Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Getting Frisky (The Great Pat Down) with TSA

My outlook at the Beltway Apartment in The Netherlands for the next couple of days until my wheelchair arrives. :>{

TSA Houston ( less than 24 hours ago)

"Mam, can you walk through this body scanner?" 
" Well, yes, with my wooden crutches you just scanned. But it may take me over five minutes to get through there, though. I am really not supposed to put my full weight on my broken foot."

That was the beginning of a frisking that beats all frisking/pat downs.

The young gentleman pushing my United Airlines provided wheelchair was then directed to push me to a glass gate and wait.

A kind young lady with an obviously distracting foreign object in her eye directed my "chauffeur" to an area at the end of the scanning machines. Then she speedily told me the " touchy/ feely" maneuvers she was about to perform on me. She mentioned that we could do this privately, but I said to just go right ahead and do what she had to do. I haven't had such a "massage" as this, ever. Arms, back, waist (feeling inside the waistband of my jeans), under the breasts, under the buttocks,legs, inner thighs, and feet. 


Then she scanned my regular shoe and my correction boot and finally tested them for "dust," I guess. She even "dusted" the armrests of the wheelchair. 

The amount of time this investigation took, I could have crawled through the body scanner on all fours! And maybe that would have been less humiliating.

The one place I could have hidden something was the correction boot. That hideous, huge black plastic thing could have been full of whatever they were searching for. 

But it only concealed my sore, broken foot! 

And she never even asked to see that!

Monday, September 28, 2015


I absolutely hate foot shots, but what else can I blog about today? I broke a bone in my right foot yesterday afternoon while trying to clean the windows of our car. 

Damn gas station driveway! Holes where you could bury the dead!

No weight on it! Manipulate crutches! Order a wheelchair for the airport. Fly almost 10 hours. Take our taxi to the Beltway Apartment.

And then six weeks like this! 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Black and White Friday

Blog themes have never been my thing, but I think I will try one while we are travelling the next few weeks. 

So this is my own Black and White Friday photo:

Now that I look at this winter shot of my brother Steve and me descending Mammaw Ridge's front porch steps, I notice a few things. 
First, it seems to have been torn from a photo book ( notice the perforations on the left). 
Also, my Dad's handcrank Brownie camera did not advance the film properly. The roof of the house is at the bottom of the photo. 
This wooden (unpainted!) house was ordered from Sears and Roebuck. 
No stair railings and look at the height of those stair treads!
I remember winter in rural Arkansas as cold, windy, and muddy. The chickens kept the grass short all around the house. And the dirt roads were huge muddy ruts made for slipping and getting stuck in.
Love this photo!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hospital Idiots

My mom is still in the hospital. She looks a whole lot better than she did four weeks ago, but the antibiotics for the blood and bone infection are taking their toll. 

But that isn't the idiotic part.

Last night at 12 o'clock midnight Mom called the nurses' station to say that she could not sleep. And what did the nurse do? She gave Mom a bath! Not a warm luxurious bathtub bath, but a cold air-conditioned hospital room "spit bath." 

Mom said that woke her up and then she really couldn't get warm and rest.

Hospital Idiots!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Blue Apple Berry Muffins

What do you do when you have apples no one is eating and a dollop of blueberry pie filling in the fridge?

Why make Blue Apple Berry Muffins, of course!

Blue Apple Berry Muffins

Set oven at 375 F.


1   Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix (size 15.25 oz. and pudding is already in the mix)
6-8  Small Gala Apples (cored and diced with peel)
1/2-3/4  cup Blueberry Pie Filling
1/3  cup Salted Butter, softened
3  Eggs


In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix, butter, eggs on low speed 30 seconds. 
Then add the apples bit by bit and then adjust mixer up to medium speed for two minutes. 
Add blueberry pie filling last. 
Line regular-size muffin pan with paper cups. Spoon batter into cups (about 3 Tbsp each).
Bake 14 to 19 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan.
Cool completely before frosting, although these taste great without icing.
Makes over 25 muffins.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

To the Top

My latest walking/steps badge is for climbing almost 2 1/2 miles in the last nine months. 

What an accomplishment for where we live and where we travel! 

Every hill and stair step count. 

Keep on climbing! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

My Second Tour of Sicily

Today I finished my 900 kilometer tour of the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily! 

Actually, we made a automobile tour of the island a few years ago, but today I brought my walking/steps total up to the 900 km (560 miles for you Yanks/Rebels) mark. 

Sweet! That is about the distance from Chicago, Illinois to Memphis, Tennessee!

But I am letting my hub walk Flip this evening. The heat is just too much for me.

When will Fall finally fall?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wetcreek VII Can Soup

I was at the hospital from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. today. My mom looks better than she did last week or the week before or the week before that. Three weeks in the hospital and three more to go. Anyone who asks her how long she has to stay, she says, "6 weeks." But we hope our counting is more correct and that she can go to her home in three more weeks.

Tomorrow is my "wissel" day, so I will stay home and hopefully get to the cleaning I started over three weeks ago. 

For dinner tonight, we are going to try Wetcreek VII Can Soup (or an adaptation on the Pioneer Woman's 7 can soup recipe).

Above is what you need to make the soup. ^

I started with a can of white hominy. Why I bought this, I'll never know! But here it goes.

Next, an ordinary can of diced tomatoes. (Notice that I've visited both Walmart and Dollar General.)

Then I creamed in a can of cream style sweet corn.

And added a can of black beans. 

Last can of beans was cannellini beans.

Next came spoonfuls of authentic chili with beans.

And I topped it all off with a can of habanero diced tomatoes.

This is what it looks like. ^

Ree's recipe calls for Velveeta cheese. I never buy that cheese food, so I added two heaping cups of shredded cheese, which I keep frozen in our huge freezer.

It is ready in a few minutes and looks like this .^

The soup tastes very spicy, but it should be great with taco chips. 

Comment from my hub: "It is good soup! Tastes good! In fact, I am going to get more!"

Saturday, September 12, 2015


(Photo source Drivingdutchman)
Looks like an innocent agave plant.

Hummm! A colorful snake just where I pulled that big grass weed.


Dead copperhead! My Dutch "schoffel" hoe was the weapon!

Yellow tail helped with identification.

Monday, September 7, 2015

"No Labor" Day

Not really sure why this holiday is called "Labor Day," since it is pretty clear that not much labor will take place today. 

I left my house 30 minutes later than normal to drive to spend the day with my mom at the hospital, and I arrived at my usual  time. Our normally "autoless" highway was like an empty tarmack today. I am not a race driver, but today I was tempted! 

We usually stay close to home on this kind of holiday. But today I drove into town to sit while Mom "catches a few winks" between hospital staff prodding and poking and trying to get her moving. 

Our small community looked a bit like a ghost town with almost no one but me moving about. 

Just Stepped 2,500 steps in hospital hallways that also resemble a ghost town. One lone maintenance guy was whitewashing some scuff marks on the   white hospital walls.

Ever wonder who gets such a thrill for marking up clean, white walls? Keep your feet on the floor! 

Keep Walking! Keep Moving!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DIY--Denim Jeans Wrappings

I made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies ( from scratch!) for my mom's hospital nurses and my mom and her visitors. Knowing that I will probably never see the containers again, I decided to use the tea tins we have been accumulating for years. Not wanting to spend time or money decorating the tins, I did this:

As I have a stash of denim jeans in all sizes, I found a pair of girl's pants that had legs that were a perfect fit for these tea tins.

The cookie tin on the right is finished, and the one on the left is upside down. As you have noticed, I didn't even bother to sew the bottom closure. A gold colored safety pin closed it easily. 

And I "pinked" off the ragged cuff and simply folded the edge, since that edge will be covered by a "handmade" top.

Here I used a vintage hand crocheted doily as a cover. The tin on the right has a quilt piece.

The tie is the seam of another pair of scrapped jeans. ( I save everything!)

Practically FREE wrappings!

Cheap, cheap, cheap, THRIFTY!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Swing Beds and Medicare

Most Americans my age are covered by Medicare. Well, I missed the boat on that one.

In the first place, my first nine years of working were as a teacher in Louisiana public schools. Back in those days of the 1970's, we teachers did not pay into US social security nor into Medicare. Our Teacher's Retirement Plan was considered to be good enough. 

Then I moved to The Netherlands.

When I moved back to the US in 2006, I taught my last two working years in Louisiana public schools so that my Dutch husband could get his US "green card." (For those of you who don't know, immigrants must be able to prove that they will have enough money to live above the US poverty threshold [$13,200 for a 2 person household in 2006] in order to obtain a "green card.") During those two years, money was withheld from my pay check for Medicare. And that was my donation to the Medicare program that I will never be able to use.

Don't feel sorry for me, since I am covered. I lived for over 25 years in a "socialist" country (The Netherlands), paid Dutch social security, and have private health insurance that should take care of me even better than Medicare. 

But do I know very much about US Medicare? Well, I am learning more and more every single day while my mother is ill.

The most recent bit of knowledge popped up yesterday. After a week of antibiotic IV treatments for osteomyelitis, my mom was transferred to a Swing Bed. My SIL had mentioned to my brother and to me that this would probably happen after a few days of treatment in the hospital. When she first said Swing Bed, I envisioned a kind of hammock and wondered how painful this would be for my 90 year old mom's stenosis back. Then my SIL briefly explained that Mom would probably stay in the same room but have a different classification. At that time I was so overwhelmed by the whole hospital situation, that I don't remember if we discussed the financial implications of a Swing Bed.

Last week, my mother and SIL met someone at the hospital that explained the Swing Bed situation to them. Even after my SIL relayed the info to me by phone, I began digging and Googling. It seems that because we live in a rural area, our small local hospital has been designated as a hospital with Swing Beds. From what I can make out, it all has to do with care accessibility, treatment, and Medicare payments.

"Medicare covers swing bed services in certain hospitals and when the hospital or critical access hospital (CAH) has entered into a "swing-bed" agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under which the facility can "swing" its beds and provide either acute hospital or SNF-level care, as needed. When swing beds are used to furnish SNF-level care, the same coverage and cost-sharing rules apply as though the services were furnished in a SNF."

My mom is eligible for a Swing Bed according to the Medicare guidelines/rules. But just as important is what it will cost her.

Her costs in Original Medicare:
Days 0-20: $0 for each benefit period
Days 21-100: $157.50 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
Days 101 and beyond: all costs

For more information about the eligibility and the "ins and outs" of the benefit period, please consult the following: