Thursday, June 26, 2008

Clean Green Alternatives

There are folks out there who may think it is difficult to go green, but I am here to tell you it is not. It is cheaper, better for your family and the environment, and it smells a whole lot better than the crap they sell at the store. I have not bought a floor cleaner in well over a year. the great thing to my floor cleaner, is that I can alter the scent to my mood or the season.

In the holiday season I use an essential oil with the scent of cinnamon or peppermint, or in the spring I use gardenia or lavender. So you see the versatility to this method of cleaning. I much prefer jasmine over the lovely smell of bleach, and clean smelling bleach....pffft, don't even get me started.

So here are a few alternatives that should hopefully get you started and on the right track to being greener in your home.

Window Cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with club soda. Spray the windows and wipe clean with a rag.
Floor Cleaner: Combine 2 cups of white vinegar with 6 cups of warm water. Clean the floors with a towel or rag.
General Household Cleaner: Clean counters and walls with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water. Scent your mixture with a couple of drops of essential oil of your choosing to mask the smell of the vinegar...or not. Tea tree oil is a great disinfectant.
Deodorizer: Sprinkle non-scented or scented baking soda on the bottom of garbage cans to absorb odors and spills. Keeps the container smelling good until the bag is changed.
Grease Cutter: I also use straight baking soda with a bit of water to make a paste to wipe away grease build up around the kitchen.

I have come to embrace cleaner, greener alternatives and since coming into the blogging world, have stumbled onto many a women who have more to offer about being green than I do. I will pull together more alternatives and add them as they pile up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Knife Part 2

Well I have made my appointment for surgery. I will go under the knife on July 15. Am I scared? You darn tootin' right I am. This man will be cutting into my back, my spine. How would you feel if someone had to cut into your back.

For those of you who do not know me, I am hunched over like an 80 year old woman. And the funny thing is, is that I had never seen myself. Meaning, I had no idea what I looked like in the hunched over position. Oh my stars. I look pitiful. No, I really mean...I-Look-Pitiful!

I spend thee entire day in Miami. I started with an MRI, then walked(not literally) around to the Sylvester Center for the rest of my day and the rest of my tests. Which included but were not limited to a CT, x-ray and a bone density scan. I cried through nearly thee entire MRI. I could not get comfortable and it was something I had to do. Same thing with the CT. It was only a 5 minute test, but I cried through it all. Suffice it to say I was relieved when the x-ray tech told me that I would be standing. that is not to say those tests were pain free, but they were a whole lot better than anything that had me on a matter how they had my legs positioned.

The doctor saw me directly after lunch and he was a very straightforward kind of man. He told me what was wrong with me, and told me what had to be done. What was I going to say, "No, I want to be in pain the rest of my life?" I don't think so. So surgery it is.

My sister had had back surgery and hers seems to be very similar to mine, but I know that every surgery and everyone is different. I may sail through my recovery and then again, I may not. I won't know til I get there. I will be in the hospital for approximately 4-6 days, but hanging to the latter. then I will stay in Miami until they remove my drains and I see the doctor for my first post-op visit. And then he has to release me for a 2 hour drive home. Boy, I am really looking forward to that ride home...NOT!

I have not gotten the reports yet, and the lady who hands them out is not back from vacation until 6-25...that is tomorrow. Once I have the report I will let you guys know exactly what is wrong with my back.. But I can tell you this is messed up.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garden Envy

Well, I am home from my moms for a visit. I hitched a ride with my sister and her husband drove me and my daughter back home. So all I had to do was show up. And with my impending surgery in the foreseeable future, I needed...wanted to go. I know I would be as useless as a bump on a log(for I usually clean for my mother while there), I went all the same. And sure as all get out, all I did was sit and talk/rest. The help I did give out, was from the dining room table. I chopped and stirred what I could from a sitting position. Oh, I did fold laundry, so I did not feel totally like a waste.

Now to the reason of this post. My brother moved back into my parents home a few months back. It is good for all parties involved. My brother decided to start a garden. And I do not mean a small patch of land in a yard. You need to know that my parents live on nearly six acres of land at Florida/Georgia state line. Well this garden is the garden of all gardens. I am so a good way.

My parents are not getting younger and their health is not the best. My mom cannot help at all and my dad can, but only when the sun is going down. But in spite of those obstacles, my brother has pulled off a garden to be proud of.

They have planted eggplant.

Tomatoes. Red, yellow, grape and cherry.

Cucumbers. Pickling and regular.


Corn. Which my dad thinks it small, but it has time.

This was such a garden. And I was so mad that I could not get out there and help him weed and pick veggies. Just taking these pictures left me in so much pain I could barely stand when I got back in the house. My brother plans on expanding the garden next year, but for being his first time out...he did a slam up great job. I tip my hat in awe!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bring on the Knife

Well the time has come to go under the knife. To find out how I got to my post stuck-leg-itis. I fell in 2006 and dislocated my knee, and in doing so I herniated three discs in my back. That has compounded over the years and has gotten to the point where it is compromising my daily going-ons in life.

I have an appointment with a top notch neurosurgeon down in Miami on Monday the 23rd. I have an MRI, CT, X-ray and then a doctors appointment...all in the same day. Needless to say I will physically, but more mentally exhausted than anything. I will know then, after seeing the doctor, when my surgery will be happening.

I will be in the hospital, most likely, for approximately 4-6 days, then home to re-cooperate for 4-8 weeks, depending on how I heal. I have had a previous elective surgery, and I healed pretty darned good, but one never knows. I am darned tootin' healthy...go ahead ask Permission blogger. But this has knocked me down to my knees. I need some releif. No one should be going through the pain I am going through.

When I was young, I used to here older people say, "You learn to live with the pain." I now know what they mean.

So keep me in your thoughts, and send any good vibes my way, so I can have a speedy recovery. As soon as I know something, you folks will know something.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

He Did It

For those who do not know me, or just know me from my entrance to the blogging world, I have a 19 year old son who is autistic. We are blessed in the fact that he is high functioning. Most adults have no clue he is autistic, but put him with his peers and he does not mesh well. He has not quite mastered the social graces we all take for granted and learn as we grow. There are things he does not get or gets them much much later than the average child. My husband and I worry just how far his ability to learn will go. For those who have special know where I am coming from. Well today my son hit another landmark in the walk through life.

My son cut the grass all by himself this morning. Now he has been actually cutting the grass, but my husband was always close by in case he needed any assistance. His biggest fear was that he would not be able to physically start the mower itself. Well low and behold he managed to start the mower and cut thee entire front yard all by himself. I called my husband at work and told him the news and after hanging up with him I broke down sobbing. He had done it, and with no help from either his father or myself. He had made another step toward being independent. I was elated. We have worried for years if he would ever be able to to do things to survive in the real world. Today was a glimpse that he may actually be able to do things for himself, but just in his own time frame...not mine, and not anyone elses. His own time. This was the boy that learned to tie his shoe at 16 and got the concept of a joke at the age of 8. So you can see how we thought there might be things he would never understand or get. But he is proving us wrong...and I am glad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Things We Leave Behind

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I would write about or what kind of things I would be reading about. And as I read other blogs, I have thoughts that get sparked and memories that flood into my little brain. (No comments Towaway) Another blogger wrote about the little things, and how her father loved one thing and her son could have cared less about it. A similar thing happened to me and now I wish I had not been so quick to make the decision I did back then.

My grandmother had given me (for my bridal shower) a three ring binder and she had filled it with recipes, and tidbits of home remedies and snippets about how to keep a good home and the such. I loved it and used it and added to it, and then I got older and did not think I needed those things. I thought I was wiser and could find my own recipes and snippets in my own magazines about how to keep a house or that I really didn't need anyone telling me how to keep house. I was wrong.

My grandmother passed away in April of 1995 and I miss her to this day. She was a guiding force in my life. She was powerful and not bossy. People loved and respected her. She commanded and demanded respect...and she got it.

I was sitting at the breakfast table asking myself why had I gotten rid of those recipes she had given me, and for the life of me, I can't think of a blessed thing. I just got rid of them. Big mistake. That was something she had given me, from her, and I threw it away, as if it meant nothing to me. I am older now and realize that is the little things.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Older

Well today my son enters his last year of teen-age-hood. And will be entering...and I quote, "My life of doom." He equates getting older with life's doldrums of bill paying, and financial burden, and such forth. He is right to a point, but he is only going on what he sees and hears at this home. I feel bad, only because I have let myself get pulled down into the negative thoughts of oh woe is me syndrome. I am a very upbeat person, but lately I have not been, but by listening to my sons words, I hope that I can turn my thought process around.

I hope he enters adulthood with an optimistic outlook on life and is not jaded by what he has heard from his parents. Do I want to shelter him? No. But I don't want him to be a wet blanket about everything in life. No one likes to listen to someone moan and groan about everything.

So here's to you Robert and hope you look at the world with a set of fresh and wondrous eyes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ropa Solar

Yep, that is about the extent of my Spanish. the translation is solar clothes. Yep, my father-in-law was wonderful enough to but us a clothesline. And the first thing out of my mother-in-laws mouth was, "Where are you putting it?" She asked my husband. He knows her, so his snappy answer was, "We put it in our living room, you want to come and see it?"

She was worries if the neighbors would see it! Helloooooo, are those neighbors going to pay my electric bill? I think not. Now, you have to remember, I H-A-T-E-D hanging up clothes when I was a kid, and for many reasons. 1) We were a family of six. 2) My mother never enforced that we could wear clothes more than once (explain why you need to throw a set of clothes in the dirty basket when all you did was sit and play video games). 3) She never helped us, we were on our own. 4)We had to hang clothes in the heat of the day and in Florida. Nothing worse than having sweat roll down into places it should not be. Need I say more?

I have hung out two loads of clothes out today with my daughter. Now I don't have enough clothespins yet, so I am taking coat hangers and using them to hang up the shirts. I still hang them on the clothesline, but just on coathangers. That frees up more of my pins until I purchase more. My daughter caught on pretty darned quickly on how to hand clothes and why they are hung in certain ways. The more air that can flow through the clothes...the better.

She just ran out and pulled the damp clothes off the line, because there is a huge thunderstorm coming our way, and if you have any experience with clothes on the line and rain, you will know they get very stiff. So we did not get to have them dry 100% on the line, so we threw them in the dryer for a few minutes. We are still saving bundles on our bill and doing great things for Mother Earth.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Red: Hey fellow bloggers, my title is catchier than your guys...Nani Nani Boo Boo.

Fellow Bloggers: *Grumbles amongst themselves* Yeah she is can't trump Kermit...she's got us.

I love the Muppets and moreso Kermit. He was the one who got it all started. Kudos to Jim Henson. But the only connection is the fact that he is green and I want to be green, and I am not talking about my skin or my hair color (that is already out there on the color wheel), I am talking about doing anything and everything possible to help our planet, and trust me, she needs help.
I have been reading other bloggers and what they are doing to help Mother Earth and then compare it to what I do and I am not doing as bad as I thought. the one thing I am slacking on is my composting, which my daughter and I are working on this week. We saw a show on Planet Green and there was a couple in an apartment and they were able to compost in a big plastic bin, and we have just had come available here at the house. So our new journey begins.
I have recently started reading a new blog and she described something I have not experienced. She said that when she takes her reusable/canvas grocery bags...she gets looks. I get people saying that they think it is cool, and they still grab the plastic bags...old habits I guess, but they applaud my efforts. And one of the baggers that I know from our local grocery store. He was joking of course when he told me this, but he said he asks people if they would like to kill a tree or choke a fish. And if you think about is true. I know, I am standing on a soapbox, but as I grow older, I feel more passionate about the world around me and how I will leave it to my children and my children's children.
If you have never seen the book(s) Tightwad Gazette, may I make a suggestion and check it out at your local library and if you find it at a garage sale or flea market...snatch it up, you will never regret it. It is not so much a green book, but in saving money, you are being green. My friend has this book and I read it for a while but trust me, it is well worth the buy. The numbers are outdated, but the premise is sound. Better in my pocket then theirs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Job Market

Well, my husband finally got it. He had been on me, in a manner of speaking, to get a job. I told him that I had been calling every job that I could apply for. One job had over 200 applications. Another job I applied for, had 5-6 people who up for the same job I was there for, in a ten minute period. Times are tough.

Last night for dinner were sitting at the dinner table, just going over stuff and then my husband told us a story about a co-worker. Her daughter and son-in-law have moved in with her. both kids have college degrees, and yet they are jobless. Her son-in-law went down to a Career Stop style place to see if he and his wife could find jobs. The lady who was assisting them told him that places like drug stores, grocery stores, and other menial places were getting thousands of applicants A Day! Did you read what I typed? Thousands a day. When he finished telling that story, I think he finally got it that I was not joking in the fact that there are no jobs out there to be had.

I am still looking for part time, but most jobs want full time and some sort of degree or expierence. What about us blue collar folks who just want to tread water in the world of bill paying? Well, I just keep scouring the want ads and hope for the best.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Did It

Yep, I have started conserving energy. I am definitely on the side of doing what is right for our planet. I know I know, I am beginning to sound like my tree hugging daughter. that is a good thing to me. And this may sound old, but when your grandchildren come to you and say, "Grandma(pa), what did you do to help save our planet?" What are you going to be able to tell them.

I use canvas bags, and not even take bags when I run into the Quickie Store. Come on, do you really need a bag for that gallon of milk when you are 1 block away from home. Come on! We do not buy excessively packaged products. Bulk is best of you can find it. We have just about lost processed foods.

But today I tried something different. I didn't know if I could do it, but I have been reading other blogs, and if they can do it, then I surely can. So, I had three loads of laundry to do today. So I took the first load and when it stopped I took all hangables and put them on coat hangers and hung them around our patio, and laundry room. When the second load of laundry was done, I did the same and added what was left over to the first load I had not dried as of yet. VIOLA! I saved one load in the dryer. I was so proud of myself. And yes, it is the little things that make the difference.

We will be looking into a clothesline in the next few weeks, but with 8 bills due all in the first week of the month, the clothesline may need to wait. My jury rigging will suffice until then.

I am also washing dishes differently. I used to let the water run a bit more freely. So now I fill one side of the sink with a bit of hot water and only rinse when there are enough dishes to make it worth while. I feel rejuvenated. Does that make me a cheap wisecracks from 'ANY' peanut gallery.

Are We Spoiled?

Nine Days! That is how long we went without air-conditioning. That may not seem so bad to most, but then many of you may not live in Southern Florida. Can anyone say humidity?!

And luckily for us, there was a late cool...not cold front that came through the night our AC went out. I drank lots of water, and dressed lightly. Usually the heat does not bother me, for I was born and raised in Florida, save a few years in Michigan. But in the summer of 2004, my MS (multiple sclerosis) got the better of me. People had always asked me if the heat bothered me, and it did not, until that summer. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Granted, direct sunlight is worse, but even being shaded will roll me under.

Also, in 2004, we had two hurricanes within a months time. We then purchased a generator and a window unit air conditioner. That was our saving grace these past few days. My husband put in one of the windows in the TV room and we sat in there. We would turn it on in the late morning, early afternoon and turn it off when we went to bed.

Then I think back on when I was a Florida, we lived without AC, and we seemed to have survived just fine. Is it uncomfortable? Heck yeah. But I am hearing more and more of people who are turning off their air conditioners because they are to expensive to run. And truth be told, I can see their reasoning.

We have friends who do not run their AC, and we do not visit them. I know that is not a viable reason to not visit someone. Goes to show you...we are spoiled, when AC runs over visiting friends.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tis the Season

June 1~First Day of Hurricane Season

Well there is no chubby guy with a red suit, if that is what you are thinking. No, this is Florida. We are welcoming (and trust me, not with open arms) the beginning of Hurricane Season. Now, if you are a native Floridian, or have lived her for a minimum for about five years, you know the routine by now.

*First aid kit and essential medications.
*Canned food and can opener.
*At least three gallons of water per person.
*Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
*Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
*Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
*Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

And truth be told, I do pretty darned good, except for the water part. I lack there 100% .We always have batteries, canned food, we just throw an extra few cans as we shop, and we have also learned to purchase items we will eat so we don't have to go back to the grocery store with bag fulls of items we did not use and never intended to use. Can opener, this one I had in the bag along time ago. I gave up my electric can opener so long ago that I do not even remember having one.

We did take photos of our prized and large household items a few years back, for insurance purposes. We have important papers in a plastic Ziploc bag to keep them protected. You would think that living in Florida for nearly my entire lifer, we would have it down pat...yep, we pretty much do. But beware, all is not what it seems. In 2004 we had 2 Hurricanes, and only one month apart. But those were not the storms that did the damage to our home. Oh no, it was a tropical storm...I kid you not. It was Hurricane Ivan that had been downgraded to a TS and had been flip flopping out in the Atlantic and was making its way back for landfall and it sat over our part of the state for 2 days and dumped massive amounts of rain, and 'that' was when we got the damage. So again do not underestimate the power of these storms, no matter the severity.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


That is the name my girlfriend gave the name of what happened to me. In March 2006 I went with a friend of mine to her someone talk about homeschooling high-shoolers. We had another homeschooling mother take care of our children, they were in good hands.

We listened to the lecture, then made our way to Whole Foods and did some shopping. On the way home, called the mother who had the girls (my son, she had already taken to work) and said we were on our way. She had one final errand to run and then she would bring the girls to my home.

My friend came into the house to see the new furniture we had purchased for my daughter, and same said friend had painted my daughters room so she wanted to see the furniture with the new paint. While she was scoping out the room, there was a knock on the door. One of the neighborhood children had come to see if my daughter wanted to come out and play. I told him that she was not home and to try back in about 30 minutes. He said, "Fine." I took the door handle to close the door and started to turn and come into the house, when all of a sudden, I heard a crack. Yep, just like in the movies. I knew it was my knee, and the pain was excruciating. I would rather have given birth again...naturally.

I thought I had broken my knee. I screamed and just dropped to the floor. My girlfriend heard me, and ran to my side. But her first thought was that I was goofing around. Until I screamed, "Don't Touch Me!" then she knew I was not fooling around at all. Luckily I had on gaucho pants (Wide legged) so she said that maybe she could take me to the hospital. She got to my side, and lifted my pants leg. She knew right then that there was no way that she could pick me up. Because the bottom part of my leg was going the opposite direction of my body. We were in trouble.

In the middle of my screaming, and dog running out the front door, she asked me what should she do. I collected my thoughts long enough to tell her to call 911. She picked up a piece of junk mail to give the correct address and she knew my age, so we were good to go. She hung up with them and asked who was next. I told her to call my husband. She did and his voice mail picked up. I asked her what time it was and I knew he was on his way to massage school. She then called the school and gave them the information.

She then called back the mother who had our daughters and asked to keep them until she could get them picked up. No problem. Paramedics got there and had to stabilize my leg. No fun trust me. But due to the fact that one of the paramedics looked like Vin Diesel did not bother me at all. And I think it might have even lessened the pain a bit. The morphine was starting to kick in. The ride to the hospital was nearly bump free. they decided to go slow, and due to the fact that I was not a real emergency, I felt no need to run every red light. The paramedic asked basic questions on the way to the hospital. He was putting into some sort of handheld implement. When we crossed over the door to the ER , he plopped that thing into some contraption and by the time we got to my bed, all that info was on some screen.

My husband and friend were there. I was now feelin' no pain. I was then told that I had dislocated my knee, it had not been broken. Then Doc then told me that he was going to give me some medicine that would make me forget what was going on. all I wanted to know was that, was I going to feel any pain when he set my knee. He kept telling me that I would not remember. I brushed him off and asked the nice little nurse that had been by my side. She told me that the medicine would block the pain that the receptors usually sent from the brain to injured part. Thank you, have a nice day. Give me the meds and let's get this over with.

Meds were given and out I went. About 1 hour later, I woke up. Little nurse came back by an I asked her if I had said anything that could get me in trouble. She told me that once I was under and he began to set the leg I started screaming, "I Hate You...I Hate You!" And then once the knee was set I then began uttering, "I love you...I love you!" Got to love medication