait for awhile. I am busy making an afghan again, this one for my daughter. And I have several other things that need to be done and take priority over the time I would have to spend here. Just be thankful I have posted a few time recently!

I am now working on a laptop. My desktop computer is refusing to connect to the internet for some reason. I changed nothing but one day it connected and the next day it didn't, and still doesn't. I really do need to take it in and have several other fixes done. But I know it will that $$$ that I don't have right now. Some day. . . . . . .

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Have you found that you now like foods that you never liked growing up?

I could not stand cooked oatmeal for breakfast when I was a kid and early adulthood. For hot cereal I only liked Cream of Wheat. If Mom made oatmeal, the only way I could eat it was to put it on my toast. I have no idea why! Now it seems really weird.

I don't know when I started liking oatmeal for breakfast. It may be when the flavored instant oatmeal packets became popular several years ago. Lately, out of need because of not buying groceries for quite awhile, I made regular quick oatmeal in the microwave and adding my own dried fruits, nuts and sweeteners and like that even better than the packets. It doesn't take any longer to make in the microwave either. The instructions on regular oatmeal for a single serving is twice the amount in the packets also, so is really enough for 2 servings if you have more people to feed. Sometimes I am hungry enough to make the whole thing, and sometimes I will cut that in half.

For sweeteners I prefer brown sugar. I am a huge fan of brown sugar anything, even right out of the bag. I have also used pancake syrup, honey, white sugar and stevia.  I try to have a variety of dried fruits on hand, and a few kinds of unsalted nuts like walnuts and pecans. I think real maple syrup would be great but I never buy it since it is more expensive.

Recently I tried something different that I found very good. Sinfully good! I made the single serving of regular oatmeal and added a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast (for added protein and vitamins) in chocolate flavor, plus the one cup milk that is needed for both the oatmeal as well as the instant breakfast powder, some dried cherries and walnuts. Yum! It tasted like a chocolate-cherry oatmeal cake or brownie with nuts, and only takes 2 minutes in the microwave.

It doesn't take long to put it all together in the morning, but if you are always rushed in the morning, you can mix the dry ingredients the night before and just add the liquid the next morning.

I never used to buy the Instant Breakfast but that was one item suggested to eat after having my knee surgeries. It is also one way to get your chocolate. However, it is not sugar free and still has calories so not necessarily a diet food. But it is really good!

This is a good breakfast for someone living alone like I am, or if you still have a spouse.

Monday, May 8, 2017


The next round of surgery is scheduled. That's right, another round coming soon.

I need to have cataracts removed from both eyes and the first one is scheduled for the end of May, and the other one will be the middle of June. The doctor will also be doing a procedure to help with the glaucoma I have at the same time.

Because of the glaucoma procedure I cannot have the surgeries done here at the local hospital, but have to go to Sioux Falls, an hour away. I had my other surgeries in Sioux Falls as well, but this will be done right in the ophthalmology office/surgical center and not one of the hospitals.

I do need drivers to take me there and home again. And as I was reading all the pre-surgery info today I realize I need a driver for the following day for a checkup. I sure wish my kids lived closer and could take those days off of work. I think I do have my Bible study students available for the first surgery, but will have to check with them to see if they can do the next day as well.

The trials of living alone and having family so far away. But it will work out.

I so hope this will be the end of any more surgeries!

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Living in a government controlled low rent housing is a PAIN! Last month I had to go through all my financial stuff and report my income from last year and if anything will change for this year, plus send in copies of last bank and financial statements. That will have to be done every year to re-qualify for the low rent.

The management and a government safety inspector will come around every year to inspect the unit. Not every unit will be done every year, but I just KNEW I would be picked this time. At least they let you know about week in advance when they will be here. And yesterday was the day.

Sure enough, there were several people who came to my door. I did have the house presentable, in fact they were very impressed and complimentary. All in all, they were very nice people. But I was more nervous about the possibility of them coming here than I was for any of my surgeries!

One thing that made me nervous was something stated in the letter that said at least one window in every room can not be blocked by anything, and that includes headboards. I knew I was in trouble. The only way we could get my bedroom furniture in the room was to put the bed in front of the only window, and it is a little too tall, by about 2 1/2 feet. And yes, they said I had to remove it. I told them this was the set my husband bought when we got married and I hate to get rid of it. The lady from management said they would see if they could come up with something after they had looked at the other units, and they couldn't do any better than we did.

She suggested taking the hutch off the top of the dresser and putting in the closet. Sure. First of all there would be very little room left for hanging clothes. And, they would have to remove the sliding doors of the closet to get the long thing in there. That doesn't work for me! So the maintenance man and one of the management men went to work and took the headboard off the frame for me. I was very thankful for that! It wasn't an easy job for them. And there wasn't much room to take the bookcase headboard out of the room but they made it. Then there was the problem of where to go with it since the other bedroom is full and would have the same problem of ending up in front of the one window. I finally decided to put it on the long wall of the hallway. It may become a permanent fixture there as it does fit very nicely. It is a good thing the hallway is very wide.

I don't think any of my kids can use the headboard so might have to try selling it but doubt I could get enough for it. It is a beautiful piece and useful as I had books in it, as well as the reading light set on the top. At one time I had the radio in it too, along with tissue box, jar of cough drops, and dust. There are two doors behind the pillows that drop down and I stored all the extra sheets and pillow cases plus a blanket. I guess I can put the books and linens back in there while it is in the hall since I don't have room for any more books on my bookshelves.

The next problem was where to put the reading light where it would be most effective. Having it on top of the headboard behind my head was the perfect place for bedtime reading. I do have a bedside table but it is small and really had enough stuff on it already, plus it is much lower than the headboard. I ended up putting a few thick books under the light and that works okay but not ideal.

Another problem . . . . with no headboard the pillows end up either falling down between bed and wall, or being pushed into the blinds since the window comes all the way down to the top of the mattress. That makes it difficult to put any kind of headboard there, even if it is low. The only advantage of having the headboard gone is that I now have 10 more inches of walking space in the room.

In the other bedroom I had a small student desk that I use for sewing in front of that window. I did have room to move it a few inches to the right so the window is accessible enough, but now can't fully open the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet all the way. They did okay that and thank goodness because I have nowhere else to go with it. I will be moving it back over until next year when they inspect again. ;o) The desk isn't as high as the headboard so does not block as much of the window anyway.

The letter of pending inspection said the safety inspector would only be checking the furnace closet as we cannot have any personal items in there. I did keep my broom and swiffer in a corner of that closet but took them out the day before. The other thing they would be checking is all the smoke alarms. But then he opened all the doors, checked all the outlets, opened the back door to the patio, which I have not cleaned off and rearranged things from winter but at least could get out the door in an emergency.

I had the foresight to straighten up the garage the day before. The letter did not say they would be going into the garage, but just in case. . . . and the lady from management did go out there. She wanted to check the breaker box. I had removed the large bag of plastic shopping bags that are to go back to a store for recycling by putting it in the front seat of the van so that I remember to take them along on the next trip.

Before I went to my oncologist checkup April 24 I cleaned a few things in the van that I had over the winter and they were sitting not far from the interior garage door, waiting to go into the garage storage room. I have a large plastic tote that I keep extra blankets and other things in case I got stuck in the winter. I also had a plastic cat litter pail with ice melt in it, a small floor vac and a few other odds and ends. Now they are where they are supposed to be. I also have a small cart to put shopping bags in when I get home from shopping so I can get them into the house in fewer trips. I always keep that right outside the door where there isn't much room, but I moved that along the side wall, out of the way. The only thing she commented on is a couple of empty boxes below the breaker box. They are not blocking the box and still easy to get to it, but she was concerned I would trip over them if the power was out and it was totally dark while trying to find the box, saying that a flashlight never seems to be available, but I showed her where I always keep mine handy and I always know where it is. It is on the counter and not in a drawer. But I will go out and move them over a few inches like she said.

They were all impressed with unit as a whole, including how nice I had it looking. The safety inspector also complimented on good everything looked and asked if he could take a few pictures. I had no problem with that. I think he mostly took pictures of the kitchen area.

So the first inspection is over and I can relax for another year!

Friday, March 24, 2017


Not fun being a widow.
My dollars are flying out the window so much faster so far this year. So money seems to be on my mind all the time. Now would be a great time to have a husband who also gets a Social Security check every month.

So far I have spend a lot more on drugs (Rx, not street drugs!) than I did for all of last year, and basically have the same drugs. My medicare part D has a much higher deductible for the year, and not only that, but not all my meds count toward the deductible! The deductible is $400, up from $260. I have already paid close to $500 and still have about $260 left to pay on deductible. Several of my meds have been changed to a higher tier, which means my share is many times higher than what I paid before. And the list goes on and on.

I have the added expenses of moving, plus higher rent so I have watched the dollars disappear and my checking account reserves have all but been depleted so have no cushion to depend on. After paying some large bills in January, I went on a 'no buy' for 6 weeks, and did a pantry and freezer challenge. That all went well, and I had plenty of good food to eat. I used my bread machine at least twice a week for delicious bread. But then I ran out of essentials so that I couldn't even bake anything. Then it was time to restock. Well, that was expensive! I ended up spending over $300 just to get the essentials and a little restocking of canned foods, and yet there were still holes in things I needed.

Since I haven't lived here for a year, my electric bill is not on the budget plan yet. I have electric heat, with heat pump, at this house, and have nothing on gas, so had no idea what my heating would cost. It not is so high considering the bill includes water heater and all lights and everyday usage for appliances, etc. And I do have a dishwasher that I did not have before, and I use it at least twice a week. The highest bill in the coldest months ran around $115. But, the problem - I was used to paying $70 a month for gas/elec at the other house. So add the extra $ to the expensive med bills and higher rent, a small increase -twice- in my cable/internet/phone bill, I have nothing extra. There is one good thing and that is I do not have to pay for water, sewer and garbage here, and that had been $70 a month.

I don't mean to be a downer with this message, but it is a big concern for me at the moment. That is why it would be really nice to have a man to share the expenses. Is there anyone who has a  single
older gentleman relative out there who might be interested? I am serious - sort of. ;)

I must keep reminding myself that God has taken care of me for almost 75 years and I know He won't stop now. I need to keep the faith because God is faithful.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


The month of March is all a bit confusing here in northwest Iowa. Winter keeps dragging her feet because she doesn't want to leave. But Spring is stubborn and refuses to give up until Winter is finally gone for good, at least until its time comes again.

Today we can get a little of both as snow flakes are predicted for this morning, but by afternoon it will be warm enough for rain, which is also predicted. So far the snow has stayed just south of us so it is still dry. There are still a few spots of snow left from the last big storm we had, and they are what is left of the piles of removed snow from streets and driveways. I think those will be gone in a day or two and no one will be sad to see it go. I will be very happy to be able to turn the heat off and have windows open, and hope that it doesn't get too hot and humid for a long while so the AC can stay off too. But, we rarely get a summer without it.

Surprisingly, in an average March, we usually get the most snow of the winter, even though it is not the coldest month. And we often get some snow in April. My first baby was born during the early morning hours of April 12. It was raining when we went to the hospital at 11 pm, and by morning we had 7" of heavy, wet snow.

Around here, weather is always talked about, because our farmers depend on it for their crops. Spring has to be dry enough to get in the fields to prepare for planting, and then time to get it all planted before needed rains come to make it grow to maturity. Then, it needs to be dry enough to get in the fields to harvest it all. All too often spring is very wet, delaying planting. And sometimes in summer we get some heavy rain that will drown out the low spots in the fields. Or it is too dry, stunting the growth and cutting the yield way back. Some years the farmers are still picking corn when we get a lot of snow and they are unable to finish, and the corn stays in the field all winter. The deer population loves that!

Some of you might think the yield doesn't matter, but that is their livelihood. Selling that grain is what pays the bills for the year, and they at least need enough to buy new seed to plant the next season. Farming is the biggest gamble there is, but you can't keep a farmer from 'playing in the dirt' every year.

So Winter, get out of here and allow Spring to stay!