Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Nowhere Like Home’ Category

Mom behind the counter at the Indiana Barbeque

This is a photo of a restaurant called the Indiana Barbeque. Mom, Phyllis Adair DeWitt-VanVleck, was a waitress at this restaurant.

Originally, she worked at the restaurant across the street, but tired of the way they cut meat off of meals that were half eaten and served it to another diner, and just unsanitary practices like that. The owner of Indiana Barbeque had offered her a job several times and she finally took him up on his offer.

One night, this gentleman came into the Indiana Barbeque on a search for mashed potatoes.

Harold G. VanVleck

Harold G. VanVleck was not in the military yet, but he fell in love with that waitress. Not just the mashed potatoes that they happened to have that night because the owner wanted some for his dinner. The owner shared them with Harold and Harold lined up all the pennies in his pocket and when Phyllis picked up that plate, she found her tip in pennies, in a ring.

Now, that may not sound like much of a tip, but this was somewhere around 1939.  Pennies were worth a whole lot more.

Phyllis is 90 now and lives alone, for the first time in her life. Harold passed away in 1998, at the age of 79.

And, they fell in love over a circle of pennies.

Read Full Post »

During my adult lifetime, I have been everything from a size 6 to a size 22.  After years of up and down and not liking crowded closets, I have settled on having rubbermaids labeled 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and I used to have 18, but I got rid of it last year.  For ever!!!

While I have not gotten back to my weight lifting and aerobic exercise routine I had before my heart problems came up, I am serious about how I eat.  After open heart surgery, I found out I was one of the 26.9 % of people who develop Type II diabetes.  During 2009, I laid off of sweets, to a large degree, and went even lower on salt than I already was.  I cut out red meat, for the most part.  My doctor told me that it will not kill me to eat a piece of cake for my birthday and I have occasionally done so.  Did I mention that I have three official birthdays a year?

Salad for breakfast

In the beginning vegan diet, there was salad to eat. I was hungry 24/7 and now salad is but one part of my diet

Then, I found out that my heart surgery had failed and I had 70% blockage in a vein at the entry point to my heart. I am no longer a candidate for further open heart surgery, so I decided to go vegan.

First, let me say, in no way has this been an easy battle.  The first two months of a plant based diet seemed to be the magical formula.  I lost two pounds a week, but was continually hungry and never satisfied.  It’s the same plant based, no oil diet that President Clinton went on after his heart problem.  Only thing is, I do not have a chef to make the food taste good and the creator of the diet has the wierdest taste buds on earth.  He puts sweet potatoes or sweet squash in everything, along with about 26 more ingrediants) and frankly only sweet and sour chicken is a sweet/sour mix I like.

I am now eating Vegetarian and hoping to work my way back to Vegan.  With the help of three cholesterol busters (medications) and my no meat diet (and there is the very, very occasional hamburger out) I have reduced my clogging from 70% to 50%. You can do that.

Now, if I can just get my body back on the treadmill and weight bench, I can maybe get some of those rubbermaids emptied out to Good Will.

Bon Appetite!

Read Full Post »

Here’s the deal.  Things are tough for a lot of people and we happen to fall in that category.

Disabled husband hasn’t had a raise in social security for the twenty-two years he has been considered permanently disabled.  Raises in Medicare or our personal insurance have always eaten them up.

He smoked for one month, as a teen, but his lungs (and apparently several people in his family have problems) are shot.  He has COPD; with emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  His body also produces way too many histamines, so he has reactions to many things everything.

We had put off going to the food bank as long as we could, but with Thanksgiving this month, it was time.

What I didn’t expect was my reaction to going to the food bank.

I read the article in the paper wrong, first.  So, we went during the two hours they were closed.  The doors were open so I thought I could get the paperwork to fill out at home and come back.

So, instead of thirty-five people going through a line of “take one from shelf A, two from shelf B, etc. the woman had me sign a paper that our
income fit the Federal criteria, which it definitely does, and then she handed us a bag for food.  Then, a box and some more bags as we threaded through the food shelf maze.

I was fine until she handed me a frozen turkey, I just broke out in tears.  A grown woman, crying over a frozen turkey.

I don’t know why?  I guess relief that we would be able to have a normal Thanksgiving for our boys, but, then I also cry at all of CNN’s reports of people who make a difference.

Things I have learned about food banks:

1.    The people who work at them really care.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that anyone  cares, but they do.

2.    They are making the best of the world that they can.  They run around and gather canned goods and  whatever else local businesses will spare.   They are so grateful for the donation of a freezer, they want our 19 year old to be sure and have a Christmas gift.   They care that we have warm coats and chairs to sit on.

3.    But, if I ever get wealthy, I’m making some specific donations that are along the line of if you teach a man to fish, only this is  if you give him food to cook, he can serve more meals at home.

4.    Things you don’t see at the food bank are staples of cooking:

a.    Flour
b.    Sugar
c.    Butter/margarine
d.   Spices
e.    Cheese: although we did get an industrial sized jalapeno cheese that has our nineteen year old eating nothing but tortilla chips and cheese this week. And, I do know that cheese is not generally considered a staple.
f.    Ground Turkey would be a good alternative for meat.
g.    Eggs
h.   Oats

But, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for these wonderful people who go out of their way for others.

P.S. I am still working on my vegan diet. I have some wheat flour left and picked up some black beans for black bean burgers, and I’m searching for new recipes for all the other beans I have collected.

Read Full Post »

I usually have pretty good instincts. It’s when I ignore that little voice that I get into trouble.

Andy Rooney said something like,

I wish there was something you could take to stop you from doing stupid things.

Well, I wish I could have taken it on Friday because I did that “stupid thing.” As with a lot of you out there, our money is really tight. We’ve even taken to getting meals and some groceries from a local food bank.

I got out my tin of pennies and decided to turn them in. We have a car to pay Indiana’s ridiculous license plate fees on this month. The bank with the coin counter is about twenty miles up a road we rarely go up. There is the price of gas to consider there. I was not going to buy coin sleeves. I don’t think the bank gives them away but I did not ask. I decided to use the Coinstar machine at Walmart.

When you pour your pennies in, and it goes up to $22.16, the machine says, “My, you have a lot of coins.” It did not add, “And, I’ve got a way to scam you so I get all of them, instead of the $2. 16 fee. We rarely eat out anymore. When we do it is the $4.00 meal at Steak N Shake or the $1.00 menu at McDonald’s. If Jacob is playing at Muddy Boots, sometimes we sit with water and once in a while we split a meal.

So, when the evil change machine offered me double my money by giving me restaurant coupons.  I did debate it. Outside of Walmarts was a Steak N Shake, White Castle, something else and a steak house. Surely with over 600,000 restaurants, there was something I could afford.

With a great deal of trepidation, that I ignored like an idiot, I pushed the Restaurant Certificate button.

DO NOT PUSH THE RESTAURANT CERTIFICATE BUTTON.

Just go ahead and pay the $2.16 fee. When you push the Restaurant certificate button, you go home with a slip that says NOT VALID FOR CASH, and that’s all you go home with.

In my search on their http://coinstar.Restaurant.com site, you can search alphabetically or by mileage. Within 15 miles of my home, was 1 restaurant. Opps! Have to buy a $45 dinner to use the certificate. Now, I think that would mean only paying $20, with a $25 certificate. It was for an East Indian restaurant. Could be doable.

Let’s try 30 miles, since they gave me Indianapolis restaurants, closer to 45 miles away. I guess that’s it. Under A’s one restaurant was listed 4 times and there was a second restaurant. So, two A’s. It went like that through the alphabet, other than letters like Q, X, Y, Z which had none. Many meals are pay $75 before using your coupon. Definitely NOT doable.

I had not heard of one of these but I did see a spot that said,

“What do you do if you have your certificate and the restaurant is closed?”

Enough said.

Read Full Post »

It is always nice to have a new subscriber, but it is especially cool to find one from a far away land. I believe it helps to remind us just how similar we are. There are jobs we hate to do and then find out how worthwhile they were. There are times we do not realize how much we miss our relatives until we see them again.

If i cannot travel, at least I can read about other places and people. Sanchari is in Delhi, and blogging at, http://sancharib.wordpress.com/. If you scroll down her posts, you will see some great photos of the Jaisalmer Fort.

But, what really brought me home was her November post on cutting down the Mango tree which was just one year older than she is.

When I was growing up, my side yard had a large weeping willow tree. I could crawl under the branches and have an instant play house/fort/whatever I wanted. Many a day was spent eating lunch and playing under that tree. So, when mom and dad moved to a subdivision, they took a start with them and grew a new weeping willow in the backyard.

When I divorced, I moved back home again with my daughters. Super teacher daughter was in kindergarten and was delighted to live with a weeping willow in her very own backyard. It was she now who spent hours eating cookies or sandwiches and playing dolls under her grandparents tree. That is, until one day years later when lightning split the tree and it was taken down.

We had moved out a couple of years before this, but daughter always ran to visit her tree. We did not think to warn her as we got settled in for our visit, until she came back in the house in tears. Her beloved tree was gone.

She never ate mangoes from it but that tree was a wonderful memory for my daughter, as well as Sanchari’s Mango tree was for her.

Read Full Post »

When I was in High School, we had a drive-in on the corner, where we could go and eat nutritious lunches of french fries and candy bars.  At least, they were an identifiable food, unlike the cafeteria.  I basically grew up on potatoes.

My mother once took me to the doctor and said, “All I can get her to eat are potatoes.”  He pointed out that I was extremely active, basically healthy and in good shape so stop worrying mom.  I should have kept eating potatoes.

There was one thing I was addicted to, besides potatoes and it was a version of a peanut butter cup.  I think made by the same company.  The difference was that the covering was a harder form of peanut butter over the softer peanut butter inside.

Smoothie Peanut Butter cup

Memory alert:  I was remembering this allllll wrong.  The Smoothie peanut butter cup is what I must have eaten and it is butterscotch, with junks of peanuts, covering the peanut butter center.  It was soooooo good.

Read more about it here:  http://candyaddict.com/blog/2007/07/19/retro-candy-review-boyer-smoothie-peanut-butter-cups/

Read Full Post »

69.8 million families, in this United States, live on Social Security and/or Federal Pension.  Those checks cover anywhere from one to —— people/adults and children in a family.

IF OUR government cannot get its act together, 69.8 million families will not get a check (and that includes the military) on the Third of August.  What will happen????

1. First, no direct deposit or card to pay that money.

2. No deposit, EQUALS, no money to pay the mortgage, utilities, doctors, gasoline, car repairs, house repairs, food, school clothing, book rental.  For one month, we will sit in our HOT homes (my husband has COPD and by the end of the month will most likely be in the hospital.) opening bank statement overdraft fees, and mortgage late payments, and, after the freezer is all melted, canned goods.  Not to speak of the student loan that I could not cancel the automatic withdrawal on in time.  That would certainly rank under the mortgage, if I could have.

3.  The end of the month will see us walking three miles away to have a free dinner at Mother’s Cupboard, well some of us.  My husband could not walk that length even in 70 degree weather.

4.  I will cancel the MRI for my possible crushed disc, in my back that is causing intense cyatic pain.

5.  We will not order medicine that we run out of.

6.  We already cancelled our land line but have a contract on the cell, so I guess they just turn it off without payment, but you still owe it.

7. What happens to your health and life insurance premiums?  I think I have two months before I am in default and lose my health insurance.

8.  Our income is already under $20,000 a year.  We have a nineteen year old with one more semester of high school, long story, he wasn’t being homeschooled when we took him, so he had problems.  One boy was just deployed to Afghanistan and one boy is working in food service and paying his own student loans and gas and food bills.

9.  Just wanted to give you a taste of our world.

MY PROPOSAL:

Every single one of those families need to write to every Congressman, senator, tea party, republican and democrat and send them a bill for the actual and mental damages when this happens.  Maybe that will wake them up.  Do you know a good Class Action lawyer?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.