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Overall, we had a lovely time on our last vacation. We left Thurs. Sept. 7th and got back Friday Sept. 15th. We stayed at the Rustic Barn RV Park in Kieler, WI. Located in the SW corner of the state, it is in the middle of nowhere, yet within minutes of Galena, IL and Dubuque, IA. The RV park was expensive but also one of the nicest we’ve stayed in. It is surrounded on all sides by cornfields and cow pastures. We had a fantastic view of the cows and the dogs enjoyed going down by the cows every day. Elvis was a bit afraid of them due to their size but Amber wanted to get close to them and play. They weren’t afraid of the dogs but kept their distance. There was a sign saying that the fence was electrified so we didn’t push it.RV

We had a fire 4 of the 8 nights and sat around the campfire making smores. I bet it’d been 10 years since we’d done that. Mom used to love it but as she got older, she didn’t want to sit around the campfire and we didn’t do it without her. We had a picnic table on a concrete pad right outside of our campsite. We ate at least one meal a day out there, usually lunch. It was like a picnic. I didn’t bring a tablecloth so spread out a large beach towel. The bugs weren’t bad and the weather was ideal! It was in the 70’s every single day and not a drop of rain. 
Of course, when we got home they hadn’t had any rain here either so our garden was mostly dead. We only got 3 more cucumbers for a total of 40 this year. We got a few peppers and all our tomatoes are green and not turning red. I don’t know what that means. Now we’ve had a heat wave for the past week with temperatures hitting 90-95. The past 5 days we’ve broken heat records. Our grass is starting to look dead. So is everyone else’s. We watered the backyard the past 2 nights since there’s still no rain in the forecast. 
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The first day of vacation, both Amber and Elvis ran away. Into the cow pasture when the cows weren’t there. Greg went to get them and after they had a good run, Elvis came back. Amber was having too much fun so Greg went under the electrified fence and laid down in the field and Amber came over. I was afraid we’d never see her again. The thing is Ivy is the big runner and she didn’t get loose. It is truly nerveracking to have them run away plus embarrassing and disheartening. Having a dog that won’t come to you when you call them hurts. But I guess it’s just “dogs being dogs”. 
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We did a lot of fun things that week. We went to 2 casinos in Dubuque, IA: “The Que” and Diamond Jo’s. The Que was terrible and we didn’t even stay longer than a half hour. Diamond Jo’s was a lot of fun. We ate there twice at the buffet—once for free and once for $7. We enjoyed playing there but didn’t win anything to speak of. Our money lasted longer than at The Que though. 
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We went to downtown Galena and split it between 2 mornings. We brought the wheelchair along but Greg’s mother didn’t use it once! It takes up almost the entire back of the truck so we’re not bringing it next time. My mother-in-law walked some and then sat on the benches that they have along the main street. She doesn’t do stairs at all. Galena is a quaint little town that is basically a tourist trap. There are stores but not really to my taste. Only a few antique stores there and I only bought 2 books. Greg’s mother bought a purse at a shop that was going out of business. The prices were kind of ridiculous and I’m too cheap to pay them. I love the name “Galena” though. I think it would be a beautiful name for a girl and then call her “Gal”. 🙂 
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Sat. Sept. 9th, we took a drive up north and the area is really pretty desolate. We drove through Dodgeville and by chance, there was an estate sale auction going on! It was maybe a few hours into it but lots was left. It was mostly commonplace household items. Nothing that got my blood pumping. Greg bid on 2 boxes of books (for $5) which we sorted through and ended up giving his mother half of them. There was nothing earth shattering in there. Mostly oddball cookbooks and kids’ books. Hubby and I used to go to antique auctions every week. This was about 17 years ago. We haven’t gone to any since. The prices started going too high and it just wasn’t fun anymore. The nice thing about this is there wasn’t any buyer’s premium which is usually between 10-20%. We ended up staying about 2 hours standing the whole time. It was held outside with everything loaded in boxes on flatbed trucks. We stayed until hubby got a chance to bid on some antique wagon wheels. They had 2 half wheels that went for $65 each, then 2 giant wheels that went for $25 each. Greg wanted the large ones but didn’t want to pay over $20 each for them. Then the small wheels came up and he got 3 at $15 each. That was a really good deal. He’s already put them in our backyard.
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We also went to Dickeyville Grotto on Sunday, Sept. 10th. I’m writing a separate blog post on it so I won’t go into it here. There are so many pictures and details I want to share about it. It deserves its own blog post.
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Monday Sept. 11th, we were heading to Elizabeth, IL and got into a car accident. It makes you wonder if nothing good can happen on that day?! We were pulling out of a scenic overlook and a dump truck was coming up the hill with his right turn signal on and didn’t turn. Instead he speeded up and hit the rear driver’s side of our Jeep. It spun us around but we didn’t go off the road or get hurt. Greg’s mother was sitting behind me and kept saying how wonderful Greg drove to keep us from getting broadsided. She was very calm which I appreciated. Thankfully, no one was injured but we were a bit shook up. I didn’t realize we were only 3 miles from Elizabeth and said we should go back to the RV for the day. So that day turned out to be a waste. We did make it Elizabeth 2 days later and I found some more books. The windows weren’t even broken which leads me to believe that our 14 year old Jeep fared much better than a newer one would. The new vehicles tend to crumple up when hit and have less weight to them. Greg took the Jeep in to Gerber Collision in Des Plaines, IL on Tues. for an estimate. They quoted $2500 and we’ve got a $250 deductible. Wed. night after work, we dropped Greg’s Jeep off there to be repaired. Since they already had the parts and only had a small amount of body work to do, we hoped to get it back in a day or two. Now they are telling us 2 weeks! If they couldn’t work on it right away, we never would’ve dropped it off. Poor Greg has had to drive my old Pontiac that has NO A/C during this horrible heatwave! He’s got an hour drive to and from work. It sucks so bad. On Friday we went out treasure hunting in my car and almost died. It was too hot so we ended up hitting a few places and coming home. We stayed in all day Saturday as it was too hot!!
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While on vacation, we tried to find other antique shops to go to and even tried Dubuque. That seemed very run down and a lot of the antique shops listed on Yelp were actually seedy pawn shops. We did find one antique shop that seemed decent. It had mostly furniture. Hubby got a display cabinet for drill bits, a pulley and a brass nozzle for a fire hose. The highlight was my mother-in-law finding a chair she had to have! It was a heavy duty walnut chair that had been refinished by the guy who owned the shop. It was built by the Sikes Co. when they moved to PA. It must be 100 years old. She wanted it for $80 but he gave it to her for $100. He said he’s sold them for $200 and up. I looked them up on eBay and they sell for $400. We had a heckuva time fitting it in the truck with the wheelchair in the back. We ended up putting it upside down in the backseat. I had to sit in the  back with it because it poked over into the other side. I’m used to accommodating whatever I need to and she isn’t. Then she used the chair the rest of the week inside the RV. After I sat in it, I wanted one also. Hubby never lets me get furniture. Mostly because we can’t move it ourselves and he doesn’t want to hire someone. 
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Another fun thing we did that week was go to 2 different supper clubs. We went to a fish fry the day after we got there. Then the night before we left, we tried another supper club. We didn’t eat all our meals out though. We ate most of our lunches in and a few suppers. I had made a batch of stuffed peppers and a huge bowl of bean salad before we left. I like bringing food along but everyone has to be on board to eat it. If people want to eat out all the time, I have to be the bad guy and nag them into eating my food so it doesn’t go bad. 
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I’m glad we finally made it to this area but Greg was fairly disillusioned. I think coming from Chicago, things tend to be not as exciting elsewhere. I liked it but I’m not in a hurry to go back. We’ve only got a few weeks until our next trip. Maybe we’ll have more fall like weather by then.
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Another crazy busy couple of weeks have passed. We’ve been trying to have some fun to make up for the weekends that sucked. We’ve also been trying to get the garden ready for planting and start planning a vacation. 

 
In my quest to lose weight, I’ve started skipping lunch about 4 days a week. I’m into my 4th week of it and have lost about 1 lb. a week. It started out early this month that I had a bad cold and was too sick to eat. When I didn’t keel over from not eating, I figured it was a way to eliminate calories without noticing much. It’s easier for me to not eat than only eat a tiny bit. I’m trying to shrink my stomach from the inside so I don’t need to eat so much to feel full. I was never one for skipping meals. Lunch was the highlight of my day sometimes. I don’t know if I can keep it up longterm, esp. in winter. For now, it’s a temporary solution.
 
Greg’s still seeing the doctor every 2 weeks and he has to call on the weeks he doesn’t see him and report his blood sugar readings. He’s now at 60 ml of insulin daily. His numbers are getting close to what they should be. We’re guessing he’ll end up with about a 75 ml dose. After 2 weeks on 10 mg of Lexapro, I had to tell him how I was doing. I still feel sadness but don’t cry anymore. It has totally leveled me out so that I don’t get happy either. He upped the dose to 15 mg. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 where I started and 10 being where I want to be, after 10 mg I was at a 3, then after 15 mg I was at a 4 or 5. He had me switch to 20 mg and i really don’t notice any difference. Some days I wonder if even a fistful would work. I no longer think this is the right thing for me. I am going to give it a try longer but it isn’t doing what I’d hoped. I kind of feel dead inside.
 
Thurs. May 18th, after his doctor’s appt., Greg went to pick up the RV from the shop. Afterwards, he took it to where we store it in Elgin and was going to vacuum it. The generator wouldn’t start. He called them right away and they tried to walk him through different things to get it to start and it wouldn’t. So they had him bring it back over and sure enough, they had cut a wire! They had changed the oil in the generator and somehow cut a wire. It never would’ve started at that rate. For $1700, you’d think they’d do better work. Greg doesn’t get mad about things like that but I would’ve been livid. Luckily, he didn’t bring me along. He got it vacuumed but we need to do some surface cleaning of countertops, nightstands, sinks, toilet, etc. which can’t be done until we have it here in front of the house.
 
Thurs. May 11th, we went up to Wisconsin to bring his mom her Ancestry DNA results. We also took her to lunch at the Machine Shed restaurant which is like a Cracker Barrel. We did this as a Mother’s Day gift. We didn’t know if she’d like her DNA results since she thought she was German, Irish and Native American. It turns out she’s 37% Great Britain and the rest is Eastern European and Scandinavian. She was absolutely thrilled! I jokingly told her she was related to the Queen of England and she believed me. I had to tell her no, but I’d be calling her that anyway. We also broached the subject of having her come along on our first RV trip this year. We’re going to Green Bay, WI and that’s where one of her other sons lives. I didn’t know if she’d want to just ride up there and back with us and stay with Brian and his wife. Or if she’d want to stay in the RV. There’s plenty of room but she’s just not used to it. 
 
On Sat. night, we finally decided when we’d be taking our trip. Leaving next week Thurs. I basically let Greg decide. I wanted to go away for our 25th wedding anniversary but he has an important work thing he’s in charge of on June 26th and he wants to be at work for the 2 weeks ahead of time to get things ready. He’s got a doctor’s appt. on Thurs. June 1st and it’s not until 11:15 am which means we’d get a late start. If he’s not worried about it, why should I be?! He called his mom that night and asked if she was free to go that week. She said yes and would call Brian and see if she could stay there. She got back to Greg on Monday and said it would work out. 
 
Both hubby and I are nervous about having her along. Maybe for different reasons. I think it’ll be nice to have company in there but don’t know how she’ll react to it. I’ll probably be making some food to take along but we’ll also do some cooking inside like usual. We’ll have to drive up to Pewaukee, WI in the RV on Thurs. aft. and pick his mom up and then go to Green Bay. There’s not really anywhere to park the RV so she’ll have to be ready when we get there. We’ve got a ton of things planned to do when we get up there—whether or not she comes along. I wish I could say I’m excited but I’m not. I don’t look forward to anything anymore. I don’t know how it can be so hard to be happy.

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We got home Friday Oct. 14th from a week spent in the Indianapolis area. We tend to get stuck in a rut while RVing and this was a chance to break out of it. We usually go to either Green Bay or Black River Falls, WI. I noticed there were a lot of antique shops in the Indy area and since it’s about 4 hours from home, it was doable. We ended up staying way in Pendleton which is a farming community north and east of Indianapolis. There really are only a few RV parks to choose from and our first choice along the river was full. The place we ended up at was called Glowood Campground. It used to be a farm and they now have mostly tent camping. There must’ve been about 10 sites for RVs that had full hookups (sewer, water & electric). If we ever go again, I think we’d try staying south of the city.
We had heard that Carmel was a hub for antiques so that was our first stop on Saturday. It is pronounced Car-ml (like the candy) but we still can’t help calling it Car-mel like the one in CA. “Carmel by the sea” is one of the places we went to on our honeymoon and it took many corrections to learn to say it right. The Midwestern Carmel turned out to be a cute town full of shops of all kinds, statues, bike trails, etc. It is basically ideal for hipsters (aka yuppies). Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), we’re not hipsters so after spending a few hours in the Old Town Antique Mall, we didn’t buy a thing. We almost missed Melissa’s Antiques which was on the 2nd level behind the stairs. She’s someone I’ve been following on Instagram for years but we’re not friends. I wanted to check her booth out and it turns out she had the best stuff in the place! Plus she had it organized like a dream. When we left there, we headed to Westfield to the Main Street Shops Antique Mall. We had higher hopes for that place but also came away without buying a thing. We were only in Indy 24 hours and were starting to second guess our decision to go there.


Sunday we went to Noblesville which is just charming. The Antique Mall there was the best! We got a few things and planned to come back later in the week if we didn’t find anything better. I always take a ton of pictures of things I like when antiquing. I can look back on them and see if I still love it or still want it. Sadly, there were a few things I was iffy on and we were going back on Thurs. but never made it. Mostly because we got caught up in other things but also because the traffic in Indy is WORSE than Chicago! Not even kidding. It takes forever to get anywhere and there’s a lot of construction and bumper to bumper traffic. Ugh!


Monday we went to Pendleton which was 5 miles from us. There were a few antique stores there but they were closed. A lot have a sign on the door, “Open by appointment or chance”. It seems like a crazy way to run a business. We ended up coming home early and taking Mom to the Hoosier Park Casino (& horse track) which was in Anderson about 20 minutes away. We ended up losing but had a bit of fun. On Wed. we went back to the casino with Mom and played for hours on Fortune 88 slot machines. We were just recycling money but at the end we came out $38 ahead and were able to go buy dinner at the buffet. This was my 4th time eating out this year so it was a real treat. The food was “meh” but I enjoyed it anyway. Otherwise we ate all our meals in the RV.

Tues. we went to the Holy Cross area of the city of Indianapolis. There’s an industrial building (formerly a factory) that was been turned into Midland antique mall. It was a blast going from room to room and floor to floor exploring. Hubby found more treasures than I did this trip but that’s ok. We both had a great time and would gladly go back anytime. In fact, we did go back on Thurs. when we were in the area visiting several other places. We came back specifically for a Pullman Step Stool. It’s from the old Pullman train cars out of Chicago and made of all steel. It is heavy duty and rare. I looked online and there is only 2 on ebay and they go for between $289-400. The one we found was in great shape and much cheaper! Greg couldn’t stop thinking about it and so we got it and will be using is as the step coming into our RV. Next we went to Audrey’s which was advertised as “where the dealers shop”. First off, it was in a BAD neighborhood. They have a furniture store and then another larger building with “vintage”. Most of it was new stuff made to look old and the prices were the worst I’d seen. So far beyond retail, it was a joke. Like if a pair of sunglasses is $1 at an estate sale, $2 at a thrift store, $5 at an antique store–Audrey’s would have them marked $59. Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything there. I had such a bad vibe off the place. Greg found a nice newish metal cross and it was marked $125. I would’ve paid $65 and I wouldn’t have felt good about it. Greg asked how much they’d take for it and the guy says $100. He thought it was solid brass and old but it wasn’t. Finally the guy came down to $95. We let them keep it.


On Thurs. we went back to the Holy Cross area to a place called Society Of Salvage. Another store called Rewired Antiques is located in the same building. He specializes mostly in vintage lighting but has other cool stuff too. The most memorable thing we got this trip (besides the step) was a set of 5 chairs from SOS. They were auditorium seats taken out of an old school. We’re talking 1950’s heavy duty (sturdy) steel chairs that fold up. We both liked them the minute we saw them. They’re bright orange and can be hooked together at the bottom. We were originally going to get 3 of them. The guy working there said they were $20 each which seemed fair. We had to go through about 10 of them to find the best ones and had it narrowed down to 5. Since they’re old, they all have something superficially wrong with them. Like missing rubber feet, stains, etc. The guy saw how hard we were trying to find good ones so he said if we bought 3, he’d throw in the 4th for free. We couldn’t decide between the 5 so asked if he’d take $60 for 5 of them. He said yes! We were so thrilled! These suckers are really heavy but feel so good to sit in. Not like a metal folding chair or a plastic chair. As comfortable as a couch (minus the footrest and armrests). Now we have to figure out where to put them!


Greg is getting more and more into primitives and salvage finds. I find them interesting as well. The guy running SOS told us about a new place that opened up 2 months ago a block away so we decided to check them out. It’s called Little Doc’s Architectural Salvage. They have a showroom in front and a warehouse in back filled with some of the nicest, choicest salvage I’ve ever seen. We met the owners, Little Doc & Lindsay Keys (husband and wife), who are the coolest. They are living their dream and doing it in style. Little Doc’s father has run Doc’s Architectural Salvage for decades and now has opened another one in the Nashville area. Little Doc caught the vintage fever and he collects and sells. He showed us around and I saw several things I’d love to have but alas, I have only a 1,379 sq. ft. house that is already crammed full. One of the cooler things he had was a gigantic old porcelain sign for a monument company. Another was a huge 10 ft. tall wooden pulpit from the 1840’s! He’d taken it out of a lady’s house. She had won it at an auction when her church went out of business. I would give my eye teeth for it but as I said, I have nowhere to put it so can’t even entertain the idea. My dream is to buy a historic church that has closed and renovate it into a home and either an antique shop or a homeless shelter. I know that sounds vastly different but I like saving old things and I like helping people. I haven’t gotten Greg on board completely yet. He’s afraid we could lose everything we have by getting in too deep with something like that. In any case, it was fun to look and meet the Keys. I know they’ll be a big success! When we left there we went to check out Little Doc’s dad’s place. It was ginormous and a true junkyard. It was more old barn boards, doors, doorknobs, hardware, etc. Things we’re not as interested in but still like to look.

While we were in Indy, I can’t say I was loving it. However, since I’ve come home I have much fonder feelings for it. We had more fun than I realized at the time. 😊 If that makes any sense. I take so many pictures that I like making Flipagram videos and posting them to Instagram. Unfortunately, IG keeps removing them as soon as I post them. So I got fed up and didn’t post anything last week. Now I’ve tried again and they still removed them. My blog won’t allow videos either so I’m just going to put in a small smattering of pics to sum up the week. Thanks for reading!

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I find myself in the same place every time I write a blog post. With too much time elapsed and too much to say. So much has happened and there’s too many words to squeeze into one blog post. There’s also no time to do multiple posts. So what do I do? Just dive right in without a care for length or coherence. Grab a life preserver so you don’t drowned.

Since I last wrote, my 10 year old Toshiba laptop finally died. It was about a month ago and it wasn’t even that upsetting. I never back anything up. Crazy, right?! A lot of stuff on our phones goes automatically to The Cloud for preservation. My laptop would have to manually be backed up and I’ve never gotten into the habit of it. I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of things that I probably don’t know I had or didn’t know I would ever need. The first few times I lost everything on a computer, I was devastated. I thought my life would never be the same. I was turned off computers to the extreme and didn’t feel they could be trusted. Now it’s happened so many times, it’s like the basement flooding. It sucks but you just deal with it and half expect it to happen.

Today is the first day I’m using an HP laptop that my husband got over 2 years ago. It had the Windows on it that everyone hates. My husband was trying to lure me away from my old laptop before it went. As anyone who knows me knows, I love what I have and hate change. So I wouldn’t even think of using this one until I had no other to use. It takes me forever to get used to new things and I’ve been dreading actually pulling this out to use. Hate is a strong word but I kind of hate it. The keyboard placement is all wrong so my hands don’t sit right when I type. I’m used to typing very fast and not looking to see where my  hands are. Now I’m making so many mistakes and concentrating on typing instead of what I want to say. But instead of complaining,I’m going to be thankful for having a computer to write a blog post on. I’ve been missing my blog so much. Just bear with me if the font is huge or the paragraphs are off. This is going to be a necessity to learn since I have to figure out how to do Etsy on it, too.

The end of April we took Mom to the audiologist for her new ear mold which didn’t help a bit. It fits better but she doesn’t seem to hear any better or comprehend what is said. I’m sure that’s more from the Alzheimers than anything else but I had to try. Same with taking her to our regular doctor on April 28th. He said she looked good and I was doing everything right and just keep doing what I’m doing. He listened to her heart and lungs and looked at her ankles to see if she was retaining fluid (she wasn’t). He said the organs begin to slow down with Alzheimers and they begin to fail 7-9 years after initial diagnosis. Mom was diagnosed not quite 4 years ago so the thought that this could go on another 3-5 years gave me a wake up call. After her doctor’s appt. we went out to eat for the first (and only) time this year. We went to Sweet Baby Ray’s for barbeque and she ate her whole meal and loved it. This is never a problem since she’s always had a hearty appetite. She made such a mess of her hands and face which is typical of her eating anything now.

We went on vacation to Green Bay, WI from May 12-21. Hubby wanted to go early and miss the crowds that go out for the Memorial Day holiday. We had about 4-5 days of unusually cold weather and then the rest was beautiful. Due to having the wheelchair for Mom, we took her with us all 4 times we went gambling that week. We actually had more fun doing it than we have in awhile. A lot of the time we all played one machine together. Mom tends to hit the MAX BET button by accident so we have to watch her like a hawk. The last night we were there, she fell asleep while we were gambling. She talks less all the time and when she does speak, it’s gibberish, not in full sentences. It was much easier to push the wheelchair in the casino so now I’ve figured out it’s the sidewalk and street that make it hard to push, not that I’m weaker than I thought.

Mom has gone down hill just in the 11 days since we got home. She’s pulled down the towel rack in the upstairs bathroom and hubby glued it back on. We had to take the one in the downstairs bathroom down all together since she kept knocking it down. Mom fights me everytime on the toilet. She no longer knows what the bathroom is for! I told that to Greg and he said, “She thinks it’s the room you go in to yell at her.” That is so true. I don’t like to yell but between the hearing loss, the Alzheimers and how easily she’s distracted, there’s no choice. She can fiddle with the drawstring on her pants forever or fold and refold the toilet paper until my patience runs out. When I take Mom to the toilet, she doesn’t pee on it at all anymore. No matter how much I yell, plead or beg, she won’t pee. I even run water but nothing helps. She’ll go on the couch or in bed or in her chair or as she’s walking. It doesn’t matter if I take her earlier or later, it’s the same. So far, she has bowel movements mostly in the toilet. I have to bend her over on the toilet to have her stomach push out whatever’s ready since she won’t. The doctor tried to explain to me how her mind no longer reads her body’s signals and her body may not be sending signals anymore. Anyway, she fights me as I try to bend her over and she pushes on the wall in front of her and I am leaning on her with my hands on the wall behind her pushing with all my might. This stubborn old woman is stronger than me! I’ve tried explaining sweetly why she has to bend over but it does no good. I still need her to bend over so I can wipe her butt, too. This ensues another fight. Lately, I feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Floyd Mayweather (famous boxer). I am battle worn and don’t see a way out. I don’t think they’d be able to care for her better in a nursing home but I find myself getting so upset I’m afraid I’ll stroke out.

Yesterday I came downstairs from taking a bath to find a big turd on the kitchen rug. At first, I couldn’t tell if it was from a dog or a human??? If that sounds familiar, it’s because in the past it happened in almost the same place and was human. This time  it was from Ivy, our basenji dog. Mom rarely gets up unaided so she will be wherever I leave her until I come to move her. In any case, I took a pic of it to message to Greg but ended up posting it to Instagram instead where it got very few likes. I was surprised to see there’s a hashtag #mylifeisshit. That’s what my life has been reduced to but I guess people don’t have to like it… 🙂

We had a pretty good vacation since our expectations were low. I had done a lot of cooking before we left and so we ate leftovers in the RV all but one night. We got beef lo mein from Noodles in the casino and brought it back to eat. We read some in the RV and I finally finished The Mutiny On The Bounty trilogy from 1932. It was scrumptious! We haven’t gone to any estate sales in our area for over a month. We did hit one while on vacation and also went to our usual treasure hunting haunts in the north woods.

We’ve had so much to do since we got home. Between laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, cooking and yard work, there’s not been a spare moment. On Thurs. May 26th, we went to Sears in search of an 11.5 ft. offset umbrella for the deck. We’d seen it online but wanted to see it in person before purchasing. We had bought one about 10 years ago from Sam’s Club and it was glorious! Made of heavy wood with a stunning green canvas, it lasted intil last year. It’s much too hot to enjoy being outside without the shade it gives. A decade ago we paid $300 and it was worth every penny. The umbrella we ended up getting was $300 also but is just “ok”. It was on sale down from $500 but it seems inferior. It is made of metal and plastic with an almost opaque fabric in a blah tan color. That’s the only color it came in. Since it was the start of the holiday weekend, we knew we had to get it Thurs. or they’d be gone. They showed 2 in stock but had sold one that morning so all they had was the display and they weren’t selling. So we had to buy it and drive to another store to pick it up. They no longer will send it to the store of your choice for pickup. So we went and got that and Greg was able to get it assembled before nightfall. I also got a pair of slippers and Greg got a pair of much needed sandals. I got to thinking how everything we’ve ever boughten at Sears is just ok. Never anything we’re in love with. Just something to get us by until we can find what we really want. That’s pretty sad. Somebody needs to put a fork in  Sears because they’re so done…

Thurs. we also went to Pesche’s to get our plants. We bought 2 cucumbers (different types), 13 tomatoes (4 types), 30 peppers (5 types), zucchini, yellow squash and 4 herbs. Then we had to come home and weed the garden and then get the rototiller out. Meanwhile it was raining off and on all weekend. Not much or long but enough to keep us from spending much time outside. Friday we started the actual planting and finished up on Saturday. This is the latest we’ve ever put in the garden! Everything looks great and has already grown quite a bit. To me, that’s half the fun–seeing the plants soar to the heavens and produce such lovely goodness. The other half is eating them. I also picked my rhubarb and have to do something with that shortly.

What else has gone on lately? Sat. May 7th I dropped my iPhone in the toilet! I wasn’t even using it, just had it in the too short pocket of my shorts. I was pulling my pants up and it fell out and splash. I reacted quickly and grabbed it. It was barely wet and I put it in rice immediately. I left it overnight and then took the case off and cleaned it thoroughly. It’s worked fine ever since. It just goes to show no matter how careful you are, things like that happen to the best of us. And the worst of us! 😉

May 7th we also went to the library book sale in our hometown of Park Ridge, IL. They only have it twice a year and it’s always worth going to. I think about it for weeks ahead of time and look forward to it. It’s funny how that day I forgot all about it until noon! I was at home and I saw a pic of some book on Instagram and the person said they got them at the library book sale and I was like, “Was that today?! Holy smokes!” So we ended up getting a few things even though we have too many books already. Part of my joy lately is that I’ve gotten Greg back into reading. He is enjoying it like he hasn’t since hew as a teen! It’s so relaxing and turns out to be a good stress reliever and way to unwind for both of us.

I’ve rambled long enough to scare everyone away all over the Internet and within a hundred mile radius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I woke up with a bad cold on Monday Oct. 5th, just 3 days before we were to leave on vacation. My first instinct was to cancel and reschedule because my colds always last a week minimum, usually longer. Then I saw how disappointed my hubby was at the thought of not going. So I decided that if the roles were reversed,  he would go so I agreed to make the best of it. I pretty much got everything packed and Mom bathed on Tues. Oct. 6th. I was doing last minute things like getting food packed up on Thurs. morning while Greg went to fetch the RV and bring it to the house.
Halloween decorations above our garage

Halloween decorations above our garage

Wouldn’t you know he called to tell me it was acting up and he had to take it to the shop?! A bunch of things wouldn’t work on it and it turned out to be the serpentine belt, idler arms and a bearing that needed to be replaced. Since he got it in fairly early on that Thurs., he thought we might have it back the next day. So we puttered around the house and when the mechanic called later that afternoon, he told us what the problem was. He said he had to order parts but made it sound like we might have it Friday. So we hung around the house and put up Halloween decorations above the garage. On Friday, Greg called the repair shop at noon to find out the status. Well, they wouldn’t have the parts until Monday so we were staying home for the weekend. It was a weekend in limbo of not knowing if we’d end up being home all week or if we’d eventually get on the road afterall.
Wolff's Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Wolff’s Flea Market in Rosemont, IL

Hubby works every Sunday and since he had a free one, we wanted to check out Wolff’s Flea Market near Rosemont, IL. It’s only 3 miles from our house but we’ve only gone ONCE–about 20 years ago! We knew that the hardcore folks get up and go while it’s still dark out. We stayed in bed and strolled over at our leisure. We took 2 hours during the height of the day and walked 6 miles. We got a few things which I haven’t photographed yet: a chalkware of Jesus, Mary & Joseph, a casket plaque from 1878 and some longhorn steer horns. It’s a good thing we didn’t get anything else since you have to carry it as you walk around. The regulars bring carts, wagons and rolling suitcases to lug their purchases around. It was fun and I think we’ll do it again in another 20 years. 😉
Elvis riding dirty

Elvis riding dirty

Monday came and we found out that Tues. was the earliest we would get the RV back. We still didn’t call the trip off, leaving everything sitting around packed up (not the food but the pills and clothing, etc.). Tues. Oct. 13th, we heard it was ready and Greg went to get the RV. I made us sandwiches for lunch to bring on the road and we left just before 3 pm and got to Green Bay around 6 pm. We returned home on Sat. Oct. 17th.
Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

Ivy takes possession of the dog bed in the RV

So we had a short trip of 3 days and 4 nights which we never do. We squeezed a lot into such a short time. We got Mom out every day and took her gambling with us. We gambled more on this short trip than we’ve done in years. We ate all our meals in the RV and only went to one antique shop in Green Bay. We did make it to Maplewood meats and got a few goodies to bring home. We didn’t get to do much reading and no watching movies or anything like that. Greg and I went apple picking one morning before a cold snap hit. The last 2 days there the temps dropped from 50’s & 60’s to 20’s. It was bitter cold everywhere in the Midwest and now the temps are in the 70’s again. Go figure!
My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

My beautiful girl, Amber Sunset, in the RV

With life throwing us curve balls on a random basis, we’ve learned all we can do is just roll with it. Try to take what happens in stride and  have low expectations. The few extra days at home gave me a chance to get over the worst part of my cold. I’ve still got a small cough and congestion 2 weeks later. Luckily, the RV was still under the extended warranty we got when we bought it. It expires Nov. 7th so fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong for awhile with it. We’ve got at least one big trip coming up and possibly two that we need it in good working order for.
I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto'd it. No where to put it!

I wanted this birdcage but hubby veto’d it. No where to put it!

I’ll be doing posts about other parts of my life soon but wanted to get this published before anymore time passes.

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I’ve been searching high and low for a spare moment to do some blogging. I need it for my soul. There were a few days this past week that I thought I’d be able to take a few hours to put my thoughts in order. Boy, was I wrong. I’m not even kidding. Something always comes up. So now I’ve decided to just do a quick (but lengthy) post of what’s been happening around these parts.
Garden plant shopping

Garden plant shopping

We have still been having the funniest year for weather ever. The 2 days before June it was only in the upper 40’s for a high temperature. I started wondering if someday (possibly decades from now) the seasons will be switched with the 2 hemispheres like Australia will have our seasons and we’ll have theirs? Global warming and all, you know. In any case, it would make an interesting plot for a book or movie. 😉 We have been alternating the very cold temps with a few days of mid-80’s which is hard to get used to. One day you’re wearing shorts and sandals, the next pants and a coat.
Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Due to the above weather constraints, we got our garden in late this year. We also decided to rotate the crops, planting our tomato plants where we’ve always had our peppers and vice versa. We kept the cucumbers in the same place. We also decided to do about half as many plants and spread them out more. We still do a lot–18 plants each but it’s a lot less than we used to. We always crowded our plants and that makes it hard to weed. Not like that’s one of my favorite things but they should produce more if given more room too. We got our plants on Thurs. May 21st and it took 3 days to get them all planted. I remember when we used to be able to plant everything in a day. We planted the herbs (basil, chives, dill, cilantro, thyme, curry, rosemary) the day we got them. Then planted the tomatoes the next day and the peppers on Sat. They are doing nicely. We usually get some other veggies like squash or beets but this year, we’re keeping it to a minimum. My rhubarb is doing fantastic. Possibly the best year ever. I have 3 plants and they are 3 different varieties. I picked most of the largest (oldest) plant and got 21 heaping cups which I put in freezer baggies and froze. I got 4 new recipes off the internet and the first one I made twice already. I really need to look no further since this is the best use of rhubarb I’ve ever seen. They are Rhubarb Dream Bars and have a buttery crust with a custard type filling. They are good warm or chilled. If you’ve never tried Pie Plant (rhubarb), you’re missing out!
New Weber gas grill

New Weber gas grill

Hubby got a new gas grill on May 21st also. We’ve been without one since around Nov. We normally grill all year round, no matter the weather. This time hubby wanted a Weber brand which is supposed to be superior to others. It’s a smaller grill than what we had but so much nicer! In almost 30 years that Greg & I have been together,  he’s done all the grilling. I always thought of it as a man’s thing. Now with this grill, I’ve started grilling and found out it’s not hard at all! I’ve been grilling a ton of veggies that I would normally roast in the oven: eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I won’t be taking all the grill duties away from hubby but it’s a good thing to know how to use it. Now we can get back to having salmon and sweet potatoes a couple times a week.
Mom at 94

Mom at 94

My mom turned 94 on April 23rd. It seems like things are getting harder daily. I don’t know if they’re necessarily harder for her, but they’re harder for me. It is no longer a full time job to be her caretaker, it is a 24/7 job. A lot more “babysitting” and checking on her is needed than ever before. We’ve scaled back our treasure hunting a lot so I’m not gone from her as much. We went out one day the past few weekends. Mom’s latest thing is drinking water. She hadn’t drank much water her whole life. She would avoid drinking it due to her bladder. I know she needs some to keep hydrated but don’t want to force it on her. I’ve always kept a filled water bottle next to her on the couch. She knew it was there but never reached for it. Now she drinks the whole thing and then keeps handing me the bottle. I like to fill it and put it back next to her but she doesn’t remember drinking it. I’m sure you can see where this is going long before I could. She would drink 3 or more bottles of water in row. I had to put a stop to that since the diaper only holds so much. She’s only been in diapers in the daytime for the past 2 days. After she literally “shit the bed”. It had come out of the diaper and was just smeared over the entire bed and her. So doing laundry has been keeping me busy. I finished up everything in the house that could possibly be laundered a few days ago, only to have to do several loads in a row. Her sheets and mattress pad, her thin quilt, a huge load of towels and her nightgown. A month ago or so she must’ve done the same with more solid material because when I went to wake her, she had both hands covered in it and I had to cut it out of her pubic hair. Never a dull moment! :-{
Wood for project.

Wood for project.

Hubby’s been busy too since he started a new project. It’s been awhile since he’s done any carpentry. He loves it and misses it. I know he gets a lot of pride and satisfaction by building something from scratch. Lord knows he’s got enough tools for every conceivable task. He’s now making a wooden floor on the muddy outside area along the north side of the house. It’s been fenced in there for years but we can’t use it. We’ve even tried planting in there (onions and beets) but it’s so muddy you can’t walk and it gets no sun. We’d like to use that wasted space for storage. If nothing else for our packing supplies like cardboard boxes and bubblewrap. It would free up a large portion of the garage which we can’t even walk in now since we are saving boxes we may use “someday” in there. I could joke and say that the tv show “Hoarders” wanted to come here to film our mess (I mean house) but they said it was a safety hazard…
Hubby before starting.

Hubby before starting.

We haven’t taken any vacation yet this year and are starting to get antsy. The RV is in the repair shop now for the horn (which turns out it was “unplugged”) and the cruise control which needs to be replaced. Neither one has worked in at least 2 years. Our “all inclusive” warranty lasts until Nov. so I wanted this fixed while we have it. We still have a $50 deductible but we can handle that. The RV dealership couldn’t fix those 2 items since they are part of the engine/motor and not the “coach”. So that was part of the holdup too. Taking it to a Ford dealership that works on RVs. Since we’re trying to get the most out of Greg’s limited vacation time, we are thinking of taking the 4th of July holiday week. Then he only has to use 3 days (30 hours). We’d like to take our anniversary week or my birthday but it doesn’t work out. We’ll probably go up to WI, if we’d gone any sooner, we might’ve frozen to death.
Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

May 21st Greg & I went to the doctor. Yes, that was a ridiculously busy day! A trip to the doctor, one estate sale, buying plants, planting herbs, getting a new grill…No wonder I don’t have time to blog. Ha!  It’s been 2 years since I had a pap smear so I just bit the bullet and called. We go in together and it went fairly well. Greg’s blood pressure is forever high even though he’s on 3 blood pressure meds. It runs in his family. The doc added a small extra dose in the evenings of one he takes. The doctor actually said to me, “I pronounce you healthy”. Which was kind of a relief until I brought up my spinal stenosis. The past 2-3 months it has gotten A LOT worse. I used to only have pain when standing or walking. Now I have pain when laying in bed, when first sitting down, when bending over, etc. I used to only have the pain in my legs like shin splints. Now it is more like charley horses and it’s in my back too. He told me to go back to Dr. Hennessy who he sent me to 2 years ago. Then he said it wasn’t that bad but told me to lose weight. I hate to go back when I haven’t lost weight. I may be 5 lbs. down if any. Food is a comfort to me with all I have to deal with. I guess that makes me a failure. I need to find out if I can get an injection that might help. I really don’t want surgery. He scared me a lot saying that if I wait too long, I may have permanent nerve damage and the pain will never go away. Yikes. I got an order for a mammogram and finally called to make the appt. for that. It’s set for Tues. June 23rd at 10:50 am. One thing at a time, I guess.
I'm in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

I’m in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

The doctor told us to stop back sometime this summer to get our blood drawn. He wants to do it after fasting for at least 8 hrs. I mentioned that I heard on the news that you can tell from a blood test if you have cancer. He said that wasn’t true and then got into a long tangent about cancer really coming down to “bad luck”. I guess I should feel lucky then! I also asked about a mole on my left boob that looked suspicious to me. It was embarrassing to have to show him but I was sick of worrying about it. A friend I knew from slams died last year from skin cancer so that certainly puts things in perspective. He said it was fine but keep an eye on it. I told him I wanted to get a bunch of moles/ skin tags cut off. He’s always so brutally honest that he said that it didn’t make sense since they would most likely grow back again in 6 months! I had that happen with one already so I do believe him. After going to Dr. James for 19 years, he finally gave us his personal phone number. I doubt we’ll ever use it but it’s nice to know we can if we need to.
A terrific read.

A terrific read.

Treasure hunting has been interesting. We’ve gotten really interested in old books. Preferably over 100 years old. I used to be so fussy about the condition and I still would rather have the binding intact but now if something looks like a captivating read, I don’t pass it up (if the price is right). Which brings me to opening another Etsy shop just for vintage ephemera (books, postcards, greeting cards, stickers, letters, etc.). I call that one Ephemera Addict to compliment my DejaVu Junkie vintage shop. I am also starting a similar shop on Instagram called Ephemera Junkie. It’s not even that I’ve had so much success on there but want to have an outlet to share my love of all things paper. I just finished a swell book from 1926 called My Friend The Dog. It’s a bunch of short stories about collies. They all have fairly happy endings which I like. The world doesn’t have enough happy endings to suit me! In one of the stories, a dog gets in a fight and is injured and it’s 2 weeks before he can “resume the burden of living.” I get such a kick out of the way things were worded back then. It is a sheer delight to partake of the mindset and morals of the past.
My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

On that note, I’m going to step away from the computer and resume the burden of living. 🙂

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Happy New Year to all my readers and friends who are checking in to see what I’ve been up to. 🙂 We did decide to forgo putting up a Christmas tree at home for spending the holiday in Tunica, MS again. We got back the evening of New Year’s Day and I’m still playing catch up with everything at home. I’ve got laundry going as I sit down to write this and will be making Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas later. Today is the Packers playoff football game but since hubby is working, we’ll watch it tonight after he gets home.
Hubby grows a beard every winter!

Hubby grows a beard every winter!

Hubby had his work Christmas party on Wed. December 17th. It was also a going away party for one of the lawyers in his office who was taking a job in Hawaii. Hubby volunteered to decorate the tables and rooms for the party so I helped him pick out items for the display. We both like doing that and we used a combination of Christmas and Hawaiian items. I baked 4 dozen peanut butter cookes and 2 1/2 dozen Russian Tea Cakes. I made both from my mom’s 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook. Everything in there is really the best. There were only a few cookies left and we ended up bringing them along on our trip.
The Babes--pay no attention to my double chin.

The Babes–pay no attention to my double chin.

We left Thurs. December 18th and spent the first night behind the Resorts Casino in the parking lot. Then checked in at Hollywood Casino RV Park for 13 nights. So we were there a total of 2 weeks and it was quite enough! We had planned to come home on Friday Jan. 2nd but the weather was turning bad with snow expected. We decided to get out a day early and beat the elements. That meant staying up until 1 am and then getting up at 7 am to get ready to leave. There is no way I’ll ever agree to spend New Year’s Eve in bed sleeping. Last year we’d been over at the casino at midnight, gambling and in jolly good spirits. This year, Mom had no desire to be in the casino and I wasn’t about to leave her alone then. So Greg & I spent New Year’s Eve watching music videos on YouTube! It was actually a lot of fun! My very favorites are Psy’s “Gangnam Style” & “Gentleman”, Pitbull’s “Timber”, Jessie J.’s “Bang Bang” and ALL of the videos by Ylvis (2 Norwegian brothers) most famous for “What Does The Fox Say.” Mom had fallen asleep on the couch across from us and we woke her to wish her Happy New Year and then I put her to bed.
Me & the dogs. Never far apart.

Me & the dogs. Never far apart.

Aside from one event a day and a half before we left (which I’ll be writing a separate blog post about), this vacation was rather boring. Greg calls it peaceful. It was a lot colder than Thanksgiving so I didn’t get outside as much. Greg still managed to get the dogs out for long walks and I went a few times. There was like 3 days straight of rain in the middle of the 2 weeks. We did hardly any gambling. We went several days without playing any slot machines at all. We watched a lot of movies on Netflix which was fun. We don’t manage to do that at home like you’d think we would. We also did some reading. I finished D.H. Lawrence’s “Sons & Lovers” which I thought was really good. Then I started “Women In Love” and am halfway through and find it dull. I’m going to finish it because I expect it to get better at some point!
Here's your Christmas Card!

Here’s your Christmas Card!

Over Thanksgiving, we got our entire stay comped in the RV park which was nice. Plus our meals free. This trip we had to pay for 9 out of 13 nights but it was cheaper to do that than gamble a lot. We also had to buy about 5 meals that were $5-7 each which isn’t bad at all. We had brought an extra gallon of milk along so didn’t need to go shopping once while there! Sadly, we now feel like we’ve worn it out there. Maybe we’ll feel differently after a few months pass. Things have changed so much since we first started going to Tunica. They used to decorate so opulently in the casinos that it would almost take your breath away to behold. Now you wouldn’t even know it’s Christmastime! They no longer play Christmas music, they don’t put up a Christmas tree anywhere or decorate at all that we could tell. They put up a huge toy train at 2 places but it could have been for any time of year. People used to dress up (at least a bit) for the holidays and wear fancy sweaters or dress shoes, etc. Now people are going around in pajama pants and hoodies. In public. To eat Christmas dinner. I had brought along some dressy clothes to wear but when I saw that, I didn’t even bother putting them on. The casinos in Tunica used to give away gifts like it was going out of style. We’d get blankets, a coat, hat, a watch, champagne glasses, you name it. Now they don’t give away anything! They do have drawings and things for winners but not to people just for showing up. It’s not like we need anything but it makes it fun. One of the biggest casinos went out of business last June. Greg thinks the rest are headed that way. It’s sad to see change when it’s not for the better.
Popsicle Art. Found in a Mississippi parking lot.

Popsicle Art. Found in a Mississippi parking lot.

We ate a lot of good southern food on the trip. Then since I’ve come home, I’ve been making a ton of cold weather meals to keep us going. As soon as we got home, the temperatures sunk down to zero with windchills 25-30 degrees below zero. They cancelled schools in Chicago for 2 days this week. It’s been too cold to walk the dogs so I’ve been home bound. I’ve made chili twice, banana bread and chicken noodle soup.
Mississippi Sunset.

Mississippi Sunset.

Wed. Jan. 7th, Mom had a bout of diarrhea. It was only a 1 day bug type thing. It doesn’t help that she can’t tell me when she feels it coming on. I have to read her body language and keep asking her if her stomach is bothering her. She doesn’t move too fast so even if I help her to the bathroom (which I do every time she goes now), she’s likely not to make it in time. She also doesn’t seem to comprehend what it is because she puts her hands right in it like it was something to play with. Gah! She went through 3 pairs of under and outer pants before I wised up and put her in diapers for the day. By then it was better and by the next day, gone completely. When I put her in diapers, I kept wondering if that’s how the elderly end up in diapers 24/7. One good (?) thing from the trip is that I was with her day and night so FINALLY her leg healed! The one she had skin ulcers on and would pick until it bled. I kept it wrapped even though it was healed. Then after we came home, a few days later, I was in the kitchen cutting vegetables and came to check on her. She was picking her leg and had got it bleeding again. 😦 It was so disheartening to me. She doesn’t care one way or the other but I felt like all my hard work was in vain. It is almost healed up again but I can’t be with her (hovering over her) every second! I have to be able to leave the room to use the bathroom myself, fix meals, do laundry, let the dogs outside, etc. If I had it to do over, I’d get a baby monitor so I could hear what’s she up to. As soon as I heard movement or rustling, I would hustle in there and catch her before she could do any damage. It doesn’t do any good to tell her to leave it alone or even explain at length WHY she needs to not touch it.

Now comes the hard part of the year. The next 3 months of the year are filled with isolation. More than the rest. Looking out at the snow on the ground, it’s so pretty but also has a bleak quality that leads one to a feeling of emptyness. I don’t know how much treasure hunting hubby and I will do. There were some this past weekend but we felt it was too cold to bother with. I guess we’re not hardcore enough. I’m sure the estate sales still had people going no matter the weather. In the meantime, I’m going to get more items listed for sale on Etsy and surround myself with things I love to get me through winter.

I have no New Year’s Resolutions. Just to get through one day at a time with my sanity intact. This was the first Christmas since I started sending Christmas cards (at about age 12) that I didn’t send any! It was one tradition I wanted to keep up. I thought it would be the be-all and end-all if I didn’t do it. Between running the home business, taking care of Mom, packing for the trip and baking for the Greg’s Christmas party, I just didn’t have time to make them, let alone address them. I’ve got to say, it didn’t bother me as much as I expected it too. I actually felt ok that I didn’t force myself to add that as another burden. In recent years I’d send out 35 and get maybe 15 if I was lucky. It seemed like so few. Now I didn’t send any and got around 15. It seemed like so many! Ha ha. I’m not saying I won’t send them next year. I might! At this old age, I’m learning things don’t have to be set in stone. I’d like to say I’m going to learn to sew and knit this year but don’t want to add any more pressure to myself. My motivation is at an all time low. What do you do for inspiration?

 

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