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Archive for August, 2018

Be mindful!

August 31st, 2018 at 06:04 am

I learned yesterday I was accepted into a study to determine if mindful meditation helps with insomnia among MS patients. Well, I knew I was in the study but didn't know if I'd be in the control group, which attended no classes, or in the study group itself. So I'm in the latter, which means 13 weeks of classes each Friday afternoon, plus 3 "assessments."

The benefits for me include learning a lot more about mindful meditation, a subject that interests me, getting paid $200, and a free FitBit, which I'll be using during the course of the study.

My only expense will be the gas money for driving to and from the hospital, about a 30-minute ride one way.

I recently cancelled my (Frontier) phone service and bought Magic Jack, which has a new phone number. I noticed today that my old phone number is still in service, so I had to call them back. It should be gone in 1-3 days, which is good for me because I noticed since cancelling the old number that I'm getting lots more spam, since my new number is not registered on the Do Not Call list.

I was unable to register the new number because the system "recognized" I was calling from the old number! It also appears that while I can make outgoing calls from any of my 7 phones (2 sets of cordless phones and 1 regular), I only receive incoming phone calls from the 1 regular phone. If I'm on a phone call on that line and I pick up one of the cordless phones, I get a dial tone.

I suspect (hope) that this is also caused by the fact that Frontier hasn't yet terminated my old phone number. I checked my Panasonic cordless manual to see if there was anything I need to do to "format" when you change phone numbers, but there doesn't appear to be anything....it's all kind of confusing but I hope it straightens itself out shortly.

As far as the carpet/floor painting project in my family room, I decided to remove ALL furniture in there and do all the prep and paint for the whole floor instead of trying to do one half at a time. It just seemed like it would be double the work. Of course, that means all that furniture is piled up in my living room and dining room,and it's generally a mess on the 1st floor now. I have just one more piece of carpet/padding to remove, and then I'll drop it at the dump today since I have little room for it to just sit here.

Here's what the room looks like right now...you can see in back the large entertainment center..it's actually 2 pieces but still heavy as heck.





I was able to move all the furniture out MYSELF except for a sold oak and very heavy entertainment center, which would take 2 brawny men to move. I suppose I could try calling a moving company and ask for 2 men to move just that (and move it back without scratching a newly painted floor), but the cost would be ridiculous for just that, and the whole idea of me doing this was to save money by doing it myself.

So while it sounds totally tacky, I'm kind of resigned to just cutting away the carpeting around the entertainment center, and painting around it, leaving a rectangular piece of carpet in place under it. Totally tacky, right??

I guess my desire to get rid of old stained carpeting was greater than my distaste for painting around the entertainment center.

I actually even considered just leaving the current "battleship gray" paint with white splatters AS IS, calling it "urban chic" and leaving it at that.

On today's agenda I hope to do the following:

1. Rip off remainder of carpeting and padding, including around the entertainment center.
2. Use tools to pry up the tack stripping around rest of room.
3. Bring all this ripped up stuff to dump
4. Vacuum
5. Begin using wood putty in the many holes and maybe some of the larger scratches, cracks. Let dry.
6. Do a 2nd lead paint test, just to be sure. The 1st one came out negative, but I'm not positive I exposed all the paint to swab, so want to do again for peace of mind, and I should be getting that 2nd lead test today via Amazon.
6. Do a light sanding.
Vacuum again.
7. Prime some spots where there's bare wood.

This should take most of the day, if not tomorrow.

I'd also like to hit the paint store to get color swatches. I have 2 options I can't decide between:

1. Use the same light taupe color I used in adjoining sun room, or

2. Use a very dark brown (almost black) with high gloss as a contrast to the medium oak brown furniture, white walls and taupe trim. I've seen this beautiful look in home decorator magazines.

One writer cautioned against using glass paint and suggested at most semi-gloss because the high gloss looks "like plastic." Not sure if I'd agree or not.

Please weigh in on the issue of painting around the entertainment center instead of trying to move it, and the color choice for floor.

All my news...

August 26th, 2018 at 04:35 pm

It's been a while since I posted here.

This morning I visited a beautiful Japanese garden on a country estate.



This afternoon (I don't know what got into me), but I began ripping up the wall-t0-wall carpet in my family room. It's 23 years old and has many stains and I really couldn't wait to get rid of it. I think what motivated me was that I finally got around to doing a lead test on the paint, because I wasn't sure if I would just paint over it and use area rugs or, if it had lead, just replace with new wall to wall carpet.

Turns out it tested negative, so that inspired me. Ripping up the carpet, and the spongy thing underneath, then rolling them and cutting into small pieces so I could take in my car to transfer station was the easy part.

The harder part was pulling up the gazillions of nails and staples. I used a hammer and another tool that I used as a crow bar to pry up the tack strips along the wall perimeter, and used a pair of pliers to pull up the staples.

The game plan is to putty holes and deep scratches, then lightly sand and paint, probably in the color of the baseboard, to make it easier. I'll have to repaint the baseboard becus once I removed the carpeting, you can see the different color on the bottom half-inch of baseboard.

Once that's done, I'll move the furniture on this half of the room back in place, then start moving furniture on the other half. A big project!!

Yesterday my cousin from Jersey came up for the day (just the 2nd time she's been here), and I had my father over too. She's a talker. Smile I did a ton of cooking for just the 3 of us, so now I have plenty of leftovers. My dessert came out really great: vegan ice cream which had a great ice cream-like consistency. So easy to make and great for anyone who's lactose-intolerant. You just combine in a food processor: frozen cherries, 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a dash of vanilla, a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa and a small amount of almond or soy milk.

I have a new walking partner who I try to walk with twice a week, in addition to my other jaunts. She has a German shepherd, so she walks twice daily regardless. She used to live on my street when she was married, but now she's divorced and lives very nearby but on another street. So I can walk there when we go. When I walk with her, we walk much longer than I would otherwise do, so this is good.

The only problem is, she's used to walking from her house, and we both live in an area that has limited places to go for walks that don't involve busy 2-lane highways or a very steep hill. We have ended up walking along the busy highway for short distances, or even crossed it, but I really feel uncomfortable doing that on a regular basis. Drivers just don't expect to see pedestrians in these areas, and it only takes one distracted driver. Even her dog was spooked the other day when we were trying to cross.

I did say I wasn't crazy about doing this and that there are nicer places to go if we hop in the car, but somehow we've ended up always walking on these streets. So I really need to be more firm about it, I guess.

Together with some adjustments to my diet, I've lost 7 pounds! My neighbor asked me if I'd lost weight. The adjustments involved reducing my portion of (homemade) granola for breakfast, mostly staying away from pasta and watching those portions, too, and eating not quite as many nuts.

My latest news

August 13th, 2018 at 06:32 am

I finally took the plunge and got Magic Jack. It was very easy to hook up. Initially, I decided to save myself $20 and have them randomly assign me a new (free) phone number, but once I did that, I regretted not porting over my existing number, because now I'll have a gazillion people to inform.

On the plus side, having a new number should vastly cut down on the amount of telemarketing calls I receive. Plus, Magic Jack has a free service you can opt into for call screening, where the caller is asked to dial a one-digit number before the call is patched over to me and my phone rings. Robocalls can't do that, so that's a plus, too. Finally, I don't think my Magic Jack call will be listed in public phone directories like my Frontier (formerly AT&T) number was, so that again, would be helpful.

Why did I go with Magic Jack? Because I was one of those very few people who still maintained a land line, and I was tired of having to renegotiate my phone bill every year or every other year with Frontier, with certain "discounts" I never knew about until I threatened to leave. More transparency would have been nice.

My current bill with Frontier for both phone and Internet is $61 and change. Roughly $30 for each. Note huge, but I dislike recurring bills and knew there were many other options available.

I had discounts for bundling my phone and Internet with Frontier so I knew my current bill for both would not be cut in half when I dropped the phone. I called them this morning, and in fact, cancelling my phone service with Frontier (effective end of the month becus they bill in cycles) will only save me $15 a month, so my current $61 bill will drop to just $47 (inclusive of taxes/fees).

Once I and everyone who knows me gets used to my new phone number, it will still be worth it, because phone service is one of those things you don't tend to think about much from day to day. So the $15 a month savings will become $177 saved annually, or $885 saved over the course of 5 years, without really thinking about it.

Magic Jack cost me $47, which includes shipping fee, plus another $6 for 911 service. The 911 fee varies in price and is not set by Magic Jack. I will pay to renew Magic Jack service each year, I'm assuming after subtracting the $8 shipping cost referenced above.

I will feel more comfortable once my Frontier phone service is disconnected, as I want to make sure clarity and operability of the new service works fine. I tested, dialing my new number from my cell phone, and it seemed to work fine.

I have a new walking partner who lives within walking distance of me. She's one of the neighbors I invited to my patio party last month and like me, she loves to walk. (And she's VERY trim!) I am aiming for now to walk with her twice a week. Maybe in the fall when it cools down we can do more. She goes daily, often twice daily, as she has a German Shepherd.

I can't tell you how much more enjoyable walking for exercise is when you have someone to talk to. So we are enjoying getting to know one another. Last night, after our walk, she invited me in for a glass of wine. And I lost another pound!

I made a delicious cold salad to bring to work today, perfect for these hot weather days: chopped fresh pineapple, chopped cucumber, chopped cilantro and lime. Yum.

My father's vision is getting worse. My father knew this all along, but now his doctor, who's been giving him the monthly eye injections for some time now, has informed him so, and I think my father is finally resigning himself to not being able to drive "soon." He still has to get the eye injections because while it doesn't stop the deteriorating vision, it will slow it down. My father will not be blind, but nearly so. It's very sad.

I told him I'm available to take him to all his doc appointments, and I can do grocery shopping with him too. It's going to require a significantly greater commitment by me to help him out, but this is one reason why I scaled back my work hours, because I saw this coming. My sister works full-time and is not around during the week.

I also prodded him to complete the process of getting all local doctors where he's living now; at the moment, he still travels 1.5 hours to New Jersey to see his podiatrist and his dentist, who happens to be his brother-in-law. Totally unnecessary, and while I have to drive him down there to replace a broken tooth, I'm not going to make a habit of ferrying him down there when he can see doctors up here.

Even so, I worry about my dad's mental health. To feel confined to your apartment except for very occasional outings (we also go to dinner every weekend), cannot be an easy thing. I need to think about this and what else I can do to help him. Maybe looking into senior center transportation options and contacting his town's senior center for info.

Two black swallowtail caterpillars feeding on my parsley have formed their chrysallises, and I expect them to emerge as butterflies very soon. Smile

I also spotted 2 Monarchs nectaring on my Joe Pye Weed, and I'm hoping they laid eggs.