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September 2017

RA Blog week day 4 Hobbies

Today is about hobbies.  I am not so sure that beer drinking is a proper hobby.  I do enjoy having a beer with this guy.



We do like to ski.  The past few it has been skiing in Copper Mountain.  We have been to other places including Germany and Austria and other resorts in the states.  

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We are on five acres and enjoy goats, chickens, dogs and cats.  Hiking when we get the chance. A camping trip this summer.


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Moe is the black one and Lucy is the puppy.  She was about 6 months here.


I like to cook.  I can sew if need be, but I consider it a 4 letter word.  We have a large garden.  Way too much for just us but the boys come around sometimes and take some.  I am not much of a blogger.  Computers can drive me mad.

For so many years boys were my hobby.  It is strange to be empty nesters and it is amazing at how busy I still manage to be.  I do have time to read a book for relaxation now.  I do enjoy reading cook books.  With the boys gone there is not the help to take care of things here.  And I move slower than I used to so that is where a lot of time goes.

I enjoy being able to get together with my mom for a lunch out.  I love the times when a few friends can all find time at the same time to get together.  

We try to go to at least one Rockies game a year.  This summer our oldest was home and we took him.  It was really nice to be able to have him home for a visit.  I keep hoping he will move back to Colorado.  And I would like Alabama to come back too.  I am a mom and I like the boys.

We put in some more flower beds this summer.  We added a strawberry planter and have had plenty of strawberries for just us.  Next summer there should be even more.  The garden did great in some ways and not so good in others.  Barely any onions survived but I have enough greens to feed an army.

Thank you for stopping by.  Enjoy the rest of the RABlogweek .  

RA blog week day 3 Partners

My partner in crime, in love, in life, in health and in sickness.  Wow,  That would be a book to talk about him.  I met Tim was I was 14 or 15.  Started dating when I was 16.  We will be celebrating our 37th Thanksgiving together and 35 years married in January.  A lifetime that I pray has plenty more years to go.

I was in high school in Germany with my family.  He was a young airman.  We were at a very small base in northern Germany and everyone knew everyone.  We have lived in Virginia, Las Vegas, southern California, back to Germany, Holland, back to Germany and final stop Colorado.  He had one year in Turkey while I was in Las Vegas.  I would go anywhere with him.

We have grown up together and watched the five boys grow and are still watching them grow.  He was there with me when they were all born.   Thank you, God.  He had to put up with all those raging hormones each time.  Poor thing!

If you used the Myers -Briggs way of looking at us, we do not fit together.  But we have been told we are one heck of a team when we are working together.  When the boys were around and we were all working together we could be a force to reckoned with.  A team.

He has been to more doctor appointments with me than he has ever had to go for himself.  That is a good gift God blessed us with.  I am sure he has had his fill of emergency trips to the doctor.  He does this, without complaint.  He takes very good care of me.  In more ways than one.

I argue that I am capable of doing something and he reminds me, sometimes gently, that I am not.  He does not want to see me sick or in pain and does his best to keep it that way.  We all know that does not work all the time.

I will say I do not need to drag the oxygen concentrator to the mountains when we go ski.  It takes up so much room.  I want to ski without oxygen.  He always insist that I need these things.  Problem is, he is right.  He carries my skis for me.  And ski with me even though he would rather be in the powder or on the black runs.  I am a wimpy skier these days.  But I do love the mountains.

I am very blessed to have Tim to share this journey we call life with me.  After all these years I cannot imagine a different life.  Every thing we have done, shared, laughed over or fought about has shaped us both.  How many meals, beers and tears have we shared?  How many kisses and tender touches has there been?

Yes, I have a partner.  Sometimes I want to shoot him but I never want him gone.  I am a better person for being with him.  And I know I am in good hands.  Tim and God's.

RA blog week Day 2

Tips and tricks

I know there will be some awesome tips and tricks posted for today.  Some of them we know: ice packs, heating pads, massages, stretches.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

I do have the above and I have a cane that I use to hike, walk longer distances, and especially if we go to a game.  I will need the help of the came to use the stairs and get back to the car after sitting for that long.  I use my handicap tag when we go to games.

When TRICARE still allowed compounded medicines I had a wonderful cream to use.  It was a pain relief, muscle relaxer and ant-inflammatory combined.  It was called Tyler cream. But the wonderful (not) powers-to-be  would not cover compounded medicines any more.  So that is not an option for me but might be for you if you have the right insurance.

I would like to talk kitchen and home.  I have seen questions on twitter and on forums about how to manage to eat healthy.

I try to keep our food made from scratch, real food.  No preservatives and chemicals where I can.  Some of the boys did not do well on preservatives or junk food.  Having them at home I could see the difference in how they reacted.  I also learned that I do much better if I eat right.

Although I am not above texting Tim and telling him I am done for the day.  Bring home pizza!

There is almost always a kitchen towel on the floor.  If I spill I just use my foot and the towel to mop it up.  I don't have to bend over or get on my knees.  And then try to get back up.

My kitchen always looks like a bomb went off.  No kids left to do the dishes and I am worn out at night.  I get to it in the morning. ( I recommend cleaning up before going to bed. I just don't do it.)  I try to clean as I cook so it is not so bad.

The physical therapist told me not to do any one repetitive action for too long.  Change positions.  Alternate between sitting and standing.  Learn to incorporate stretches as I work.

As I work outside I flit around the yard, not staying at one job for too long.  Especially weeding.  I have learned the hard way to not do that for more than a few minutes at a time.  Change muscle and joint groups.  Do something different.  I go from bending over, to a kneel, to sitting on the stool or ground.  Getting up and walking through the yard.

We put heavy mulch on the garden this year and did not have to do as much weeding.  I have old carpet between rows too.  No weeds and softer to kneel or sit on.

I try to only take the produce that I will be able to put up or use that day.  And if I just can not get to it that day I do not hesitate to put it in the fridge for the next day.  Without the small army of boys to help there is more work for me.  Tim does help when he is home.

The hard squashes I will poke with holes and microwave until soft enough to cut through, or bake them whole in the oven.  I cut them up when cool enough to handle.

Invest in good knives and a knife sharpener.  A steel works great when you learn how to use it.  There are some good electric knife sharpeners.  Chefschoice makes some good ones.

The Oxo steel mandoline is a good choice but can be intimidating to use.  A good food processor is almost a must.  Do not get a cheap one that is hard to use and clean.  It will frustrate you.

A stand mixer is a better option than a hand held, the vibration hurts me.  I have a Bosch universal and several attachments.  I also have a Kitchenaid immersion blender with different attachments.  Including a mini chopper and blender.  

Do you know you can make homemade mayonnaise in 30 seconds with an immersion blender?

I use a crockpot all the time.  They have the instant pot nowadays that would be a great choice if you do not already own a pressure cooker and 3 crockpots. :~)  

I have a large roaster for turkeys and larger chunks of meat.  It is on the counter and I do not have to bend over in the oven and try to pull up 20 pounds of hot turkey.

I do miss the days of my best kitchen "tools".  The boys and I have worked many years together in the kitchen.  A friend used to call our kitchen the science lab.

If I am using the grinder I stand on the stool.  Gives me extra leverage and I do not have to struggle as much.

I have a gel mat to stand on in the kitchen as I work.  I wear good shoes to try to protect feet, knees and hips.  I also have Superfeet insoles in my shoes.

If you can, buy an extra freezer.  Even a small chest freezer helps.  A front freezer is easier to see what you have at a glance.

Cook your meals with the idea of making up containers of leftovers.  I put a meal in a container and my husband can just grab one for a hot lunch at work.  I like to have small containers of soup for me on my down days.

I tend to use mason jars and only keep jars that can use mason jars lids.  Cuts down on the clutter.

I do buy chopped garlic in jars.  Saves my hands when I only need a little bit.  I buy whole heads for the bigger jobs.

Use the food processor to chop up the whole onion.  Use what you need and put the rest in a freezer bag.  Flatten it out before you freeze it.  You can easily break off the amount you need.  This works for peppers and celery, etc.

I do use cast iron.  I do not try to lift them one handed to put the food away.  I ask for help.  Or slowly scoop it out, measuring cups work good as ladles.

Same with some of the jobs.  I ask for help.  My hands cannot handle cutting up 25 lbs of meat to make sausage.  Mush less stuff sausage on my own.  Many hands make light work.

With a crockpot the meat will be so tender you can easily pull it apart if needed.

I did have a good oven vent installed that goes out the roof.  I did not want the air coming back in to the kitchen or vented in to the attic.  That helps to clear the cooking odors out of the house to protect my lungs.  I also shut my bedroom door to keep my room from smelling like the kitchen.  Yes, I have been known to smoke up the house making pizza.  Cornmeal and melting cheese can really smoke up a house.  Ask me how I know!

I leave things at the top or the bottom of the stairs.  Someone will carry them up or down for me.  I have been known to walk around the outside to avoid the stairs when my knees or hips won't cooperate.

Snow will be falling soon.  I push snow.  I do not try to lift it and toss.  Feet deep and it can stay there.  The sun will come out and melt it.  Soon.  The beauty of Colorado!

I do the shopping most of the time.  I do not always unload the car.  Some days I only get what needs to be put in  the freezer or refrigerator.  Heavy things like animal feed and cat litter stay until Tim gets home.  Or I get a little rest.

There are most likely other odds and ends that I have learned to do over the years that I do with out thinking.  I am sitting at the table and thinking of the things that I am doing or need to do now.

I hope I have given you an idea that you have not thought of before.

I hope to have you stop in and visit again.

Enjoy the RA Blog week.


RA Blog Week - Day 1

This is the first day of RA Blog Week 2017.  The world becomes a little smaller and more friendly as people come together to share their stories of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  This is my first year of joining in and I am hoping I do not disappoint any readers who have decided to stop by and visit.

Today is about mental health and how we manage.  For the most part I do okay.

I am not sure of where my journey began. I have had a lot of problems with my knees since I was a young child.  When I was 18 I was told I would have to have my knees replaced before I was 30.  I still have not had to go that route.  Thank God.  I would get sick often, lots of bronchitis from 6th grade on.

It was the constant battle with my lungs that made me seek medical help.  Knee pain was always there.  It was the lung doc that felt something else was wrong and referred me to a rheumatologist.  Long story short.

The frustration of knowing something was not right and not being taken seriously or being brushed off was real.  I would be told I was tired and sick and in pain because I homeschooled five boys.  Overweight.  Over worked.  Hormones.  Stress.  So on and so forth.  There was something wrong.  RA, GERD, Hashimotos, bronchiectasis.

Driving in to the city to the big city wore me down.  The trip could be from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours, one way, depending on  weather and traffic.  I finally learned to cancel appointments if their was snow.  The first RA doc would get me so upset.  After a bad two plus hour drive in a snow storm he did not even look at my file.  He sat across the room from me and asked what I wanted him to do for me.  He ordered blood work and walked out.  I was so mad they could not even get blood from me.  I think my blood had boiled away.  The lab tech called in a patient advocate and I was given a much kinder doctor.

I went to the lung doc for a check up one time (same hospital) and said that I did not feel right.  My oxygen sats were low.  In the 70s and 80s.  She said I was overweight and out of shape but that she would take an x-ray to appease me.  I had pneumonia.  New lung doc.

After years of stress from dealing with the drive and this hospital, I quit.  My stress level was crazy.  My blood pressure was always higher there than at my primary doctor closer to home.  I would come home and my kids would check to see if I need anything and then disappear, I would be so mad.

I started with a new RA doc closer to home.  I have only seen him once so time will tell.  The drive is definitely easier.

I tried lyrica but the side effects of that medicine was not good for me.  Dryness and weight gain.  The main problem was my temper.  I was on a very short fuse and could not stop the anger from building.

For the most part I would say that I am doing okay and keeping it together.  On the flip side of that is my body stays so tense.  There is a good chance that is what caused my recent trip to the ER and a migraine.  I could not stop the pain.

I will take things out on my own body ( and probably my family).  Eat too much.  Drink too much.  Or even work too much.  Do so much physical work that I cannot move for the next two days.

My massage therapist told me shoulders were not meant to be worn as earrings.  That I need to relax.  The physical therapist always said I need to relax, put my shoulders down. 

So yes, I am wound pretty tight at times.  Lots of times.

Soon the yard work will be done as the snow moves in.  I need to get back to water aerobics and try going to a yoga class.  I enjoyed the water aerobics class.  I am moving my body and listening to other women chatter, I think it does me good.

I also need to take my own advice to others.  BREATHE!

3RD annual RABLOG week

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Rick from RAdiabetes is sponsoring a blog week for people with arthritis to reach out to others.

You can go on his site to find the links to all the writers.  I know I have enjoyed reading the blog week in the previous years and this time I am going to try my hand at joining in.  Most are professional writers and they offer a lot of insight.  Please join in reading what is shared.