My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blessings in My Life

I can’t think of anything I haven’t mentioned but there are a few things that really stand out.

• I’m so thankful for my husband because he is my best friend and I probably don’t let him know this often enough.
• I’m so thankful for my dad and step mom because I almost lost my dad this month. I know he is getting older each year (will be 88 on Dec. 7) but I don’t think I will ever be ready to lose him (I’m a daddy’s girl!)
• I’m so thankful for my health because I have seen many people on the cruise with walkers, and scooters. I wouldn’t be able to hike and walk around all these cities the way I love to do.
• I’m thankful that we have saved our money wisely the past few years (even though it was hard and we had to make sacrifices I really didn’t want to make at the time) so we can travel and do the things we want to do.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blessings of Places

Blog Prompt: What places (in your home, or state, or country, or world) are you most thankful for?

My favorite place is the play room with my big screen TV, printer, external hard drive, pool table, and hot tub. We spend most of our time in this room because it is surrounded by glass windows for me to look out in the yard at the birds and the flowers.

In my state, I am most thankful for our state parks and mountains that are close to my home. We usually buy an annual pass to the state parks because we go hiking in them so much.

In the world, I am most thankful for all the new places I’ve been and all the new places I haven’t seen yet! I love to see new places and different cultures. It makes me feel like there is so much out there and my little “world” is just the tip of the iceberg!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Invention Blessings

Blog Prompt: What inventions are you most thankful for and why?

1. The Toilet Bowl – I have traveled to enough countries without indoor plumbing and it isn’t pretty!
2. Central A/C and heat – my sister does not have central AC in NY but I would die without it in SC
3. Cruise ships – especially since I’m sitting here in the middle of the ocean writing this.
4. The internet – of course!
5. Adobe Photoshop Elements – the program I use for my digital scrapbooking
6. Computers – how did I live without one years ago????
7. Hybrid cars – I love getting 50 mpg and being able to travel

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nature's Blessings

Blog Prompt: What things in nature are you most thankful for and why?

I love the mountains and rivers the best. I love being surrounded by the forest as I hike and listen to the birds call greetings to me as I pass. I love to watch the animals scurry along the forst floor looking for food. I love looking at the greenness of the forest after a rain when everything looks shiny and new right after God is done giving hisssssss garden a bath. I love to see the rivers as they flow over rocks and form waterfalls as it travels down the mountains. I love the wildlife we see in and near the rivers such as fish, frogs, and salamanders. As we cruise in the Caribbean and enjoy the sunny beaches, I think it is a nice place to visit, but I thank God every day for my lush Blue Ridge Mountains!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blessings of Senses

Blog Prompt: Which one of your 5 senses are you most thankful for and why?

I am most thankful for my sight. I have to have my sight to read, hike, watch TV, and play my computer. I think I could make it if I didn’t have other senses but I have to be able to see. I had Lasix surgery years ago and now I’m even more thankful for my sight. For the first time I was able to see distances without glasses that were so thick or contacts that really bothered my eyes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

DSP prompts 11/21-11/23

Wed. DSP Prompt- What sources of entertainment are you thankful for?

1. I love my computer! It is my main source of entertainment (other than my hubby of course! LOL) I use it to do my scrapbooking, play games, write letters, and keep me amused whenever I get bored.
2. My HDTV with DirecTV and Tivo. I love being able to tape shows that I am unable to watch at the time it comes on.
3. Books – I love to read and use it as an escape from my real life woes.
4. My accordion – I find it relaxing even though I don’t think I play very well.

Thurs. DSP Prompt: - What food are you thankful for?

1. Chocolate
2. Pizza
3. Ice Cream
4. Chocolate kisses
5. Garlic (I love to roast the elephant garlic and spread it on crackers)
6. Ginger (I love to slice and use in my stir fry as well as eating crystallized ginger as candy)
7. Spinach
8. Macaroni and Cheese
9. Ramen Noodles
10. Apple Pie
11. Cheddar Cheese
12. Monterrey Jack Cheese
13. Bagels
14. Happy Meals (I love the toys!)
15. Chicken
16. Rice
17. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
18. Cranberry Sauce
19. Candied yams
20. Green Bean Casserole

Fri. DSP prompt - What stores are you thankful for?

I hate to shop but the 2 stores I shop at most often are WalMart and Family Dollar because of the low prices. I don’t need a lot of clothes and since I recently retired, the clothes I have will probably last a few years. I don’t usually shop at a particular store for clothes but I buy when something jumps out and yells “Buy Me!” I like good quality items but when it doesn’t matter, these stores are the ones I get my every day items.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Comfort Blessings

Blog Prompt: What things that comfort you are you thankful for?

1. My husband - he is my main comforter next to God. I know that he will always be there for me no matter what.
2. Chocolate - need I say more?
3. My computer - when I need to vent, I write in my blog or I contact my DSP friends and I usually feel better.

I'm sorry I haven't commented much on your blogs because I'm having to go to the public library to get on the internet. Unfortunately my hubby's attention span is very short but I'm thankful that he knows how important it is for me to get "connected!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Blessings of Inherited Traits

Blog Prompt: What things or traits you have inherited are you thankful for?

1. I’m thankful for my good health. My father is going strong at 87 years old. He will turn 88 in 2 weeks and just suffered a stroke but he is still in better shape than most people who suffer strokes.
2. I’m thankful for my good humor. My family has been blessed with having a good sense of humor which has been great during some tough times.
3. I'm thankful for the work ethic that I've inherited from both of my parents. We were taught that working hard will pay off and now that I'm retired, I'm glad I listened to them. If I hadn't started working so early, I never would have been able to retire so early. Now we are young enough and healthy enough to enjoy our retirement.

Medicare Fraud or Taking Advantage of the Elderly?

Is it Medicare fraud or are they just taking advantage of the elderly? Let me tell you an interesting story and let you decide...

Recently my 87 year old dad suffered a mild stroke and after 2 days in the hospital he was sent to ManorCare rehab center in Boynton Beach, FL for 6 days (the limit that their insurance would pay). The day he got there someone came in and had him sign papers telling him about his copay responsibility. After that we asked that he not be given papers to sign without his wife being present and thought they respected our request. We realized how important it was to have a family member there because on the 5th day he was there he was asked to sign blank papers (the girl told him that she would fill all the blanks in for him when he asked for today’s date). He was even asked if he wanted to sign over all his finances into a trust fund run by the center but he refused. We asked for a copy of the completed forms and he has never received a copy of them.

On the day before his discharge, my dad was asked if he had a company in mind to come in to do some home health care and he didn’t. He didn’t even know what home health care was and what services are provided. This nurse just happened to have a friend who works for a company so she recommended her friend. The friend comes in and tells my parents that their insurance won’t pay for her services and proceeds to tell them what services my father will need and what their insurance will and won’t cover. When we asked her if the doctor is ordering these services, she said she had no idea. We asked her if she talked to my parent’s insurance company and she said no. This person, at the invitation of the rehab center, was telling my parents stuff that she had no knowledge about. Now, my parents who are in their 80s, were very confused and upset, especially when this person told them they should cancel their medical insurance and go straight Medicare! She also told them a man would call them to try to get him veteran’s benefits (she said no one knows about this law, even the VA, except this man) but they would have to sign a paper promising to sign over all checks they receive from the VA to this man! Needless to say, I told my parents this was a bad idea!

Next we are told that my dad would get a walker, a port-a-potty, and a wheelchair to be brought to his room when he would be discharged. No one could tell us if the insurance covers this equipment in full or not and they resented me asking these questions. He was not even given a quad cane, which would have been the most practical thing for him to use. We never saw a doctor’s order that said my father needed these things or when he was supposed to use them. Plus, he was never trained on how to use these things or told when he was to use them. Of course they inform my parents that he needs to buy “gliders” for the walker that costs about $30 not even knowing if he needs the walker. My parents were told the potty could be used as a seat when he takes a shower but no one even knows if it fits in their tub (it doesn’t) so they have to buy a seat for the tub. There isn’t even room to set the port-a-potty in the house other than the middle of their living room. No one came out to the house to see if the wheelchair is appropriate for the house (it isn’t because there is no room to wheel it around their tiny house). Since my stepmom can’t get it in and out of the car, the wheelchair is now in the trunk of their car (where they loaded it at the rehab center) and probably won’t even be used. The potty is out in their shed now.

At 9pm the night before his discharge, he is awakened by this strange man who is delivering this equipment. The man tells him he has to sign these papers and my father, a stroke patient who is obviously confused, half asleep, and upset, signs these papers (without any family member with him). He calls his wife and is extremely upset, which I don’t blame him so I call the nurse’s station. Nobody even knew this man had gone to my dad’s room to deliver equipment (but someone had to give him a code to let him in and a code to get out of the building). We had no idea that the wheelchair was rented for his use and we had no idea what this would cost them.

The next day I see the forms he signed that say he received training on how to use all this equipment and told about infectious diseases etc. My father says the man just delivered the stuff, had him sign this paper, and he left without giving him any training! When my father is being discharged, I ask for someone to tell him how to use the stuff, plus get the wheelchair in and out of the car (we live 700 miles away so we can’t help them with this when we go home!). I am told by the therapist that he is not entitled to physical therapy on the day he is discharged but she showed my stepmom how to take the foot rests off the chair and how to fold the chair. I asked why no one showed my dad how to use the walker but she had no answer other than to tell me he was trained when they delivered the stuff (at 9pm when my dad was half asleep?). When I asked why he needed a portapotty since he didn’t need one in the hospital or the rehab center, I was told that everyone gets one when they leave. Is this a door prize for choosing their center? If everyone gets one and many of these people don’t need one, is it any wonder that our insurance rates keep increasing?

We are also told that home health care will come to their house and a physical therapist will come to their home. My father took his own shower at home last night, fed himself, dresses himself and does everything he needs to do without any help. The left side of his face tingles and his left hand is numb and tingles. He wobbles a little when he walks (but he did that before the stroke too). We also played card games for 2 nights in a row and he is as sharp as he was before the stroke mentally. He even helped my stepmom cook dinner last night. He cut up the vegetables in small pieces with a sharp knife. Why does he need these people to come to his house? I found out that their insurance will not pay for this physical therapist to come to their house but everyone implied that they would. This of course confused my parents completely because they don’t understand why the rehab center said these people would come to their house if he didn’t need their help. Three different people told them that my father would receive services at home. Of course my parents understood this to mean that the insurance would pay for these services totally.

I found out their insurance will pay for the home health care to come out for 7 weeks for less than 35 hours per week. Someone is getting paid to provide services that my father does not need because no one has even been to his home to see what is appropriate. The rehab bought him a port-a-potty that he doesn’t need, won’t use, and isn’t even appropriate for his home. A wheelchair was rented for him (I was told by the insurance company that it is at no cost to my dad but he can keep it as long as he has this insurance) but it is so heavy, they can’t even get it in and out of the car. They can’t even use it in their house because their house is too small. My stepmom hopes that when they go out, if it is needed, they can ask complete strangers to help them get it in and out of the car. Meanwhile, this company is getting paid! No wonder our insurance rates keep increasing!

Is this normal for the elderly to be taken advantage of this way or is it just this rehab/nursing home that does business this way? I have written a letter to the director of ManorCare asking for a list of agencies that I can file a complaint with but I haven’t received this yet. If I don’t get any information from them, I will contact the Insurance Commission. My parents are not incompetent but they are easily confused and taken advantage of by all of these people and companies that want to soak them for every penny they have. This makes me furious that this goes on and hope that I can make lawmakers and regulatory agencies aware of what is going on. I know all of this complaining can’t help my parents but if this knowledge could help other elderly people, it will be worth it. I will begin my letter writing campaign to federal, state, and any licensing agencies I can complain to and hope to change this from happening.

If you have any suggestions of people I should contact, please feel free to leave your suggestions in your comment.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Furniture Blessings

Blog Prompt: What furniture are you thankful for?

There really is only one piece of furniture in my house that I absolutely love. I have a favorite rocking chair in my living room that we brought all the way to SC from Lancaster, PA. It was built by an Amish man and the workmanship is excellent. I not only love the way it looks but also the way it feels. The seat curves to fit my behind instead of the flat seats that most rockers have. It almost feels like it is hugging you. When we bought it, we had it in the back of our SUV all the way home. In fact, when my hubby was tired of driving, we spent the night sleeping at a rest area. Of course my hubby wanted to set it outside so he could lay down in the back of the SUV but I wouldn't let him. This meant that we had to sleep sitting up all night! The things you do for love.

PS: My dad is home from rehab which was a total nightmare. Stay tuned for a future blog entry titled: Why Our Insurance Rates are So High or How to Take Advantage of the Elderly.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

DSP prompts week of 11/12/07

Tues. - What pets or animals are you thankful for?
We’ve always had dogs when I grew up and after I was married I had a dog, birds, and fish. Now that we travel so much, I don’t have any pets. The other day my dad was visited by a therapy dog in the rehab center the first day he was there. I was never so thankful for an animal before. It really made him feel better and I could tell. This stroke has really thrown our family for a loop but we are taking one day at a time. Hopefully he will be coming home tomorrow but that is just the beginning of our hard work I think.

Wed. - What clothing are you thankful for?
I’m really thankful for shorts and tshirts right now. We left cold weather in SC and are here in the warmth of FL. They keep complaining of a cold front coming ( low 50 degrees tomorrow and a high in the 70s) which makes us laugh. I’m sweating buckets and everyone else is wearing coats.

Thurs. - What colors are you thankful for?
I’m thankful for blue because that is my favorite color. I think I look good in blue and I think of blue as a neutral color and everything can match it. My favorite jeans are blue so whatever I can wear with them is perfect for me!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blessings of Friends

Blog Prompt: What friends are you thankful for and why?

During this bumpy time in my life, I am even more aware of all my friends who are there for me. My friends play an important part of the support system that I surround myself with which helps me have a positive outlook on life. Here are the friends that I'm thankful for:

1. Charlene - my first friend at the first school I have ever taught at and we have stayed friends since then. I don't think I would have lasted in teaching without her as a friend and a mentor. Even though we have been at different schools, we have stayed in touch and offered each other support when needed.
2. Sandy - my friend almost as long as Charlene has been. Sandy has been there during bumpy times in the early days of my marriage. She didn't tell me how to have a better marriage but was always there to listen to me complain and whine. I really valued any advice she gave me because she always made such common sense (which I have none).
3. Elizabeth - she started out as my administrator and ended up being my friend. There weren't many administrators that I trusted but I know I always can trust her (which is very important to me). During rough times of my teaching, she was always there for me without judging me but listening and suggesting ways to handle rough situations (she could sell ice cream to an eskimo!). She is a role model for me because she handles conflict situations with poise and gentleness that I hope someday I can do the same.
4. My DSP friends - all the prayers and support out there have helped my dad recover. Thank you to all of you out there!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Successful Teaching Blog:

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Cash Advance Loans

My Life of Loonyhiker Blog:

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Cash Advance Loans

I saw this on Tink's blog and just had to try it myself!

Guy Fawkes Party 2007

Every years we celebrate this day for our friends from the UK. We used to hold this in the backyard of one house until the day the fire department and police department arrived. I guess the bonfire was a little too large for the subdivision to handle. So we moved it to my friend Helen's "farm" where there are acres and acres of land. Plus there is a huge lake in case the fire gets out of hand. Before the burning, Peter usually writes up a poem that we all recite together and then ol' Guy is lit and fireworks are set off. It is a wonderful reason to get together with friends!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Abilities Blessings

Blog Prompt: What things are you able to do are you thankful for?

There are so many things I am able to do that I take for granted. I didn't realize this until yesterday when my dad had a stroke and I was so worried about what he is able to do and not do. Today he has some paralysis on his left side and the doctor told him that he won't be able to go to work anymore but I'm just happy that he is still alive! I tried to imagine if this was me and what do I take for granted so here is my list:

1. The ability to take care of myself and be independent (too independent according to my husband!)
2. Hike of course!
3. Drive (my dad won't be able to drive anymore)
4. Read - I love to read (when I'm eating, riding in a car, before I go to bed)
5. Eat - I sure love to eat and since I'm going on these cruises, I will enjoy doing this!
6. Use a computer - so many people still do not know how to use a computer and I can't imagine not getting on the internet, or chatting with my family and friends
7. Teach- I think I'm pretty good at it and enjoy it. My presentation for the local literacy association staff went really well on Wednesday.
8. Retire - I'm glad I am financially able to retire while we are young enough and healthy enough to do things together.
9. Travel - I have a car that gets 50 mpg, a husband who loves to drive, and money enough to pay for our adventures.

I'm sure there are more but those are my main things!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Transportation Blessings

Blog Prompt: What modes of transportation are you thankful for?

1. Since I am "loonyhiker", I guess you can guess what my #1 thing would be...You got it! MY FEET. I don't have to change flat tires or buy gasoline for it so I try to take good care of them. We hope to hike down the Grand Canyon in the spring and people ask me why I don't ride a mule or take a boat. I don't trust those mules at all but know I can depend on my feet and I don't have any control over a boat (You don't ever want to get in a boat with me! It's not pretty!). I guess I'm just a control freak and like to have control which I do when I'm counting on my own feet.
2. Since gas prices have skyrocketed, I'm really thankful for my Toyoto Prius. We have had it for 9 months and still averaging around 50 miles to the gallon. We have put 21,000 miles on it already.
3. Of course I have to say cruise ships. We have 3 cruises booked before Christmas so I'm pretty excited. I'm already tired of being cold so I'm heading to the fun and the sun of the Caribbean!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cleaning Supply Blessings

Blog Prompt: Think of all the new things on the market since our parents were young and what they had to work with. What cleaning supplies are you thankful for?

1. Swiffer Dusters - I feel like they pick up a lot more dust instead of just spreading it through the air.
2. Vacuum - I sweep my floors and then I just run the vacuum over them too because I don't always get all the "stuff" up with the broom.
3. Plastic scrubbies - I don't know what I did without these. They sure make getting the gunk off my dishes easier when I'm doing dishes.
4. Lysol - I feel like this leaves things cleaner than just soap and water. I'm not sure it is true but my mind says so and that is good enough for me. LOL
5. Magic Erasers - they have worked wonders on marks on my wall, cleaning the white board in my classroom, and just great to use for basic cleaning.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Furman Homecoming 2007

This past weekend was homecoming at my alma mater. I helped in the alumni office a few days before and had a great time working with them. I never realized how hard they have to work to make this event go so smoothly.

credits: Ride A Dream Page Kit by Irene Alexeeva; Club Digital Sept 07 Quick Click by Lisa Carter

Jobs I Couldn't Imagine Doing!

Blog Prompt: What jobs do other people hold are you thankful for?

When I was thinking of which jobs other people do that I'm thankful for, the first ones that came to mind were all the ones that I would not do. I'm truly thankful for all the people who do these things to make my life comfortable and safe.
1. Firemen: I've had a few house fires and the firemen who have responded were professional and truly caring. They risk their lives to save people they don't even know. For that reason, twice a year I try to bake our local firemen a loaf of banana nut bread to show my appreciation.
2. Policemen: When I see the crime on the news, I'm thankful for these people who try to keep order in our semi chaotic world. They are truly underpaid for all that they go through each day. They also get a loaf of my banana nut bread twice a year (which doesn't really show how much I appreciate them!)
3. Sanitation workers: Can you imagine what the cities would be like if no one picked up garbage? Some rural places near us do not have city pick up and I watch the trash pile up in their yard until the county makes them clean it up.
4. Plumbers: I have been without water for 10 days and I hope that never happens again. I would rather be without power than water. Plumbers are worth their weight in gold!
5. Construction workers: I have tried to use a saw and it was not a pretty sight! I can't even drive a nail in straight. I guess without these people, I wouldn't have a house to live in!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Autumn Blessings

Blog Prompt: Give 3 or more reasons why you are thankful it is Autumn.

1. I'm tired of hot weather so I get to pull out my cold weather clothes. You can always add on clothes when you are cold but when it is hot and you are down to the skin, there is nothing else to take off.
2. I love the different colors of leaves and how beautiful everything looks when we are hiking.
3. Most of the weeds in my flower beds are dead and I don't have to worry about weeding every day!
4. The lawn doesn't need mowing as often which means I don't have to pay the lawn man as much.
5. Our electric bill is really lower. We don't run the air condition and my hubby won't turn on the heat unless he is freezing which isn't until January usually. He just tells me to put on more clothes!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cruisin' on the Volendam

I've been so busy being retired that I've hardly had a chance to scrap anything. Finally made myself sit down and do something because I was afraid I might be getting a little rusty. Hope you enjoyed my scrapbook page!

credit: Newsprint Dreams Page Kit by Lauren Bavin

Friday, November 02, 2007

Kitchen Item Blessings

Blog Prompt: What kitchen items are you thankful for?

Since I have retired I have actually enjoyed doing some cooking in the kitchen. For the first time I'm not rushed and tired from a long day at work. So here are the major things I can't live without.

1. Microwave - It is the greatest invention. Now that my sister is sharing some microwave recipes with me, I'm REALLY enjoying it for cooking and not just reheating or boiling water.
2. Gas stove - It is like the stove I grew up with. Since I got married we always had an electric stove until this. I like regulating the heat instantly.
3. Refrigerator - One winter we were without power for 10 days and everything in my refrigerator went bad. I don't know how the early pioneers did without refrigeration.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Blog Prompts: What family members are you thankful for and why?

1. My husband - He is my best friend and soul mate and I am not complete without him. We spend all of our free time together and enjoy it totally. After 25 years it gets better and better.
2. My father - I have always been a daddy's girl and guess I always will. Even at 88 years old, he still thinks I'm his little girl and worries about me. He is so stubborn and independent but I guess I will be like him when I get older.
3. My stepmother - she is so wonderful and understanding. Whenever I get frustrated with my dad, she steps in and makes things alright. She has never treated me like a "step" and has the same values as my mother did so she fits right into our family.
4. My sister - even though we live so far apart and grew apart when I went to college, we have gotten close again. She still treats me like I'm a baby because I'm her baby sister but I guess that goes with the territory.
5. My sister-in-law - she has always been wonderful to me. When my mother passed away and my sister couldn't be there, she offered to fly down to FL to help me. I know I could always count on her if I ever needed her.