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Need to relax, chill out, and let go of stress

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I've been letting stress and worry get to me too much again. I need to remember to take more moments just to breath and relax.

I had chemo last Tuesday, so I have been dealing with the side effects of that, some of which make my IBS flare up. Haven't felt very good since Sunday because of the IBS symptoms, feeling kind of crampy and bloated.

One thing that is stressing me out is insurance again. As those of you who regularly read my blogs know, my COBRA ran out in May and I got applied for, and got approved for, new health insurance from BCBS of Michigan. They have a 180 day waiting period for pre-existing conditions, (mine is stage IV breast cancer). But, if you can supply proof of previous continuous coverage, and fill out an application, you can get that waiting period waived.I filled out that paperwork and sent them my proof of coverage on May 10. Well, I was looking over my EOB statements online yesterday, and it was obvious no one has approved my application yet; when I saw the amounts I may be billed for the chemo, each treatment was between $3000-$4000; it literally made me sick to my stomach to see those amounts!

There is no reason why should deny waiving the waiting period for me; I sent them the paperwork 4 weeks ago, someone should have processed it by now! I immediately wrote them a letter about it, and made copies of all the paperwork I sent them the first time. My next step will be to contact the state insurance commissioner. It just makes me so angry; I pay my premiums on time, and I did everything else I was supposed to do; why can't they get the things they need to do on their end done in a timely manner?

I had a hard day and a rough night with my IBS symptoms; most of it is still from the chemo, but stress aggravates my condition also, and it certainly made it worse last night.

I had my Zometa today, and I talked to the nurse in the office; I feel better about things after talking to her. She told me not to worry, it will get straightened out, and they will do what they can on my end to help me. They have an office manager that really kicks butt when patients need help with insurance issues. I gave her a note to take back with her explaining my situation. (My oncologist's office isn't actually here in town, he comes to our hospital's specialty clinic on Tuesdays, so it's just him and his two oncology nurses that are here). She also told me that BCBS is very slow on taking care of a lot of things. I felt better after talking to her; I know things should work out, I just need to have faith and stop stressing about it. The stress isn't helping my health issues any.

So, I'm going to just try to relax and chill out today, and recover from the Zometa. I need to set the insurance worries aside for at least a few days, and just focus on making myself feel better.

I'm going to get some chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner tomorrow. Between being busy with the gardening in the last couple of weeks, and not feeling good from chemo, I've been relying too much on frozen entrees instead of cooking "real food"; I'm sure the sodium from those meals is not helping my bloating issues. I'm going to get back into doing some real cooking this week!

Last night, I didn't actually cook, but I did make myself a healthy chef salad for dinner. I also made a yummy dessert from one of my Hungry Girl cook books; it was also in a newsletter; I'll post the link at the end of my blog which has the complete recipe.

I made a Quickie Caramel Custard; used plain non-fat yogurt instead of the Greek yogurt called for in the recipe (I've tried the Greek yogurt and just don't like it), then all I did was add some Splenda, some cinnamon, and some fat free caramel syrup (didn't have the kind called for the recipe). It was very good! Low calorie but very decadent tasting.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAT7457 6/10/2010 3:13PM

    thanks for sharing the cookbook link.i am going to see what i can see in there to make. :)

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    I wish you were a Canadian so you didn't have to worry about your medical bills.


I've put NSA caramel syrup on yogurt before. I thought I invented that. LOL

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IVYLASS 6/8/2010 9:15PM

    Most doctors HATE having to deal with the insurance companies. Let the office manager fight the good fight for you while you concentrate on the kitties, your beautiful flowers, and fighting your illness.

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OUTDOORGIRL69 6/8/2010 8:09PM

    I will be praying for you.

God Bless

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ELLFIN3 6/8/2010 7:37PM

    Insurance companies are all slow-except when it comes to premiums!! I hope the IBS settles done! Rest Well! Have a Great Day tomorrow!!!!

emoticon emoticon

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LOVES_ANIMALS 6/8/2010 7:09PM

    You deserve things to be straightened out quickly. I have a good feeling for you.



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LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 6/8/2010 5:57PM

    I know you worry about insurance and that's so sad because all you should be concentrating on is your life and treatment.

Insurance companies take their time processing anything. I'll be keeping you in my prayers!

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MARTHA-ANN 6/8/2010 5:56PM

    it must be so hard with all this insurance worry, that's what i like about our National Health System, no just go to hospital and that's it!

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BKWHITE3 6/8/2010 5:22PM

    Stay strong. You are in my thoughts and prayers. emoticon

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DWHITTYONE 6/8/2010 3:29PM

    emoticon Here Honey, I've made you something to help you feel better.

Insurance is enough to make anyone sick...stay strong.


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Lost a Spark friend today

Monday, June 07, 2010

I have been having a bad couple of days, and I was already to pour it out in my blog today; a lot of it just plain feeling sorry for myself.

But then I learned some very sad news; one of my Spark friends, and a member of the Surviving Cancer team I am on, has passed away. She died way too young from breast cancer.
Her name was Dawn, also known by her user name Damisa.

She was so brave and courageous! I admired her fighting spirit as I read her blogs. I really believed that she was going to beat this.

Learning that news today suddenly made all my problems I was going to complain about very small. Living with cancer, you never know when things will change, for better or worse. It's a reminder of how fragile life really is, whether you have cancer or not.

Damisa, I know you are up there in Heaven now, and no longer in pain. I will miss you so much, but when it's my turn to go, you are one of the first people I'm going to look for there.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAT7457 6/10/2010 3:10PM

    so sorry to head about the loss of your friend Dawn, my prayer go out to you and her family and spark friends.

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1GR8FULGAL 6/9/2010 9:45PM

    I'm so sorry for this loss. I'll be keeping her friends and family in my prayers. Take care. Nancy

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PAT3ONTHEBACK 6/8/2010 10:20AM

    I'm sorry about your friend, Shari. I hope all the traditions for handling life's end will keep you OK, and mark her passing meaningfully.

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CLCCOOL 6/8/2010 10:14AM

    I had heard about this in one of my other teams, thought I didn't know here, my heart goes out to those of you who did & her family. God willing things will change & we will stop loosing loved ones to this stupid, horrible disease. I pray for you & your recovery, also. I think of you often.
We all have days when we just want to complain, it's normal. Always feel free, we are all here to support you & lend an ear or shoulder!

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COUNTRYBUMKIN65 6/8/2010 8:10AM

    Sending prayers to you and Dawn's family.. I'm so very sorry you lost such a great friend.. Warmest of Hugs.. emoticon

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FITKAT2010 6/8/2010 7:01AM

    So sorry for the loss. Perhaps this is the crux of what is happening with you hon. The sense of loss of the old self by losing weight. The sense of fear of the unknown for the new self you are becoming.

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MARTHA-ANN 6/8/2010 1:56AM

    So sorry Shari, thinking of you and Dawn's family emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/8/2010 1:56:45 AM

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TUFFYBIRD 6/8/2010 12:08AM

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I never mvet her on SP but I wish it had.I have a friend right now who is only expected to live for a few more weeks, and that is really hard! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 6/7/2010 9:25PM

    Ah, Shari... I'm so sorry to hear about Dawn, or Damisa. I never knew her, but she gives a poignant reminder of life's tenuousness. My condolences.

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MEXGAL1 6/7/2010 9:09PM

    God Bless Dawn. So sorry to hear about this.

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OUTDOORGIRL69 6/7/2010 6:13PM

    My prayers are out there for you & her family.

God Bless

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LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 6/7/2010 5:46PM

    I'm so sorry Shari. We are constanly reminded of how fragile life is and how it can change in an instant. We hate the reminders but we live better because of it.

Take care of yourself Shari.


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ELLFIN3 6/7/2010 5:06PM

    Sorry about your loss! She is watching over us from above! We should all be on our best behavior so she will be proud of us!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TERJEGOLD 6/7/2010 4:44PM

    Oh my! I did not realize she was that sick. I LOVED knowing her on Spark.

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LISAALLGIER 6/7/2010 3:43PM

  I am so sorry for your loss, I will keep you in my prayers. emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 6/7/2010 2:33PM

    Yes, Dawn will be missed. I remember last year when Julie passed away from our Surviving Cancer team. She had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer the exact same day as me. I have missed her being on the team. We'll see both Julie and Dawn one day, in heaven.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SKFEREBEE 6/7/2010 2:30PM

    This really puts it all in perspective. So sorry. emoticon emoticon

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TINYC887 6/7/2010 2:16PM

    I'm so sorry, living with cancer really does suck.

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KITTYMOM29 6/7/2010 2:14PM

    I too am extremely saddened by Dawn's death. I believed as you did that she would make it through this. She had such a wonderful attitude and never gave up. Reading her most recent blog from March made it sound like she was improving. I hope that she didn't suffer at the end. She was on my team, Making it Through Breast Cancer, and I'm going to start a thread where people can submit thoughts and memories about her. I hope to learn more about her from them; I've only been on this site about 6 months and never really got to know her. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Cindy emoticon

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KEL_BEL_FX3 6/7/2010 2:03PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 6/7/2010 1:55PM

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Now you have your very own guardian angel watching out for you.

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BKWHITE3 6/7/2010 1:27PM

    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Comment edited on: 6/7/2010 1:27:36 PM

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DARLINSUMMER 6/7/2010 1:21PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Many hugs.

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SCORPIO1026 6/7/2010 1:05PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Sometimes events like this one put things into perspective. I know Damisa is still with you encouraging you every step of the way!

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Egg Mug recipes

Sunday, June 06, 2010

These recipes are from the Hungry Girl Newsletter; they are basically variations of scrambled eggs microwaved in a coffee mug. The link for the complete recipes is here:

I have been trying the different recipes over the past 2-3 weeks. They are all made with egg substitute, like Egg Beaters, but instead, I used a whole egg plus 2 egg whites for each one. I also made mine in an oversized mug, one that I normally use for soup. I found it a lot easier for stirring that way and didn't have to worry about anything spilling over while cooking.

A couple of recipes also called for Dijonaisse, which isn't available in my area. It's basically a mix of mayo and Dijon mustard anyway, so I made my own using Miracle Whip Light and regular Dijon mustard.

All the recipes turned out well, and the eggs nice and fluffy. You spray the mugs with cooking spray before filling, and they take less than 2 minutes to cook.

This is the basic recipe, just the eggs and a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese.

This has Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese, fresh spinach, Dijonaise, and a little yogurt in it. The sauce is mixed separately and added after the eggs are cooked; very good!

Laughing Cow Swiss cheese used in this one again, and also a slice of fat-free American cheese, plus one Boca Burger patty, and ketchup. I used the Boca crumbles instead of the patty, since the patty gets chopped up anyway. I never tried ketchup on eggs before, wasn't sure I'd like it, but it was very good.

Laughing Cow cheese again, with ham, cut up toast, and shredded fat free cheddar cheese. I made this one this morning. Didn't have any ham, so I used 2 tablespoons of pre-cooked real bacon crumbles. The flavor kind of made me think of BLT sandwich. I'm thinking some diced tomato would be good in this.

Another good one; Laughing Cow Swiss cheese, crumbled bacon, onion and Dijionaise.

This is my favorite of all the egg mug recipes I tried. Boca burger crumbles, shredded fat free cheddar cheese, and salsa. I think black beans would be good in this too.

All recipes make one serving.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRISHAANN56 6/6/2010 9:29PM

    I get the Hungry Girl e-mail newsletter everyday and I've seen those recipes listed; but I never tried them, now I just may. Thanks for trying them and telling us about them!

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ELLFIN3 6/6/2010 8:38PM

    Sound good! Sorry you had a blah day!! I had blah week last week but I am going to have a better week this week!! You have a better day tomorrow!!!!!!! I have showed everyone your candy corn vine! They all thought it was very cool!!!!

emoticon emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 6/6/2010 7:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonLOL! Foodie creativity at its best :) Thanks, Shari! Yes, I'd agree - the Egg Mug Mexicali sounds appealing...and I don't even like eggs that much! You're always cooking up something interesting at your place - thanks for sharing! - Sandi emoticon

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TERI99 6/6/2010 6:11PM

    Yum! I love omelets; I usually use egg whites.

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MGRIFFITH32 6/6/2010 6:04PM

    Oh my goodness! I thought i was the only one who did this. LOL I pour egg whites in with a Laughing Cow and spinach, then top it with turkey bacon and put it on a light high fiber english muffin. YUMMY! I was just thinking of trying to make a breakfast pizza with an egg white crust. Thanks for sharing. I don't get the HG newsletter anymore for some reason but I definitely need to resub! Thanks for your comment about my dress. Happy breakfasts!

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BCGIRL74 6/6/2010 4:37PM

    Yum! Thanks for posting. These will great for me to make at work.

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HOPE2BE 6/6/2010 4:10PM

    These all sound good. I think I've heard of the mug recipes before but not the Laughing Cow and dijonaise.

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BKWHITE3 6/6/2010 3:31PM

    The recipes sound good. I have some Egg Beaters, I'll give these a try. Thank you for sharing.

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PAMNANGEL 6/6/2010 2:24PM

    I would never have thought of doing eggs like this.

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DEBNICU 6/6/2010 2:19PM

    I saw these earlier and put them in my favorites. Glad to hear these are good and I can't wait to try them.
Thanks for the reminder.
Have a great day.

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GALSAL59 6/6/2010 2:15PM

    Sounds divine for those that don't care to cook much at me! Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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MADDEELOU 6/6/2010 2:12PM

    Sound good. Thanks for sharing.

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KEL_BEL_FX3 6/6/2010 2:02PM

    now those sound really good

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    Thanks for the recipes....they sound delicious!!

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A perfect June day

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I was up early again this morning; not quite as early as yesterday though, but felt a lot more rested today.
I wanted to get to the greenhouse as soon as they opened up at 9am, to pick up my free flat of zinnias. (Our official city flower is the zinnia, something that was voted on way back in the 30's). Anyway, once a year the city hands out 200 coupons for a free flat of zinnias, to residents within the city limits. I got there shortly after 9am to pick mine up, there was a line of cars already but was moving quickly.

Had to make a quick trip to Walmart to get a bag of top soil and potting soil, of course, while I was in the garden center I couldn't resist looking at the plants! I bought a planter of hens and chicks which were on clearance, and a Gerbana daisy.

I planted some of the zinnias on the long side of my porch.

The leftover zinnias I planted in a planter. My dad stopped over, and he helped me get the bags of dirt out of my car trunk. He also helped me dig the holes for the lilies I bought yesterday in my perennial bed. I re-potted one of my coleous that I had in a pot with some other plants, it was wilting, not sure why, it wasn't from lack of water, but I thought maybe it would do better in a pot by itself and a location in the shade. I planted the scented geranium I bought at the farmer's market yesterday in it's place. I also planted my candy corn vine; in a location by my front steps; hoping to train the vine to grow around the railing there. I also re-potted my sweet potato vine to a larger pot.

My tomato plant is growing fast, and has several blossoms on it. Cucumber plant isn't doing too bad either.

Here's a pic of part of my perennial bed. Some of the plants there won't have flowers on them for a few more weeks yet.

You can probably tell from the dried grass in front we really need some rain!

One of the daisies I bought this year has a flower on it already.

The weather was perfect today, in the 70's and a light breeze. I worked in the shade though as much as I could, and as always, made sure I put my sunblock on.

I have two neighbors who also got the free zinnias; we all had a nice break from our work when we were talking and comparing notes as to where we were going to plant our flowers.

I'm tired now, but not exhausted. A little sore, really worked some of the stomach muscles today. Every year, I can't wait to start planting all the flowers and stuff, but it feels good when that part is done too, and all I have to worry about is the weeding and the watering. Looks like we may get some rain tonight and tomorrow, so I might not have to do that chore again til Monday.

Just relaxing right now, it's starting to get dark. Enjoying the view of the bright yellow finches at the feeders just outside my window, they are such beautiful birds. It's been a perfect June day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAINLADY 6/7/2010 6:59AM

    Your gardens and plants are looking lovely, Shari. I can hear it in your "voice" how much you enjoy gardening. Have a good week. I have a scheduled MRI this morning and you know how much I hate them. Will be glad when it's over and I can forget about for another six months.


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MARTHA-ANN 6/6/2010 4:19AM

    Glad you had a good day, your garden looks lovely emoticon

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PATRICIA441 6/5/2010 10:54PM

  You are sounding good Shari! Love the pictures of the flowers!

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CMRAND54 6/5/2010 10:39PM

    You are quite a gardener. Your flowers and plants look great.

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BKWHITE3 6/5/2010 9:55PM

    Shari, I love your gardens. They'll be nice to look at this summer. There is just something relaxing about looking at a garden. The bird feeders are relaxing to look at too.

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TERI99 6/5/2010 8:52PM

Your flowers are just lovely. It is clear that your garden gives you as much joy as mine gives me. What is it about flowers that is so healing?

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LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 6/5/2010 8:46PM

    Shari ... it's looking good! I hope you spend a lot of time out there this summer ... beautiful!

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DENI_ZEN 6/5/2010 7:56PM

    A fabulous day well spent! You've now got quite an amazing assortment of all kinds of plants, Shari - I'm in awe! Plus, you exercised those muscles without even trying :) I especially love the hens and chicks! - Sandi emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TUFFYBIRD 6/5/2010 7:51PM


Wow - I think you have more energy than I do ... and I'm not undergoing chemo!

Re: the hens and chickens ... those are amazing plants. We were given a couple as gifts a few years ago and really didn't expect much. Nothing thrives at our place. We have sand, sand, and more sand and we're surrounded by shade, so we don't have any soil and we don't have much light. Mr. T planted the H&C's around the base of our silver spruce tree - even grass won't grow there because the boughs make the soil so acidic (I think it's acidic, not alkaline). These things thrived! They not only grew and filled in, they bloomed emoticon They have lovely flowers and they last 2-3 weeks. I think that's a pretty long time, all things considered. I'll try to remember to take pics if/when they bloom this summer and post them.

Take care. emoticon

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MIMOTOGO 6/5/2010 7:44PM

    emoticon hope your weekend goes great!

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KEL_BEL_FX3 6/5/2010 7:34PM

    The pics all look great.

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ELLFIN3 6/5/2010 7:34PM

    Sounds like a very productive day! Hope tomorrow is a good one too!!

emoticon emoticon

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ASTORRES1 6/5/2010 7:32PM

    NICE..............thanks for sharing the pretty pics.


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Up early and went to the farmer's market this morning

Friday, June 04, 2010

Last night, I decided to go to bed early so I could get to the Friday farmer's market early, they open up at 8am on Friday's. Wanted to get there while the selection of plants was the best. I went to bed early last night, tried to anyway; ended up with a headache and had to take my migraine meds, and I also had to take one of my sleeping pills.

Our farmer's market is in the city hall parking lot two days per week, Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings. If I didn't go today, I wouldn't be able to go again til next Friday, since I have my Zometa treatment on Tuesday.

I had my alarm set for 6:30am, but didn't get up til after 7am. Part of it was feeling lazy, and still being tired, but I also had my cat Timmy curled up next to me, purring away. I just wanted to stay in bed and cuddle him, and not disturb him. But finally I did get up.It took me awhile to feel awake once I got up, but I left the house around 8:30am. Parked my car in the lot nearby the Farmer's Market and walked over to the bank to get some cash out of the ATM.

I bought a few lilies for my perennial bed, and also a scented geranium, and also a plant I had never seen before, called a candy corn vine. I won't be planting anything until Saturday or Sunday though; I'm still feeling muscle pain from my Neulasta shot, and tired from getting up so early. We have rain coming anyway; possibly some severe storms this afternoon. It will be nice if the front coming through cuts down the humidity. It was foggy when I left the house today; not hot out, only in the low 70's, but still feels sticky outside.

This is the candy corn vine.

I put the plants in the car, and walked to the Family Dollar store that was in the same parking area. I bought a couple more plant pots and a couple of tomato cages. Then, after another trip to deposit my purchases into the car, I walked over to a couple of nearby little gift stores, where I took my time looking around and bought some gifts for two friends who have birthdays this month.

I was tired after that trip into town, but happy with what I found today. Hoping to get to bed early again tonight so I can get my free flat of zinnias at 9am when the greenhouse opens (that was the coupon I picked up from city hall on Tuesday that I blogged about earlier in the week.) Hoping to get a start on getting those planted; since they will go into the ground instead of containers, I'm not going to try to get them all planted in one day, I'd be pretty sore. I also need to plant the the things I bought at the farmer's market.

I'd love to get out for a walk this afternoon if there is a break in the rain, but even if I can't, I did get some exercise with the walking around I did while shopping.

Just have to share one more picture; this is that cat that belongs to one of my neighbor's that was "helping" me plant some flowers the first part of the week; I caught her hiding in my hostas watching a squirrel in one of my trees last night.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1GR8FULGAL 6/5/2010 1:43PM

    WOW!! I'm tired out just reading about all you did! I'm glad you felt well enough to do all that; wonderful. I love the pics! Never seen or heard of that vine before but it's great & easy to see where it got its name. Wishing you a fabulous weekend. Nance.

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8MYWAYHERE 6/5/2010 9:35AM

    You are an inspiration. Your must really love plants and gardening. I so admire them, just not good at keeping them alive. The farmers market sounds like a wonderful idea. Have a terrific weekend.

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MARTHA-ANN 6/5/2010 2:42AM

    cute cat!

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HOPE2BE 6/5/2010 12:34AM

    That Candy Corn really looks like Candy Corn. I see why they named it that. That kitty is so cute. Glad you posted it. Do you not buy any vegetables or fruit at the farmer's market?

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OUTDOORGIRL69 6/4/2010 9:21PM

    I just love the Candy Corn plant and the picture of the cat

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BMRBUDDY 6/4/2010 5:28PM

    The cat picture is adorable and is he sitting next to a squirrel? They look like buddies!

Have a great weekend - Kate

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BKWHITE3 6/4/2010 4:59PM

    I've never seen a Candy Corn Vine, it does look like candy corn. The picture of the cat is cute.
Take care. emoticon Bonnie

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ELLFIN3 6/4/2010 3:02PM

    The Candy Corn Plant is very unusual! Love the picture of the kitty!! Hope the storms are not bad, just rain!! It is hot here. Have a fabulous weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
R> emoticon emoticon

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SERENEMOM71 6/4/2010 1:23PM

  Loved the candy corn plant and the picture of your cat! My cats woke me up by biting my feet this morning to feed them! It's a bad habit they have that I haven't figured out how to break. I don't feed them right away and also pretend not to notice them when they bite my feet so not to reinforce that behavior! But it is so annoying!

Take care this weekend and God bless!
Love, your cat friend,
Amy emoticon

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LISAALLGIER 6/4/2010 1:23PM

  Sounds like you are going to have a busy weekend, I hope the weather holds out for ya. I really like the candy corn plant, I have not ever seen or heard of it.
Have a great day!!

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TERI99 6/4/2010 1:16PM

    What a cute picture; great shot of the cat! Your yard is going to be beautiful when you finish all your planting. I'm sure it already is!

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KEL_BEL_FX3 6/4/2010 1:10PM

    It sounds like you got a lot of walking in during your trip this morning. WTG. I love that candy corn vine, it looks really cool.

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    That Candy Corn Vine is really neat. I hope it doesn't give you a craving.

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GRACEZN 6/4/2010 12:43PM

  I've never seen or even heard of a candy corn vine -thanks for the picture! You have so many beautiful looking plants. And that picture of the kitty is so cute. I know what you mean about staying in bed to cuddle with a pet - I like to do that with mine in the morning. emoticon

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DENI_ZEN 6/4/2010 12:38PM

    That picture of the hosta-watching cat is a prize-winner! You captured a magic moment there! And the candy corn plant? I wouldn't have thought it was for real if you weren't the source - amazing! I'm delighted to see you're getting a lot done and out and about despite your treatment. Fantastic! Have a great weekend, Shari - Sandi

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