All Beef Meatballs

2 lbs. ground lean beef (not extra lean)

1 cup ice water

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Mixture will be very soft.  Arrange in shallow pan with sides touching and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.


Nothing is forever

I’m currently in New Orleans.  I hadn’t planned on being here but my little brother had surgery and things went sideways. This is the first time I’ve posted in more than a year and it just seems like things go through so many changes. I’ve always found it helpful to write.  Writing is a slow and steady process and it calms my thoughts. It takes time to write the words and it slows down all the turmoil churning in my head.

I love my little brother.  He’s a sweet, compassionate and gentle man.  His life has not been easy the last few years.  He lives in New Orleans and has a disabled child with Prader Willi Syndrome.  He’s 24 years old, and has the mentality of an 8 year old. He has severe temper outbursts and requires constant care for both his mental and physical disabilities. If you’re not familiar with that, and most people aren’t, it’s a severely limiting disability. My brother spent 30 years working very closely with Al Copeland, a multi-millionaire and founder of Popeye’s Fried Chicken, among other endeavors. Al paid him well and I really believe he was closer to Al than he ever was to our own father.  And, Al seemed to consider my brother, Dennis, more like a son than he did with some of his own children.  Al developed cancer and it spread very quickly.  He extracted a promise from his sons that they would take care of Dennis and make sure he had a job with them for the rest of his life.  Unfortunately, their jealousy got in the way and they booted Dennis out with a couple of months severance pay as soon as Al died.

Dennis has struggled the last few years.  His health has deteriorated and he got cancer of the esophagus and prostate.  He survived chemo and radiation and there was only one small tumor left that his doctor wanted to remove.  Of course, there are risks with any surgery.  Especially when one has just finished chemo and radiation and the body is weakened.

His surgery was 3 weeks ago and he has not regained consciousness.  He on a ventilator, blood thinners, and dialysis. After surgery, they put him on paralytics so he wouldn’t try to pull out the ventilator and he was heavily sedated.  As they began to wean him off the paralytics and sedation, we discovered that he is not responding.  What happened?  No one seems to know.  Did a blood clot go to his brain?  Did he have a stroke during surgery? No one seems to know.  He has a lot of movement in his hands, he blinks his eyes, he moves his feet.  But is he there?  He’s on a ventilator and they can’t do an MRI or CAT scan until he’s off the vent.

I go to the hospital every evening at 8:00 and stay until 6:00 a.m.  I talk to him at night and it’s absolutely heartbreaking.  He has tubes and machines everywhere.  And I keep watching him and wondering if his movements are just reflexive moves or if he’s struggling to try to communicate.  I tell him to squeeze my hand and then I wait.  And after a couple of minutes, his hand clenches.  And I can never be sure if he’s struggled for two minutes to be able to squeeze my hand or if it’s just another sporadic movement.

They keep telling us that his recovery will be tiny little baby steps.  I’ve been here a week and he does have more movement but I don’t know if that’s progress or just involuntary movements.  They put him on blood thinners and the dialysis works well but he’ll start having blood in his stool.  So they stop the blood thinners and his BP gets bad and his blood begins to clot in the dialysis lines and interfere with that.  It’s a horrible balancing act where adjusting one little thing cause a dozen other things to go wrong.

Is he there?  I want to believe he is but we won’t know anything until he’s stable enough for an MRI or CAT scan.  My sister and I have been alternating being here to stay with my brother at night and care for his son during the day so his wife can be at the hospital but we can’t stay forever. My sister will be back in New Orleans tonight and I will go home.  I will spend the night in his room tonight and agonize because it may be the last time I will see my brother and it’s so terrible to see him like this. I’m trusting God to care for him and I know we may be looking at taking him off life support in the near future so it makes it so painful for me to leave him now.

I am still with Carl.  I just want to run to him and let him take care of me but I can’t.  I don’t really think he would be much help anyway.  Carl isn’t very close to his family and he doesn’t seem to relate to the way I am bonded with my own family. It’s so hard to have a long distance relationship.  He’s 3 1/2 hours away from my home and it’s not like we can just get together for dinner.  It takes planning and I haven’t been home for days and days. I would love to leave here tomorrow and go to him but I can’t.  I need to go home and take care of my obligations on that front. I have to say I’m disappointed in the way he has reacted to the circumstances.  He says he loves me and I know he would like to get married but he just doesn’t seem to give me what I need.  I know Donnie is gone but I can’t help knowing that if he were here, he would move Heaven and Earth to be with me when I’m hurting so much.  Carl gives lip service to my grief but where is he when I need him?  Probably sitting in his store watching Netflix all day long and waiting for me to come and see him.  I don’t know how much longer I’m going to wait to see if he’s going to be able to step up to the plate.

I’m just so tired.  We’re prepared to lose grandparents and parents and aunt and uncles but it’s so painful when we get to the point where we’re losing spouses and siblings and grandchildren.  I’ve had so much pain in the last few years I just don’t know how much more I can take. Jesus, please, just take the wheel.

Turkey Brined and Smoked


  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt or 1 cup table salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon candied ginger
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 sprigs each  sage, and thyme

After the brine is cooked

  • 6 cups ice cubes
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 large apple quartered
  • 1 yellow onion quartered


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the water, apple juice, salt, spices, and herbs. Bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the brine from the heat and stir in the remaining cold apple juice and the ice cubes. Once the brine is fully chilled, pour over your turkey. Nestle the sliced apple and onion in the brine around your turkey. Brine in a container that can keep the turkey fully submerged in the brine.
  3. Keep your turkey and brine below 40 degrees F during the entire brining process. Brine your turkey for approximately 1 hour per pound of turkey.
  4. Once your turkey has been in the brine for long enough, remove from the brine and rinse gently, both on the inside and the exterior of the bird. Pat completely dry and drizzle with a little cooking oil or melted butter for a crispier skin. You don’t need to add any additional salt or seasoning to the exterior of the turkey before grilling or smoking. If you like, you can stuff the turkey cavity with the apple and onion slices from the brine.

I followed this recipe but used powdered ginger and more apple juice than what the recipe called for and brined an 18 lb. turkey for 24 hours.

I set the smoker to 225 for about 3 hours or until the turkey registered 120 degrees and then raised the temperature to 350 and cooked another 3 or 4 hours until it reached 160.


Family Update

I read an entry from about three years ago and was struck by how bad things were then and how much better they are now.  I guess it’s time to do some updating and take a look at where we are and how we got here for anyone reading this.

I was bankrupt and supporting seven people.  My car couldn’t be trusted to go around the block and things were pretty bad.  I was deep in mourning and totally heartbroken.  I really didn’t see any way that things could improve but they did.

I was considering the possibility of selling the property in Florida but my attorney told me any proceeds would go to the bankruptcy so that idea was squashed.  But then, he told me if I would just hang in there for another five months, my bankruptcy would be paid in full and I could do what I want.  I was shocked.  They had told me it would be five years and I actually paid it all off, 100%, within a year.  I put every nickle I had into it and managed to get it taken care of.

During that period, Steven finished school and he and Andrew moved into an apartment.  Darryl moved to North Carolina and he still lives there with friends. Unfortunately, he never got his sight back and remains legally blind but he seems to have adjusted pretty well. I admire him for that.  He deals with it better than I think I could.

The bankruptcy was paid off and I sold the property to my neighbor in Florida.  I took the cash and bought a 2016 Ford Explorer and it was like a ray of sunshine.  Less than a year old, still under warranty, and EVERYTHING worked.  Just having a new car made such a difference in my attitude.  I wasn’t afraid to go out anymore and so much stress was relieved.  In addition, I had a little money and no longer had to pay most of my income to the court.

Now it’s just David, Jake, Scout, and me.  Jake attends U of L and Scout is a junior in high school.  I have enough money to make ends meet and manage to find the funds to do just about anything I want to do within reason.

Two Sister’s Jams has grown quite a bit and Donna and I get a decent amount of additional money from our sales.  We still do shows and events and have a pretty loyal following in addition to supplying our products to several retail outlets.

And I have found Carl.  A good man that thinks I hung the moon and stars.  He’s very steady and predictable and thinks I’m kind of wild and exciting.  Huh! Imagine that.  Me? A wild and crazy woman tracking bluegrass in his door.  I feel like I’m dancing circles around him most of the time and he’s able to calm and sooth me like no one else can.  Being with him is like balm to me.  Soft and warm and soothing.  I like to go to him.  He has a housekeeper and his home is always warm and organized.  He takes me out to dinner most of the time because he doesn’t like to cook but he enjoys a good home made dinner now and then so we usually work together and prepare a meal when I go to see him.  We watch movies and play card games.  And do a lot of stuff that people our age probably don’t do.  But that’s a good thing.  He brings peace and contentment to me and I bring joy and excitement to him.

My house is in utter chaos at the moment.  The hot water heater developed a crack two days ago and water pretty much flooded the pantry along with all the canned goods and boxes that were in there.  I bought a new hot water heater and David installed it but I had to put fans in the pantry to try to dry everything out and then I had to wash all the cans and throw out all the stuff that got ruined.  Every square inch of my kitchen and living room is piled up with stuff that has to be put back and David’s tools are all over the place.  The old hot water heater is still sitting in the kitchen and has to be carried out to the curb.  In addition, Donna and I did an event last weekend and all the cases of jam had to be taken out of my car and carried into the living room to make room to pick up the new hot water heater in my Explorer.

I can’t help thinking how different my life is from Carl’s.  First of all, my hot water heater has been acting up for a while.  Carl probably would have just called someone to install a new one.  But I didn’t.  I try to make do for as long as I can.  If Carl’s hot water heater had burst, he would have called in and gotten a new one installed.  His housekeeper would have cleaned everything up and it would have been an annoying little incident that was taken care of pretty quickly.  Not this girl…I have to finish this post and then deal with all this mess and try to get some semblance of order restored to the kitchen and living room.  And then, tomorrow, I will take Andrew to work at 1:00 in the afternoon, turn my car around, and drive to Carl’s house for a calming weekend.


Still out here!

Wow!  It’s been a long time since I posted.  I went into a pretty deep hole for a while there.  Things are a lot better now.  It’s been well over a year since I was on here.  I’m kind of surprised my site is still here.

So…where do I begin?  It’s been 4 1/2 years since Donnie died.  How can that be?  I still miss him.  I always will.  I’ve kept moving.  It’s not easy but things are getting better all the time.  I finally realized that there never is any closure.  You just learn to  live with the past and keep moving the best you can.

Some things never change.  Some things are just a part of us and will be for as long as we live.  Like having to watch what we eat and exercise and try not to fall into the abyss.  I went over the edge for a while but I’ve climbed back out.  I’m stronger for knowing that I hit the bottom and managed to claw my way to level ground again.

I still diet.  I try to exercise.  My weight is at 187 and I’m currently working on it.  Like I said, some things never change.

I met a man.  A wonderful man living east of St. Louis.  He’s a good man and he loves me and I love him.  He lost his wife a year or so before I lost Donnie.  She died of cancer.  They married young and spent 44 years together.  We share a bond that a lot of people can never understand.  We’ve managed to find a place of our own amidst the chaos of our lives and we’re happy there.

The only problem is that we don’t get to spend a lot of time in that happy little place.  We live four hours apart and he owns a crafts store and works there Monday through Friday.  He has another employee and can take off whenever he wants so we do as much traveling as we can.  I drive Andrew, my grandson, to work everyday Monday through Friday but can make other arrangements for him if Carl and I decide to get together.  I’m driving to his house this weekend and will stay from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

We’ve taken two cruises and have another one booked for June.  I go to see him for long weekends. He has a 5th wheel and a trailer and we have plans to do a lot of camping this summer.  We sparkle when we’re together and spend most of the time missing each other even though we text all day everyday.

I loved Donnie and will always love him and Carl loved his wife and will always love her.  Still, we’ve discovered that the capacity for love never dies within us and we have a strong and deep commitment to each other.  Everyone is surprised when they meet him because he’s not like Donnie at all and not what they expected.  I guess they think since I spent my entire life with Donnie that I’m looking for a replacement but I’m not.  We never “replace” the ones we love but somehow, we manage to find different kinds of love and comparisons become impossible.

Still…I will compare.  to a certain extent… Donnie was wild and passionate and bigger than life.  Carl is sweet and warm and gentle. A very different man.  I went to see him a couple of weeks ago.  The weather was miserable and he asked what I wanted to do.  I said I’d like to go to the lake where he likes to fish and, just like that, we did.  It was snowing and the wind was blowing like crazy and we drove all around his little town and then drove 20 miles or so to a lake with a dam.  He said it’s the biggest man made lake in Illinois.  The water was crashing over the dam, the wind was blowing and the snow was swirling all around. The lake was full of seagulls, ducks and geese and huge white pelicans.  I’d never seen white pelicans before.  I’ve only seen brown ones on the ocean.  It was beautiful and I couldn’t help making comparisons.  Donnie would never have driven 20 miles in bad weather to show me pelicans in the snow.  He would have absolutely refused to leave and would probably have taken my car keys if I tried to go out.

That’s not to say Carl and I don’t share a passionate love life.  We definitely do.  I love this man.  I love him passionately.  And yet he still comes across as sweet and vulnerable in ways that Donnie never did.

And so, my friends, I’m still here.  And I’m not alone and I’m not afraid anymore.


Rough Beginnings

It’s starting out to be a rough day.  My computer is acting up, the damn dog is driving me crazy.  My weight is 212.4, up .4 from yesterday.

We had a really windy day last week.  Gusts up to 50 mph and it blew down an entire section of the fence.  Not just one section but five sections that were connected.  Donnie used to do maintenance on the fence almost every year but it hasn’t been done for about three years now and I guess I’m paying the price now.  I don’t know how we’re going to get it back up.  I certainly can’t do it and David is never here.  I guess I’ll have to call in some favors.  In the meantime, I can’t let the dog out in the backyard or he’ll run the neighborhood so I have to either walk him or put him out on a chain.  He barks and whines and drives me crazy to go out and then, after I get him on the chain, he whines and barks and drives me crazy again.  Got to get that fence fixed.

I did good yesterday.  Three days on track.  I actually did a lot better with food yesterday.  Kept track of everything and only had used 600 calories after dinner last night so I had a few left for snacks in the evening.  I ate a few pretzels and some Lean Cuisine egg rolls in the evening so I wound up with a total of about 1,000 calories yesterday and then gained .4 lbs. this morning.  sigh…

Now I’ve got to figure out what to do about a pot roast for dinner tonight.  How in the Hell am I going to make that healthy?

Weight is at 212 this morning.  This will be the third day I’ve been pretty much on track.  It’s always difficult to get started with dieting and exercise.  Always easier to say I’ll do it tomorrow…or next week but it always helps to have a few days of commitment behind me.  Today will be the third day of eating healthier and exercising.

I guess I really should start tracking calories.  I’m eating better but I know I’m going over my calorie allowance every day so I’ll start keeping track today.

Breakfast – Lite yogurt 60 calories
lunch – Green Giant Saute – Indian Spiced Lentils 140 calories
Dinner – Green Giant Buffalo Cauliflower – 150 calories
Lean Cuisine Ravioli – 310

Yay!  I’ve had all kinds of obstacles in my way today when it comes to walking on the treadmill but I persevered and finally managed to get it done.  Did 25 minutes today and it was difficult.  I really didn’t want to do it but so glad I did.

9:00 p.m. – So far, I’ve had 660 calories today.  Leaves a little bit of room for some lite snacks if I get hungry.


It’s a start

I battled my demons yesterday.  I have a really bad habit of not eating anything all day and then eating dinner and snacking all night.  Yesterday, I tried not to do that.  I got on the treadmill and did some stretching exercises.  I made myself eat yogurt for breakfast and a bowl of soup for lunch.

The evening did not go perfect but it went a lot better.  During my snacking/bingeing time I drank about 6 cups of hot tea and tried not to eat any junk. I ate lean cuisine egg rolls for dinner and then, when I was really craving snacks, I ate a small bowl of leftover soup and a couple slices of deli turkey breast.  Around midnight, I really wanted something sweet so I ate a bowl of cereal.  Like I said, not perfect but much better than what I’ve been doing.

I weighed in at 213.6 this morning.  It’s already noon but I’m going to eat my yogurt now and then get on the treadmill for a little bit.  I have to admit my body felt a lot more fluid yesterday.  Not as stiff and achy as it has been.  Maybe it’s time to think about setting some goals.

3:20 – I went to Staples and bought a new set of headphones. Left there and went to Kroger and got some healthy stuff.  Frozen shrimp, more yogurt, apples and oranges and whole grain bread.  After I got home, I went upstairs and got on my treadmill using the new (and third set) of headphones I bought.  I did 20 minutes.  Now I’m going to stretch and then see if I can grill some shrimp with blackened seasoning.  Who says you can’t grill out in the rain in January?


Taking Stock

214.2.  That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention.  It’s cold and dreary and I’m stuck inside.  David’s car broke down so he’s using mine.  That’s three days he’s had my car so far this week and it’s only Thursday.  I just sit on my ass playing on the computer and eating all day.

Taking stock and being aware of what I’m doing is important.   I need to make myself accountable for the way I feel and the way I look.  I made myself eat some yogurt for breakfast.  80 calories.  Then I weighed myself.  And I finally went upstairs to walk on my treadmill.  Poor thing.  I’m surprised it still works. Folded into a corner and covered in dust.

It wasn’t easy.  I have a terrible headache and I didn’t feel like doing it.  Found my MP3 and the battery was dead.  I went to my room to get a new one and the grand-kids/kids had taken them all.  I finally found a rechargeable one and put it in the charger until it worked.  Next step, finding my headphones.  I hate ear buds and find them really annoying.  Again, someone has made off with my headphones so I settled on a pair of ear buds.  I went upstairs and Darryl had moved my treadmill and folded it up with it in the wrong direction so the cord wouldn’t reach the outlet and it’s too heavy for me to move.  I had to go get and extension cord but I finally got it plugged in and turned it on.  I turned on my MP3 and found out that the stupid ear buds didn’t work so I had to stop everything and go in search for another pair.

I finally walked on the treadmill.  Not fast…I started it at 2.0 mph and only worked up to 2.7 but I walked for 15 minutes.  I know…hardly worth mentioning…but I did it.  It’s a start.  I did okay but got pretty winded.  Of course, I used to kill myself on that thing.  Drenched in sweat and breathing hard but that’s a long way in the future.  For now, I just want to make myself do something.

The treadmill was right in front of the window and I couldn’t help noticing my arms while I walked.  Pale and dry.  I need to start taking better care of everything.  Skin, hair, nails, clothing.  Everything.

At any rate, I move like an old woman these days and the short walk on the treadmill actually made my back feel a little bit better.  I feel a little more lithe.  I think I’ll go in the living room and so some stretches.

2:30 – Yay, me!  I went to look for exercise channels on U-Verse and couldn’t find any.  I did, however, find an on-demand movie I wanted to watch and I started to make a snack while I watched it.  Caught myself, made some hot tea to drink and I’m going to sip it instead of eating a snack and clean the kitchen instead of watching a movie.  All about being aware of what I’m doing.


January in Kentucky

Another dreary day.  The temp is 52 which isn’t really that cold but it’s grey and drizzly and it just feels miserable.  Even the dog doesn’t want to go out.  The forecast is not promising.  Lots of rain coming in this evening, a drop in temperatures and snow coming tomorrow.  Lows in the teens at night and more rain and snow the rest of the week.

I’m going to try not to let it get the best of me.  I didn’t weigh myself this morning.  I forgot about it until I was fully dressed in winter clothes and I’m not going to strip down just to get weighed.  Tomorrow.

Not much on the agenda.  I’m going to try to make myself get on the treadmill and eat healthy today.  Healthy being a relative term.  I got some lite yogurt for breakfast and I have deli sliced turkey for lunch. Dinner will be one of everyone’s favorites.  Saute diced bacon and remove from the pan, stir in a bunch of onions, jalapenos, banana peppers and red pepper.  Stir in diced fresh spinach until it wilts and stir the entire mess into pasta.  Olive oil, onions, peppers, spinach-good…bacon and pasta-bad.

I’m doing okay today.  I lost .2 lb.  Don’t know how that happened.  Still, I went to the store and stocked up on some healthy stuff.  At least I have that.

Driving home, I turned on the radio.  Never a good idea when I’m alone. They played “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran and it hit me hard.  Wouldn’t you think I’d be a little more stable by now?  I don’t cry as much but Donnie is always in my thoughts.  I was listening to the lyrics and, the next thing I knew, I was crying so hard I actually had to pull over.


Loving can hurt
Loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard
You know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

Loving can heal
Loving can mend your soul
And it’s the only thing that I know
I swear it will get easier
Remember that with every piece of ya
And it’s the only thing we take with us when we die

We keep this love in this photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Our hearts were never broken
Times forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone

And if you hurt me
That’s OK, baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go

Wait for me to come home

Oh you can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were 16
Next to your heartbeat
Where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul

And if you hurt me
Well, that’s OK, baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go

When I’m away
I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost
Back on 6th street
Hearing you whisper through the phone,
“Wait for me to come home.”


Feeling better

I haven’t done a whole lot in the last couple of days but I’m definitely feeling better.  I actually weighed myself today.  212.2.  Crazy.  Time to really do something about that.

I know I’m not in a GOOD place but I have been able to pull out of my funk a little bit.  I’m taking it slow. Lots of things on my mind like exercise, smoking, diet, etc. but I know I’m not ready for all of it.  I love kringles. Kind of a danish pastry but they’re pretty big.  I always get one at Christmas and I couldn’t find it this year so I ordered two of them.  Pricey!  With shipping, it came to almost $40.00 and they finally arrived yesterday.  Too late for Christmas and I know I’m going to eat them.  So dieting is out for today but exercise isn’t.  I want to get on my treadmill today.  It’s a start.

I’ve always tried to help Tina, DIL, when I could.  She had an accident last year and is due for a settlement check from the insurance company for an arm injury she sustained. She hasn’t forgotten that I got her set up in house last year when she was really struggling.  I paid her deposit and helped her get furniture and appliances.  I told her to just keep the money because I knew she wouldn’t be able to pay it back.  Now, it seems as if she’s returning the favor.  She and grand-daughter, Holly, want to take a cruise on spring break and she wants to pay for me to go with them. The prospect has me thinking about losing some weight and trying to feel better.  I’ve got three months so I want to accomplish what I can.

I had an insightful day yesterday.  Things have gotten so bad for me that I’ve become pretty hopeless. Day after day, month after month, despair, grief and hopelessness consume me.  I don’t do much of anything anymore. I play mindless games on the computer, watch TV every evening and night, and do little else.  Some days I don’t even get dressed. I don’t have much money.  I lost not only my husband but his income as well.  I took out Chapter 13 last summer and most of my money will go to those payments for the next five years.  I thought I’d have my tax returns every spring to give me a boost but then I found out they’ll take those too. I get money.  Thank God I planned for a decent retirement for myself and it should be sufficient but I’m supporting seven kids and grandkids.  Every time I buy a bottle of laundry detergent, it serves seven, toothpaste times seven, food times seven.  My expenses are crazy.

I don’t know what to do about it.  David gives me as much money as he can but it isn’t enough to pay for all the expenses for him and his two children.  All he does is work so he’s not that involved with caring for them.  I fix dinner for them every night, I help them with homework, I drive them to all their dental appointments and doctor appointments.  Darryl is now completely blind and I’m his sole source of support. He gets $400 a month from disability and he gives me $300.  I know it’s all he can do but it doesn’t come near to covering his expenses.  Again, I’m the one that does all his shopping and takes him back and forth to appointments.  A friend picked him up to spend the next month in North Carolina but I have to pick up a bunch of prescriptions for him today, go to the post office and mail them to him.  Andrew and Steven are another matter.  Steven went back to school yesterday and he’s self-sufficient but I just had him home for the past month.  Andrew works two jobs now but I only charge him $200 a month because I want him to save his money for a car and to get a place to live.   He’s doing great at it.  He’s saved up close to $5,000 and can’t wait to move into his own place but he still needs to save a little more.  He doesn’t know anything about taking care of a car or maintaining it so I feel like he needs to buy a good one and that’s not cheap.

Everyone is eating me alive and I don’t know what to do about it.  My own car is really starting to act up.  Seems like it some big problem every month.  Donnie was great about fixing anything mechanical but he’s not here anymore.  David isn’t nearly as competent but he tries.  Still, he’s never here either.  Darryl is pretty good but now he’s blind and can’t do anything.

So, yesterday, I’m taking my crappy old car on a seven hour drive to take Steven back to school and I’m a nervous wreck.  Steven loaded all his stuff up the night before, we get out there and the damn thing won’t start.  I was so frustrated!  I called David and he talked me through hooking up the battery charger to it and I got it started but, despite his assurances that everything would be fine, I was afraid to shut it off.  I drove all the way to eastern Kentucky and, every time I had to pee, Steven stayed in the car.  And I had to pee a LOT.  New blood pressure medication and it was really working.  I dropped Steven off at school and then headed home.  It wasn’t 45 minutes until I had to pee again and I was afraid to shut off the car.  So I just drove.  David tried to fix my heater (which quit working a couple of weeks ago) and he was only able to get it to go on.  If I shut if off, it doesn’t come back on.  So I’m driving and driving, the heat is blistering and I keep rolling down the window when it gets to be too much but it’s 30 degrees outside so even cracking a window gets cold pretty quick.  I kept thinking, “Okay, try to hold on until you get to a busy area so there are people around if the car won’t start back up.”  And I held it and held it until I got to the point where it was only another hour and a half, then an hour, and then I figured I could wait until I got home.

And all the while, I’m driving through the mountains and there’s snow on the ground and the sky is brilliant blue with heavy dark clouds here and there.  It starts snowing but just enough to catch the sun on the flakes and it’s beautiful.  Daylight began to fade and the sunset was amazing.  Almost neon pink and orange and I could see areas where it was snowing on the horizon.  And it just came to me.  “Sell the property in Florida.”

I never wanted to sell the property.  I’ve resisted it since Donnie died.  But every time I get the urge to go there, something comes up and I can’t go.  And I’ve begun to realize that my entire attachment to it is through my memories of my husband.  All the time we spent clearing and building and finding peace and solitude there.  All our dreams of spending winters down there are gone.  We will never go down there for months at a time and just grow old together.  It’s not going to happen.  I thought about how I could buy a car and have some money in the bank.  Maybe take a cruise or a vacation. I began to think about my intentions of saving it for my family.  I’ve devoted my entire life to caring for my family.  It’s time to take care of myself.

Those thoughts grew as I drove and I thought about quitting smoking and dieting and exercise and how miserable I am.  Yes, I’m grieving and I think I always will.  I keep waiting for it to get better but I think it’s time for me to take some responsibility to make it better.

New year’s resolutions.  It sounds so cliche’.  And I’m not calling it resolutions.  I’m just kind of soaking up that feeling of….possibilities.


Nothing changes

Still just hanging on.  I’ve worked like a dog the last seven months with my canning business.  Canning Monday through Thursday and doing festivals most weekends.  It brings in a little money and every little bit helps.  My car is getting old and seems like it requires something all the time.

Somehow, I wound up inviting everyone over here for Thanksgiving.  Don’t know how it happened.  I decided to do it here and there would have been seven of us.  Then a friend lost his wife and asked if he and his kids could come over so that made 12.  Then my sister asked if she could come…and my brother…and, before I knew what hit me, the number went up to 20.  Everyone will be here.

There was a time when I would have been scrubbing and cleaning and decorating but I’m not.  I figure everyone knows me and they’re over here all the time anyway so I’m just going to do the best I can with it.


Some old lady

Yeah, that’s what I am.  Just some old lady.  It’s been a year since Donnie passed away.  The past couple of weeks have been full of memories.  Thinking about his last days here at home.  The things we were doing.  His death.  Isn’t it supposed to be a year?  All that fierce grief?  I can’t tell that it’s lifting.

I am NOT the person I was.  I can’t help thinking that woman is dead.  She died with him.

I try.  I really do but I just can’t pull myself out of that big, dark hole.  I’ve lost myself and I don’t think there’s anyway back.

My life is too much for me right now.  Darryl went almost completely blind more than two years ago and moved back home.  He’s progressed to the point that he doesn’t do much of anything anymore.  Stacy dropped Scout and Jake off here on January 4th because she was homeless.  It was supposed to be for a couple of weeks and it’s been close to 7 months.  And she’s still collecting child support.  And she still has joint custody of the boys.  I’ve paid $3,000.00 to an attorney over the last three months and we’re still nowhere. I can’t believe it’s such a slow process.  The only thing we’ve accomplished so far is that since she didn’t have any contact with the boys (not even as much as a phone call) for six months, the court has ordered that her visitation must be supervised by a therapist when she sees them again.  That hasn’t happened yet but she’s calling them a couple of times a week.

Steven is off at school but Andrew is finished with school and back home.  David is still working like a dog and it’s like he’s paying triple child support.  Stacy is still getting support from his paycheck, she’s not paying it when she hasn’t even seen the kids for seven months, and David is giving me as much as he can to help out.  They go back to court August 4th and I hope they do something about this.  I love all my grandchildren but I’m so tired of taking care of all of them.

As for me, I not only lost Donnie, I also lost his income. And I’m not eligible for Social Security on my own and was denied his survivor’s benefits for the same reason.  I’m on a teacher’s pension and they consider Social Security benefits to be “double dipping”.  Never mind that I paid into it for 25 years before I went into teaching.

So I’ve struggled.  I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out the financial mess and I finally gave up.  I can not pay all the bills that were based on our double income on my own.  I filed for Chapter 13.  I’ll pay a big chunk of money to the court for the next five years.  They averaged my living expenses over the last six months and are allowing me to keep $200 over and above that amount.  Sounds good.  Like I can pay everything and still have a couple hundred left but that’s really not right.  This month, I had to renew my AAA membership and had to put $75 into a car repair.  So that left me with about $50 extra for the month.

I’m just so tired and discouraged.  I feel like some old lady running around trying to clean the house and take care of everyone and I don’t see an end in sight.  I don’t have anything to look forward to and I’m still drowning in grief.



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This is supposed to be a link to the trip we’re planning.  If not that, maybe this:

Yeah, the ex DIL.  The one that’s made our lives a living Hell for the last 17 years.  She told David to come and pick up Jake and Scout on Jan. 4th because her boyfriend kicked her out and she was homeless.  Said it would be for a couple of weeks.

Now, five months later, after not calling them or us once in all this time, she called Jake on his personal phone yesterday to tell him that she’s “missed him soooo much” and she’ll be picking him and Scout up before the end of the month.

Don’t think so.  We hired an attorney two months ago.  She’s collected child support and food stamps for the last five months and we had no idea where she was or what she was doing.  David texted her and told her we needed to know the boys insurance information and she didn’t even bother to answer.  Does the bitch have any idea what she does to these kids?  I mean, really, not to see them or call or anything for five fucking months and then think she can just give Jake a call and pick them up?  She better bring the police with her.


Just a quickie!

Weight is still at 210.  Working on dinner.  Gotta go!

This morning I weighed in at 212.6.  I’ve been eating healthy but that doesn’t necessarily equate to losing weight.

Last night’s dinner was excellent.  Lime grilled chicken with Cuban salsa, yellow rice, and stir fried green beans. I ate way too much and I’m still not exercising.

Doesn’t look like I’ll be doing too much exercising today, either.  Lots and lots to do but it’s all in the house and on the computer.

Busy day, weighed in at 210, went to the doctor and got my stitches out from recent surgery six weeks ago.  No more uterus, no more ovaries, new bladder sling, etc. etc.

So I’m sore and all I want to do is take a hot soak.

Sticking to the menu and feeling good about it.