Saturday, December 27, 2008

*stomach gurgles*

*coping with the stomach flu*

Hope you all are well! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Visit to Baltimore

We had a nice day, going into Baltimore to buy some candy at Rheb's. While there, we saw our former neighbor who works in the store. The store is located in our old neighborhood, and we used to walk 1/2 a city block to get there. The candy is really good, and there were lots of people buying their candy today. They are always busy this time of year.

The little candy factory is in the basement of a townhouse on Wilkens Avenue, and the candy is sold in a converted garage made into a store behind the candy factory. One year, they bought out free samples for people who were waiting in line. The samples were quite edible, just not "perfect" enough to make it into a Rheb's candy box.

The factory hires seasonal help to make all their Christmas candy, and the factory is kept busy almost day and night during the days before Christmas.

So, I told our former neighbor we were going down the street to visit her aunt. That small neighborhood houses a lot of their relatives, which is nice.

We dropped in on Sandy, and she was surprised. Of course, she said her house was a mess, but really it was like ours, so we felt at home. She is a bit older than we are, and has 2 grown kids in their 40's. Her mother lives with her, and her husband was off driving a truck. They have a farm in Delmar, Delaware with 50 acres, and an old farm house, where they hope to retire someday, but with the economy being the way it is, they just don't know how long it will be before John can quit his job, and move to Delaware.

They bought the farm back in the 80's, when the price was just $120K. Now it's worth much more than that, because there are people who want to buy a farm with horse stables in that area, and there aren't that many of them available.

John and Sandy are planning to build a new home, and tear down the old one.

Anyway, it was nice to see someone from the old Baltimore days. As neighbors, we shared so many memories.

Then we went to Wendy's to eat. There was a Santa Claus there, but we were the only customers in the place. The real action was across the highway at the new Super Walmart, with a lot of other eateries available. I wonder if this Wendy's can stay in business.

We went over to Walmart, and found it to be busy, but bigger than the either of the 2 Walmarts we have in Frederick. It was nicely laid out, to display all of their pots and pans, and kitchen stuff. I only wish I had a bit more browsing time.

We went from there to my parent's old house, where my brother and sister still live. It had changed, and fortunely, they had taken up the old smelly carpet, and gotten rid of the 2 cats who weren't using the litter box. They did clean up some stuff since I'd seen it last.

My brother was the only one home when we got there, and we had a nice talk. I didn't bring up the will yet, because I needed to feel him out, and find out how his health is, and what's going on between him and my sister. He opened up to us more than he ever had before, and I was grateful he was talkative. It is hard for him, because he suffered a stroke about 5 years ago, and has trouble enunciating his words.

Joe has been paying the utility bills, and keeping Wendy afloat, while she waited for a judgement on a SSI case. She is going to receive a settlement soon, which will help her get back on her feet. She has gained at least 50 pounds, and looks very tired. She is bi-polar, and on about 11 different medications.

Compared to their lives, my life looks like a piece of cake. It did me good to see them, and they were happy to see me. It might have been the box of candy I'd bought for each of them. :D

Just kidding. I know they really love me, but sometimes it's hard to stay connected to your siblings, when life takes you here and there. I found out through Joe that Wendy still has the same boyfriend, the boyfriend who stole money from my father when my father was dying. The boyfriend who is a drug addict.

Well, at least Joe doesn't do hard drugs anymore. I think he just smokes a little weed. He knows better, but only because of that stroke that almost took his life. He told me he does go to the doctors every 3 months, which is good. His right side is numb, so he can't drive, but I think he has a small motorized bike of some kind.

I had a nice talk with my niece Carrie who has taken up residence in the living room as her place to sleep, compute, and watch television. She is looking for her own place, and is working at the aforementioned Walmart.

I told her to look into the Lansdowne Apartments where I used to live. She said they had a 2 year waiting list. That was the same thing they had told me back in the 70's when I phoned to inquire about an apartment. Then, I had decided to go into the rental office there, and ask if I could put in my application.

Well, I was floored when the manager told me there was an apartment available within a month's time. I was happy, though, and the apartment was nice.

I told Carrie to just go visit the office. Maybe she could get an apartment sooner than she thinks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Church parties

We had an international dinner Friday night, and I bought Hungarian stuffed cabbage with barbecued ribs on top of it. It was delicious, if I say so myself. The barbecued pork ribs were gone before I knew it.

We had all kinds of Asian, European, Hispanic, African, and more I can't even remember, dishes. I sampled a lot of different things, so I basically had small bites of a large variety of foods. I loved it, especially when I scored a piece of chocolate cake that was really moist, the way a good chocolate cake should be.

The next day, I had leftover stuffed cabbage, and if there's anything better than stuffed cabbage, it's leftover stuffed cabbage. I remembered that it was that way when my mother made it when I was growing up. I did not exactly use her recipe, but threw one together with a general guideline of an online recipe. I used cooked brown rice, ground turkey, and ground pork in mine. I filled up a roasting pan with cabbage rolls filled with the meat mixture, added a can of sauerkraut, topped it with a can of tomato paste, topped that with the pork ribs, and cooked it for 2 hours in a 350 oven. It was nice and done when I took it out, and I put some homemade barbecue sauce on it for the last 15 minutes. The ribs looked a lot better wearing the sauce.

Then we had a little gathering after church today, and I brought some pigs in a blanket that were from the frozen section of the dollar store. I had cooked them on the indoor grill last night, and then heated them up to serve at this little after church party. They went quickly. Most of the finger food was sweets, at least when I got to the tables, but there were some grapes, and some cheese and crackers.

DH asked me if the "pig" in the blanket was sausage. I told him I thought they were hotdogs, but really did not know, because I had not made them from scratch. He was surprised to learn they were from the dollar store. I did bring 2 packages, so it only cost me $2 to look like a good cook. Well, at least to some people at the party, lol. I did not even try them. I'd had them before and really did not think they were all that great. People at our church parties will eat just about anything, though.

As I put the plate of food on the table, I turned, and an acquaintance of mine was spilling her plate, so I helped her get it upright. She coldly said, "Thank you.", and then turned to her son who is 15 years old, and weighs about 300 pounds. She was asking him what the food I had brought out was. He had already scarfed one down, and was grabbing some more. He told her they were sausages.

I mention this here, because this woman has been difficult for me to deal with for the past few years. I thought we were okay, but recently she's been complaining about something that happened 2 years ago, when I could no longer help her family in a driving situation.

Well, just to get it off my chest, I've done a lot of favors for this person, and she still did not appreciate it, and still doesn't understand why I had to stop doing this almost daily driving favor. I have sleep apnea, and it is severe enough that I've had to curtail my driving for my own personal needs, like going across town to shop. I stay closer to home now, and I only drive when I'm rested enough. I can't take a chance on getting into an accident.

I really can't help it, but the whole thing just makes me sad. I thought the problems we had were water under the bridge, but I think she takes joy in holding grudges against me. Well, I have my own life and all that. The weird thing is that my family has helped hers and taken them all out to dinner since that time. You would think I would have been forgiven, but apparently not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Christmas Photo

Well, here it is - my family in a Christmas photo. That's me on the left, DD in the middle holding Dusty Sneakers, and DH. This was taken after Church in our backyard, where we figured the light would be better.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blogger is driving me crazy!

That last post was supposed to be separated into paragraphs. Blogger kept taking out my blank lines, so it doesn't look as 'readable' as I would like it to be.

I Scored at Linens and Things

The only thing that bothers me about buying from them is they don't accept returns, but the price on a Super set = a comforter with bedskirt, 2 regular shams, 2 European shams, 2 decorator pillows was too low for me to resist, and I love the look of the set. I really want to dress up the bedroom. I also bought 2 tablecloths - again, too cheap to pass up. The whole order with shipping was $49 and some change. I can't beat that with a stick.

The tablecloths are laser cut with holly leafs around the edges, and I bought two different sizes because of the leaf in the table changing the table size. I only wish they had it in red, but alas, it was only in green. Buy one, get the second one for 50 percent off the already low price of $3.24. Wow!

Another bargain I got recently was a pair of prescription glasses for only $1 plus shipping. They look like reading glasses, but I bought them in my nearsighted single vision prescription. They are really cute, too! I only paid $5.95 total, and I got a hard case with them, too.
I bought another pair at an optical place, and using our insurance, I paid $118 for them. I think they are just okay, nothing too great. I was a little too quick in deciding on them. I thought they were cool because they came with magnetic polaroid shades that are easy to put on and take off.
When I came to pick them up, they told me to pick out a soft cloth case - which is totally worthless, IMHO. If I wanted a hard case, they would charge me an addition $7.50. No wonder their store has so few customers when I've been there.

I've since told DH to cancel my optical insurance because I have to go to an eye specialist anyway, because of my diabetes. They eye specialist gives me my prescription on a laminated card, and I can use it to order glasses online.
My next pair will be rimless with progressive lens and transition (the darkening out in the sun). These will cost me approximately $80 on the web. Also, I don't like that the insurance only covers new frames every 2 years. I want new ones every year, and I can easily afford them at the online prices, without paying for the stupid insurance.

I'm coming out of a depressed mood. I'm struggling to get things done, for health reasons. I'm suddenly realizing how high maintenance my life has become. I have to inject myself with insulin every day. I have to wear a sleep mask for my sleep apnea. I have to take prescription medications.

I think I'm feeling better now, though.

Oh, and I found 2 hard eyeglass cases in new condition for $1 each at Salvation Army last night, so I am all set.