Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chatting About What's New in Sluggy's World

The big news is I continue to drop the lbs.
I'm down 28.8 lbs. since getting home from the hospital on April 5th.
Counting the 18 lbs. I took off the 4 days I was IN the hospital, that makes a weight(and water) loss of 46.8 lbs.

I don't care for blogs that go on and on about diets and dieting and loosing(or gaining) weight, they bore me to tears and I rather think MY weight journey is boring all of you as well, so I won't be making this sort of post a regular thing.
But I could use some "atta girls" and encouragement now and again, so you may see a desperate plea for High Fives now and again. ;-)

Perhaps I'll make a tab on the blog and I can post all the "Downsizing of Sluggy" reads there so those who are yawning even now at this mention of weight loss don't have to suffer through another one, but those who can't get enough of me(hehehe)can stay updated when there is less of me to love.

The big job this weekend was going through the stockpile and cleaning up the garage.  No matter how much I organize out there and try to keep it picked up, the other humans living here like to leave their stuff everywhere and trash my system.  It's my lot in least until they all leave home. lol

So it started out as just going through the stockpile to get rid of everything I can no longer eat.  We did keep a little for the other people who live here since they can still eat it and they like it.
Things I no longer eat from my stockpile, due to the sodium content, that we either eliminated totally or just kept a few of are.....

*Spaghetti Sauce
*Tomato Sauce
*Knorr's Rice and/or Noodle Sides
*boxed Mac & Cheese
*Barbecue Sauce
*canned Soup
*packaged Taco Seasoning
*Lipton dry Soup Mix
*Seasoned Bread Crumbs
*various canned Veggies
*Green Olives
*As well as boxes of Cereal past their use by date(the kids never ate them) 8-(

I was going to throw out the Stove Top Stuffing but if I don't use the flavor packet(and make up my own spices/seasonings from scratch), I can still use the bread cubes.
We kept all the A-1 Steak Sauce too since #2 Son prefers to drown his pork chops and steak in it. shudder

What is leaving is 10 boxes filled with products.  I'll let the brother in-law go through it all to see if there is anything he'll use before I freecycle it all and trash what no one wants.

I also gleaned another box full of toys and housewares to take to Salvation Army while we were in the garage. 

I am STILL trying to learn Windows 8 on my new laptop.  It is so user Unfriendly!  I am taking so long to get the hang of it that I fear some of that weight loss was grey matter. lol
The most insane thing is that the mail program in W8 no longer supports a POP email account...which is what I have with my ISP.
So Hubs set it up with my Yahoo email(web based email) and some other hocus-pocus so that now I can get my email from my POP account into the mail program BUT email won't go to my Inbox.  He had to set up a separate folder in the mail program and all my mail goes into that.
Crazy shit....

I also can't upload photos from my camera to this laptop.  My camera technology is now officially OBSOLETE.
Hubs has to upload my camera card to his desktop machine and then email the photos to me.....into my "special folder" in this stupid W8 mail program.
And I can't find any photo editing feature/software on this laptop......there might be one but I don't possess enough brain cells any longer to FIND it!

Plus my Wand Scanner, which I use to digitize all the old family photos in the scrapbooks.....the laptop has no orifice in which to insert the micro card adapter.  At the least, I need to buy something else to get the laptop to download the photos.

And since I'm on the subject of photos......I thought I had saved all my photos onto a flash drive from the desktop computer before it died.  Since Judy never posted about her Swap Sister presents and she STILL is not responding to my emails, I was going to post some photos of her goodies.
By the way, I was her Swapper person if you didn't figure that out from my last sentence. lol
I had taken pictures of her goodies before I sent them off.
Well, evidently I deleted them or never transferred the photos onto the flash drive since I can't find them!
I guess no one will ever see the awesome goodies I sent her and realize what a wonderful Swap Sender I am.  ;-)

Daughter is in her last week of classes for the term at the college.
#2 Son had his school orchestra and jazz concerts this past week.  The Jazz Festival was today and he has a recital this week along with the students of his flute teacher.

One of the highlights of my week was chatting with Mark of Our Simple Lives on the phone.  The only thing missing was a box of wine...... ;-) 
Mark and Fred joined the "Parent of a Teen" Club this week, when their son turned 13.  Hoist a glass or three to them with me!
And then go check out Mark's Facebook page for his side hustle HERE.  He's filling up garages at a swift clip in south central PA with his vintage, Mid-Century Modern, Danish and otherwise fashionable furniture.
Yes, Mark is now a furniture pimp.
 He's got inventory to move so if you are looking for stunning furnishings, check him out.
Of course when he brought up his new furniture buying/selling obsession I got to tell him he was turning into a hoarder, just like me.

Last night was the Junior/Senior Prom.  I snapped a few photos of #2 Son and his Date before they left for another photo session at another girl's house, and then on to the Prom.

I told them to look off into the distance for this one.....I kind of like it because they both started loosening up and had fun with this one.

This week I have 2 medical appointments-a CT scan and a follow-up with my new family doctor group.  The following Wednesday I report to the Sleep Disorders Center.  I suspect that will be a fun filled outing as well.

What's new in your world?


Friday, April 26, 2013

A "Lively" Side of the Family--Skeletons and All

I've decided to bore you some more with the genealogy stuff so just move along if you don't want to go down that road with me today.

Continuing with my sister-in-law's ancestors......
Her 3 x great grandmother, the one who family tradition says was of native descent and who may also be a descendant of the "Lost Colony" settlers was Nancy Payne(Paine/Pain).

So Nancy Payne Twiford and Wallis Twiford had 8 children.  Among them was a son, Manliff Dickerson Twiford, born in 1844.  This is my S-IL's direct ancestor.
Manliff is found living with his widowed mother and a younger brother in the 1870 census, in an area of East Lake Township in Dare County known locally as "Beechland".  It is a marshy area adjacent to the Alligator River which is part of a wildlife refuge today.
Interestingly, Manliff gives his occupation in that census as "Swamping".
Yes, my S-IL's 2 x great grandfather could have been on SWAMP PEOPLE.....

Basically they lived off the land, or the marsh as it were.  And yes, alligators are native to this region of North Carolina, thus the nearby river being named the "Alligator" river. ;-)
It sticks out to our generation, looking at swamping as an occupation, whereas, "back in the day", I'm sure no one thought it a bit odd or out of the ordinary.

Not only could you live off of the animals, berries and plants found in the swamp, you could earn some good money harvesting hides and furs, plants for medicines, vines for industrial use and the product as described in this video clip from the History Channel show, Swamp People.

Just imagine my S-IL's GGrandfather explaining this in a traditional Southern drawl instead of a Cajun one....

Moving on.....
Manliff married in 1872 to Zenova Adeline Basnight.  He was 28, she a child of 18.
Here they are in later years.

                                     - credit Ginger Griffith

They had 9 children(7 lived to adulthood) and were married for 40 years until Zenova's death in 1912.
After some digging I would venture to say that Manliff was a "character".

After his wife died and at the ripe old age of at least 68 years(I have reason to believe he was 78 or 79), Manliff went wife hunting.  Since there was no eHarmony dotcom or Match dotcom in the early 1900's, he took out an ad in the paper.

From the Elizabeth City NC newspaper of the time, The Independent.....

M. D. Twiford, postmaster, merchant and farmer of East Lake, Dare county was in Elizabeth City this week buying supplies for his store and looking for a wife.  He says business is brisk in East Lake, with labor getting $3.50 to $4.00 a day and nobody sick.  He says business is so good in fact that he has got to have a partner and he will make a life contract with the right sort of woman.  He says he has a twelve room house and a wife coule have as many rooms for herself as she would want. "I'm old enough to sleep by myself anyway.", says Mr. Twiford.  He has placed an advertisement for the wife in this newspaper and being a kind, sprightly and substantial old gentleman he probably will get results from his advertisement.
-credit to Doris Ann White

Well it looks like Manliff didn't stay in the swamping business for long.  He went on to become a postmaster and merchant with a store.  H seems to have done alright for himself.
I couldn't find any indication in marriage records of whether he actually did tie the knot again.

But then, while I was researching one of Manliff's sons, I found another newspaper article, dated June 8, 1923.
Manliff's son, Dennis Simmon Twiford was killed in action in France during the closing days of World War I.  The article is about Dennis' younger brother, Fowler Miller Twiford and his scandalous doings.  Take a look and make note of the mention of Manliff, the father.  Seems the apples don't fall too far from the tree in this family.  ;-)
The Independent (Elizabeth City, NC) - Friday, June 8, 1923; pg. 1 GIRL'S BETRAYER MUST SERVE IN THE ARMY - Considerable dissatisfaction is being voiced in Dare County. The verdict of the jury last Friday freed Fowler Twiford, young man about 27 years old of East Lake in Dare County, for seduction under promise of marriage to Miss Mary Creef, 24 years old. Young Twiford had been engaged to Miss Creef about three years off and on, according to testimony in evidence. When his fiancee advised him of her condition several weeks ago, he ran away and joined the U.S. Artillery at Fortress Monroe, Va. Authorities brought him back for trial and altho his lawyers, E.F. Aydlett, J.C.B. Eringhouse, and Chas. Grady got him off, he must fulfill his enlistment in the Army. The defendant didn't take the stand in the case, and used his own brothers chiefly as evidence. He is the son of M.D. Twiford, age 80 years old of East Lake, who figured recently in a breach of promise case in this city wherein Mrs. Sarah Salter sought damages. Young Twiford served in the world war with his brother Dennis Twiford, and the two took out insurance policies for $10,000, each making the other the beneficiary. Dennis was killed and Fowler got the money. Solicitor W.L. Small was assisted in the presentation by members of the firm of Meekins & McMullis of this city. Miss Creef had little resources with which to fight her case. She will become a mother in a short time.
--credit to Kay Midgett Shepperd & Marla Beasley

Seems old Manliff decided against a new(to him)bride after all.  I just wish I could find the proceedings of the court case against Manliff without having to go to Dare county. 
I have to say that too bad DNA testing wasn't around in the 1920's.  At least Fowler's jilted fiancé, Mary Creef, could have proved paternity and gotten some of that insurance policy money to raise his son.

I now need to know who this Mrs. Sarah Salter was.  It's fairly obvious she was a widowed or divorced woman, so her maiden name is unknown, which hinders finding her. Another brick wall to aim at knocking down.  8-))


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food Budget Talk....the Good and the Bad

I usually budget $400 per month for food and toiletries for our family of 4(there are 5 of us but oldest son is at college).
But with being in the hospital at the beginning of April and the family loose without a list or a clue in the grocery store in my absence(!!!)because I wasn't able to get to the store yet, AND then with the special foods and changes to my diet which cost more than what I usually spend, I didn't know whether I'll be able to stay under the $400 mark.

The family picked stuff up here and there the first half of April and managed to make a $122.61 dent in our food budget.  We were eating mostly from what was here but they still managed to go to the store every other day for 2 weeks, buying non-sale items.....don't even THINK they used a coupon! lol

From the 17th through the 21st, under my watch, we were able to spend $232.91.
5 days.....$232.91

Most of that was $123.12 at the Restaurant Supply Store where I got some awesome deals.
The produce deals seem much better here compared to weekly sales at the local market too.  Even the regular prices on fresh produce are good.
Here are some comparisons to the prices they charge in the grocers locally......

* 9.27 lbs. of colorful peppers for $9.17 vs. $1 per pepper on sale at Weis(would have cost $22)
* 6.05 lbs. of zuke and squash for $5.99 vs. $9.11 at $1.49 lb. on sale at local grocer
* On the vine tomatoes for $1.29 lb. vs. $2.99 lb. or $1.99 on sale at local grocer
* Bag of red potatoes for $1.49 vs. $3.49 at local grocer
* Large loose mushrooms for $2.69 lb. vs. $3.99 lb. loose or $4 for 2-8 oz. containers at local grocer
* Jumbo frozen shrimp for $16.99 for a 2lb. bag vs. $24.99 a 2lb. bag on sale at local grocer
* 5lb. bag of frozen peaches for $10.99 vs. $17.45 for 5 x $3.49 a 1lb. bag in the grocer
* 1 lb. of crabmeat for $7.99 vs. $10.99 on sale at local grocer
* $1.29 for a dozen eggs vs. $1.89(this week) at local grocer
* Even a gallon of mayonnaise for $8.99 vs. 4 jars of Kraft or Hellman's at $3 ea.($12) on sale or $3.99($15.96) reg. price in the grocery store AND it's lower in sodium than those others.)
* 8.10 lbs. ground chuck for $2.49 lb. vs. $3.49 lb. reg. price charged at local grocer

Add 1 2ltr. of soda, a watermelon, iced tea & a cheesecake(for Daughter), and a case of paper plates(Summer entertaining!lol) and we did pretty well at the store.
$123.12 vs. $175.16(using local grocer sale prices if on sale).
I'll take it! 8-))

Unfortunately I'm not done spending on groceries for the month.
I racked up a $75.77 bill yesterday at the grocer.  Most of it was goodies for the bottomless pit I call #2 Son(lunchmeat, cheese, bagel thins, frozen chicken, ice cream, frozen French fries, breakfast cookies, etc.)  The "good" groceries were OJ, facial tissues, decaf teabags, no salt added canned tomatoes, bread crumbs, vinegar, 1 box of cereal, sugar, 6 bags of frozen veggies, a piece of ginger and more fresh produce(lemons, cuke, mango, lettuce, apples, strawberries).

With that trip I am up to $431.29.
Kaboom!  I am officially over budget.
And I'll probably make another trip to the Restaurant Outlet this weekend for more fresh produce as Daughter has talked me into "juicing" with her.
More on that later......

I'll now shoot for keeping the budget under $500 for April.

How is your food budget doing this month?
Better or worse than expected?



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Meal Planning Again with Changes

I am trying to get back into meal plan mode here.
I still have to cook for the family but I can't always have what they are having, even with adaptations.
Since I don't feel like making 2 meals those nights, I'll probably just have something easy, like a sandwich or fruit with yogurt, etc.

The local restaurant supply store had a great sale on colored peppers over the weekend.....99¢ lb.
I bought a ton, along with zucchini and yellow squash for the same price.  This menu is loaded with peppers and what's leftover is getting sliced into strips and frozen for later use.

Here's the meal plan--

Sunday, I adapted my Lena's Lemon Chicken recipe so I could eat it.  Instead of using half the "cheap" Lemon Pepper seasoning(that's mostly SALT  lol), and half the salt-free Lemon Pepper seasoning, I just used the salt-free variety.  I use to half and half it because we like some salt and the salt-free variety is insanely expensive, and it calls for a large amount for the recipe.  All thee other ingredients are aok to have--chicken, brown rice(not salted when cooking), onions, zucchini, olive oil, garlic, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.

Monday, I made Macaroni Salad(minus the salt)and really loaded it up with carrots, celery, onions, 3 colors of peppers and black olives.  It was more a Veggie Salad really. lol
We had hamburgers(they had cheese, I didn't).  I had one of my half turkey/half beef burgers.  We also had a mélange of steamed corn, broccoli and carrots.

Tuesday, only Hubs and I were home for dinner.  He had a Chicken Enchilada.  I made 8 Enchiladas last week, without salt or refried beans and using my made from scratch enchilada sauce(salt-free).
I froze half of them for easy dinners with the container of leftover sauce in the fridge.  Hubs also ate leftover Macaroni Salad.
I didn't feel like a heavy meal so I just had apple slices dipped in my peanut butter.

Wednesday, tonight will be Italian Sausage, Onion and Peppers Sandwiches. I can't have the sausage so I'll figure something else out later today.  I have baby Portabella mushrooms here I have to use, so I'll think up something using those.  Maybe a bowl of fresh mushroom soup?

Thursday, we'll have Chicken Fajitas. Peppers, onions, mushrooms and chicken.  I'll make my own seasoning since Chili Powder is full of salt.  And cheese for the family but not on my fajita. 

Friday, Fish, Lena's Cabbage Salad, Yellow Squash Sauté.

Saturday, Either Leftovers or Pasta with meat sauce and a large Salad containing lettuce, carrots, celery, peppers, grape tomatoes, red cabbage and spinach. The sauce will be made from scratch and have half and half ground turkey or chicken and ground beef. I'll use my low salt dressing or olive oil and vinegar.

So that's how we're rolling this week.
Next week?
Who knows!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Long but Very Interesting Genealogy Stuff

I recently started helping my Sister-in-Law, my brother's wife, trace her genealogical roots.
She gave me some grandparent and parent info and let me loose to hunt down her family tree.
She had 2 incidental things to tell me, both on her paternal side of was that she was curious if her father's paternal line led back to English royalty, and the other was whether there was Native American blood somewhere back in her line on her father's maternal side.  She told me of stories that had been passed down telling of one of her great x 2 or 3  grandmothers being Native American by blood.

So I hooked Sis-in-law into the tree and started plugging away.
I knew at the start that the SIL's hopes to being related to Princess Diana was pretty much nil, but her father's paternal line seemed to go back to an American Revolutionary War General/Hero.  But upon further investigation, some of the dates/names didn't match up, so I cut it lose and decided to concentrate instead on the father's line which led to the Native American great grandmother stories.

With the help of Censuses and birth records I was able to make a clear trace back to her 3 x Great Grandparents, Cornwallis(or Wallis as he was known) Twiford and Nancy Payne(or Paine) Twiford.  I found evidence of a few other oral histories, from other descendants of this line, talking about Nancy being Native American.
The story goes that Wallis was married previously with 3 children when an epidemic of some sort took his wife and children before 1830.  Wallis wanted a new wife and found Nancy sitting under a tree, fell in love and took her home to be his bride.  Nancy was said to be "mean as a snake" and not a very good housekeeper.  Wallis & Nancy went on to have 8 children.
I even found a picture of Nancy online.....

She sure looks like a dour old thing to me. ;-)

While I have hard records going forward for this line, there is little documentation pre Nancy.  There are census records for 1790 so her father is known but beyond that, no one has substantiated much yet.
I don't have any "hard" documentation at this point for the Native American angle yet, just the stories.  Proving the oral tradition correct may take much effort, research and time, even if it is true, and at this point I don't have the time or knowledge to follow this trail any further back.

And just when I was about to close this effort down and try some other branches, the story got a whole lot more interesting.

You see, these ancestors of my SIL lived their lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The county was Tyrrell County, NC until the eastern chunk of the county was separated and made a county all it's own called Dare County in 1870. The Alligator River basically was used as the dividing line between the two counties.  This area includes the Outer Banks barrier Islands(including Hatteras Island), the island of Roanoke(which is located due west of the barrier islands, in the Croatan Sound), and the lands due west of the mainland, which the Alligator River bisects.  Nowadays, most of these lands are National Wildlife Refuges.

If you haven't guessed where I was going with this yet, here it is.
Everyone has heard about the mystery of the "Lost Colony".  The English colony founded on Roanoke Island where the colonists all disappeared and it's some bigtime mystery about what happened to them all.
That's what the people who make a living off of keeping the fate of the colonists a mystery want you to believe.   

Some background before we move on and a little accurate history in the clip.

So the 4th Voyage was the one carrying the settlers/planters now known as the Lost Colony.
Gov. John White left in 1587 for England to obtain more supplies for the colony.  The following year in 1588, with only two too small ships, he set off for Roanoke Island.  But the ships Captains bent on plundering enemy vessels attacked some Spanish ships and were themselves captured and their cargo seized.  Without supplies, the ships returned to England for bigger ships and more supplies.

Due to England being at war against Phillip II and the Spanish Armanda, Elizabeth I denied Sir Walter Raleigh and John White's requests for a ship.  There were simply none too spare because of the war.
A vessel was approved in 1590, almost 3 years later.  Gov. John White returned to American with supplies in Aug. of 1590 to the garrison on Roanoke Island.  As everyone knows, no sign of the colonists was found, along with their houses inside the garrison.  There was no evidence the houses had been burned down as you'd expect if the colony had been invaded and destroyed. 
The colonists had been instructed, if there had been a problem or disaster to mark a palisade with a Maltese cross.  It was marked with the name of the nearby Croatoan(Hatteras)Island instead, meaning nothing untoward had happened to the colonists at the settlement.
John White planned to venture down to Croatoan  and the colonists the following day.
However he never made that journey to Hatteras, as a large storm was coming in and the captain of the ship insisted on returning to England immediately.  He refused to wait for Gov. White to go there and return for the supplies once he found the colonists.
John White never returned to the New World.

Over the next two hundred or so years, there are entries from journals and diaries of various English and French explorers to the coastal areas of this part of North Carolina of European Caucasian , reports of peoples living among  the natives, and later of native American inhabitants with fair skin, grey or blue eyes, and even blond hair.  One explorer remarked how he found houses using known European building techniques among the Croatoan, they claimed some of their ancestors had been "White" and they could read and write English.
In later years, one isolated tribe was found to have words that sounded strikingly like obsolete English terms in their vocabulary.

Because of the likelihood that Europeans lived and intermarried with the Native population, a group is currently conducting a DNA Project, using the Surnames of the 150 colonists to investigate these claims that the colonists did not perish at Roanoke Island.
And one of the original colonist surnames is......
John Pain(Payne).
He is possibly the Y-DNA ancestor of Nancy Payne.
If they find a living male Paine descendant of John with maternal Native DNA and paternal European DNA, and he is related directly to my sister-in law's Nancy Payne, this will prove that sis is part Native and a direct descendant of a "Lost Colonist".

A link to this DNA Project on Facebook HERE.

I think this is pretty neat!



Monday, April 22, 2013

My Salty Tears of Dispair.....Mmmmm....SALT

So what do my health challenges mean for me?
For now, I am on a low sodium regiment.
Low as in 2,000mg a day......for everything I eat.
That equals to about 1 teaspoon per day.

Oh, how I am going to Enjoy this.
Said. no one. ever.

We are not "salters".....aka people who pour salt on all their food when served.
Yes, I do season with salt during the cooking process and I use fancy pants salts when salt it called for.
Often when we eat out, we notice how salty the food is normally.

I've always been a label reader, but I've always concentrated on the fat and carb content.
The sodium content is a whole other ball of wax as they say! 

A myriad of foods are off limits to me now--

*Anchovies(which I love on occasion on pizza)
*Green Olives(black ones are ok in moderation, not Kalamata  black olives)
*Almost all cheeses  sniff, sniff
*Chinese food sauces(not so much the food, just the sauces on it)
* Dill Pickles
*Soy Sauce(obviously)
*Bouillon Cubes
*Commercially prepared or cured meats/fish(sausage, bacon, hot dogs, sardines, ham, etc.)
*Worcestershire sauce
*Salty snacks like chips, pretzels, crackers, salted nuts
*Salt of any kind-Iodized, Sea Salt, Kosher, Himalayan, Pink, etc.
*Pizza with meat toppings

That's just the short list.

Last Wednesday was the first day I was able to drive myself somewhere.  As a side note it was so nice to be able to get behind the wheel and not have it too close to my middle! lol

And since we've been subsisting on drips and drabs the Hubs and Daughter have picked up from the store for the last 2 weeks and no real meal all., I went out for groceries and to read labels to see what I can find that I won't have to make for myself now.
You know shortcut foods, processed/low sodium foods I can have here to use when I can't possibly make everything from scratch.

I spent 1.5 hours in the store on Wednesday reading labels.  It's a small store with not variety beyond "regular" items, so I came home with only 4 "shortcut foods".....

* No Salt Ketchup
14 oz. for $3.39
5mg sodium per 1 TB serving versus 160mg in reg. ketchup 1 TB serving

Ketchup is the lifeblood of the American diet.
This will help me add a bit of flavor to a dish or make my own healthier version of "processed" foods without the salt.

* Crazy Richard's 100% Natural Peanut Butter
16 oz. for $3.65
0mg sodium per 2 TB serving versus 150mg in reg. PB 2 TB serving
(Skippy makes a 75mg sodium version & Jif an 80mg version.)

Another versatile food, good for cooking and a great protein source on a slice of bread.
While the sodium content is not very high normally, it adds up over the course of a day's worth of eating so best to cut the salt where you can.

* Gazebo Room Lite Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade(made locally)
16 oz. for $3.59
90mg per 1 TB serving versus 140mg Kraft Greek Dressing

While the lower sodium one is still high and 1 TB isn't nearly enough for an entire salad, it was the lowest  salt content dressing on the shelf, even including dry mixes like Good Seasons.
I know.....I checked every blessed  variety/brand and there must have been 120 different dressings on those shelves!
One of the first products I'll be making from scratch will be a healthy salad dressing but I'll keep this for emergencies.

* Bear Naked Granola
12 oz. for $3.00-on sale woot!
l0mg sodium in 1/4 cup serving versus 60mg per serving for Kellog's Granola

Another case of the regular version of the food isn't high but why take in extra sodium when you don't have to?

The take-away from all this?
My grocery bill will be going up.
Better to be paying more at the store now if I can avoid paying enormous amounts to the healthcare system later on.

The American Heart Association says the average American consumes more than 3,000mg of sodium a day and recommends you consume no more than 1,500mg daily.  That's less than one teaspoon. Salt in all forms, especially those hidden in foods(hello processed foods!)can take names other than salt.  When reading labels, look for these salts by any other name......sodium chloride, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate, baking soda and monosodium glutamate.  If the ingredients listed don't include salt but include any of these, it's still got salt in it.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Steve is Having a Bad Day...or Is He?

Stolen Borrowed from my friend Jeff over at the West Virginia Surf Report, here's a video of a woman doing "Man on the Street" interviews.

Watch this and imagine yourself in that woman's place.
Seems "Steve" may have been off his medication that day!
Either that or he just came out of the Hard Rock Café(behind him)after seeing his bill there.....


**Slight bad language warning**
Please return all beverages to an upright position before viewing....


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saving $ on Clothing a Disgruntled Teen

I don't go shopping often.
When I do it's usually a need.
#2Son was in need of Summer clothes as he's grown out of last years togs.
So unless I want the boy to go nekkid this Summer, yah.....bigger clothes are a need. lol
So Hubs took us down to Kohl's on Saturday with the teen so he could try on shorts and such.

You would have thought I asked the boy to endure hours of torture on the rack!
Take him to a store, buy him stuff(he gets to pick out!)and take him home.  He is so mistreated, isn't he?

After an hour or so of sighing and eye rolls, we left with 4 pairs of Levi and Urban Pipeline shorts, a Vans shirt, a Marc Jacobs shirt and a Rocko's Modern Life t-shirt for the Daughter.
The bill came to $127.
I had a 20% off coupon, which made the bill $105.88.
I used 2 x $50 Kohl's gift cards to pay.....though they weren't "free", I had gotten them at Rite-Aid last year during a +Ups Promo, so they were paid for out of last year's money AND I had gotten $20 in +Up Rewards to spend for $20 worth of free stuff at Rite-Aid last year.
So I ended up paying $5.88 for the 7 items of clothing.

And then, for spending $100, I received a $20 Kohl's cash to use later this month.
So in the end I "spent" $105.88 and got $40 in extra script and 7 items of clothing.

And except for maybe some sandals, I am done spending on teen clothes until Fall.

Always trying to work the angles here, even when hooked up to oxygen and pulling it around behind me in a store.....


Monday, April 15, 2013

My Life as a Water Balloon

Here's my story about the latest crap that has happened in my life.
Pull up a chair and pour a cup.....this is going to take awhile.

First let me say that I am not in the best of health.  I have chronic conditions that necessitate that I make regular visits to my doctor.
Sometimes that's once a month, sometimes I can go about 3 months before needing to be seen.
I was under the care of a doctor that was monitoring my health, or so I thought.
I have high blood pressure and I'm overweight.
I am prone to develop cellulitis in my legs. About 5 years ago I was in the hospital for antibiotic therapy for it. I also have a swollen foot.  I've had it since #2 Son was a baby.  Stuff doesn't circulate in and out of it well, so it is always swollen.

I started feeling not quite right sometime in January.  Just more tired and lethargic than usual.  I started having trouble climbing the stairs in the house.  At my Jan. visit to the dr. I mentioned it and nothing was noted and no action was taken.
Then in February I noticed that my legs were swollen, I was even more tired and I was having trouble breathing, especially at night in bed. The last of this also meant that I was waking up at night constantly(which would explain why I was so tired; I was not getting deep, restorative sleep.).
I didn't have an appointment in February and thought these symptoms would keep until my appointment in March.

Also in February, #2 Son got sick with a sore throat.  After more than a week and no improvement, I called late in the month to make a dr. appointment so we could rule out strep and/or get some drugs for it.

Some background information before I continue.....
Our doctor had recently undergone a total office reorganization with a new receptionist, new nurse, new business manager.  I got off on the wrong foot with the receptionist.  She is a little 20 year old and came into the practice with an attitude and the ego the size of a doctor's.  Her first day on the job she argued with me(though she didn't know anything about the practice or my insurance copays)and insisted my copay owed was double what it has been for the last 2 years.  The office never updated our insurance information file so instead of taking to me like a person, smiling, and trying to figure out why her information wasn't lining up with mine, she stood there and just proceeded to bark at me that I owed $XX because her file said so and I was NOT leaving until I paid it.
Yes, she pissed off this family of 5, who had been longtime customers for the last 12 years.
Great new support staff, huh!

So back to February.....
I called for an appointment for #2Son and I get a voicemail, so I leave a message to call me back about setting up an appointment.
And no one returns my call that day.
So I call the next day and get the voicemail again and leave another message.
Late that day I get a phone call from the Nazi Receptionist.  She says that I can't make an appointment because the doctor is out of the office all week and she doesn't know when he is returning.
So I ask her to give me the name of whoever is covering for him.  NR says that he no longer has another dr. or group taking his patients.
So I ask her, so what do I do?
NR says to go to an Urgent Care or the ER.
And she says it in a snippy, exasperated tone, like she is talking to an imbecile.

Now let me give you a little background about my doctor's office.  Up until this shake up at his practice, the doctor has always had a voicemail message that said, "We can't answer the phone so leave a message. If it's a medical emergency, call xxx number and I will return your call right away or go to the emergency room."  If he was on vacation, the message would also have the name and number of whichever doctor was seeing his patients in his absence.

The new voicemail message was just "This is the office of xxxx. Please leave a message."
So I lay into her........first off, nobody called me back for a day and a half.  If you had put a voicemail message up that noted the dr. was out of the office for an extended time period and there was NO coverage being provided by another doctor I could have not sat for the last day and half doing NOTHING to get my son better, I could have sought treatment elsewhere sooner and had him recover sooner.  Not only that but since Dr. xxx has chosen NOT to have a doctor cover for him, I am going to have to pay more to go to an Urgent Care or an ER, even though he doesn't need that level of care.
This is just bad office management.
All she said was, "I'm sorry".  And she said it in a very cold and unfeeling sort of tone.
So I screamed into the phone, "You are NOT sorry.  Your 20 year old ass couldn't care less!"
And I hung up.

So #2 Son went to Urgent Care and $20 worth of antibiotics later he was over his strep throat.
But I was still not feeling well.

By March, I am feeling progressively worse.  I now notice that my stomach is getting hard and swollen.  It's so swollen that I can hardly get behind the steering wheel.  I don't have a scale so I can't weigh myself.  I hadn't changed my eating habits so I don't think I could have possibly put on that much weight in 1 or 2 months. 

Thankfully I had calmed down by the time my next doctor appointment rolled around in March.
I walked into the waiting room and noticed right off that most of the furniture is missing, as well as the magazines and the artwork on the walls.
I checked in and sat down.
And a few minutes later the nurse comes out and I ask her what's going on with the furniture.
She tells me the office is moving.
Evidently they are moving down the road about 1/2 mile into a small house that was being turned into a doctor's office.
And they were starting to see patients the very next day at the new location.
And nobody had ever mentioned the change in location to us!
Good thing my appointment was not the following day or I'd have showed up here to a locked door.

About then the doctor saunters out into the waiting room, which is empty except for me.
He sarcastically asked how I like the new look of the waiting room.  I said fine except there are no seats.  He mentions they are moving and then goes over to the Nazi Receptionist.  I listen to them a bit and honest to goodness, he is flirting with her!  He's not talking business......he's talking about her skirt and how she should wear her hair and I feel like I need to go shower I'm feeling so icky.

I get called back by the nurse and she takes my blood pressure and temperature.  She doesn't weigh me(nor had they during my last appointment).  I tell her about my breathing problems and the swelling in my middle and she puts me in an examination room.

When the doctor comes in instead of asking me how I am feeling and what my complaints are, he talks about the new office, asks me what I think about the receptionist(isn't she cute?) and then goes on to tell me he is going to buy a little house on a river and go fishing and he'll bring me some fresh trout.
I notice that he is slurring his words and just sounds goofy, beyond what he is talking about, which is also goofy.
He does listen to my lungs and doesn't say anything is not right.
He goes off on a tangent, asking me about my Daughter and college and then without another word starts to leave.
I stop him and tell him my complaints.  He writes an order for a respiratory test and leaves.  Never even examined my middle or my problematic legs which are very swollen.
He tells the Nazi Receptionist I am to come back in a month and goes back into his office.
I make an appointment and go home.

Over the next few weeks I continue to feel worse and worse.
About 10 days before my appointment, my daughter says she tried to make an appointment with the doctor for a check-up(before she leaves to go to Louisiana)and she got a voicemail that the doctor was on an extended medical leave of absence with no other directions or information.  I guess he still had no doctor covering for him.

2 days before my appointment I called to confirm it and I got the same voicemail about being on medical leave until further notice.
You would think the office would be calling and telling patients with appointments that they were not going to be honored!
At this point I told Hubs that I can't wait to see this doctor any longer and he needs to take me to Urgent Care.

So he gets off work a bit early and take me to the local Urgent Care.
They have since stopped doing x-rays at that Urgent Care so they tell me to go to the ER.
So we toddle up to the ER.  I tell the front desk triage nurse I am having problems breathing and take a seat in the waiting room, which is packed.

There are 3 ways to get seen right away at an ER--Be in active labor, be having a heart attack or stroke, or not being able to breathe.
The nurses called me back about 5 minutes later.
My oxygen saturation at rest on room air was 88%.  I was weezy and swollen.  Even my eyelids were swollen.

I spent the next few hours being poke and prodded, stuck with needles and given meds.  Something or other important was 1000% the level it should have been.
I was admitted.  I was filling with fluid and going into right side heart failure.
I ended up spending 24 hours in the ER waiting for an open bed on the cardiac floor.
The doctors there feel I have severe sleep apnea(even though I had a sleep study done 8 yrs. ago and they had no recommendations since it was a mild case).  The apnea leads to fatigue, less oxygenation, which leads to the heart working harder to reach all the cells and supply oxygen rich blood, which leads to fluid  retention and breathing problems....or something like that.
It's all a big vicious cycle, or should I say a big vicious spiral that leads to death if not treated.
Not fun.

After multiple diuretics in the hospital I lost 18 lbs. of fluid. 
I am required to keep to a low sodium diet, since sodium makes you retain fluid.
I am also on oxygen 24/7.  And a slew of drugs.  And I have a bonus of a slew of doctor's appointments in the coming months.

The restrictive sodium diet is why I am having to change my eating habits. 

I've been home 10 days now and I've dropped an additional 22 lbs.  I suspect it's mostly fluid and not "weight" so far.  My swollen foot is no longer swollen.  My legs and middle are no longer hard and taut, my eyelids are normal again and I can fit behind the steering wheel in the car again. ;-)
My oxygen saturation on room air in the hospital dropped to 56% when they walked me down the hall.  The Advair(mediation)helps and I hope to get off the oxygen eventually.

Now here's the crazy part--
While being examined by the nurse assigned to me in the ER, after they had decided to admit me, they started getting my medical history and doctor information.  When I told her who my doctor was, she just stopped and looked at me, then said, "Oh!"
I said, "What?".
She said, "Didn't you hear?  He lost his license."

It seems that in this little town, if you are "special" and get into legal trouble, it is covered up.  And when it does hit the newspaper, weeks later, it is buried deep inside next to the travel ads and the bingo parlor hours.

Here is from one paper online
Doctor arrested

Here is from another paper online
Doctor arrested

All I can say is Medical Leave my ASS!!!

I've since heard he was abusing prescription drugs and/or giving out fraudulent prescriptions.
We do know that he has been seen drunk in various restaurants in town.
This all happened in late Feb., about the time I was trying to get an appointment for #2Son for his strep throat.
Of course, I don't read the local daily papers(just Sunday's edition). 
I guess things didn't go well for him at his hearing since the nurse knew he had lost his license to practice.

And it's no wonder I ended up in the state I was in.
I didn't have a competent healthcare provider now, did I?

And add in to all this fun that my computer died the day I went to the ER.
Thoughtful Hubs went out and bought me a brand spanking new first laptop, while I was in the hospital.
So I came home to yet another challenge.....learning the ways of the laptop AND Windows 8.

So that's what I've been up to.
I've had my fill of excitement.....bring on boring for a change!
What's new with you?

An addendum to the story--
I just got a letter from our insurance company informing me that my healthcare provider is no longer participating with our HMO.
Ya think?



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Young Love!

My Daughter bought her first car this weekend.

A 2002 Hyundai Accent.

I don't think I've seen her smile so wide before!
She's in love.......

And since she bought the car, she has her own policy and is off our car insurance.
One down, two more to go..... ;-)

I just wonder how she's going to fit all her stuff in that cute little car when she moves to Louisiana?


Friday, April 12, 2013

$20K Savings Challenge.......March Update

In our family we save money.
It is important to us to put money aside for "rainy days".  You know.....those unexpected days when things happen in your life that you can't plan on, but that DO happen and they cost you money you didn't know you'd need to pay out.

Our income is mainly the salary my Hubs draws from his job.  We have money taken off each paycheck from the top to put into savings, before we even get our hands on it.  This money that's taken goes into various insurance, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings.
Once the automatic savings, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision payments are taken out, it leaves what we get to "live on".  From this amount we budget for bills, both monthly and irregular bills(semi-annual, etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into a Savings Challenge. 

For 2013 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am going to keep the Goal amount at $20,000 again this year.

On to the March report.....

I have posted my MARCh End of Month $20K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the side bar to your right for the specific numbers.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $1,666.67.

I have to report that we finished up March in the black!
The extra cash amount we ended the month of March with?.......$1,352.60

We had $1280.04 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted. 
Add in 2 quarterly dividends, some bank interest and a rebate check, and we get another $122.56.  This brought our gain to $1,352.60 for March.

As for the expenses this March, here are the good and the bad side of things....

*  The water bill was $13.18 lower than Feb.
* The electric bill was $99.82 lower than Feb.(Our heat is electric.)

*  The credit card bill went up $98.91(but was still paid off at month's end.)
*  The cash withdrawals were up $200 over last month.
*  The doctor bills were up $67.05 from last month.
*  The long distance phone bill was up $4.01 from last month.
*  We owed $44 in state taxes.
*  The yearly sewage bill was paid this month.
*  The yearly local taxes were due this month.(I received a discount from paying them before April 1.)

The Food Budget costs for MARCH are in another post, which is located HERE.
We managed to stay well within our $400 food budget in March.

The 2013 TOTAL so far.....
With 3 month behind us, our Savings Grand Total for 2013 stands at $5,489.63.  Only $14,510.37 left to save and 9 months left to accomplish it.
We just missed our $1,666.67 target goal for the month, but not by much.  Considering the yearly taxes and the yearly sewage bills paid, I'd call March. a WIN for us on the money front.

Looking ahead for April......

*  We don't have any quarterly or yearly bills due this month.
*  Since #2 Son got his driver's license, we have an additional car insurance bill due this month, to the tune of almost $400. sigh.
*  Due to my health scare and visit to the ER and hospital, the bills will start to roll in this month, so I can't even hazard a guess if we'll be able to make our monthly savings target of $1666.67 in April.  We shall see in the fullness of time.

So how was your March financially?

Have you finished paying off those presents from last Christmas you put on credit?
Did you spend less than the income you made in March?
Did you received any "extra" or unexpected money in March and what did you do with it?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
Did you pay off any debt or put extra toward your mortgage principle?
Did you receive a tax refund and what did you do with that money?

If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check you out your progress too and celebrate with you!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

MARCH 2013 Budget Results....Food & Toiletries Spending

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for MARCH 2013.

I have posted March's totals on the right side bar under Total Grocery Savings for 2013 and updated the Yearly Totals.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in March.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Summary.

My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Pet Supplies, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable.We are a family of 5(4 at home this month)& 2 dogs. No kids under 16.
OOP  $5.78
Value  $21.34
Savings   73%

MAINE SOURCE(restaurant supply)
OOP  $153.15
Value  $245.07
Savings   37.50%

SHURSAVE STORES(small local independent affiliated stores)
OOP  $99.06
Qs/Ads  $46.41
Value  $145.47
Savings  32%

OOP  $79.45
Qs/Ads  $33.57
Value  $113.02
Savings  29.70%

I am no longer adding my rebates received into my food budget directly. I will use them on food on occasion and will note that when used.  I will keep track of rebates/gift cards/certs received here as before however.

TOTAL Value of Cash/Store Checks/Gift Card Rebates Received...$5.00


My best 3 Store Savings Totals were the Bread Outlet at 73%,  the Restaurant Supply Store at 37.50% and Shursave affiliate market at 32%.  l only shopped at 4 different stores this past month. 8-)

TOTAL Out of Pocket........$337.44
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$154.17
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$491.61
TOTAL Savings of...................................31.36%

This closes out the March food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....

I went into March with $400 budgeted for food/toiletries for the month.  I have $62.56 leftover in my March food envelope. 
I didn't count the number of Qs that were redeemed in March but there were very few.  I did NO Rite-Aid shopping in March, which lead to a substantially lower savings rate overall.  My almost free shopping at Rite-Aid always brings up my rate of savings for the grocery stores.
Looking ahead to April---We'll stick to our $400 food budget again this month.  With the sudden changes I need to make to my diet this month I am not sure how this will affect our food budget.  I suspect we will need to spend more on food. April will see some changes in our food spending.

And here is the run down of my Food & Toiletries Spending for 2013 so far--
2013 Total Saved $932.72

2013 Yearly Total Value of Items  $1,914.70

2013 Yearly Total Spent $990.98

2013 Yearly Savings Total of 48.25%

How much did you spend on food in March?

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

I feel like I need to use the old Hillbilly Southern preface to a story here, the one that goes like......


Because I can hardly believe my life the last month or so.

I am alive and back online. 
And out of the hospital. 
And I have a new doctor.
And when I feel more lucid and stronger, I'll blog about this all.

Until then, I'll just be lurking on your blogs because that's the best I can do right now.  ;-)
And I might through up my March Totals post and/or a YouTube video until I get around to blogging about my adventures.

Here's my theme song for today.

This one is for my young and "hip" friends......

And for my "artsy" friends, here is your version......

And for my theatrical friends, here's your version....

And for all my old friends for whom only the original will do.....