Stormi
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Monday, 1 January 2018
A New Year

We watched the fireworks at Reunion Tower from the warmth and safety of our living room last night.  We drank a very small glass of plum wine and celebrated another year's end.  It was a good year.  I retired, we did a little local traveling and attended several events.  My last surgery was in March and I'm about as recovered as I probably will ever be.  I will always, apparently, have significant pain in my left foot, but it's manageable.  Some days, it isn't much of a problem at all.  It does require care in walking and the wearing of a support stocking for longer periods of being on my feet. 

It is 14 degrees outside right now.  At 5:00, I put food and peanuts out front for the birds because it is well lighted.  Around 7:00, I heated water and put it in the bird bath to thaw the ice.  The birds will have a brief period where they can get a drink before the surface freezes again.  I put seed on the ground for the juncos and dove.  They seem to prefer eating on the ground.  The cardinals prefer the ground food as well, but when the squirrels take over, they will use the feeder.

What does 2018 hold for us?  We do plan to travel this year.  We also plan to spend more time at the lake.  Now that I am "recovered," from all the foot surgery, I plan to return to walking and being outside more. 

On of my goals is to ride my three-wheel bike to the park more.  It was a retirement gift from Norm Steadman, a long-time tenant of the airport.  I absolutely love it.  He acquired it from LTV when they phased them out.  That was about 30 years ago, I think.  It is quite the antique but he got it working properly again.  Stan put a new seat on it for me and it is just wonderful.  It has so much character and history.  For the rest of my life, I will think of Norm whenever I look at it.

During the holidays, I started baking again.  In the 70s, I made lots of fancy stuff and had lots of dinner parties during my college years.  I worked 25 miles from home for the last two and a half decades.  The drive took at best an hour each way, sometimes quite a bit more.  I was also in school in the 90s and after the turn of the new century, getting a second Associates Degree, this time in Marketing and a Masters degree in Public Administration.  My GPA for all these classes was 4.0, a little better than I did when I started college at when I was 17.  All that took time away from my hobbies, like crafts and baking.

I took a lot of classes in programming, systems, and software applications.  I used what I learned to improve the processes for my job.  I wasn't able to pass on sufficient knowledge to my replacement for my innovations to be useful to her.  She, like me, will develop her own way of dealing with the requirements of the position.  It's good to approach work that way - you need to wrap your mind around a task and find a way to get it done that fits with your own unique skills.  I love using formulas in Excel and creating Access databases.  Not everyone, however, has my education and experience and love for problem solving.

Now that I've retired, I plan to use those skills to plan our adventures and make our home more efficient.  I, who was meticulous about balancing my checkbook every month, haven't bothered with one for years.  I created my budget in Excel and use it to balance bank accounts.  I pay almost everything on line, so it really is easier.  

I use really wonderful recipe software for meal planning, Living Cookbook, but unfortunately, they went out of business, apparently due to a divorce.  They were so good while they lasted.  You could email a problem to them through the software and they would send you the code to fix it.  We have a large group on-line for those who morn the loss of our leader.  I now have time to really get organized in my meal planning and grocery shopping.  I will have to be much more careful, however, because we lost our freezer in December.  We have a large freezer with our refrigerator, but it's tiny compared to what I'm used to.  I won't be able to do large batches of soup, huge lasagnas, etc. any more.

This will be the year of the great garage sale, hopefully.  When one has 10-11 hour work days with the commutes (Stan worked a little farther from home than I did), you aren't as organized as you would like to be.  I have decorations for every holiday, I just can't get to them easily.  We will organize and downsize this spring, hopefully.  We usually did one garage sale in the fall and donated all the proceeds to charity.  When we worked in Grand Prairie, we donated to GP United Charities, then Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation.  I am more into the Tarrant County Food Bank and Salvation Army now.  I do still have a soft spot for GP United Charities.  I volunteered at their facility during Katrina and Rita and really got a sense of how much they do for the community.  They are pretty much no frills and all assistance.

Well, the sun is bright, the temperature is way too low for Texas, the Cowboys won their last game of the year, and we are warm and happy.  What a great start to the year.

Posted by stormi36 at 8:22 AM CST
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Sunday, 31 December 2017
New Year's Eve

I've been pretty busy between Christmas and today.  We had some work to do in the sun room to finish getting everything ready for the really cold weather.  We had new feeders to put out for the birds.  I got caught up on some things that needed doing around the house.  I scanned more photos from the massive hoard from my mother, my dad and from our own years of non-digital imagery.   It's a lot of work. 

I went out to feed the birds this morning and it was 30 degrees and a fine mist was falling.  The water dish for the birds had a thin layer of ice.  The sparrows have discovered the three-tube feeder Marty gave us for Christmas.  It is under the eve of the house so they are a little protected from the mist.  I put out black sunflower seeds in the flat feeder out front and on the ground under the squirrel-proof feeder in back.  The squirrel is currently on the ground out back with the male cardinal waiting for him to leave so he can get to the feeder.  Both cardinals seem to really like the feeder.  I have a seed bell to put out but we didn't get to it before it got too cold.

I did a little embroidery yesterday.  It is harder now that my hands are older and my right hand is a little sore today.  I'm going to keep at it because it is something I enjoy.  I have some counted cross-stitch patterns picked out to do but don't have any of the right kind of cloth.  I'll get to that when the temps get above freezing!  Stan said he isn't going out again until March.  He forgets we live in Texas where we can get 80 degree days in January-perhaps not this week, however.

Posted by stormi36 at 8:37 AM CST
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Thursday, 21 December 2017
Shopping is Done!

Stan and I have been sick for about two weeks.  I started getting better a few days ago, but I relapse when I get up and do things.  Stan went to the doctor yesterday and got a shot, antibiotics, and prescription cough syrup.  He's better today than he's been in weeks.  We also went old-school on the OTC meds.  We went astray with Nyquil products because they help you sleep.  Turns out, for real relief, Alka Seltzer flu and cold actually works better for us.

Stan went shopping for my presents this morning and said he has more to do this afternoon.  I got the stocking stuffers for Stan and my sister and finally decided what to get for my dad.  That's always the hard one.

All I need to do now is pick up the tamales and enchiladas on Sunday and Christmas Eve is on!

Posted by stormi36 at 1:23 PM CST
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Sunday, 17 December 2017
Wonderful Evening!
What a wonderful time we had last night.  We are so blessed to have reconnected with the Lea family.  Jennifer and Martha (with Billy's help) created a wonderful meal.  After the meal, we played a game where one person rolls the dice and tries to get a double before another person opens a present with oven mitts on.  Everyone drew a number and selected a gift from the selection.  Then presents were opened.  It was so much fun, despite the rain.  We couldn't have wished for a more enjoyable evening.  Thank you Jennifer and all the family for making us feel so welcome.

Posted by stormi36 at 1:05 PM CST
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Monday, 11 December 2017
Chilly morning

I usually have my worst allergy symptoms in October.  This year, the weather was warm through October and November, with no freezes until early December.  The leaves were slow to fall, and my allergies waited for them.  Stan and I have both had really bad nasal congestion and coughing for a little over a week.  Yesterday, I refused to give in and did the grocery shopping. 

Our freezer went out last week, so I didn't have much backup.  We have decided to try to learn to live with just the rather large freezer compartment in our refrigerator.  It made shopping/planning a little different.  I am going to make cookies and fudge this week, but most of those ingredients aren't frozen.  I have a few physical challenges to work through in order to do that.

Last night, I almost had to go back to crutches.  My left foot will likely never be completely pain free again, but I couldn't put any weight on it without really bad pain last night.  I realized it was a full-blown RA attack when I started hurting all over, so I took aspirin and went to bed.  I also took cold medicine to try to clear the congestion.  I actually woke up a lot better today.  I'm hoping my recovery continues so I can get stuff done!

I have a few more presents to find and then a little more wrapping.  I am right on track as far as all that goes.  I need to make bows for the packages, but I do that after all the presents are wrapped.

As always, life is good!

Posted by stormi36 at 8:09 AM CST
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Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Gettin better
What started out as a little sneezing manifested itself finally as a full-blown sinus/inner ear infection that has had me grounded since Saturday.  My fever got up to a pretty low 100.5, but even that little makes me feel really bad.  I have coughed until my sides are sore.  I think I am starting to turn the corner.  I feel a lot better this morning and am not coughing as much.  I'm going to go make Belgian waffles with blueberries for breakfast for my wonderful caretaker and me.  I have BIG plans for today....we'll see how that goes.  It has been so nice for the past week and I finally feel better when it gets into the 50s and windy!

Posted by stormi36 at 7:23 AM CST
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Monday, 4 December 2017
First Week of December!

Saturday, a very large truck, probably exceeding the limits for our neighborhood, came down the street at about 40 mph and slammed into a tree branch.  The tree was properly trimmed and exceeded the required clearance per City of Watauga code.  The passenger got out and, per my request, at least got the limb out of the street.  Yesterday, Stan was out with the chainsaw making the mess go away.  Our street is two blocks long.  It is inconvenient to go down trying to get to anywhere else.  There is a through street two blocks south and another three blocks north.  None of the streets in this area have speed bumps.  Why these truck seem to need to come down our street is beyond me.  Well, it was a rental and now the offender will get to pay damages to the rental company. 

 

I've been pretty sick with a sinus infection that is trying to become bronchitis.  Stan has been so good at taking care of me.  I did go out and spot for him while he was on a ladder in the street.  The twins next door brought their markers over and colored on the one very large pumpkin and three small ones remaining from our fall decorations.  We hesitated to throw them away when putting up the Christmas things because they were still perfect.  We sent them home with the twins.

 

Our new neighbor across the street has moved in and even decorated!  While driving back from McDonalds late yesterday afternoon, I saw a house with nothing out except lights around the eves.  They were the old-fashioned multi-colored strings.  It looked so good, harking back to times before all the blow-up decorations and yard art.  If we ever decide to do eve lights again, I think that's what I want.

 

We mostly do ground elements.  We have a Christmas flag, a female elf in a ladder-back chair (chair courtesy of Shana Renz, former neighbor) an old sled (garage sale find) with a wreath and bells, one strand of blue lights across the front porch, and a Santa holding a light (another garage sale find).  None of that requires use of a ladder.

 

I have discovered I am more able to access my blog using Explorer rather than Chrome.  I'm not sure why, but today, I got an error message on Chrome and it opened right up on Explorer.  I will remember that in the future.

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

Posted by stormi36 at 9:48 AM CST
Updated: Monday, 4 December 2017 9:49 AM CST
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Friday, 1 December 2017
WOW! It's December

I keep having trouble accessing my blog to post.  Tripod always gets it up and running again within a day of two.  It is a little frustrating, however.

We've been enjoying the weather and getting ready for Christmas.  We've done some decorating inside and out and are probably done for this year.  We need to do some major organization of the seasonal decorations so I can get to everything all year long.

Life is good!

Posted by stormi36 at 11:33 AM CST
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Thursday, 23 November 2017
Thanksgiving Day

I am thankful for my wonderful husband, Stan Hill, most of all.  He has been there through lots of health issues, the loss of loved ones and one particularly horrible boss.  I've tried to be there for him through several extended hospital stays, surgeries and his ongoing battle with asthma and COPD.  We are a good team.  We have the same general beliefs and goals in life. 

My sister is having Thanksgiving this year with her youngest son, then will have another dinner with her oldest next week when her grandchildren and great grandchildren are here.  My brother and sister-in-law are in Georgia with almost all their kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.  We are sharing this Thanksgiving with Billy and Jennifer Lea, my nephew and niece.  We are having Black Friday breakfast with my sister's oldest, DJ and his wife Robin.  It's a long-standing BF tradition made better now by not having to be at JC Penny at 4:00 a.m. for Disney snow globes.

I am very thankful that the only people who are a part of our lives now are truly good people.  Doing good things for the right reasons is its own reward.  You can't have a happy life if you let bad people and things in.

Enjoy the good people in your life.  You are lucky to have them. 


Posted by stormi36 at 7:08 AM CST
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Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Parade of Lights

On Sunday, we stayed at a hotel downtown for the annual Fort Worth Parade of Lights.  We had reserved seating in front of the court house, the starting point for the parade and where the announcers were describing the floats.  It was so much fun.  The weather was cold but no wind until near the end of the parade and then it was just a slight wind.  We were both dressed for the cold and had a throw to put over our legs.

I've been pretty limited for the past year due to the surgery on my left foot.  The implant has caused stiffness and a lot of pain.  I am both learning to deal with the pain and finding ways to function through it.  It was about a half mile from the hotel to our seats.  I managed to walk it both ways with very little trouble by wearing a compression sock and lace-up shoes.  My foot hurt quite a lot during the night, but I was able to walk OK Monday morning.

I have pain meds, but don't take them.  I have known too many people who got hooked on pain meds.  The body will tell you that there is still pain in order to get the drugs you are hooked on.  Most of the time it starts with a back problem and ends up an addiction.  I tend to rely on aspirin.  

I have severe rheumatoid arthritis.  I continued working, much to my Rheumatologist's surprise.   I even went back to school and got my Masters in Public Administration with a 4.0 GPA, working through the pain and many days the extreme difficulty even walking.  I was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2003 and given two years to live.  I kept working and stayed in school.  I am definitely not a quitter and very proud of it.

Living a good life and trying to do the best we can to be good people is what keeps Stan and I going.  We have worked hard all our lives and are able to enjoy life now.  We are looking forward to Thanksgiving and being with family.

Posted by stormi36 at 2:12 AM CST
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