Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Going in for an RFA Today

By the time you read this I will have most likely undergone this procedure already.  I hope this one isn't as bad as those test injections were. 

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that this thing helps.

The procedure I am having done is called a Radiofrequency Ablation or Radiofrequency Neurotomy and you can go HERE for an explanation and/or too see a brief informative video.

I hope everyone has a good day!


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Great Road Trip of 2017.....Part Twenty Seven/Day Nineteen

 Part One of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Two of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Three of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Four of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Five of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Six of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Seven of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Eight of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Nine of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Ten of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Eleven of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twelve of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Thirteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE  
Part Fourteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE  
Part Fifteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE 
Part Sixteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Seventeen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE 
Part Eighteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Nineteen of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE 
Part Twenty of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty One of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty Two of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty Three of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty Four of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty Five of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE
Part Twenty Six of the Great Western Road Trip is HERE

So we hit the road again, heading East out of Rapid City SD.  After awhile we saw our first sign.......

In true Burma Shave style, we started passing the signs at regular intervals.....

Oh look!  Only 42 miles to the town of Wall SD......

And a bit later we hit the sign for "Entering Wall Drug Country".

Only 11 more miles to go.....

Exit 109 for Wall Drugs just ahead.

More Wall Drug signs at the exit, one behind the other.....

And then we arrived at the famed Wall Drug Store, in business since 1931.

Lots of kitschy stuff, like carved statues of totem poles, native Americans........

I made a new "friend" though she wasn't very friendly but maybe me making bunny ears behind her had something to do with her disposition. lol

Hubs standing next to a strange cowboy.........also not friendly.

This place which started out as a regular old drug store became over time a tourist destination.  There were so many little shops and cubby holes in the building, each hawking a different category of wares.  A Jewelry Emporium?  Hmmm....not some place I'd go to buy jewelry.

Hubs in the bookstore shop....of course! lol

Me making more "friends".  This one was armed so stay back fellas!

Hubs getting a little too friendly with a scantily clad hoochie mama, saloon gal......

We dropped a few dollars here for souvenirs and headed back outside to see this........

Those bikers we left behind at Deadwood, Rushmore and Rapid City had caught up with us!!

A bison keeping watch over an awning at Wall Drug.  We didn't see the giant Jackalope here because the place was getting very crowded and Hubs didn't feel like driving around the parking lots looking for it so no photo op with it. sigh.

And here's a dinosaur statue along the highway leaving Wall Drug......

You probably can't make this photo out but it's a field of sunflowers.

More silos along the road heading East.....

We stayed on Route 14 toward Pierre, SD
While in Pierre I learned how the locals pronounce it.  It's not PEE-AIR like you would think, but pronounced PEER.  My take on this is that it's so darn cold here most of the year that the residents call it PEER because it doesn't require you to open your mouth as much as saying PEE-AIR. lolz

Somewhere along desolate stretches of route 14 we encountered a wild turkey after it had crossed the highway.  Had we been packing a firearm we would have had a nice turkey dinner but alas, hotels don't have facilities to dress and cook a turkey brought in by someone staying the night. ;-)

More straight stretches of highway with nothing to see.........

Passing a spot on the map named "Hayes" named for early white settles John and William Hayes.

Being an agricultural region there were crops everywhere.  But I was surprised to see so many fields of sunflowers.

We saw this statue with an American flag somewhere between Hayes and Pierre SD.  Couldn't make out what it was or about online.  Anyone out there know?

We drove into Fort Pierre.....

...Before making it to Pierre SD proper.  Population 14,032 in 2017.  Capital of South Dakota and county seat of Hughes County.

As we drove to our motel for the evening we passed this business sign.......

They must get a lot of Hail out this way or the universe was tuned into our trip, what with our death defying 4 wheeler adventure back in Ashton Idaho with Kim, Joel and his sister and brother in-law..  I sent Kim this photo as it made me chuckle. lolz

Hubs probably went out and got us some dinner which we ate at the motel and it was off to bed after another long day.


Monday, February 26, 2024

This Week on the Dining Table..the Feb. 26th Edition

The "This is Not Good" Edition.......

A few months ago, I bought this can of clam chowder soup at Kroger.  I love me some clam chowder but old bay seasoning is usually not a part of a traditional clam chowder recipe.  Old Bay is what you put on steamed blue crabs up in VA/MD, where I grew up.

Even the color was not right but I tried it.  The Old Bay seasoning was quite pronounced and gave it a spiciness that clam chowder shouldn't have.  Had to throw most of it out as it was just not good.  Campbell's should stick to a traditional chowder recipe and reserve the Old Bay Seasoning for crabs.
Would you eat this?

This is day 260 of the new "way of eating".  Down 59 lbs. since the cruise(not counting the 8 I gained on the cruise and then lost again, which would make it 67 lbs.).  
Not actively trying to lose right now, just maintaining.  I plan on kicking the weight loss up again in March. ;-)

Onward to the meal planning!
This is what was planned for last week...........
1. Sunday--Ravioli, Green Beans, Garlic Bread
2. Monday--leftover Rigatoni(me), Chicken Enchiladas(Hubs)
3. Tuesday--Chicken Strips, Teriyaki Green Beans
4  Wednesday--Beef Pie
5. Thursday--Chicken Casserole or Fish and Cole Slaw
6.  Friday--Chicken Casserole or Fish and Cole Slaw
7. Saturday--Cheese Burgers(bun optional), Carrots?

And here's what actually happened......
1. Sunday--Ravioli, Green Beans, Garlic Bread
2. Monday--Asian Zalad(me), Chicken Enchiladas(Hubs)
3. Tuesday--leftover Ravioli, Salad
4  Wednesday--Beef Pie
5. Thursday--Chicken Strips, Teriyaki Green Beans
6.  Friday--Fish, Cabbage, Salad
7. Saturday--Chicken Casserole, leftover Cabbage

What got taken out of the freezer last week...
*  Ravioli
*  Green Beans
*  Chicken Strips
*  Fish

What got put into the freezer last week....
* 1 pack of Trout Fillets

Last week we spent $27.85 on grocery shopping for February.  I bought 1 sweet potato, 1 bunch of asparagus,  2 lbs. of strawberries, .50 lb. of rainbow trout fillets on clearance, 3 jars of pasta sauce and 1 orange ginger marinade all 1/2 price on clearance, a bottle of Lysol Sanitizer and 1 bottle of Suavitel Shed Shield.  The rebates earned back on the last 2 items gave me $1.43 in overage to put toward the produce, fish and sauces.

Total shopping comes to $668.62 for February.   
There are 3 shopping days left in February.  I doubt if I'll be heading to the grocery store again this month.

Rebate monies earned this month so far.....
I've earned $131.84 on Ibotta in February.
I've earned $50.00 on Shopmium in February.
I've earned $49.00 on Alexa app in February.
I've earned $4.00 on Kroger Cash Back in February.
I've earned $18.29 on TaDa in February.
I've earned $1.37 on Checkout51 in February.
I've earned $3.88 on Aisle.
I've earned 11,535 points on Fetch from food shopping in February.
I've earned 5,367 points from food shopping on Shop Kick in February
I've earned 0 SB from food shopping on Swag Bucks in February.

That is $205.38 in rebates(not counting the Kroger Cash Back/Shop Kick/Fetch/Alexa)on $668.62 of grocery spending so in reality it's $463.24 in food spending after the 4 rebate apps I count(the ones that give me cash back, not the ones that I turn the points into gift cards, or Alexa that gives me Amazon credit, and I count when those points are cashed in).

My savings percentage for the last week was 38.67% and the monthly savings total for February comes in at 48.83% spent so far.  Great savings percentage this month over reg. retail.

Leftovers going into this week....1/2 of a Beef Pie, 1 Chicken Enchilada, 1/2 of the Chicken Casserole, 1 helping of Cabbage.  That roasted whole chicken has shown up in many forms this past week.

Here is this week's "food plan".....
1. Sunday--Cheeseburger(bun optional), Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2. Monday--leftover Beef Pie
3. Tuesday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
4  Wednesday--TV dinners(ablation procedure)
5. Thursday--Fish, Asparagus, Baked Potato
6.  Friday--Pork Tenderloin Sammich, Salad
7. Saturday--Liver and Onions, Spinach Soufflè, Mashed Potatoes

Other than the leftovers and the TV dinners on Wednesday, the rest may be complete fiction. lol  Only time will tell.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any deals on food at your stores this week?  


Sunday, February 25, 2024

1975 Music Pop Hits.....Can I Be THAT Old?

For all my friends of "a certain age" remember when these were top 10 hits.........these are released 49 years ago.
Now doesn't that make you feel old? lol


Saturday, February 24, 2024

I Love My New Dermatologist!

So if you didn't know I have a disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa or HS for short.  I'll do a post all about this disease later for those who are interested.

I had a wonder Dermatologist in Pennsylvania at Penn State Hershey.  When we moved to Louisiana I asked her for a recommendation but as you can see in the graphic below, there is not a single Dermatologist in this state that knows enough about or specializes HS.

The states in purple have at least one Dermatologist in the whole state that specializes in treating HS.  See all the purple surrounding Louisiana?  Anyone with HS needs to live in one of those purple states(and near a Dermatologist's location within that state)in order to receive effective treatment.

I tried here in Louisiana to find a Dermatologist who could treat me.  It was almost after living here a year(11 months)before I found what I thought was a Dermatologist who had a clue about this disease.  But once I had my first appointment with her, I found I was sadly mistaken.

So I reached out to 4 HS specialists-2 in Texas, 1 in Arkansas and 1 in Mississippi.  Only the one in MS returned our calls so we set up an appointment with her.  

Earlier this month Hubs drove me the 3.5 hours to her office(north of Jackson)and we hoped for the best.  We brought paperwork and information from my PA dermatologist so we could hit the ground running.

It turns out this doctor is friends with my old Dermatologist.  They go to medical conferences about HS and give talks there-my old Derm gives lectures about Adult HS and my new Derm handles Pediatric HS lectures.  

So we had our appointment and she needed to now write a prescription for the drug I am on presently for my HS condition, which is surprisingly still keeping me in remission.(Most HS sufferers need to change biologics or go on Remicade infusions after a few years, as the biologic drugs used lose their effectiveness over time.)

We had a funny moment when the doctor's nurse took us into the exam room and was setting us up to see the doctor.  She noticed that we had traveled quite a ways for this appointment and asked us where we had come from.  I told her and she said she and her husband live across the river from our town in the neighboring town.  I wondered why she took a job in Mississippi and then she asked me what Dermatologist I had seen in my town.  I told her the name and the name of the group practice and she got a knowing look on her face.

It seems this nurse had tried to get a job where she lived with a Dermatological practice that does "serious" or Medical Dermatology.  She had contacted this same practice I had tried to use and then they had tried recruiting her.  When they took her out to wine and dine her this nurse had asked point blank, "Does your office do Medical Dermatology?"  To which, the local to us Dermatologist has responded NO.(Funny how this office, when contacted by a potential patient with HS is told, "sure, we treat that!")  At that point the nurse had declined any job offer from this Dermatological office and went looking elsewhere for a "real" dermatologist and had landed at this U of Mississippi affiliated doctor's practice.  The nurse stays in the Jackson, MS area all week for work and travels the 3.5 hours home on weekends to be with her husband and then back again on Mondays.

Turns out I am not crazy when I got a bad vibe last August when I had an appointment with this dermatologist in Louisiana if this nurse also ran away from a job offer from her. lolz

New Dermatologist wants to see my back in 3 months.  This is a hardship traveling so far so frequently(a 7 hour drive total)but I am hoping such a frequent visit schedule is just because I am a new patient to her.  Perhaps I'll be able to see her 2 x a year like with my previous Dermatologist in PA, who we had to travel just under 2 hours to get to.  I'll ask if she does telehealth appointments the next visit(but sometimes Medicare and Supplement plans don't cover these types of visits so I'll have to get more information on costs is she allows them).

Anyway there have been issues with setting up my Rx for the medication I need because of going on Medicare with a Part D supplement and her office staff not willing to send my Rx to a different specialty pharmacy that MY Part D requires me to use and wanting to use the pharmacy that they have a relationship with.  It's all fine and good to use whom they regularly use but won't do me any good because my Part D plan requires me to use X and not Y.  That's been a small hassle so I am glad I stockpiled my medicine while still on private insurance, otherwise I'd have missed doses waiting for this to get straightened out.

I feel I am now in the right hands medically, for my HS, though the medicine I need will cost me $2,600+ to fill the first two times on Medicare Part D as there are no generics.  The first fill, along with all the other medications I am on, will put me in the dreaded Medicare "donut hole" but the second fill + other meds filled will get me out of the donut hole and put me into the "catastrophic phase" where I will get the medicine for free for the rest of the year.  It's still a large chunk of change to fork over for drugs but at least I won't have anxiety over this going forward. 8-)


Friday, February 23, 2024

Frugal Friday.....the February 23rd Edition

There are a few Frugal wins this past week so here goes....

*  Evelyn/Evelyn the Egret has moved on and we didn't see him/her this past week.  I blame the lack of rain filling up the fishing holes in the yard.  Goodbye for now my bird friend.

* As for saving money last week at the grocery stores, I already posted the details on my Walmart trips from last weekend........

*  Hubs and I had a Valentine's Lunch at a local Chinese restaurant last Friday.  Doing Lunch is more frugal than doing Dinner out.

*  I received a quarterly Rakuten rebate check this past week..........

A whole $22 and change.  Most of that was earned from hotel stays on our 3K+ mile trip in December. Better than nothing I suppose.....

*  No grocery shopping this week(so far).  My wallet likes that. 8-)

*  No eating out except for Valentine's day at lunch this week.  Shopping from my pantry and freezer this week.

*  We took all this to a local food bank on Thursday.....

Not necessarily frugal but it made me feel good after a day of dealing with my shitty kids. 8-)  Bonus-my gift buying list for Holidays shrunk by two(plus 2 spouses and a grandchild)this week!  

*  I bought a few clothing items and a purse online.  My wardrobe is still pretty bare so I used some gift cards for Kohl's I still had and bought a vest, a thinner jacket, 3 shirts and a pair of pants at their 70% clearance sale and ended up spending under $9 OOP.  Though the pants are a petite I still need to hem them up 5 inches! lol  The jacket may be going back as the color is not what my monitor showed and it's a tad long and shortening it involves a zipper!
At any rate, I earned $20 in Kohl's cash which I now need to spend. 8-)   Vera Bradley had an outlet sale online too so I splurged on myself and bought a dog themed purse and wallet because I am all about the dogs. lol  I ordered smaller sized dresses, the sort I like to wear in the Summer, and 2 pair of pants in a smaller size as the company that sells them had a President's Day sale as well.  My last stop was on online t-shirt vendor for some of their offerings with free shipping. I went through Rakuten to earn rebates when possible at all these online venues.

*  I spent a good deal of time finishing trying on every clothing item I own.  I sent 6 dresses, some pants(don't recall how many pair)and 5 shirts to Goodwill(also had to pitch a bathing suit and bras), and I have many items I like which I'd like to save by altering them but only about 4 or 5 only require hemming to make them wearable(2 are dresses I bought last Summer that just need hemming).  Most items require more extensive alterations-raising shoulder seams and/or taking in seams(side and other)and with my ET I may never be able to save those.  It's a shame really. 8-( This was a big time consuming project but it didn't require spending any money so that's why I have included it as a frugal activity.

*  I found Money!

The Chinese restaurant referenced above is inside of a run down extended stay motel.  As we pass through the lobby I always check the coin return slots in the two vending machines there and one had a quarter in it!

Then I found a dime in Walmart when I returned a shirt at the Customer Service Desk.  There is a "change your coins into bills" machine there and I spied a dime that got lost by someone on the floor next to the machine.

Then on Sunday I hit up a different Walmart for 2 items and I just found pennies all over the store--next to the freezer section, in a self check-out machine coin return, on the floor in toiletries and in the foyer while leaving the store.

Total Found in last Week.... .39¢
Grand Total Found this Year.......$1.55

That's all I got.  

Any frugal wins in your neck of the woods?  Let's hear all about them!


Thursday, February 22, 2024

My Visit to the Creepy Eye Doctor's Office

My primary set me up to have an eye exam.  Being diabetic I have a yearly exam but this new primary says current thinking is that this sort of eye exam should be done two times a year now.  Great, more money being sucked out for medical shit.

So Hubs took me to the eye doc last week.  I couldn't help but notice the giant eyeball statue in the complex's courtyard.  I posed with it after we were heading out.........

So we go into the check-in area and there is a large decked out Christmas tree.......

Folks around here seem to leave Christmas trees up most of the year.....Christmas decorations make way for Mardi Gras decorations and/or Valentine's decorations.  As I looked closer at this tree I noticed there were rather large silver balls which had been painted to look like eyeballs.  Hmmm.  A bit creepy in my book.

So I rather quickly got escorted back by a technician to a small room where she did an intake on me and then tested my vision with the infamous eye chart.  Between answering questions and trying to make out the lines on the eye chart, while she was writing stuff down I made the comment that "I could never work here.".  She looked at me with a puzzled facial expression and I explained that I found this whole place creepy, as there was nothing but eyeball themed art work on the walls and on EVERY SINGLE WALL IN THE BUILDING.  And this small room had a large piece of artwork featuring a ginormous eyeball on it that kept staring at me!  She responded in a rather haughty tone that, "Well, all this art work is done by local artists."  That's all fine and good but seriously?.....if someone was paranoid, all these eyeballs staring at a person might drive them running from the place. lolz

So after finishing with this tech person I went back into the waiting room and then was called back by a different technician to a different room.  He had me look into a machine with bright green x's to measure something or other.  I made a comment that I felt like I was going to play MineCraft due to the green pattern.  This 30 something tech suddenly got very excited, thinking I played Mine Craft, but I had to burst his bubble on that.  He then launched into telling me that he and his brother ran a side gig helping gamers advance in games by providing digital equipment you can buy at auctions in these game worlds, etc.  He went on to say they made a high double $Ks figure last year and all I could think was, "Dude, you need to quit this job and do that full time because I am sure you'd make more with your side gig than what they pay you here.". 8-))

So after being dilated I was sent to a darkened waiting room labeled the "Dilation Room".  There was a tv monitor in there and instead of showing a tv show of some kind it ran commercials for this eye doc on a continuous loop.  Seems he also owns a "MediSpa" in this complex and they do cosmetic type dermatology stuff........

There was also a slide of the doc next to an eyeball mural located somewhere in the building.....I suppose the lady on the other side of the mural was the artist?

Then a slide came up of the giant Eye Ball statue outside decorated for Halloween, wearing an oversized Witches hat......

Hard to tell the scale of this thing from this photo.  I was wondering where the Christmas decorated eye ball photo was.

So it was finally time to meet the eye doctor.  I was surprised that he was a young guy, dressed in tan corduroy pants, a plaid flannel shirt and a red puffer vest.  Looked like a hipster employee rather than the owner of this facility.

He extended his hand to me but instead of putting his hand out vertically so I could shake his hand, he held his hand out to me, palm up.  I didn't know what to do with this....slap him 5?....spit in his hand?.....What??

So he went on to explain that I had no evidence of diabetic complications in my eyes. yay.
Then he said however, that sometimes when one has cataracts removed(which I had done in 2015)and have artificial IOL lenses implanted, a membrane can develop under the lenses, which can make your vision less than perfect.  He explained that they have a quick and easy fix for that-a YAG laser that can zap the membrane and restore your vision to the clearness from when you had the lenses implanted.  I had this membrane developing more so in my left eye but the right eye is not far behind in having this condition.  It's called a secondary cataract and this is a common complication with an easy fix.

I did have the presence of mind to ask if Medicare covers this procedure.  In my case my Medicare Part B will cover this being done as an outpatient procedure with no OOP.

So I am due to go back to the creepy eyeball place in about a week to have the PCO membrane zapped away.  Information on this procedure is HERE. Having a laser zapping my eye sort of makes me  nervous.  Heck, eye doctors/techs have a hard time prying my eyelids open to put drops onto my eyeballs. lol

Let me know if you have had cataract surgery and then needed a posterior capsular  opacification procedure performed on your eye(s).  How did it go for you?  Any complications?

I'll try to get more photos of all those creepy eyeball paintings/prints/murals/watercolors to show y'all in the future.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Last Weekend's Ibotta Deals Haul & Donations

 I did some rebating last weekend...........

Everything included......

1 x Palmolive dish soap

1 x Ajax dish soap

1 x Pedialyte freezer pops

1 x Dove body wash

1 x Lysol laundry sanitizer

1 x Dove shampoo

2 x Softsoap body wash

1 x Safety dish soap*

1 x Siete refried beans

2 x Whole Blends shampoo*

1 x U panty liners

2 x Shine flavored water

4 x Lysol wipes travel size

1 x House of Autry breading mix*

1 x Band-Aid bandages*

1 x Mucinex DM

1 x Airborne

2 x Essential water 1 liters

1 x Durex condoms

5 x Lean Cuisines(not pictured)

1 x Canada Dry Fruit Splash 12 pack ginger ale(not pictured)

*Everything starred was on clearance as well.

Total for all came to $110.35 OOP after a BOGO hangtag Q for the Shine water.

Rebates received on all this......

Ibotta $41.00
Shopmium $26.00
Tada $11.06
Alexa $23.00
ShopKick 3,950 kicks($15.80)
Fetch 1,025 pts.($1.02)

$117.88 back when all is cashed in or a $7.53 money maker.  I used some overage to buy Hubs some almond milk(aka nut juice).
I bought stuff we can use or stuff I can donate.
And speaking of donating.........

I just got together a large donation for a local church's food/toiletry pantry and some of the above purchased items are included with stuff I culled from our pantry/supplies.....

The overflow that didn't fit in the photo above.......

I love that all that baby shampoo and stuff is next to a box of condoms. lolz