Preaching to the Choir

I know, I know, this will be old news to my readers because you are affected by the same phenomenon, but it will make me feel better to get this off my mind. But really?? Eight dollars a pound for strawberries? Okay, so they are out of season at the moment, and it is a holiday week so the vendor can charge an arm and a leg for something I want, but I think this is pushing the window too far. During the season, that same container of strawberries will cost $1.79 and I will avoid buying because it is too expensive. Imagine what I will do when they are $7.99. Yep, I’ll avoid them and my love for sweetness will have to find something else to satisfy my appetite, like left over Halloween candy. As I write and the stress of seeing that high price begins to flow from my body I am happily gorging on 3 Musketeers and Snickers bites. That is definitely not KETO.

What is the underlying cause of this rising price phenomenon? It is th evil word spelled “i-n-f-l-a-t-i-o-n. “What is inflation in regard to money? Webster defines it as “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.” Do we understand how the purchasing value of money changes? It’s simply the government printing money to pay its bills. So, if our national budget is a trillion dollars, and Uncle spends a trillion dollars more than he has, and prints a trillion to cover, the dollar just lost half of its value. The seller who once paid $4.00 a pound for strawberries now has to pay eight, for the exact same pound of berries, they didn’t get bigger, they didn’t get sweeter, there are still the same number of berries in the container and you didn’t get a single damned thing more for those extra four dollars because the value of the dollar just shrunk by a hundred percent. The simple problem for you and me is that our pay did not grow accordingly. In the case of a senior citizen like me who lives on a fixed income which means I can’t, or won’t get a raise in pay, inflation is as deadly a as COVID-19.

And, that my friends is why I believe I am preaching to the choir, because the people who can do something about it are not sitting in the same church as you and I. They are sitting in Congress and are deaf to everything but campaign contributions. What is our option? We have to vote the bastards out of office, and that means we have another one to three years to survive, and sadly, some of us won’t make it. In the meantime, we have to vote when we can, and pray that our country doesn’t go bankrupt.

Halloween Left-overs

This year I was optimistic about the number of kids that would come trick or treating. After all, COVID has quieted down in our area and everybody is anxious to get out. A month before the event my grocery store ran a sale of Halloween candy. I bit and bought a bag of 250 pieces of Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, and M&Ms. Guess what? The crowd was minimal. I don’t think we had fifty kids come to the door. Of course it helped when my neighbor two doors down set up a giant air slide that he uses for his grand kids and I saw several kids pass by my house and make a b-line to the slide. Thank you Sue, but next time give me a warning. Now I’m stuck with all my favorite candies tempting me to kiss KETO goodbye. The system doesn’t work if I eat KETO breakfast, lunch, and supper, but snack on candies in between.

I worked a couple of hours this afternoon troubleshooting my pond pump which mysteriously stopped pushing water to my water fall. I pulled it out a couple of days ago when the temperature was in the low sixties, today it is in the thirties and a few hours ago it was snowing. Not very good weather to be playing outside in water, but it was a great day to play inside with water. I disassembled the pump and found nothing that would stop the impeller. I plugged it in on the bench and the impeller spun. After putting it back together I had two bolts left over and no nuts. I searched for a few minutes and thought maybe I have some of these nuts in my cache. I have hundreds of nuts, but not the kind I needed. I moved every tool, and part I had on the bench but found nothing. I scanned the floor around my bench with a spot light, nothing. Then the brain kicked in and started retracing my steps, I did walk the parts to the slop sink to clean them, so I scanned the sink, nothing. Then the light went on above my mind, look in the drain. Yep that’s where they were.

A second assembly later I declared the pump ready for a test, indoors that is. I left off the 90 degree elbow with the check valve, and put the pump in a five gallon bucket with water to test in my basement slop sink. The water shot up and gushed forth. Next, I thought why not see if the valve is the problem. I reassembled the elbow with the valve, and then thought long and hard about plugging it in. Do I venture ahead and test with the possibility of having to clean up four gallons of water, or do I drag the thing up the stairs to test it on the patio. I chose the patio. It took a few minutes to get it in place, but that was easier than mopping the basement from a man-made flood. I plugged it in, and water gushed out of the elbow, Great, I thought then it turned off. What? Why did that happen? My mind raced through a checklist of possibilities and then it dawned on me the bucket was empty. In that instant of turning the pump on it emptied the bucket. Whew! Problem solved.

I carried the bucket and the pump back to the basement and refilled the bucket with water. The manufacturer recommends storing the unit submerged in water to keep the seals from drying out and causing the oil to leak. Even though I am satisfied that the pump is healthy I still have a problem. The water fall no longer works, The next step will be to look for things that may be plugging the plumbing. If I live until April and I remember where I left off I’ll tackle it then. Right now I’m dreaming about wintering in Arizona where the only way I know if it snows is when the mountain tops above 7000 feet turn white.

A Demon Inside Me

It was a bit chilly this rainy afternoon when I attended the OASIS monthly meeting. The theme today was “Being Thankful.” The Lions club turned out in healthy numbers and that was a good thing. Because there was a Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings, it took a bunch of Lions to serve the meal to the twenty visually impaired people in attendance. For the second time this week, I ate a meal from Cup A Joes cafe. They were identical, and both were delicious, KETO be damned. I can feel the slippage away from a rigorous diet in my waist. I am mentally defeated and rapidly succumbing to the carbohydrate world of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, bread-stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more. The only thing KETO on my plate was the turkey.

In my mind I am building a case of determination to get back to a rigorous KETO meal plan with 1500 calories per day. I will not buy new clothes to match my waist again.

The biggest challenge will be getting my breakfast back in control. Ever since I found KETO bread at the grocery I have been living carb high. The bread is certainly lower in carbs than normal sliced white bread, but two slices is just two grams away from the daily carb-limit of twenty.

Once I finally make up my mind to get off bread again the sweets will also fall off the plate. I’ll again be substituting berries for dessert. One reason I fell off the plan was a sudden distaste for eggs. Eggs are a staple for KETO breakfast plans. Hard boiled, scrambled, omelets, poached, after awhile the palette simply rejects eggs no matter how they are cooked or disguised. Another mistake I have made is to allow portion control to become a dirty phrase.

My, my how I have to get myself back into control once more. I will add one more thing before I sign off. It is a whole lot easier to gain weight than it is to lose it. With Thanksgiving right around the corner the temptation to gorge on carb-calories becomes a demon inside me.

Not Anxious To Get Out

Close up of female hands pull out weeds from ground garden.

A few months ago a day like today was considered fabulous. After six weeks of warm weather this morning feels like the middle of January. My agenda calls or a day in the garden yanking native perennials from the annual beds. As I have said before, there is something special about neat and prim flower beds. After this post it may be warm enough to head out into the back yard and do the job. When I awoke the temperature outside was sixty degrees, Oh me what will I do? Put on a sweatshirt and stop complaining like a wank.

The idea of sitting in the house today while reading a book sounds very appealing, but that is not to be. I know that once I finally shoe-up and head outside I’ll stay out until the last evil weed is in the big blue yard waste bucket. I’ll be out by ten and in by noon. Oh yeah that could mean more food! and coffee too!

I love the garden, but hate the work. When it becomes I love the work but hate the garden I know I will have achieved a new level of consciousness.

Yesterday, I fell completely off the KETO wagon at the OASIS Twenty-fifth anniversary cook out celebration. OASIS stands for Orland Area Sight Impaired Support a group of people who are blind, partially blind, or going blind who band together to discuss the trials and tribulations of living in the dark. The Frankfort Lions Club has adopted OASIS as our project to help the sight impaired of the community. Back in 1926 Helen Keller (blind, deaf, and mute) at a Lions Convention challenged the Lions to become the “Knights of the Blind.” Lions accepted the challenge and it remains a pillar of our service. Since then we have added several more pillars to keep the house from falling down, Hunger, Environment, Sight, Diabetes, Childhood Cancer. These five are in addition to the pillars of community, disaster relief, and world-wide disease. There is never a time when we don’t have someone or something to be helping. Sometimes it is monetary assistance, and at others like this OASIS event it was with our presence and hands-on assistance. COVID slowed us down a bit on the hands-on assistance type projects but requests for monetary help kept coming. At the same time we were stifled in our ability to raise money. Thankfully, all that has changed and we are ramping up activity to one hundred percent of normal. In other words, if you see a Lion in front of a store with a bucket, please drop a few bucks in. If you see an ad for a Lions pancake breakfast, please go have breakfast.

Time to go pull weeds.

The Shot That Set Me Free

A week ago I received an email message stating that my long awaited appointment for getting vaccinated has arrived. I jumped at the opportunity. The last time I had a problem with a virus was in 1957, and there was no opportunity to be vaccinated. The polio virus had already been ravaging the world for some twenty years and it wasn’t ready to stop. All the public announcements advised us to stay away from crowds, (define a crowd) don’t go to the beach, rest, etc. None of the advice seemed worthy of taking. I did stay away from crowds unless one calls my group of buddies (5) a crowd. I never went to the beach it was ten miles away. I thought I rested as does anyone who sleeps at night and I still got the virus. Maybe I it got from going to church, yes that has to be it. The problem with that argument is that my buddies all went to church too. None of my crowd got polio but me.

It was a good five years before Dr. Jonas Salk invented a vaccine that worked. I never did follow the news to follow the progress of how the world became vaccinated, my immune system was fixed for life. Luckily, I survived and did not carry too many debilitating side effects. When the COVID-19 pandemic began I followed Dr. Fauci’s recommendations to a point. The point was that I would not allow myself to get overly excited about catching the thing and that I would let my own common sense rule my activity.

My appointment was set for 10:15 on a Friday at the Joliet West High School which is about thirty miles away. I set my alarm to get up early, showered and prepared a decent KETO breakfast so I wouldn’t pass out from a low blood sugar. What impressed me was the system that Will County had set up at the school. First of all, let me say that this school is a state of the art machine. Except for being thirty miles from Frankfort, I felt like I was inside Lincoln Way East High School two miles from my house. The staff consisted of Joliet Fire Department EMT’s. There was ample parking at door fourteen and upon arriving I checked in at a desk where a man pointed a thermometer at me head and took my temperature. He fired off a bunch of questions about how I felt and then handed me a short questionnaire asking questions like are you allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. To me that is the dumbest question ever. How in the heck am I supposed to know what is in this vaccine? There was one question that I had to answer yes to, I am allergic to penicillin and had an anaphylaxis reaction to it. With that yes, I got to take that piece of paper with me to the vaccination table. There were ten tables lined up with a strapping young man directing people to the next available technician. He directed me to table ten. I walked to the table where another young man was waiting. I handed him my paper, and proceeded to bare my left arm. “Forgive me if I don’t watch this happen.” There is something about seeing a needle pierce my body that makes me squeamish. He followed with “you won’t feel a thing,” and with that he was placing a piece of tape on the injection site. Not only didn’t I feel anything I felt it was a sham and that I didn’t really get vaccinated. Another big guy handed me a card and told me to carry it with me. It was a record of the vaccine. He also told me that he scheduled my second shot to take place four weeks from the day at the same place. “Go to the other side of the field house and sit for fifteen minutes then you can leave.”

I sat for twenty minutes waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. I walked out but ran into another young guy about six foot tall and all muscle who asked me how I felt. “Okay,” I answered.

“Good, you can leave out the door you came in by.”

I felt exhilarated, happy, loose, I wanted to jump up and kick my heels together. I made it through the year without catching the demon COVID.

I was so relaxed that when I got home, I took a nap.

The following two days I kept feeling all kinds of tingles and tickles and asked myself “is that a side effect?” If they were side effects they were acceptable and very mild. I concluded they were not side effects but my mind playing tricks on me.

Last night I attended a meeting of my senior friends. This meeting has been going on for over five years on a weekly basis. We meet, drink wine and shoot the breeze. It is such a good time we won’t give it up, but we have not met since the last spike of COVID hit in October. Everyone of us was happy to see each other again. To date, only three of us have gotten the vaccination, but more will be getting it soon. That is, if our governor would get off his fat ass and push for it to get done. Illinois is number 47 out of the states in progress toward vaccinating it’s population. At least we aren’t in the bottom three.

Happy days are here again.

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