Friday, November 26, 2010


Yesterday I cleaned out the pantry shelf where I keep all my cooking spices. I know you are supposed to throw them out after a year but I hate to waste perfectly good items. I always put the date purchased on each jar so that I will know how long I've had it. The winner for the most out of date spice was some cumin that I bought in 2000. There were a couple of 2006 which were tossed also. The shelf is now nicely organized with the items that I use most often up front and the rarely used ones to the back.
Next on the clean it out list is the canned goods shelf.


My dear JMM was the chief Thanksgiving cook this year; I was the organizer / supervisor. And it was lovely. Over the years, I have developed a no fail turkey and dressing recipe, baked Garnet yams from Whole Foods, canned corn, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie from Goode Company. It was delicious and there are plenty of leftovers. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it gives first place to being thankful for our blessings.

That brings us to Black Friday during which I go nowhere but stay home and put out my Christmas decorations and address the few Christmas cards that I still send out. I like to do my Christmas shopping online but will probably venture out to a few select stores next week. This is my stress-free holiday plan.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I had an upper GI endoscopy Thursday morning which shows clearly that I have gastritis. The doctor took some biopsies and cultures and will have the results on Monday. It is most likely H. pylori causing the gastritis but we won't know for sure until Monday. In the mean time, I eat my tiny portions of food, take omeprazole and Maalox, and wait for Monday. Seems like I have been waiting for one test or another result for almost a year now.
In an odd turn of events, it looks like JMM is developing gastritis also. He has been miserably uncomfortable with bloating, nausea, and a feeling of a knot in the stomach. How well I know these lovely symptoms... got to get him to a GI doctor Monday.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Expenses! Savings!

The last quarter of the year is always very expensive:

Homeowners Insurance: $3250
Property Taxes: $5700
Homeowners Association: $1200
Auto Insurance: $636
Propane fill-up: $300

I have a separate savings account where I save $450 from each paycheck so that when these things come due, the money is there. This account is not my emergency fund because these are not emergencies, I know they are coming and know I'd better get ready for them. I also I have savings account for a new vehicle; my van has 127,000+ miles and JMM's truck has more miles on it. It shouldn't come as a shock that eventually one of us will need a new vehicle and I want to have the cash so it won't be an emergency. Like the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Humbling Experience

Every year Houston has an Internation Quilt Festival at the Geroge R. Brown Convention Center. It really is a quilting extravaganza. I only go every 5 years or so because it is so huge and so crowded and seeing the quilts on display is a sorely humbling experience. I am in awe of the creativity and craftsmanship of the quilts. I love to just wander through them and marvel at the colors and patterns. Even the quilts that are not to my taste can be admired for the craftsmanship.
There are about 100 women there for every long-suffering husband patiently waiting while his wife looks at long-arm quilting machines or picks out fabric or books. JMM went in search of a quilt rack for my quilts and found a nice one for $139. It will be shipped to us as he did not have the one we wanted there at the show.
One of the nicest things now is the ability to use your cell phone to locate the people you are with at such a huge event. There is no way to stay completely together and so when we got separated we would just call each other and arrange to meet on Aisle 1700 or whatever. I get very anxious when I can't find JMM or DD and cell phones nicely solve the problem. As time went on, it got more and more crowded and since I don't like crowds, said enough and came home. Nice to go but nicer to come home.

A Brief Birding Trip to the Coast

JMM and I headed out for a birding trip early Friday morning. In fact, it was a little too early and very little was stirring in the chilly morning air. But by the time we were getting near Freeport, birds were everywhere. The highlight of the trip was a gorgeous osprey who had just caught his morning breakfast fish and was cooperative enough to land where we could watch him. So beautiful. We also saw many more brown pelicans than in recent trips; lots of white pelicans too. One of the most beautiful sights on earth is to watch a groups of white pelicans in a row just skimming the tops of the waves; how they do it is just a miracle. Lots of Royal Terns and Laughing Gulls, one lone Herring Gull. The sun shining on the tiny waves was so bright you couldn't look into it. I felt as if I were receiving an infusion of pure beauty.

Unfortunately, my energy levels collapsed shortly after we crossed the bridge at San Luis Pass and we couldn't check out our favorite spots on Galveston Island but had to turn back and come home. I think our future birding trips will either go another route to Galveston or we will turn back before the bridge.

On the way back, it was hawks on the telephone poles that kept our attention--Red Shouldered. Red Tailed, and a couple of Kestrels.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Election is over...finally.

My candidates didn't win--nothing new there. That's what happens when you are the only Democrat in Fort Bend County, Texas. Wish the winners all the best as usual. That's it until 2012. Really, I will not listen or read about the 2012 election until 6-12 weeks before it. Then I will read up on the issues and candidates, make a decision, and vote during early voting to avoid the crowds. I think all the news organizations have to keep things stirred up to have something to report on and I just won't subject myself to it. (NPR has been election obsessed the past several weeks. )
I do try to remember to pray for those in authority over us and of course, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's (not much choice there).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Whining Day

No whining today. I am going to make this a good day.
I had the ultrasound this morning at 9 am. All went very smoothly and I was out by 9:15. Went to Whole Foods and bought a pork tenderloin to make for dinner this evening. I also bought 2 garnet sweet potatoes which are so good.

So far today, I have many things to be thankful and happy about:

1. I have access to good health care and the insurance & money to pay for it.
2. I have a good means of transportation—van, lift, & scooter.
3. I have a dear family that I love with every molecule of my being.
4. I have access to and money to pay for good, nutritious food. I am able to eat small amounts.
5. I have faith that God cares for me.

Monday, November 1, 2010


For the first time in my life I am dealing with depression and anxiety attacks. Life being life, I have had my good times and my not so good times but this is different. The depression stems, I am pretty sure, from this year long ordeal of not knowing what is causing my GI problems. The anxiety attacks hit me like a wave and I don't know what triggers it. I feel a flush of heat and a feeling that I need to run away. I manage to keep my composure and go on with what I am doing but the feeling of anxiety lasts about 15-30 minutes and then I am calm again.

My family doctor gave me a prescription for Xanax 0.25mg to help get me through all the tests.
I have had several tests and I have an ultrasound scheduled for 11/2 and an EGD scheduled for 11/11. The Xanax puts me to sleep for 2 hours and I wake up feeling calm.

I am continuing to work 3 days a week and one weekend a month. Besides the money and insurance, it gives me some structure and distraction from all this.

I didn't intend for this blog to be a health blog but that is certainly what is going on in my life right now.