Monday, September 30, 2013

Pray for My Mom

I went to visit my mother this weekend and will post about what I was going to do at her house later. I was working with her at her assisted living apartment when she overreacted to something going on.

I had called my brother this week asking if he knew of any Doctors in the area I could take her to as I knew she was tired and not feeling well. He didn't but gave me the name of his sister-in-law who was a Nurse Practitioner for a name in that area. 

I then tried to call her old Dr that she went to for years but hadn't been to recently and they never returned my call.

I felt really strongly that I needed to take her to the hospital. She REALLY didn't want to go and I had to quickly shower her and get her ready to go. 

Over the past few months, she has started to stutter with her jaw shaking almost like a Parkinson's shake. If she exhausts herself or is stressed, she begins stuttering even worse. She is so tired that she only gets up to go to the bathroom and to go down to the dining room for dinner. 

The few times she has attended something in the past few weeks, she can barely make it to the event dragging herself around.

I myself have been really tired and not feeling well with the anemia so I really understood where she was coming from being so tired. 

Once into the ER, we talked about all the symptoms she has had going on in the past few months and when the blood work came back, they told me her iron was so low they were going to give her two units of blood and admit her to the hospital.

They also found high white blood counts so they started running tests to find out why they are so high. They are hoping for an easy cause such as a urinary tract infection but after more extensive tests, they found some abnormal white cells so they have brought in an oncologist for that as well as some other specialists.

They are running sleep studies as she has some lung damage and are wondering if it is from apnea. They are doing upper and lower GI studies hoping to find the cause of the anemia in an ulcer bleed or something. 

My mother has gained a ton of weight this past year as well and only eats one big meal a day so they are running some thyroid tests as well. 

I know God had a hand in all of these things as I was supposed to go up last weekend but got sick. I postponed until this weekend and during that week, I got my thyroid tests back which show some problems. If I hadn't had this week to get those results, I wouldn't have been able to point them in that direction as well. They say that what I have is hereditary and my TSH was normal. They take that test first and only do the others if that is abnormal. 

I insisted on the other tests and with them, found the problem. Because of that, I was able to share with them about the problem and they can try to figure that out as well. I have gained significant weight in the past year and a half and kept trying to tell them something was "off" but the tests they ran weren't coming back with anything. 

I will post the entire thing another day explaining the chain of events they think are related to the problem but in the interim, please pray for my mother and for her Doctors that they may find the cause of her health issues quickly and that His will be done for my mother's health. I have felt like I needed to get her history things done and am trying to do that the best I can with all the other things I have going on in my life. Perhaps they can figure out what is going on with my mother and it will help me know what is going on with my life as well. I would sure love to feel better and have more energy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Homecoming Princess Four

Princess four went to Homecoming this week. I posted about the dress and how I got it clean. It was very wrinkled and I took it to the local bridal store and gave them $10 to let me use their steamer so I didn't have to iron it.

I have ironed them in the past but I wanted to get it done fast. In the end, it didn't make it any quicker. I got home, and cleaned off the camera cards and went to the game. 

The girls danced at half time and then I rushed Princess Four home to get ready for the date. She showered and then tried to straighten her hair while I applied make-up. The doorbell rang and it was her date. She didn't have her dress on or jewelry etc. 

We had him take a seat and got her dress on. She didn't have as much time to get ready as we would have liked but she looked beautiful anyway. 

I knew she wouldn't have much time to get ready so I laid out all the bling jewelry that I had on the counter so she could pick which she wanted as quickly as we needed. We met with her date and his mother had made a courage out of silk roses and a matching boutonniere. 
I had purchased a dozen pink roses and made a boutonniere for him as last time I purchased one, it was half dead and cost as much as a dozen roses. 

Princess didn't want to offend her date so she used his mother's boutonniere for the date. I was proud of her for that.

She went on her date and had a wonderful time. She came home and told me all about it and shared all the fun moments and memories. They all drove to a circle flagpole in town and shown their lights on the center and danced outside for awhile. She had all of her friends in her group and it was a great evening. 
The next day, they went on a full day date. She came home smiling from that date as well. It was a joyous "Homecoming!"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bad Year for my Trees - No Fruit and Lots of Bugs

This year is a first for me. My apple trees didn't produce. In all the years I have been here, (about 18) they have always produced. Even when the other trees in the yard didn't produce. Even when my neighbor sprayed his tree with total vegetation killer, the back tree still produced on the front half and got better then next year.
The apples at the top of the post are the apples off one tree, the tree in the bottom picture has only a few apples on it and we haven't picked any off it. I got 20 apples this year off one tree and they are buggy. 

My dehydrator broke a few weeks ago while I was drying the plums off our tree. It is the only tree that had fruit this year.  

It was probably a good thing I didn't get apples as I have no way to dehydrate them. The last dehydrator didn't even last two years.   

I am sad though that we don't have any apples to enjoy for the next few months. We usually have a ton and we keep them in the fridge and enjoy them for a long time.
I hope we get more next year.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Princess Five - B-E-A-Utiful Photo Shoot

Princess Four and Five had to get dressed up and curl their hair for their dance pictures. When Princess Five got home, she asked if we could do a photo shoot. We haven't taken any photos of her like that in a few years and she has definitely changed since then. She has grown a few feet as well. 

We went to the back yard and took several different shots and then she changed and we took a trip to a local park and play ground where we could get some different angles and colors. 

We enjoyed taking them and she had fun coming up with places she could take pictures. 

It is weird how in some pictures, she looks like her sisters, and in others she looks like me. Then, she just has a look of her own sometimes. 

There were a few fun shots of her clenching her eyes closed to make them water so she could make them sparkle, or sticking out her tongue etc.

 She took some with her glasses on but she doesn't like how they cover her eyes up. She would like to get contacts but they are a bit out of her reach as she is still growing and needs special contacts for one eye. They don't fit her growing eye well. 

She also got some flowers from Princess Three when she was in the play and the lilies have bloomed since then and she was excited to take a few pictures with the lily.

I am amazed at how brilliant and smart Princess Five is. She continues to shine in all areas of her life. 

I think I will list my favorite things about Princess Five here with her beautiful pictures.

1 - She uses her talents
singing, dancing,scholastics, etc

2 - She is kind to everyone. She makes friends with new kids almost daily. She brought a new girl into her group from another state and even today said she is making friends with a new girl who has some challenges. 

3 - She is a good friend. She won't gossip. Over the years, she has had friends try to bad mouth each other to her. She refuses to bad mouth her friends and if someone is bad mouthing, she will share the good things about that friend.  There have been two times when she has chosen to not even go to parties because two groups of her friends were feuding.  

4 - She is organized and has everything in it's place. Lately, she has toyed with having a messy room but she really does love order. She actually spent $20 of her own money to purchase a shoe rack to keep her shoes more organized. What kids does that? 

5 - She is loyal. She had some friends that were watching a show she enjoys. Some new episodes were released. She was ahead of her friends and they asked her to wait for them so they could all watch them together. She waited for them. 

One of the girls went ahead and watched all the episodes without telling them and then told her the surprise ending of the season. I know Princess wouldn't ever do that. She didn't even though she was really excited to see all the new episodes. She is now waiting for me to catch up to her so we can watch the rest together.

6 - She is humble. She takes good care of herself and is beautiful but she isn't prideful or boastful. She is content and happy with who she is and is beautiful inside and out. 

7 - She is understanding and forgiving. There are many times I have not been able to be there for everything having to take care of my mother and the other girls. She has always understood my need to spread myself where needed and forgiven me when I couldn't be there for her like I would like to be. She is also very forgiving of her father. Many would be bitter about life circumstances but she can love him for who he is and how he is. She has grace in her heart.

8 - She is fun and cheerful. Many teens are moody. There have been only a handful of times that I had to remind Princess that she was a teenager. She is by far my easiest going child. She takes everything that comes and just accepts it without stress. She may have wanted things differently but accepts what comes and chooses to be happy about it. She has a great sense of humor and adds to the group when we are all together. Even when she does something we laugh about, she laughs with us knowing we love her for her. Not all kids are like that, if you laugh about something they have said or done, they get moody and upset, she chooses to laugh with us. We love that about her.

9 - She is intuitive. She can see when others may need cheering or a kind word or deed. She is great to know when I am having a rough day with a headache or something and will always ask what she can get me or do for me. I get foot rubs and back scratches regularly.

10 - She is my baby! Even though she isn't a baby. She had a rough start and trying toddler-hood with my divorce when she was still in diapers. She was on heart monitors when she was a baby as she would stop breathing. I have always known that God really wanted her here after all the problems I had. I fell on my belly a few weeks before I was due with her and there were some "iffy" times before and during delivery. I know my Heavenly Father blessed me with an amazing gift at the end as she really was easy as a baby. 

I am grateful for Princess Five and everything she brings to my life. I enjoy being alone with her when Princess Four is off doing her thing. We enjoy visiting and joking and she is not only my princess but my friend. I LOVE you Princess Five!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Surge Protector - Does it Really Work

We had a few storms this past week. With those storms, we had LOTS of thunder and lightning. So much so that I woke several times when sleeping due to thunder. 

Princess Five was watching TV one day when all of the electronics went crazy. It was not raining at the time and there were no surges in the rest of the appliances. However, we had had some surges early that morning. 

I am not sure why the surge protector went when it did other than I think it had taken some large hits earlier in the day. 

It was fried. It wouldn't work at all. I tried to reset it and it was done. I was very grateful that it did its job by protecting all our electronics as we have a very expensive set of electronics due to my big win from Panasonic with $20,000 in electronics several years ago. So, I made sure I had a good surge protector on all the items. 

I chose a MONSTER protector as I liked that it had color coded all the different electronic devices with labels on each slot so you could know which item you were unplugging instead of having to pull on each cord to find the one you needed to unplug. 

I went to our local WalMart to replace the surge protector and found that they did have another Monster one that was similar to the one I had before. It was almost $40.

I had many things plugged into the protector as we have lots of electronics so they had several plugs with 6 and 8 slots. The only Monster one they had had 8 slots. 

This GE one, had ten slots and two usb charging slots with quick charge. It was $30. With ten dollars in difference and two more plug in slots along with the usb charge, I figured it was worth getting the cheaper one. I also liked the fact that the one I got had six side by side slots and four for the larger adapter size plugs. 

Sometimes, I get frustrated when I have larger plugs to plug in and it covers several slots of plug in's just for that one plug.  This happens on my computer components and phone chargers many times. 

I used this surge strip in the interim before getting to the store to purchase another plug. I had this one in Princess fours college bins. I used a pen to label which plug went into which slot so I could label them when I put them into the new surge protector. 

As you can see by this strip, the larger plugs with the square adapter plugs would cover many openings so I really like that they are figuring that out in the industry and compensating. 

If I hadn't been in a hurry, I would have labeled the plugs themselves rather than the strip. Since the new strip I bought didn't have the color code or labeling, I took masking tape and a Sharpie pen (THEY ARE MY FAVORITE) and wrote on each cord plug what it went to so that I can unplug whichever I need to unplug rather than guessing and pulling each time. 

 I liked that the Monster had a two foot longer cord to the wall and they both had the flat plug so it doesn't get shorted and bent being behind the entertainment center.  

It has the swivel safety plugs which really don't mean anything to me as a child really shouldn't have access to them anyway and if they did, they are usually behind the system so I figure they have other things to worry about. I guess it would keep dust from getting in the holes but really, it wasn't a big deal or selling point for me. 

It said it has a power filter but isn't that what it is built to do, keep the electricity even and not surging? So, I don't know that that is a selling point either. 

The USB ports really aren't in a convenient spot and I can't imagine someone plugging things in behind the tv/vcr/dvd players but it is still a nice feature and if all things were equal, it may tip me in favor of the GE verses the Monster or another brand. 

The surge protector has two lights. The Monster did as well. It has one showing power and one showing surge protection. One is blue and one is green. There is an on off switch just like any other protector and they are almost always on the end or side of the strips. 

Once I had all the plugs plugged in and the protector on, I read some of the fine print on the warranty. Really, there isn't much of any way anything in your home will be protected or paid for if the surge protector doesn't work. 

I have this post and all the plugs shown as plugged in and if my house has a surge and things blow, even with this, I doubt I would get any item replaced or fixed. The fine print has such specific demands that have to be met that it would be a wonder if they actually did what they say they will do in providing up to "blank" amount in replacement or fixing costs on items that were plugged into their surge protector. 

Funny as well, is that if you have something plugged into the surge protector and that item blows up, if you have anything plugged into that item, it isn't covered under the warranty! So, if their product is faulty and your item blows up, they are sorry for you that you plugged that other item into your blown up item but they aren't going to help you with that because they are only covering the one item plugged into their protector. 

Not sure how that seems logical but it is in the warranty so I guess it has happened that their item was faulty and someone got messed over by plugging the other electronics into that item instead of the surge protector. 

I wonder if you plugged a surge protector into a surge protector and then plugged your electronics into the second protector if the first or the second company would be responsible for the damage?

The last one just covers their backside for all the products as it states that "the surge protection capacity must not have been exceeded!"  

Like that isn't a catch all for them? How could you prove that the capacity hadn't been exceeded if the items all blew up, wouldn't the company just assume that the capacity had been exceeded? 

I love that they do have an exclusion also if the items are directly hit by lightning. Like anything would be covered if that happened? I am fairly sure that even home owners doesn't cover a direct lightning hit on the house. I had a girlfriend that had her power box outside her house hit and the current blew the electronics on a path throughout the house and ended up blowing sprinklers out in the front and side yards where the current ended and needed to continue on. Nope, it wasn't covered. It was a cool story even though it cost them quite a few dollars in the end. 

Just in case of some weird circumstances, I did photo copy the receipt as you always need that for a warranty. I attached it to the warranty information and flattened the box and put it all in my "warranty" file in the file cabinet. That file has come in handy many times. I always just photo copy the receipts so I can know for sure when I purchased the item. 

The other thing I do on electronics such as hedge trimmers etc, is I write directly on the item the purchase date and the length of the warranty with a Sharpie. That way if the item dies before the warranty period ends, I can remember and use the warranty on the item. This came about because I had to dig many times to see if something was covered and dig out receipts to make sure.  This way, I know within seconds if it is still under warranty. 

Anyway, I thought I would post this as the Surge protector did its job. When reading the new information, it stated that, "All surge protectors have a shelf life even without a large surge as the components die off" so my guess is, if it doesn't have the two lights, change them out after a few years anyway just to make sure or use them for extended outlets and put a new one in the place where you need surge protection. 

I wish I could have a surge protector on my body. Keep the energy even and flowing... Some days, I think I've blown my energy source! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Princess Threes Amazing Day Dinner Party

Princess three had a VERY busy week. She called me last week upset that she was going to have to speak in her new church and do a dinner for the families afterwards. 

She offered to help with the meal and six people signed up. Two showed up for the meeting and she ended up being the chair. The church leaders and their wives helped TONS but let her make the choice of the meal and asked her how she wanted it to be set up and work. 

She asked us to go up early and help cut up fruit etc. We got up and were headed out when she called saying her roommate was having her birthday and her family couldn't come for "family day" so she asked if I would take some decorations, candles, balloons, hats and streamers. 

I also took some roses for Princess Three as I was proud of her for speaking and doing the dinner and I grabbed a "Happy Birthday" sticker sign for the flowers so she could share them with her roommate. 

She was more nervous about speaking than she was the meal. I asked her how that could be as she spoke at Graduation in front of a thousand people, sang the National Anthem in front of thousands over the years and spoke at her seminary graduation as well in front of hundreds of peers and their families.... 

She said those were only a few minutes and she didn't think she would be able to fill up 15 minutes. I asked what her topic was to be and it was on "Service." I actually laughed when she said that. Here she has gone on a three service mission to Peru and Africa. We got to the local nursing home singing all the time and she had to do 100 service hours to be able to go on her service mission to Africa.... Along with being Student Body President.. I don't know anyone her age that would be more qualified to speak on that subject and could understand why she was asked to speak on that subject.

We stayed after the meeting for the dinner and stayed until everything was cleaned up. She had a car full of food to distribute among the apartments of students to help use the left over food as well. 

Her day of service didn't end until late. We finally left about 6:30 and got 20 minute in of our 1 hour trip when my sister asked us to go back and pick up a birthday gift for her son that was in the town where the college was. I guess she purchased a gaming system for him used. So, we turned around and by the time we got the system, it added an hour to our trip.

Princess four was 2 minutes late for her choir practice and we were VERY happy to be home just after 8 p.m. from our long day of helping and driving. 

I wouldn't have missed it for the world however as Princess did a wonderful job with the meal and with the talk. These pictures were her checking the food tables and then seeing me take pictures and her objecting to me taking pictures of her doing an amazing job. I love the one of her hand. 

She did let me get one with Princess number four but I realized I didn't get one with her and Princess number five as we were all working hard other than the few minutes they were serving themselves food. There were about 150 people or maybe just a bit more that had dinner. It was shredded pork barbecue sandwiches, green salad, pasta salad, three types of grapes, chips and brownies of several varieties. The was plenty of food but not a huge amount left over and everyone went away full. 

It was a good day and I will add links to all the things I mentioned in here. She mentioned our service mission to Peru, her service mission to Africa (different from above post about Africa)  and how I did pedicures in Peru. So, I will include links to all those posts.

I am truly blessed with amazing daughters. Who could ask for more.....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Washing Stains Out of Prom or Evening Gowns

Over the years, I have had many opporotunities to wear formal gowns. I have also had them get stains on them. 

At first, when I would get a stain on one, I would take it to the dry cleaner and almost without fail, they couldn't get the stain out and the garment was ruined. It may have been a bit lighter but it never was gone. 

I would have to pay a large fee for me to "try" to get the item clean only to have it be stained still and to be ruined. 

I have had the same problem with carpet cleaning in the past. I would pay lots of money and have them come only to have the same stains there after they left. They would tell me they were permanent and they couldn't get them out. 

I KNEW I could get them out with some scrubbing as I have gotten grass, blueberry juice, red paint, red popsicle, rust and mud out of my carpet. For some reason, the carpet men can't see to do the same. 

After having several dresses ruined and having to "pay" someone to tell me they couldn't get the stain out, I decided to try cleaning them myself. I use Zout for almost everything. It is what got most of the stains out from my carpet so I figured I would try it on my evening wear. 

I squirt a little on my fingers and then use my fingers to scrub the spot on the garment. I usually use cold water just to not "set" the stain. I scrub the fabric together some and use my fingernail on stubborn stains. 

It usually works and I rinse the garment carefully and then hang it to dry. With satin and silk, you have to wash the entire section or the whole garment so you don't get water lines when it dries. Also, I like to get it to dry quickly and use a fan to dry it sometimes. 

This beautiful dress was at a second hand store. Someone had spilled coke or something on one half and cream from an eclair on the other side. The darker stain almost looked like furniture polish. I figured if we couldn't get the stain off, we could cut up the dress and make it a shorter dress. 

The dress was $8 due to the stains. I took it home, washed it with the zout and within an hour, the entire dress was clean with no trace of the stains. I hung it on a plastic hanger and put it in front of our fan to dry quickly. 

You can see that in the above picture, it is still wet. It took about an hour and a half to dry. There were no water marks and no trace of the stains of any kind. If you don't rinse them well, sometimes you can get a stain from the soap you use to clean the item. 

Princess was very excited that the stains came out because she likes the dress long and I really didn't want to try and shorten the dress as I love the flowers all the way down the front. 

I will show you how I added shoulders and sleeves later and still want to post about the blinds but I'm still not feeling my best and trying to keep up with everything going on this week.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Number 19 Princess Three

I was going to finish blogging about my blinds today but I am, once again, feeling under as my illness has relapsed and a storm migraine has pulled me down.

If I feel a headache coming on at night, I can take something and try to ward it off but when it hits in the night and I wake up in full storm headache, it is like running after a high speed train all day. 

I didn't get much done today but will hopefully get back on track. I was visiting Princess Three last week and celebrated her nineteenth birthday. We had gotten together when we moved her in and celebrated some but there were a few things she needed for her apartment or things she asked for which I took to her when visiting on her birthday.

I didn't think she should go without a visit for the big day so I took her out for lunch to a Mexican place and
enjoyed hearing about he latest dates and work etc. I find that the weekly visits I used to be good at were really helpful at keeping connected with her. She is probably my least talkative princess when it comes to phones but when I get her one on one, she opens up.

I think part of that comes from being after Princess Two (see a post about that here and here)

Anyway, I enjoyed my day with her and she was thrilled with the Star Wars sticker book that Prince and Princess number one sent. I brought a cake for her to share with her roommates later that evening but I had to light the candles and sing to her so she could have that on her big day. 

She is doing great at college and I am so proud of her. I am excited to go for parents weekend coming up and she will be speaking so that will be fun. She asked for some help with the refreshments as well so I will be going early for that. 

I love that we live an hour away so we can enjoy seeing her more often. It is cute to see the girls when they get together. What a blessing to have all girls!