Monthly Archives: March 2016
The deck is coming together nicely so my husband and I are trying to decide on seating. The chairs that we had were rather banged up from the move several years ago and the scratches in the metal began to rust with the moist, salty air. The contractor actually offered to take them to refinish. So now, we have to find something to sit on. We do have a pub height table and two chairs that fold up. We usually use it when we want to have lunch outside. But I want something that is comfortable and will make me want to stay outside and enjoy things.
In the past, I have never really spent much time on the deck. We have neighbors on one side of us and whenever they are outside, I feel like they are watching us, which makes me uncomfortable. Rationally, I know they could care less what we are doing, but if I want to sit on the deck with a cup of coffee in my pajamas on a lazy weekend morning, I shouldn’t have to worry about the neighbors. When we decided to redo the deck, the one thing that I wanted was some sort of privacy wall to block the view of the neighbors. Our deck has two sections and the top section will have the wall while the bottom section will have the railings.
I have always wanted a large porch with rocking chairs on it. Growing up, our front porch had a swing and two glider chairs. One of my favorite memories is sitting on the porch with my dad, watching the world go by and just talking. I picture myself rocking the day away with a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea. Unfortunately, my front porch is actually more of a stoop, so no room for a rocking chair there, but I will soon have a deck and it needs chairs. I started my search for outdoor rocking chairs and found everything from plain, plastic looking ones to those that are more ornate and much more expensive. One of the home improvement stores in the county had a wicker rocker so we stopped in to look at it. Or should I say looked up at it. The chair was on display 18 feet up. We wanted to sit in it and test it out so we asked if it could be taken down. After getting a huge ladder contraption, the clerk climbed up and discovered that the chair was locked down with something like a bike lock and no one knew who had the key. We left without getting to test out the rocker.
My husband wasn’t sold on the rocking chair idea. So then I started thinking about getting a regular chair and a rocking chair. Nope. What about getting those chairs that stack one on top of the other and come in all sorts of colors? Nope. What about a chaise lounge chair? Nope. We looked at many different chairs and nothing was what we wanted. Then my husband remembered a place outside of town that had Adirondack chairs, which I don’t want, but he thought they might have other types as well. And he was right. They had gliders!!! Which are a cross between a chair and a rocker. It also helped that when he sat down, the glider was roomy and comfortable. They are a little pricey, but we won’t have to replace them every two years, so that is a good thing. Now if we can only decide on the color.
As we slowly head into spring, the list of chores that need to get done gets longer and longer. The first thing on the list is a new deck. Our current deck was built by the previous owners, and while it is bigger than most, he cut costs by not using treated lumber, so it is showing its age and needs to be replaced. My husband and I discussed what we would like the deck to look like and whether we should use wood or composite. We don’t want a fancy deck or one that is so nice to look at your afraid to use it. We want one with clean lines and to move the stairs from the side to the middle. I also want a privacy wall on one section that faces the neighbor’s house. We would prefer composite decking mainly because they come in many colors to choose from and we don’t have to worry about having to stain it every few years. I have stained decks and fences before and I will pay not to have to do that again.
When it came to getting estimates, it was apparent that the contractors who actually called us back were trying to lead us to the high-end of composites. They soon realized that we weren’t stupid or uneducated about decking and finally got down to putting together an estimate based upon what we want. One person didn’t even come out while we were at home. He wanted us to tape our design ideas to the patio door and he called in the estimate which was nearly double the others. Seeing as he didn’t even remove the paper from the door to read the back, we eliminated him pretty quickly. Two others were near each other in price, but then when we said no, they sent another quote, lower than the first. My question was, why didn’t we get your lowest price to start with? I don’t like playing those games.
The person that we ended up going with was a small contractor that we have used before so we knew the quality of his work. He came in under his estimate on the last job and our price reflected that. For this job he gave us his lowest price from the start. He was open about his pricing and informed us that while he has jobs for April and May, he could use work now. He explained that while he could give me the black spindles that I asked for, he thought the bronze would go better with the almond railings and brought me samples to look at. And he was right. So with the weather cooperating somewhat, he began work last Monday and the deck is coming together nicely. We are without stairs right now, which means the pug needs to be on a leash in the front yard, but that will only be for another day or two and then he can explore his backyard again. Now if we can only decide on furniture.
I understand the concept of Daylight Savings time. I do. Farmers needed the extra daylight to take care of their crops and needed all the daylight they could get. But that was decades ago. Today’s farm equipment has huge lights and they can work long after the sun sets if necessary. What I don’t understand is why the U.S decided to move Daylight Savings time around. Now we turn back the clocks later in the fall and spring forward much earlier, this year before spring even starts.
The extra sunlight is great, but it sure does make it hard to sleep. Of course, that’s assuming that you were able to adjust your sleep pattern after the last change of the clocks. And you end up changing a lot more than your sleep pattern. I usually get up for work at 4:30 am. After the time change, that would be 3:30 am, so I am definitely be dragging in the morning. It will take lots of coffee. It also means that I will be getting the dog up an hour earlier than normal, so he won’t be ready to do all of his business before I leave for work as I am the last to leave. And pugs can definitely be cranky when they want to. Coming home, we will be eating at the same time, which is actually an hour earlier. If you are someone who does not like eating late because you get up early, you will understand that this can be hard to adjust to.
I am convinced that the change to daylight savings time is just a ploy by the energy companies to make more money. The longer the daylight, the hotter the day gets, which leads to higher electric bills because we want to stay cool. That means higher profit for the companies and less money in our pockets. I feel sorry for the thirteen states that are caught between two time zones, like Indiana and Kansas. While my state looks strange on a map, at least we are all in the same time zone. Hawaii doesn’t change their time as all, so we are six hours ahead of them right now and sometimes five in the fall. Totally confusing. There is a movement to do away with the changing of the clocks. I’m looking forward to that.
Living on the east coast, we are surrounded by places that played an important role in the history of the U.S. My husband and I were looking for places to visit that would be day trips and we came upon Valley Forge National Park in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. It is where General George Washington and his troops camped for the winter. The park is less than 90 minutes away, which was surprising because both of us swear that when we were in school we were taught that Valley Forge was in New York. Hmm…were our history books wrong? Probably.
Anyway, we decided to drive up on a Saturday. The weather was nice as was the drive. We stopped at a Welcome Center in Pennsylvania and let me tell you if you are looking for a restroom, Pennsylvania is the place to stop. I have never seen such clean restrooms. They were absolutely spotless. (A close second would have to be the rest areas in South Dakota.) It is clear that Pennsylvania keeps everything clean because Valley Forge National Park was neat and tidy as well. The park has rather wide walking and biking trails and is also pet friendly. I have never seen so many dogs in a national park before. The museum has a large display of items from the Revolutionary War that were used by the troops in the area. One of the more interesting displays was of medical tools that would have been used at the time.
The park has a self-guided driving tour that you can take using your cell phone to guide you. Dial the number and it will tell you about the landmark that you are stopped at. Depending on how much exploring you do, the tour can take 2-4 hours. The only real draw back to the visit was that so many of the joggers and bike riders didn’t use the path that was for them. Instead they ran or road their bikes on the road, which was narrower than the trail for them. This meant that the road was rather clogged and because there is always someone behind you that is in a hurry, we ended up missing a few stops because we couldn’t pull off and had to keep going. It is close enough that we can always stop back the next time we are in the area.
The Pennsylvania Columns are mainly decorative and have no real meaning. The National Memorial Arch is in memory of all who camped out during a very harsh winter where they did not have enough food and many were without the proper clothes or shoes. The photos were taken by us on the trip through the park.
Growing up in the Midwest, I don’t remember having to use a lot of lotions to keep my skin soft. I think this was due to using bar soap, either Dove or Ivory. All the different body washes and lotions weren’t created yet. It was a wash cloth and a bar of soap. Hopefully the towel was soft and that was it. After getting married and moving to the southern U.S., I rarely had to use lotion to keep my skin soft. I truly think this was due to the fact that it was much more humid in the south, so your skin stayed nice and moist. Of course, the humidity was not good to my hair, which is fine to begin with, and living in the south for 11 years meant my hair looked limp all the time.
The best my skin ever felt was during our time living in Louisiana. The day usually started with humidity in the 95-100% range and one would hope that it would drop as the day went on. For the most part, the humidity stayed in the 70% range and the result was that my skin stayed hydrated all the time. I rarely had to apply any type of lotion and usually only to my hands. But for the past several years, as aging and hormones factor in, I have struggled to keep my skin soft and not irritated and dry. As a result, I am always buying different lotions, using them for a few weeks and then when they don’t work any longer, moving on to the next one, which leave bottles partially used. I tend to put them in the cabinet in the master bath and whenever my husband needs some, he has a variety to choose from. I usually do a purge once a year and then I see how much I wasted on those that didn’t work.
Since moving to the east coast, I discovered Vanilla Bean Noel by Bath and Body Works, which only comes out during the holidays. I literally buy 12 tubes of their body cream to last me the whole year. It smells so good and my husband loves it. While it does keep my skin smooth, I find myself having to reapply lotion throughout the day. Imagine my surprise when I read on-line that most lotions and body washes actually dry out your skin. I can only think that this is so you will buy more. Good for the companies. Not a good thing for me. I tried using bar soap again, thinking that since it worked as a child, it might work again. But apparently my body chemistry has changed drastically because after using both soaps I grew up on, I find that my skin smells like sour milk. Not something that I want to smell like all day long. So now I have taken to buying the little travel size lotions and if they don’t work, I will know by the time the tube is empty and I should save money in the end. Of course my husband might have to start his own lotion search since I won’t be filling the cabinet with partially used bottles anymore.
The weather forecasters are saying that we may have seen the last of the snow for this winter. The snow that came through last Friday was one that didn’t accumulate on the sidewalks or streets, but made the trees look absolutely beautiful for most of the day. Last night was probably the last night to enjoy a fire. This week the temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 70’s. We will be going from using the furnace to having to use the air conditioning if the temps go up much more.
Growing up, I can remember sleeping with the windows open and using a fan in the hallway to keep the rooms cool. The only time our windows were shut were if you were leaving home for the day or if a storm was coming. And even then, the windows were kept cracked to keep the air flowing. Our house had a huge air conditioner at the back of the kitchen that was only used when the temperature went into the 90’s and it was usually turned off at night. I don’t remember it being too hot to sleep. I’m sure it was, but we were better able to deal with it as a child than we are now as an adult. I’m not able to tolerate the heat as well as I could before.
Gone are the days when I could open the windows to let the breeze air out the house and keep the house cool. Now, when we open our windows, I spend most of the day sneezing from the pollen and dust that comes in. But spring is coming so I will stock up on Kleenex because I want to enjoy the weather as long as I can before the air conditioning is on for months on end.
Once a month we have a mandatory staff meeting that takes place during lunch because that is when it will have the least impact on patient care. It is for all staff, but usually there are people who will pretend they didn’t know it was happening and miss it. During the meeting we celebrate those with birthdays for the month and if no one has a birthday, which happened this month, there is still cake. In the early days, we would have a potluck with everyone who wanted to take part bringing something to contribute to the lunch. Gradually, people started to get tired of having to lug a huge crock pot filled with food all the way from the employee parking lot, so the potlucks sort of dwindled down to very few people bringing a dish and the majority of us bringing our own lunch to the meeting.
This past week we had the February all staff meeting and the discussion the week prior was that the manager would order a sub sandwich platter from a local shop that delivered and staff would bring their own sides, chips, veggies, pasta salad, etc. I am trying to eat better, so I avoid the offerings at the luncheons and bring something for myself. It’s safer that way. So when we arrived at the meeting there were 10 large pizzas for 20 people. Two are allergic to gluten and others are eating healthy, so that made 10 pizzas for about 12 people. Needless to say we had lots of leftovers and a boss that didn’t understand why her staff didn’t eat the pizza. Of course, as usual, it had to be discussed endlessly even if you had no desire to do so. The following is my interrogation (or conversation) as I was leaving for the day:
Boss: “You didn’t eat any pizza at the meeting.”
Me: “No, I didn’t.”
Boss: “Why not? You’re Italian.”
Me: “Well, fifty percent of me is.”
Boss: “So why didn’t you eat pizza?”
Me: “I’m trying to eat healthier.”
Boss; “Who isn’t?”
Me: “The people who did eat the pizza.”
Boss: “So why didn’t you eat any?”
Me: “I like thin crust pizza.”
Boss: “The pizza had thin crust.”
Me: “The crust was two inches thick. It wasn’t thin crust.”
Boss: “There was vegetarian pizza. That’s healthy.”
Me: “My Italian grandma never put broccoli or jalapeno on a pizza.”
Boss: “There was cheese pizza.”
Me: “That’s a bread stick. Not pizza.”
Boss: “I expected everyone to eat the pizza. Well, except for the two that are allergic to gluten. They didn’t even eat the salads I ordered special for them.”
Me: “That’s because they weren’t gluten free.”
Boss: “It was a salad with chicken.”
Me: “It had croutons and shredded cheese. Both have gluten. I don’t think they wanted to get sick.”
Boss: “Do they even make gluten-free salads?”
Me: “The cafeteria does. You just have to order it.”
Boss: “I still don’t understand why the pizza wasn’t a hit.”
Me: “Maybe next time you can order a tray of subs from the sub shop.”
Boss: “I’ll try to remember that for next month.”
And that’s why I’ll continue to bring my own lunch to those meetings.
Colorectal cancer is represented by a dark blue ribbon. According to the CDC, more that 134,000 people are diagnosed in the United States each year and it is split almost evenly between men and women.
The orange ribbon represents Kidney cancer Awareness. In the United States, 62,000 people will be diagnosed this year. Of that number, 62% will be men.
Multiple myeloma is represented by the burgundy ribbon. Many people have no signs or symptoms before being diagnosed with this cancer, which is considered to be rare, affecting about 30,000 people each year.
For more information, please visit the following links: