Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Thrifty Tabloid: 2015 Has Not Been So Thrifty!

I haven’t written much about thrift lately. To be honest, this has not been a “thrifty” year. We moved into a condo from a house. There’s nothing “thrifty” about a move.

We were blessed to get full price for our home in less than 24 hours. This alone made us feel like we were doing the right thing.

When you move, you want new stuff. I did get some new stuff, but I resisted the urge to go overboard. For instance, we lost a bedroom, so I insisted on getting a sofa-bed (and love seat). We were not going to live without a soft water conditioner. You don’t go 38 years and decide to get cheap on that!

As I was talking to the condo salesperson, she asked me if there was anything she could do to “sweeten the pot” as she knew we were looking at another development too (the prices were comparable). I thought a minute and said, “blinds” and it was done. She could get them wholesale and that saved us a bunch of money. You simply cannot have windows without something on them in a new home! I haven’t purchased anything else for window treatments, but I do plan on sheers for the living room early in 2016. They will come from Amazon and I will get points for using my Amazon credit card. The hardware I have to look at and touch, so that will be Lowes, most likely.

We were given an “allowance” and that’s an interesting way to find out where you, as a couple put your priorities in decorating a home. We were mostly in agreement. We did not get hardwood floors or granite counter tops. I found a counter top pattern that looks like granite from a distance. So, on the other hand, I was able to upgrade all cabinets in kitchen and bathroom, order a storage unit for the utility room that is just wonderful and install (kitchen) cabinets over my washer and dryer, a lifelong dream! We were able to have the openings to the den and sun room “trimmed out” which really adds class!

I went dark with the kitchen. I think my husband was a little wary, but by the time I had that all put together, he finally figured out that I missed my calling as an interior decorator. We have a canister skylight in the kitchen, an absolute MUST! Because I lost my desk space—previously in my bedroom—the builders made me a desk in the kitchen. I upgraded the appliances, but the jury is still out on this brushed aluminum. Ty Pennington never has to CLEAN them, does he??

We didn’t buy any new accessories and it was interesting to see how all of our stuff worked in the new place. We did purge before the move, and I had some ideas, but it was amazing to see how this didn’t work and that did! I reached back to two or three houses ago for some of my ideas. Jerry had an amazing eye! I never give him credit for that and he was remarkable in the placement of pictures and so forth.

I made do with my nine-year-old bedding, but I just treated myself to new after Christmas. Actually, it's on it's way! I didn’t buy any new towels or shower curtains, we just made do. They will wear out eventually, and I will get new.

The most important concept of being able to do all of this is that, because we have practiced thrift all of our lives, we had some resources to be able to do this.

I have never been happier in a residence! Now back to thrifty living. I want a big vacation in a couple of years.

Until we "connect" again......

Saturday, December 19, 2015


There’s a song that recently came out. It is selling a zillion songs. It must resonate for many people. Myself, I had good relationships and have no regrets. But I know it isn’t true for everyone. I understand that there are many people who do not want to return to a situation that might open up some of these feelings. It is my hope and prayer that after 45 years, experiences and making some wallops of mistakes, that we can let go. And experience healing.

This is another aspect of the song, the real one?

Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart

Hello, how are you?
It's so typical of me to talk about myself, I'm sorry
I hope that you're well
Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened?

It's no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time

So hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, anymore

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
© Adele Adkins-Greg Kurstin 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015


What does “popular” mean?

I've been giving this some thought lately. It was a term we threw around a lot in junior high and high school. (I think we lost it in college, thank goodness)

Miriam Webster defines it as this:

1 of or relating to the general public

2 suitable to the majority: as a) adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority “a popular history of the war” OR b) suited to the means of the majority:sold at popular prices.”
3 frequently encountered or widely accepted “a popular theory.”
4 commonly liked or approved “a very popular girl.”
So the words that stand out to me are approved, majority, widely-accepted and commonly liked.
How does that relate to being “popular” in high school? It would be very possible to not even KNOW a person, so how to put oneself in the position of “commonly liked?”
Thinking back, I believe that the persons considered popular were “out in front.” That is, they were in some organization that many people were able to see. Things that come to mind in the 60's would be sports teams, band and auxiliary, musical organizations, drama (musicals) and anything else that was out there for everyone else to see.
The best performer in the debate team or chess club, participated in events that were not seen by most of the students. They might have been just as nice as could be, but they weren't “out there” for everyone to see. The administration of the school didn't include these victories in the announcements, the school newspaper (of which I was editor my senior year so I take responsibility for that) didn't report some of these things. They didn't make “Senior of the Week,” and well should some of them been recognized in that way. However, some probably became very successful attorneys.
But getting all that out of my head and returning to the present: I prefer the terms “well thought of” or when I get into my old-fashioned mood, “well turned out.” Because, after all, being popular in school does NOT guarantee success. When my daughter was a 6th grader, we were at a basketball game of my high school (not hers), and I was sitting with four of the most “popular” guys in my class. I liked them all, but didn't date any of them. After the game, I told her that these were among the most “popular” guys in my class, but at the time—things have changed—three of them were divorced and the fourth had not been married (has never been). I used this as a teaching moment for my daughter as we talked about what made good husbands. And certainly, this is not to say that these men are not good husbands today! But popular does not equal success, whether in relationships or careers.
As we return to our hometown, we simply must get this word out of our head as it relates to people. There may be a popular thought, political view, heaven knows what else, but it does not relate to people. Successful lives are NOT determined by money made! Lifelong marriages are becoming the anomaly, but it doesn't mean that those who have made some mistakes in relationships are not successful today.
When we reconnect, we are going to be surprised by the people we are genuinely attracted to, and by that I do NOT mean by their looks. There are some people that just radiate niceness, and I suppose in some respect it is attributed to their appearance, but for most of us, we have to dig deeper.
Everyone wants to see their best friends, myself included (although I manage that at other times than reunions), but don't overlook some of the other folk, that can really be quite interesting.
Popular is certainly not defined by number of friends on Facebook, although through that medium and our own web site, you can discern some of the interests of classmates you didn't know well at all. Those are the things that draw us together now: fishing, sports, quilting, crafts, music, (yes) faith and many other things.
I encourage you to look deeper. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thoughts on Knee Replacement

I was going to start this out as a Facebook status and it got too long for that. First of all, I do want to acknowledge that this conversation did not begin today. It has been going on for two years. During these two years, I have been having cortisone shots, finally agreed to arthroscopic surgery, which DID help the torn meniscus. We knew that. But we also knew that I had arthritis. Although new pictures will be taken before surgery, the two-year-old pictures showed that the left knee had moderate and the right knee had mild arthritis, we are going on the assumption that things have progressed from moderate-to-severe, and mild-to-moderate, from my description of symptoms and his physical examination. I will mention briefly that the symptoms of this showed up in 2000 when I was regularly lifting boxes of coin at the bank at which I was employed, so we’re on 16 years of this. All this is to say, this is not a new thing.

After Physical Therapy, and a vacation trip which I was in pain ALL THE TIME, I wanted to talk to the doctor now. Not two months from now, NOW! It is time to admit we have done everything we can do short of knee replacement surgery. This was not an easy thing. Jerry had the same arthroscopic surgery at the end of April that I had early July. It was apparent to me last week as he walked ahead of me that he was “trotting” down 5-6 stairs that I had to hold on the railing very tightly to do the same thing. We have said before: my left knee is not my right knee and neither can be compared to another patient. My decision today: two shots of cortisone, one in each knee.

I had several friends weigh in on my Facebook status and something interesting popped out at me. I have been guilty of this and I know others who have been also (who do not have these problems). If you would just lose weight, this wouldn’t have happened. Well, as I thought of my “friends” who weighed in—oh, that is terrible—they represented the full gambit of body types. It is time, my beloveds, to stop beating ourselves up over weight gain.

That said, I was able to lose 40 lbs. in late 2006-early 2007 without moving a muscle outside of daily activity. Come spring, I did begin to walk. I was employed by the Springfield Museum of Art and the Springfield Regional Medical Center was under “preparation for construction.” It would open in late 2011. I would walk a “city block” around the construction site and through the park that I worked in, every morning it was not raining. I lost this weight during my third bout with plantar fasciitis. So this can be done. However, the weight came back on and many symptoms reappeared. The plantar fasciitis has not reappeared, knock on wood. But I tore a meniscus in 2013 and the arthritis did what arthritis does…..got worse.

I have not been a cheap and easy date; beginning in 1981 when I had a cystectomy and found an extreme case of endometriosis in the process. I also got an appendectomy free of charge. It was time to poop or get off the pot, with reference to starting a family, and that took two years! In 1988 I had a caesarian birth with Mr. Refuse-to-Progress. In February 1996 I had a carpal tunnel surgery which involved 18 months of jumping through hoops when the Dr. and I knew what was wrong, before the insurance would pay for it. Later in that same year, in November, I had a septoplasty, which I honestly think changed my life the most. After all, this is every breath! And I was able to sing again.

In late 2002 I had to fight for the opportunity to have breast reduction. Our self-insurance with Jerry’s employer wouldn’t pay for it. It took what amounted to a class action suit against the schools from 7-8 families who needed various forms of treatment to get the go ahead. I had it in February 2003, three months before his retirement. We were not taking any chances. This operation was far more invasive than expected, but I still recommend it. We have the Internet now to double-check what our MALE surgeon is telling us! Take six weeks off, not three.

2013 brought cancer surgery, a lumpectomy. That surgery was fine and recovery normal. The radiation about killed me, but the surgery couldn’t have been more routine.

And this year, both of us took care of our menisci. It worked well for Jerry, not so much for me. As of 2015, that is.

So now the ball is in my court. How long will I let this go on? 2016 has some big events, the birth of a grandchild in June and my class reunion in late July.  Then there is FOOTBALL! I have made some pre-decisions: if this cortisone wears off say, mid-February, I am going in and say “do me!” That will have me up and around in May. If I get six months, I will get another shot and plan for late November or early December. Someone else will have to do Christmas, and that’s my final word on that. It’s not all about me, or rather it is! And Jesus.

I know that I could have taken diet and exercise more seriously over the years. I raised children and ran around too much to take time for me. However, my father had knee problems (operated at about 42 years of age), my brother Ben had knee problems and would not let the army touch him, so they were never reconciled before his death at age 51, and who knows what Loren would have had, since he was paralyzed at the age of 27? And son, you are not looking good at 27! Your day is coming. My daughter runs marathons, I don’t know how heredity and that will play together. That is new territory! Anyway, heredity plays a role and that’s simply all there is to it!

That’s why I say to myself, and to others, you simply cannot look at each other and go by their stories! Some have partials, some have totals. Their life previous to this surgery will be a factor. And as Dr. T. said, my knee isn’t Jerry’s knee and my left knee isn’t my right knee! I may have completely different stories as those operations play out.

We still have the conversation to have about partial vs. complete. The Dr. and I are not ready for that, but I know it will play a huge part in recovery.

If my readers want to give advice, I am open. Here is how I see what I will need in terms of help if we go sooner than later, and the worst case scenario. My husband, though he has his moments, overall will step up to the plate. He doesn’t cook and he doesn’t clean (he runs the sweeper but dusting affects his allergies), but he does laundry. However, he is quite able to go out for food, the down side is what kind of food, but we’ll get by.

  • Help me shower and make my bed. He just isn’t into showering with me and bandages.
  • Visit me if Jerry ends up going to help our daughter in March. Depending on these dates, I may need someone around just to be here “in case.” Maybe not. I will probably get some takers in the condo complex if that’s all I ask.

I am more than aware that my closest friends all have physical issues too. My daughter-in-law will be in her third trimester. That’s why there may be a lot of fast food for a time and the house may be a little dusty.

If I wait until late in the year—good financially because deductibles will be paid—this list will change. Jerry still won’t shower with me but Debbie and I have hilarious stories about my cleanliness and we’ll probably have more.

I’ll be back on this subject.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ron (and Sherry)

My history with Ron and Sherri goes way back. I wasn’t friends with him in school, I may or may not have known who he was, I’m not really sure.

When I was first married, I decided to attend a church that was really close to my home. It was small and intimate and in time, I got to know just about everyone. Ron and Sherri and I were in the same Sunday school class. It was the “Young Marrieds” class, and we were all about the same age.

We don't even mind grandchildren at our
We had parties at each other’s homes, and we were all having babies. Well, I waited awhile, but everyone else was. I remember visiting their home when their second baby was born, and the first was less than two years old. We all just loved all the kids!

I left that church before my first was born, so we didn’t see each other anymore. We didn’t reconnect except at reunions, and when we started having luncheons. They came to the first one and have attended most of them since.

This past year or so they have been more involved with their family as their daughter had premature, identical twin boys, and they helped her quite a bit. That’s a stage of life and it was a matter of time that they would return to events.

This is a situation where I am as good a friend of the spouse as the classmate. She also knows her way around my kitchen! Of course, I moved this year, but they came over and I showed her around my new kitchen. I don’t know how much help I will need at the Christmas party! But I know Sherri will pitch in!