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We got back from our first RV trip of the year on Sat. July 4th. We went up to Green Bay, WI for 9 nights. It was nice but in some ways didn’t seem like vacation since we had to take Mom into consideration on everything we did. The first 4 days went good, we took her gambling (which we haven’t done since December in Tunica, MS) and she was ok. Then that Monday night she fell out of bed TWICE! She’s never done that before at home or in the RV. I sleep with her in the RV to keep an eye on her. After that I didn’t sleep all night. She got all black and blue and I was afraid she’d break something. The first time it happened, she got back up in bed no problem. The 2nd time, she said “I can’t!” when I tried to get her up. Finally, she got back up and was back to sleep in 90 seconds.
Amber & Elvis (in the bed) in the RV.

Amber & Elvis (in the bed) in the RV.

This is the first time we’ve gone anywhere in the RV where nothing went wrong! I was afraid to say it at the time but since we’ve returned home, I’ve been brave enough to say it. It’s hard to believe that something major (or minor) didn’t break down with it the whole time! It would be wonderful if this started a new trend and we could relax on vacations instead of wondering when the RV would act up…
Greg & the dogs on the picnic table in Green Bay.

Greg & the dogs on the picnic table in Green Bay.

Within a few days of coming home, Mom’s hearing aid kept filling up with gunk. I had to clean it out a few times a day. Then a week ago I saw her ear canal looked shut so I used a bobby pin and pulled out what looked like white dead skin. <gag> When I gave her a bath last week, I noticed a bunch of crusty orange stuff on her ear and going down her neck. I had seen it the day before and thought it was food. My bad. It usually IS food… Then when I changed her sheets, I noticed orange-ish brown stains on her pillowcase. So I figured out she had some kind of ear infection. She sees her ENT doctor once a year and that would be the end of Sept. but this couldn’t wait. Her doc is so booked up that he has 2 offices and only goes to the location by us once a week. He’s also triple booked and they couldn’t get us in at either location for weeks. So they offered to let her go to his partner Dr. Hughes. We’ve never even seen him before but were very appreciative that they could fit her in. Sidenote: Dr. Hughes looks just like Kip from The Millers. “The Millers” is this fabulously funny sitcom. There are very few sitcoms I like at all but this one is hilarious. So I got her in last Thurs. July 9th. It took a few hours since she had to see Idea (the hearing aid person aka audiologist). I am torn about Idea for a first name. If I was her husband, I’d never get over saying, “I have an Idea!” and then laughing at my own joke.
Ivy in our backyard. Dog Run sign is new from estate sale.

Ivy in our backyard. Dog Run sign is new from estate sale.

So I’m one of those people who google symptoms and self diagnose. Can’t help it. I’m wrong probably half the time but don’t always give myself a good scare with it so that’s something. I had googled Mom’s “discharge” (even the word is disgusting—how’d you like THAT for a first name?!) and it said “glue ear”. I was pretty confident and told the doctor. He didn’t say anything. So towards the end of the appt., I wanted to pat myself on the back so said, “Was I right about the glue ear?” Uh, no. Apparently, I need to hold my tongue. That is what someone with an intact eardrum gets. Mom has a hole  in her eardrum. Which I did not know or didn’t remember. I knew she did 4 decades ago and had surgery to put a patch on it then. So he said when you have a hole in your eardrum, you get drainage. I told him she’d never had it before. He said he was surprised she hadn’t. He prescribed drops containing antibiotics and a steroid. So I’ve been busy putting 4 drops in her right ear twice a day. At bedtime and after I get her up and onto the toilet. Her right ear is her “good ear” if you can believe it so she can’t hear ANYTHING out of it now. Plus she has to leave her hearing aid out until she goes back to see the doctor for a follow up. That’s right, I’m taking her back on July 23rd. The fun never ends.
We've had milk cans for yrs. Hubby just got tractor seat in WI. Now he painted both.

We’ve had milk cans for yrs. Hubby just got tractor seat in WI. Now he painted both.

Making lemon pie out of a bad situation (because lemonade is so overdone), we actually got to go to lunch after the doctor’s appt.!! It was Greg’s day off and we hadn’t eaten out yet this year. Mom was all dressed up in her good clothes and freshly bathed and it was just the perfect time. We never got to go our for hers or Greg’s birthday or our anniversary. We just had to take it as it comes and jump at the chance. We went to Boston Fish Market. Greg and I had a tuna sandwich with fries. Not canned tuna, a tuna fillet. Mom had fried fish and coleslaw. She doesn’t like fries so we took those home and ate hers the next day. Mom did great eating and it gave me hope that we can do this again sometime.
Hubby just got this for free. Corrugated metal Halloween sign.

Hubby just got this for free. Corrugated metal Halloween sign.

Communicating has been harder than ever with Mom’s hearing deficit. I find myself shouting at the top of my lungs and she still doesn’t answer me. Getting Mom onto the toilet, the dialogue goes like this: Me: “You need to go pee.” Mom: Silence and she tries to get up 10 seconds after her ass hits the seat. Me: “Put your hands together, close your eyes, relax and go pee.” Mom: Silence and tries to get up. Me: “You need to go pee while you’re on the toilet! DO YOU HEAR ME?!” Mom: “Yes, I hear you” and tries to get up. Me: “Then you need to answer.” Mom: “You need to answer.” Repeat this scenario multiple times a day about any subject you can name. When we were in the RV and left her playing games on the ipad, we’d come back and find her in the passenger seat facing the windshield! Once she was sitting in the driver’s seat!! I asked her what she was doing up there and she said she was going to drive but couldn’t find the keys. That was a scary thought since she hasn’t driven in 20 years!! The only answers I get to questions are “I don’t know”, “Answer” or silence.
Hubby's getting ready to build a pergola. We saw this at an estate sale & liked it.

Hubby’s getting ready to build a pergola. We saw this at an estate sale & liked it.

The Sunday after we came home, there was a breakthrough. I finally figured out WHY Mom picks her leg and arms. I was looking at Chibi Jeebs blog and she was talking about skin picking. It’s an OCD disorder called Dermatillomania. It is repetitive picking of one’s own skin to the extent of causing damage. Usually this is younger people and they do it to their faces or scalps. Mom has had this since her late 50’s and probably got it when she gave up smoking. It’s like a nervous condition that becomes a habit. Back then I remember her picking her arms where there were no sores or anything wrong with the skin. She would pick until they bled and they would heal and leave scars. I think back then she was able to quit for some periods of time or only limit to her forearms. From what I read, the only cure seems to be behavior modification. I don’t think that would work for Mom with her marbles loose. However, just KNOWING what it is has been a weight off my mind. I can be with her 24/7 and remind her not to pick but it doesn’t last. She keeps trying to do it and I keep her leg covered. Then I will be away from her for a few minutes and she will undue all the healing in a no time. I had no idea this was a “thing”. I find my stress level has escalated anyway and I’ve turned into someone who is coping by eating anything and everything in sight. I’ve had my moments of that in the past but now I don’t feel strong enough to resist nor do I want to. I feel bad afterwards but not long enough not to do it again the next night. It’s either eat everything in the house, drink or both.
Before we left on vacation, I cut up and froze a TON of rhubarb.

Before we left on vacation, I cut up and froze a TON of rhubarb.

So that’s where things stand here. Trying to make it through another day. We don’t have anymore vacations in the works until around Labor Day. We’re also trying to cool it on the estate sales until she get the house and yard a bit more organized. I am having a hard time posting at all to Instagram and have (for the most part) abandoned Twitter. I don’t know how to bring myself back. It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I don’t feel confident to put myself out there. Someone on IG was asking about starting up a blog. A ton of people were telling her that blogging is passe and no one reads them anymore. I hope not! I think blogging should be here to stay. It’s such a reflection on society that people can’t stick with blogging for more than a few years yet can get tattoos that they’ll have to live with for the rest of their lives!! Everything in life changes. At least with a blog, you can change what you talk about and be fairly flexible with writing. But what do I know?! Not much.
Backyard from upstairs window. Nice & green but cluttered.

Backyard from upstairs window. Nice & green but cluttered.

When I was in college, I was friends with a girl named Edie who was from a dairy farm in SW Wisconsin. She was going to become a vet and from my research on the internet, she has succeeded. She always had a saying when someone dressed a certain way or told too much personal business, “she has no shame.” It got to be a joke between us and we’d say it to each other about everything. We had great fun. Anyway, I feel like on my blog I have no shame. I write about anything I want. Consequences be damned. Things others would gloss over like shit on the wall, disgusting crusty ear discharge, skin picking and any number of other gross things, I go all out sharing with the world. The only reason I can think of for doing that is how freeing it is. That and I have no shame. Holding things in will kill you. That’s why I insist on laughing hard every day. Not like a crazy person. Ok, some days like a crazy person. Laughing keeps me sane and lets out the hurt, pain, resentment, etc. So go have a good laugh on me or at my expense. It’s the least I can do for my fellow man.
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My proudest achievement of the past few weeks has been getting my aol mailbox almost empty. To me, “almost empty” is under 650 emails. I’d been hovering around 3,000 to 4,000 emails in my inbox. I’m not talking my “old mail” that’s been open and sitting there waiting to fall off the planet. No, these are ones I’ve kept as new. I had 3 year old emails that I’d never opened. Yes, it’s utterly ridiculous. I didn’t want to delete them even if they were “forwards” because I didn’t want to miss anything. The joke’s on me because I’d already missed them. Just keeping them there had been a big burden on me. It’s kept me from wanting to go online since I knew there was such a massive amount. I was to the point of just wanting to close my email account and not start another. I get very few personal emails. Mostly jokes, forwards, newsletters, customer service reminders…the list goes on. Nothing of value.

 
So I made a small goal for myself to go through emails and get them under 3,000 to start. Well, I’ve actually gotten it to that point more than a few times. Maybe even to 2,5000 once or twice. But probably never in 15 years have I been under that amount in my inbox. Mail I’d actually planned to open eventually or look at again. Ha ha. As you can guess, a lot of the jokes and forwards are out of date. No longer relevent. A lot of the newsletters that included photographs no longer even load the pictures. Some of the food/cooking newsletters I sent to myself to check out later, no longer even have a working link to the recipe. The emails I do read, I read on my iphone4. If I go to someone’s blog and want to read a post or go back and leave a comment later, I will email the post to myself. Hence, there are probably 1,000 blog entries I planned to read or write a comment to. At this point, the person who wrote it wouldn’t care that someone left a comment on something they wrote 3 years ago. What’s worse is a good portion of these blogs no longer exist! I call them the missing and the dead. In case you haven’t noticed, I have to be dramatic and seem to be obsessed with death. Probably one third of the blogs are still out there but the owner hasn’t written anything in 3 years! I’m not even kidding. Another third of the blogs are completely missing in cyberspace. They were taken down completely. This makes me sad on so many levels. I don’t know which is worse, to quit writing and never return to your blog or to decide one day that everything you’ve spent the time to write, no longer deserves to be seen.
 
I know in the past I’ve said that I never understood how anyone couldn’t find something to blog about. Or didn’t understand how someone didn’t feel like writing. Everytime I make a broad sweeping statement like that, it comes back to bite me in the ass. I had never felt like that until the past 3 weeks. I’ve had at least 3 occasions where I had the time to blog and in the past would’ve ran to my computer with glee to quickly type out a blog post. Instead I just wasn’t up to it. Part of it is how I’ve been feeling physically. Aug. 20th I went with hubby to the doctor for his checkup appt. and the doctor told me I looked fantastic. I keep laughing when I think of it. I feel so unwell. Back in the day, on the tv comedy show Saturday Night Live, there was a character who always said, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” 😉 I’ve had this dizziness and general malaise the past few weeks. I briefly mentioned the episode I had in the bathtub to the dr. and he said it sounded like I had a virus in my left ear that brought on vertigo. He said if it kept up to call and he’d give me some medicine. He said he didn’t like to prescribe it because it makes people so sleepy, it’s impossible to function. I don’t have it all the time but it comes and goes. Sometimes while I’m sitting even. My sinuses have been awful and that’s been giving me pain in the face and making it hard to breathe.
 
Of course, I know what I can blog about but I surely get sick of complaining about my health. No doubt people are sick of reading about it too.
 
People are abandoning blogging like rats off a sinking ship. I’m wondering if it was just a fad that has now jumped the shark. Obviously, everyone has different reasons to quit blogging but it does seem like it’s gotten “uncool”. With my contrary nature, that just makes me love it more. As much as I will miss those blogs (& some of them I will), it’s fine that so many have dropped out of the blogosphere. As big as the Internet is, it’s starting to get crowded. There’s too much crap out there. If people really don’t want to be there, if they feel they no longer have anything to say, or choose not to do it in that format, they should leave. They are taking up space that someone else could use to better advantage.

 
At the risk of making another statement I’ll later regret, I will never walk away from my blog. Mostly because if I left it up and never added anything new, it would be a constant reminder that I’d failed at another thing. I hate failing but I’m good at it. I don’t want to be good at it. I want to be good at blogging. I’ll never be as good as others at it but it lets it be known that I’m not missing or dead.
 
I wrote this last week and didn’t publish it. I always think I’ll have something better to add or change and never do. He who hesitates is lost. I’m so lost, I need a GPS for blogging. Siri, when should I post on my blog? In other news, I’ve had 3 days in a row where I haven’t gotten dizzy. I’m afraid to say it out loud because it might jinx it. Sat. Aug. 23rd, our basement flooded again. Yawn. 2 inches of rain water and I had hubby do most of the carrying items up the stairs since at the time I was still dizzy. It’s almost dry enough to go down and wash a ton of clothes that have piled up. You know what I’ll be doing. Maybe I’ll get some ideas for future blog posts. 🙂

 

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There’s some people who I would read if they posted “how to take the cap off a tube of toothpaste.” Due to their high quality writing, their beyond honest sharing of daily struggles, humor that can’t be replicated anywhere on earth or just my loyal devotion, they keep me coming back for more, year in and year out. Yet, I can’t pay people to read my stuff. Well, I mean I probably could if I had enough money. But I don’t want to have to pay people. That’s cheating. I now understand why some blogs have “giveaways.” To entice people to their blog in hopes of winning an item that they don’t really need but desperately want. Sure, I could have giveaways too. I’ve thought of it. But that would be cheating. Obviously, it’s NOT cheating but in my mind it is. I feel like if someone comes here of their own volition, it means so much more. That if they’re coming here for the writing, to see what’s going on in my life or even just to be nosey, that’s genuine. I feel like I’ve had to earn the loyalty of each and every reader by writing things that aren’t always easy. Sharing things that are painful or ugly. To try to draw people who would normally have NO interest in me or my writing to come to my blog JUST to inflate my blog stats is SO NOT ME.

I’ve been careful all my life not to buy friends. Maybe that’s why I don’t have more?! Equally, I’ve bent over backwards to make sure others never felt used by me. I love giving to people and don’t expect anything in return. I’ve always been unconventional and don’t like giving gifts on the day of a birthday or for Christmas, etc. I like giving gifts “just because” or any day of the year. If someone gives me something, I make a mental note of it and make sure, down the line, that I repay the person in some way. I try to pay attention to what they like (they usually tell you, if you listen) and surprise them when they least expect it. I’ve never liked “exchanging gifts” with someone. If it’s a true “gift,” it shouldn’t need reciprocity. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t need gifts at all. The intangible gift of friendship is a greater gift than most material things ever could be. A gift could last a short time or for years but if you’re especially lucky, friendship will last a lifetime.

I’ve been seriously thinking of putting an ad for my blog on someone else’s blog. Someone more famous, obviously. It’s $5 a month which won’t break me but I haven’t reconciled with the fact that I’d be PAYING to have people sent my way. This isn’t like a blind date where someone I know recommends me to someone else I’ve never met to get together for coffee. That’s what a blogroll is. This is where I have to pay someone to take a chance on me. Yikes. You know, I’m not against other people doing it or running giveaways. I’m not saying this is the devil’s work. I’m just saying I don’t feel comfortable with it. Just writing this out, makes me wonder why. It has got to tie in with my lack of confidence. I don’t like drawing attention to myself, being the center of attention or even raising my hand in a room full of people. Maybe the difference between others who do this and me is that they believe in themselves. They are trying to sell themselves to others and I don’t feel worthy of that.

I think I’d be crushed if I ran a giveaway and just for that one post my numbers skyrocketed into orbit and then fell back down the next time. Reaffirming that if I wasn’t giving away something of value, no one would show up. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the future. At least I’ve documented my feelings on it now so that I can look back and see if it changes. In the meantime, I want to thank anyone and everyone who takes the time to read this. This type of validation money CAN’T buy. 😉

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In the middle of writing my blog post about last weekend’s activities, it was getting lengthy and I had barely started. So what else is new?! I’m used to going on and on in great detail about everything. I don’t know where that came from. I can only guess that it’s because everything in life is complicated to me. Before I do any further writing of said blog post, I had an epiphany. I am INCAPABLE of telling a short story. It doesn’t matter what the topic. I was behind the door when the gift of brevity was given out. I also missed that day at school when the lesson was “being brief.” I don’t really know if that’s a thing but it totally should be. If “brevity is the soul of wit” that explains why I’m not funny. Or why the funny I think that’s trapped inside me can’t get out. The irony that Shakespeare thought up that phrase in Hamlet is not lost on me. I wouldn’t exactly call him brief either. I need to take a class in “being brief.” I don’t know if that’s a thing but it totally should be. I can’t promise to write shorter blog posts but I may take pity on the reader and break them up into more than one.

This sounds like the start of a great standup routine for me. I’ve wanted to do stand up comedy for at least 15 years. I doubt I ever could since I can’t even bring myself to do karaoke. If I had written the Bible, it would be the length it is now but only for one chapter. Imagine if the Bible had the kind of detail that I put in my blog posts?! The shortest line in the Bible: “Jesus wept” would never stand. I would have to tell what kind of tears he shed. Were they the large tears that fall across the front of your cheeks or the tiny kind that seep out of the corner of your eyes and people don’t notice unless they look closely? Was it a silent cry or the ugly cry where your face gets knotted up and you can feel your insides being twisted all the way to your stomach? You get the point.
Imagine if there had been iPhones in the Bible. Everyone would’ve been taking selfies. The jews wouldn’t have been lost for 40 years in the desert since they could’ve called someone. Unless they had AT&T, then they’d never find their way. Mapquest might’ve had them more lost taking a wrong turn at a mirage that only exists online. Plus they couldn’t find a place to plug in their cellphones. No one could share a charger either because there were still a few stubborn Android users. If there were cellphones during Biblical times, no one would’ve written the Bible. The reason for not writing it would’ve been, “Who uses cursive anymore?”
Thanks for humoring me. 😉 BTW, did you notice this is a short blog post?! It CAN be done.

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I’m almost embarrassed by the blog post I published yesterday. ALMOST. Only a few times have I been really happy with what I posted. Usually it’s when I take the time to write it and choose my words carefully. Yesterday’s blog post was like 5 posts combined into one. It was like one big run-on sentence. It was me wound up like an eight day clock and blathering at the mouth. Sometimes I go into too much detail and other times not enough. I pick the wrong titles for my posts. I usually pick them last as an afterthought. I don’t think of something clever for a title and then write my way around and into it. Instead I just speak from my heart. I tell my story of the past or present as I see it. I never know ahead of time how or where I will end my posts. I just sit down at my laptop and words tumble from me through my fingers. It’s that easy. I never am at a loss for words when writing. I never run out of topics, ideas, opinions or events to write about. I write for myself and hope that in a world where there is so much to read, people will deem me worthy to read.

I have a blog that fits no niche of any kind. It’s not a craft or cooking blog. I’m not a Mommy Blogger or Fashion Blogger. I’m not a gamer or life coach. Worst of all, as much as I’d like to think I’m funny, I know I’m not. Especially not when writing. I desperately wish I was. Then again, that wouldn’t be me. I’ve never used Spell Check in my life. That would be cheating. My grammar could use a good refresher course but I try to write the way I talk. I am a down to earth person and my goal is to never make anyone feel uncomfortable. There are people I dearly love on Twitter whose blogs I try to read and they make me feel stupid. They are intellectuals or they write in such a way with words that no one in my circles is even familiar with. They debate politics and philosophy and try to save the world. More power to them but I’m just not that deep nor do I want to be. I want to be someone you can talk to about anything and feel like you aren’t being judged. I want people to come to my blog to see someone dealing with real problems in everyday life and trying to put a positive spin on it. I want my readers to just want to check in and roll their eyes at some of my crazy opinions but like me anyway.

 I could’ve held back my post from yesterday until I could divide it up or edit it into a shorter, more concise package but that wouldn’t be me. In real life, I’m busting out at the seams and ready with a hug at all times. I may always have second thoughts of what I post but I’m not going to let them make me be someone I’m not. My blog has no direction but it mirrors my life which also has no direction. I could be ashamed of that too but instead I will carry on with a smile. I admire those who know exactly what type of blog they want or what side of themselves they want to reveal.
 
I got into blogging at a time when it had already jumped the shark. Now people are abandoning blogs left and right. I have fallen in love with blogging. It was love at first sight but it has grown stronger with each post I’ve written. I’m not about to give it up no matter what. I am a writer and I will write.
 
 

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Almost A Blog

I didn’t spend a lot of time picking the name of my blog. My original idea was Go Big or Go Home which sums me up perfectly. Unfortunately, that was already taken like most of the good ones are! The only criteria I had for a blog name was it to be a Dot Com and not a .net or any other internet address except one ending in .com. I also didn’t want it to be too long or something hard to remember. The next idea that came was a suggestion by my husband for this one. I liked it immediately due to what it stands for (which I’ll explain in minute). I was too naive to bother to see if anyone had anything similar. I just put it into Go Daddy and saw it was available so jumped on it. It took me 9 months after acquiring the domain name (an entire pregnancy) to get up the nerve to write my first blog post.
 
I have since learned that Almost A Kiss is a song from New Moon–one of the Twilight movies. That is what comes up for several dozen pages of a google search. Almost Kiss is a Kiss Tribute band. I knew none of these things when I chose my website name. Ignorance is bliss or I’m sure I would’ve picked something else.
 
My husband and I are as busy as anyone else out there but we always make time for each other. In the mornings, he is busy getting ready to leave for work and I’m tending to the dogs and eating breakfast, etc. We always kiss hello and goodbye when one of us leaves. I don’t know how we got in the habit but it has stuck. Sometimes we’re in such a hurry we both move towards one another and our lips get about 1/4 of an inch away and we almost kiss. We usually say, “That was ALMOST a kiss!” Sometimes we try again with more success and other times we’re in too big of a rush to make our lips actually meet. No matter what we have on our schedule for the day, we should always try to take time to give love to those who are important to us!
 
I should’ve called this Almost A Blog (alas, it’s taken! I just checked) because with how infrequently I write, it hardly qualifies as a real blog. I’d like to hear how everyone else chose the name for their blogs. 😉

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