A Journey Through Unemployment

One of my visitors here has been looking for work for more than a year. She shares her thoughts about being unemployed on her blog and I highly recommend reading it. We often just hear snippets of people's unemployment stories on the news, but Catherine's posts are a deeper look into what it's like to be unemployed - and of a certain age. Great reading, and thought provoking.  

The Unemployment Diaries

Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

Learning About Celiac Disease

I've been keeping up with a very interesting discussion about Celiac disease (thanks Lulav!). I didn't realize how many people are suffering with Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity! And unfortunately, I found out that even I could develop Celiac Disease.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease, or Celiac Sprue, damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. People with Celiac Disease, or with Gluten Sensitivity, can't tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It affects about 1 in 133 people - more than 2 million in the United States alone!

Symptoms and Other Disorders

People with Celiac Disease often have other autoimmune disorders such as: thyroid disease, autoimmune liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren's Syndrome.
And while digestive symptoms - which is what one might expect to see in this disease - are common in children and young adults, older adults with Celiac Disease may not have any digestive symptoms and may instead suffer from other symptoms including: anemia, fatigue, bone problems such as arthritis and bone loss, depression, hair loss, and tingling hands and feet. Who would've thought that a problem with gluten could cause something like depression?
The symptoms of Celiac Disease can appear later in life after things like surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or even emotional stress.
Also, since autoimmune disorders run in families, if someone in your family has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, you have a higher risk of developing, or having Celiac Disease.  

So, since I was some years ago diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and I have another disease that a lot of doctors think is an autoimmune disorder, but it hasn't been classified as such, I could develop Celiac Disease at some point. I hope not, but now I know that there is a possibility. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation 97% of those who have the disease are undiagnosed.

Gluten Sensitivity

There seems to be an increase in people who suffer from Gluten Sensitivity. Gluten Sensitivity is different from Celiac Disease and the markers doctors look for when testing for Celiac disease aren't found in those with Gluten Sensitivity. But people with Gluten Sensitivity can suffer digestive problems, and other symptoms, when they eat products containing wheat, barley or rye.

Treatment

While there is no cure for Celiac Disease, or Gluten Sensitivity, the treatment consists of eliminating all products containing gluten from one's diet.

For More Information -

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001280/

http://www.celiac.org/


Disclaimer - this post is for information only. If you think you may have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity, please consult your doctor.









The Ever Evolving Blog

I'm changing a few things around here at the drafty doublewide. I'm trying a different layout, putting links in different places. I might even change up some text colors. I guess I'm in the mood to redecorate!
So if you stop by and the place looks a little different, well... the next time you stop by it might look different again. :)

Unemployment and Time Structure

An Insight

The view from my living room window is across a wide valley and every morning, before daybreak, I can see the lights of the tractors and other vehicles moving around at a distant farm. Peeking at those lights out in the morning darkness is as much a part of my routine as my morning coffee. But one day recently, after stretching out on the couch to watch the early news, I dozed off and missed seeing the tractors moving around.
When I woke up and realized I hadn't seen the morning activity, I was a little bummed. It bothered me all day - then I had an insight - seeing the lights of those tractors in the morning is part of my daily time structure, and my time structure got out of whack.

Time Structure

Almost everyone has some sort of time structure in their lives - they get up at a certain time, go to work at a certain time, watch a certain program at a particular time each day, eat lunch at a set time. During the week they have a day they clean the bathroom, an evening they call their mother, a day they do grocery shopping.


But for some, their time structure gets changed - an unemployed person doesn't have to get up and get an early start in the morning; a newly retired person doesn't have that regular job to go to everyday.
As for me, my husband lost his job and is unemployed and his being home is affecting my time structure, too.


Changes

I, at least for the time being, am a stay-at-home wife, and I was used to my hubby getting up and going to work in the morning. After he left for the day, and during the days of the week, I had certain things that I did - for example: Monday was laundry day, and I'd check emails in the mornings. I'd crank up loud music when I cleaned the kitchen - but with my hubby being home, my time structure is changed! There isn't as much laundry (I'm not having to wash his work clothes), often he is on the computer so I can't use it to check emails, and if I want to listen to loud music while I clean the kitchen, I have to try to find a time when he isn't in the next room trying to watch TV.

Importance of Time Structure

I did a little reading about time structure after my insight, and some people really take to having an unstructured day, but others can feel lost and aimless, and it can lead to depression. I'm pretty sure I fall into the second category.


Keeping a Routine

It's easy, whether you work-at-home, stay-at-home, or are unemployed to slip into an "everyday is like a weekend" mode and spend the day goofing off, but that also makes it harder to get back into a routine.
Experts recommend that unemployed people think of finding a job as their full-time job - search the ads, make calls, tweak your resume, and be busy everyday.
For people who work at home, it's recommended they have a schedule, a separate work area, etc.


As for me, as the stay-at-home spouse of an unemployed hubby, I have to rearrange my routine, and then when my hubby finds a job, I'll have to rearrange my routine again. I'll reset my time structure, and reset it again. It will keep me focused, it will keep me from getting depressed, and if nothing else, if I decide to go back to work, I think I'll rightly be able to write that I am flexible and self-motivated on my resume.


And so on...
Early tomorrow morning, while I am having my coffee, I'll take a peek at the lights of the tractors moving around at the farm across the valley....

Five Favorites For Friday

Do you ever feel the need to clean out your "Favorites" internet links section? I know some people probably have all of their "Favorites" neatly organized in separate folders, but not me. I have a few favorite links sorted by topic, but the rest are just sort of jammed in there - links to recipes, news stories, places to visit.... A lot of things strike my fancy and they all seem to end up with links in my "Favorites." They are sort of organized in their disorganization! Near the top of the list, there are links to genealogy sites. Somewhere in the middle are some links to Sumerian literature. Along the bottom are some links to blogs. Between the top and the middle there are links to sites about earthquakes and solar activity....
But I have a problem when I try to declutter my "Favorites" - I get distracted by them. And end up keeping most of them! So since I can't seem to get rid of the links in my "Favorites," I thought I might share Five Favorites for Friday -

1. I love this post! This blog has not been updated in a long time,  but I found this post and, of course, saved a link to it in my Favorites and I just have to go back and read it once in a while.
How To Fix The Economy Rural Style

2. I happened on this recipe some time ago and decided to give it a try. Yum! I did make my own pie crust for the recipe instead of using store bought, but the filling was wonderful. And you can make more than one version of the same basic pie!
Classic Chess Pie

3. I was one of those folks who got up early to watch Prince William marry Katherine Middleton, and I found this link on Youtube of the bridal procession. Lovely! And the music, "I Was Glad" is really beautiful. The lucky couple have been married for almost a year now, but I still like to watch and listen to this lovely video!
Royal Wedding 2011 - "I Was Glad" by Parry

4. I admit that I got interested in the game "Boggle" from watching the show "King of the Hill" and seeing Peggy Hill partaking in a Boggle tournament.  I'd never played Boggle before, but when I found an online version at this site, I was hooked! If I start playing Boggle at this site, I will keep telling myself, "maybe just one more game" and next thing I know, I've been playing for two hours! It's addictive!
Fun With Words

5. I came across this site when I was googling something else one day and I think it's fascinating. It is about an ancient music tablet dating to the 13th century BC. Along with information about the tablet, the site also recreates what the music might've sounded like. Make sure you turn on your speakers and take a listen!
Hurrian Music

So that is my Five Favorites for Friday! Off now to declutter the rest of the list - or not!

Personal Decluttering

Decluttering Isn't Just For The Closets

I've been spending some time over the past week doing what I call "Personal Decluttering."
We can get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to stop and reflect about ourselves - who we are, what we are doing, how we got to this point, what we want in the future. When we pause and get back in touch with ourselves, we have the opportunity to do some Personal Decluttering and declutter our minds. 
But when undertake Personal Decluttering, we can be left with questions.  


My Personal Decluttering

What Is It That You Really Want?

I started thinking about what I was going to do in the future and I remembered how when I was young I used to love to read "self-help" books. I took a look at a book I'd read many times in my youth and within the first few sentences, I found my "personal decluttering" reflection. The book asks, "What do you want most?" Though the book is about how to get rich, that sentence in particular stuck with me. Someone might say, "I want to be rich" but what is it that they really want? Is what they want what they believe wealth will bring them? Respect? Fame? Peace of mind? The ability to be charitable? I started to contemplate how those things didn't necessarily have to do with the money itself. If one wants respect, surely they can act respectable. If someone respects you only for the money, then what happens if the money goes?
Fame? Same deal. In this day and age it seems there is a good possibility one might get their 15 minutes of fame, and the money that goes with it. But that's just it - 15 minutes. The fame can go. The money goes with it.
Peace of mind? I recall some verses from Ecclesiastes -
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. ( Ecc. 5:10-12)
What about the ability to be charitable? It would be great to be able to give a lot of money to charities but one can give of themselves if they don't have money - they can volunteer. There are always great charitable organizations looking for volunteers to help out.
As I pondered this, I thought about what I would do if I won the lottery. I'd pay off the bills, give a large chunk of the money to my sister, buy a car, buy my hubby a truck, buy a nicer house, go clothes shopping, travel - but then what? I wondered if when all was said and done I'd just be staring at the tv in the evenings in a nicer house and wearing new clothes.
So the first question of my Personal Decluttering is "what do I really want?"

Attitude Change From A TV Show

My second step of Personal Decluttering came when I was watching the tv show, "Hoarders." I like watching "Hoarders" because it's interesting to me to try to understand why the people began to hoard. But as I watched the program one day, I saw a reflection of myself in one woman's attitude. She was suffering from several chronic illnesses and she seemed to just have gotten to the point that she didn't care anymore. She thought the rest of the family didn't care about the house, so why should she care about the house. But when she was confronted by the people sent to help her, she retreated to her bed and complained about being ill. She started playing the victim. I watched, thinking about my own illnesses, and wondered if I did that, too. And I didn't like the thought.
I reflected on how easy it can be to slip into an attitude of  "I can't do it because I'm sick." I decided then that maybe I needed a change of attitude; instead of saying or thinking "I can't do it because I'm sick," I need to start thinking "I need to do it because I'm sick."  I decided I needed to get busy with something - and if I can't do everything, I'll do what I can.
At the end of the show, there was a change in the woman. Someone, or something, got through to her and she started working on the cleaning. She was beaming, she was smiling - it was like her whole attitude changed. Maybe she, too, decided, that even if she can't do everything, she'll do what she can.
Mourning for What Isn't

We probably all have moments in our lives when we think about how things could've been, or how we think things should've been. We think about things in our past - old loves, old homes, our youth.
I've been doing a lot of that lately - thinking about when I was young, where I grew up, people in my past, things that could've been.  And I discovered that in some ways, it was like mourning.  Experts say that there are five stages of mourning - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I wondered how many times in our lives we go through these stages. Do we go through these stages of mourning when we lose a job, a home, a relationship, our youth? We deny it, get mad, think about the what if's and if only's, fall into depression and then finally accept it?

For me, one thing I realized was that I'd been mourning for the children I never had. I wanted children, but for me and my hubby, it just wasn't to be. I've muddled through, dealing with the depression recently, but as I did some Personal Decluttering and reflected on my life, I began to understand that I need to make a transition from depression to acceptance. It might not be easy, but for me, just the realization that I had been in mourning was definitely an eye-opening moment. With this insight, I have a place to start to heal.

Ideas for Your Own Personal Decluttering

*Spend some quiet time reconnecting with yourself.

*Look for Personal Decluttering reflections in the things you do everyday - is there a point in a book you're reading that hits home with you? Something that draws you to a certain tv show? How about a song you can't get out of your mind?

*Check your attitude. Are you feeling down about something? Playing the victim? Are you mourning for a lost job, lost love, the what could've beens?





Are You Prepared For A Disaster?

Hubby and I took a drive recently through an area where a tornado had passed through last year. We hadn't been in that area since right after it happened - like the rest of the curious onlookers we'd been drawn to go see the destruction. Trees were down, roofs damaged or destroyed, electric lines had come down. We were amazed and a little frightened at the sight: just a few miles difference in the track of the storm and the curious onlookers would've been driving through our neighborhood instead.

Now the roofs have been replaced, the electric lines were quickly fixed, but every patch of woods bear witness to what happened there - dozens of trees are visible in the winter bareness, snapped in two like toothpicks.


How Many Are Prepared?

Last year was a rough year: just here in Pennsylvania there was damage from tornadoes, damage from floods. Many people on the east coast, myself included, felt an earthquake for the first time.

But how many of us are really ready if a disaster hits? Judging by how many people have to head for the grocery store everytime the weather forecasters predict snow, I'd say not many.

You don't have to be in the heart of the trouble to feels it's effects. How often does the electricity go out in a large area? Are you prepared for when the storms take out transformers and you are in the dark for a couple of days? No computer. No TV. No refrigeration. No lights. No heat, or air conditioning.

What about floods? You don't have to be in a flood plain to be affected by a flood. Some years ago we had flooding in the area where I live and I realized then that there were creeks crossing the road in every direction I could go! If we were to have perhaps the remnants of a hurricane come through here, my home wouldn't flood, but I could be stuck here for days!


How Many Days Should We Prepare For?

Some experts think we should be prepared to be holed up at home for three days, but many people suggest we should be prepared for at least a week or longer. 


What Do We Need To Have On Hand?

According the the government website, http://www.ready.gov/, the essentials we should have on hand include:
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day - at least three days worth.
  • A three day supply of non-perishable food
  • A battery powered or hand crank radio, and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert, and extra batteries
  • A flashlight, and batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • An emergency whistle
  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape in case you have to "shelter in place"
  • Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • A manual can opener

That's just a short list of things you might need to have during a disaster!

Other things include:

  • Pet food and water for your pets
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Sleeping bags
  • Mess kits

When you look at a list of what you really would need to be prepared for a disaster, you have to wonder how many of us really are prepared? Could we survive on our own for three days? How about a week or longer?




Need More Information?

For more information about preparing for a disaster, visit: http://www.ready.gov/

Couponing Hints 2

Couponing Hints 2

Check your stores coupon policy - they vary, sometimes from store to store. Ask the manager!
Some stores double coupons, some stores don't.
Some stores accept coupons printed off of the internet, some stores don't.
Some stores have limits on the number of a particular item you can buy using coupons; some stores don't.

Overages - Some stores allow "overages" which means if you buy an item on sale for 70 cents, and you have a 50 cent coupon off of 1, which doubles to $1, then you would have a 30 cent "overage". Some stores will take the overage off of your total bill, some stores will put overages on a store gift card. But a lot of stores don't allow overages; so, in the above example, your item would still be free, but you would not get the 30 cent overage.

Don't buy things you don't need just because you have a coupon! Saving $1 on body wash is great if you do, or will, use the product. But if you're not going to use it, don't buy it! Then you will have "saved" the whole price of the item.

Use coupons wisely! If using a coupon drops a name brand product to $2, but the comparable, lesser known brand is $1.75, then buy the lesser known brand.

50 cents off of 2! $1.50 off of 3! A lot of coupons require you to buy 2 or more of the product to get the savings. 50 cents off of each product is great, but not if buying the required 3 products will take a large chunk of your weekly grocery budget. Look for coupons good for 1 item!
Or consider finding a shopping buddy - a friend, your Mom, how about your brother? He needs orange juice, you need orange juice - the coupon is 50 cents (doubles to a dollar!) on 2. Divide up the groceries later. He gets one of the juices; you get the other. He needs 2 boxes of the "$1.50 off of 3" cereal; you need the other. You'll save on groceries, it's terrific bonding time, and you can complain about rising prices together.  

Look for coupons for "splurge" items. If you are over the moon for fresh baked, name brand cinnamon rolls, or if your sweetheart's eyes light up over a particular salty snack mix, keep a watch for coupons for those products. Watch for the items to be on sale to get extra savings!

If you have a favorite name brand item, see if the company that makes it has a website and, if it's available, sign up to join the site. A lot of brands send out email newletters that contain coupons and/or information about special promotions. Some of the companies even send you a coupon just for signing up!


Printable Coupons

If you see a printable coupon for a product that interests you, go ahead and print it! Watch your store for sales because many times the item will go on sale soon after a coupon is made available - that adds up to extra savings!

You can print 2 of each coupon per computer!

Try putting a different zip code into the box on the coupon site - sometimes there will be a couple of different coupons available for a different zip code.

Check the coupon site often - new coupons are added almost daily!

Also check the coupon site for local coupons - you might find a great deal available at a restaurant or local business!

Despite the Cold Weather...

I wrote a post about my Signs of An Early Spring and Friday, before the cold weather overtook the country this past weekend, hubby and I took a drive to see if our favorite ice cream stand was open. It was! Happy me! I had my first soft ice cream of the season - a hot fudge sundae!
Now, I'm ready for the daffodils to start blooming... soon, I hope.

Washing A Vinyl Shower Curtain Liner

It's getting time for my annual Spring Cleaning and one of my projects is to wash my vinyl shower curtain liner. I try to keep it dry and wipe it down, but the hard water here at the drafty doublewide can really make it look scummy! Before I discovered that I could wash the liner in the washing machine, I tried using a scrubby sponge on it to get rid of the hard water stains, but it didn't help and it was awkward to try to scrub it! I even tried hanging it on the clothesline and blasting the liner with the garden hose - that didn't work either, but it might have provided some entertainment for my neighbors.  Finally, I decided to try washing it in the washing machine. I figured it couldn't hurt; I was on the verge of throwing it away anyway if I couldn't get it clean. It worked great! It looked brand new!

So if your vinyl shower curtain liner is looking a little grungy, or if it's just smelling a little mildewy, try washing it in the washing machine.

How To Wash a Vinyl Shower Curtain Liner

  • Put a couple of bleachable towels in the washer with the liner to add a little scrubbing action. I put in one towel, and then the shower curtain liner. I spread the liner around the agitator as evenly as possible, and then I put in the other towel.

  • Add detergent and turn on the washer. I use warm water - the warmth makes the vinyl liner more flexible and it gets cleaner.

  • Let the machine run for a few minutes and then add a little bleach. The bleach kills any accumulated nasties that have built up on the shower curtain liner during the cold weather.

  • When the washing machine cycle is finished, open the lid and rearrange the liner and towels. The liner can bunch up and the water gets stuck in little puddles in the creases so, I rearrange everything, and pour out any puddles I find.

  • Now close the lid, and set the washing machine to "spin" again to get rid of any extra water.

  • When the cycle is finished, carefully remove the shower curtain liner, return it to the bathroom and shake it over the tub to straighten it out and then rehang it to dry.

  • What about the two wet towels? If it's a pleasant day, hang them outside to dry. If that's not possible, make sure to wash your shower curtain liner on a day when you are doing other laundry - that way you can dry the towels with other items and not spend extra money using the dryer for just two towels.

Helpful Hints -

  • There are different thicknesses of shower curtain liners. I have washed a thinner liner in the washing machine, but the heavy duty liners will last through more washings in the washing machine before they finally need to be replaced.

  • Did you know you don't have to use a shower curtain along with your shower curtain liner? The liner works fine by itself!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Shower Curtain Liners Available at Amazon




Disclosure - Life At The Drafty Doublewide (Kathy!) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Signs of An Early Spring

My Signs of Spring

Punxsutawney Phil might have predicted six more weeks of Winter, but I am starting to see my own signs of Spring. Maybe we all have our own favorite seasonal signs?
For many years one of my favorite signs of Spring was an old gentleman who sold second-hand tools. Suddenly, every year, on some pleasant morning, his old pickup truck would be parked in his usual selling spot by the side of the road. And the old gentleman would be there, sitting in his lawn chair; the tools he'd repaired and polished - hoes, shovels and rakes propped carefully against his truck. I lived in an apartment back then, so I never stopped to buy any of his tools, but his yearly appearance was as sure a sign of Spring to me as the first flowers of the season.


The Ice Cream Stand
One sure sign of Spring for me is when my favorite ice cream stand opens for the season. Me and my hubby drive by the place occasionally just to see if it's open yet - and when it opens is whenever the owner decides - sometimes it's March, but the place has been opened as early as the end of January!
The weather is usually still chilly when the old place opens, but the customers still show up. They stand in line at the window, bundled up in coats and hats, waiting to order cones of soft ice cream, sundaes, and thick milkshakes. Then with their treats in hand, they head for the parking lot to join the other folks who are sitting in their cars, eating ice cream, with the heaters turned up.
I admit that I've eaten quite a few early spring hot fudge sundaes at that little ice cream stand!

The Seed Display
I saw one of my favorite signs of Spring when I went to the grocery store the other day - the display rack of seeds. I always have to visit the seed display when it first shows up! I look at all the lovely pictures adorning seed packs of ageratum and marigolds and zinnias, then I look with anticipation at the seed packs of green beans, tomatoes, and squash and I daydream about zucchini - zucchini and spaghetti, stuffed zucchini, zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini brownies with cream cheese glaze - YUM!

Changing of Seasons
Another sign of Spring along the same lines is the changing of seasons at a little hardware store. This little hometown hardware store always looks inviting with it's little sign and small collection of seasonal wares displayed on the sidewalk in front of the store. In the Winter their display includes things like sleds, snow shovels and snow blowers and their little sign reads, "ice melt" or "salt." But as Spring draws near, the sleds and snow shovels start to disappear, replaced by shiny buckets and ladders and gardening tools and the snow blowers get replaced by tillers. And when I see "ice melt" on the sign get changed to "order potato and onion sets," I know that Spring is just around the corner!

Spring in the country
Spring is especially enjoyable in rural areas - calves, and lambs start showing up in the fields, and when I drive through the valleys and see the farmers plowing their fields, I know Spring is coming soon.
This week I had the pleasure of passing by a farm and getting to see an Amish gentleman plowing his field the old-fashioned way - with a team of horses. That is an incredible sight to behold and really something to ponder - how many acres of this country were plowed by our ancestors in just the same way? It's like seeing the past plowing the fields making way for the seeds and growth of the future. Awesome!

These are just a few of my favorite signs of Spring.

Do you have a favorite sign of Spring that you look forward to every year? Please feel free to share!