Monday, July 31, 2017

**REVIEW** Honeywell Quietset 8-Speed Whole-Room Tower Fan

Don't get me wrong - I love my new state (Iowa), but it is hot and humid!

Thank goodness for a small apartment and affordable electricity. The first week here, I ran the AC constantly. I was doing a first-month test of running the AC on around 75-80 degrees to see just how horrendous the bill would be. When I got nervous about that, I ordered this Honeywell fan to help with the cool-down:

 The fan also comes in white, but the black color works better with the rest of my stuff.

I am SO glad that I got this fan. First of all, it was a great price. Second, I've never had a Honeywell appliance that let me down as far as quality. Third - and most important - this baby works like a dream! I am able to turn my AC to around 90 and use the fan to do the rest of the work.

There is a ceiling fan in the bedroom that works really well. I never turn that bad boy off! The Honeywell travels with me from living room to bedroom. I can set it just outside the kitchen when I am cooking and it cools the whole front area of the apartment. At night, I turn it to the lowest 2 settings and it keeps me comfy while I'm sleeping. I love this fan..

What I like most is that it looks nice. I had to decorate my place on a really tight budget and I didn't want a big old ugly fan sitting out anywhere. This is sleek-looking and very unobtrusive. When I place it in the living room, it doesn't stand out like an eyesore. In the bedroom, it's more noticeable but ~shrug~ it's not ugly so who cares?

Next best thing is that it runs so quietly. There are 8 speeds, running lowest to highest in this order:

  • Sleep
  • Whisper
  • Calm
  • White Noise
  • Relax
  • Refresh
  • Cool
  • Power Cool
The settings light up in hues of blue when the fan is running. There is a little light switch button that allows you to dim that light. 

There is also a sleep-timer function. You can set the fan to run for 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours. On nights when I go to bed early, I will set the timer for 2 hours because I know the outside temps will start to cool off where I won't need the fan all night.

The fan comes with a remote that will control the Power, Speed, and Oscillation. Because I am a neat freak, I like that the remote tucks away in the back of the fan when not in use.

So, yep, I'm pretty happy with this fan. Like I said, it's helping me cut back on my use of the AC. That's going to save some bucks, I don't care how reasonable the electricity rates are.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

**Tip** Data Usage Numbers (finding them)

Just a tip for anyone trying to find/track their data usage so they don't go over on their internet plan. Sadly, I only know how to do this in Windows 10, but I'm sure the method is similar for other systems. I got curious about this when I signed up for a 400GB plan at an affordable rate. I have no idea how to visualize what 400GB means for usage. I was wondering if I'd have to give up binge-watching shows on Amazon Prime in order to still be able to surf the net for research and writing. Apparently, a lot of people wonder the same about internet usage and data limits. Last night, I did a little digging around and came up with a way to check on my usage.

The easiest way is to go to the Search Bar and type in "data"or "usage".

The circle is for "Search"

Then you can get to this screen:

Notice you can "View usage details". For me, this is what that page looks like:

By the way, I haven't made much a dent in my usage and I've been sick in bed and binge-watching tons of Youtube and Prime videos. My numbers, if accurate, really surprised me.

Before moving, I shared internet with family or I was with a familiar company local to Anchorage. Coming here and setting up internet limited me to 2 choices. One of those places was going to be a pain to use because of the way the apartment building is wired. I think I got a way better rate by going with Mediacom. (Not thrilled with their customer service, but...).

Of course, I can also sign into my Mediacom account and check usage, but it sure is nice to have backup numbers to compare with. If I start seeing huge discrepancies, then I will know to ask questions.

So, that's it. If any of you know how to check for different systems, be nice and share it with the rest of us.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Writing Status & Killing Time

The title of the post should actually be - Writing Status: Holding and Waiting, Not Procrastinating. By the way, excuse any rambling. I'm dealing with some brain fog today. However, to make up for it, I am including links at the bottom of the post. Have fun.

When I posted about getting settled in the apartment, a casual online friend asked if I was now back to working on the book(s).

Well, let's see...

This is my chair and desk.

All. Those. Pieces. Yikes!

As you can see, the chair is assembled - because it was a "Look Ma, no tools required" kind of thing. That desk... I broke down in tears of frustration just trying to identify all the parts and pieces.

Yeah, so, this is my current writing station:

Makeshift desk & my busted computer

At least I put on part of the un-assembled desk to good use.

When I said that I had gotten things in the apartment put together. I meant that I had managed to get myself to put things together enough so that I have somewhere to sit and sleep. For now, I am concentrating on recovering from the move. My energy was at rock-bottom levels for the past couple of weeks. I'm hoping that I'll be feeling better now that I've finally had my (overdue) infusion.
Not only do I still need the desk assembled, I have to hunt around for an affordable bedroom dresser. And there are still my unpacked boxes to deal with...

While I'm waiting for my energy to power back up, I have been checking out some great websites.

"Wrote a song about it. Like t'hear it? Here it goes."
In Living Color (David Alan Grier)

  • Lifehacker is just fun. It's a nice resource (sometimes) for writers
  • WonderHowTo is for when you wonder how to. See what I did there?
  • This video/GIF just because it nausates and fascinates me. 
  • Unsplash for free photos. I actually just like looking at them, but you are free to use them.
  • This is for when I need to let my brain just breathe. Good for when you feel overwhelmed and hyper.
  • AlternativeTo is for when you are either broke or cheap and need an alternative to paid apps/programs. Maybe, like me you are both broke and cheap!
  • Text Faces is just that. (ᵔᴥᵔ) See?
  • Lifewire has the name that makes me think of Motley Crue, but a motto I like: Tech Untangled. 
  • CamelCamelCamel is for Amazon addicts (me!) who like to price track (me!)
  • WhichBook helps you choose a book to read.
  • Have not checked out Instaread yet. Not sure if it will make me happy or sad...
  • So, GeoCron is an interactive history atlas.

So, I'm not back working on the writing projects yet. There is no procrastination involved though. Trust me, I can't wait to get back into my writing. When I do, you will hear my whoops of joy!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fatigue & Relief

So I have mostly finished getting set up here in my new town. The apartment is awesome, the neighbors are great, and I only wish I had more energy to get back to the book.

I have had my appointment with my new rheumatologist here. While he does not seem very familiar with sarcoidosis, he is a kind and attentive doctor who seems like he will be watching things carefully. The second time I saw him, I forgot to take my BP meds pre-appointment and ended up spending a few hours in the ER. (See, my other docs knew me well enough. If I forgot my meds, they made sure I took them right away and everything would settle down.) I guess I should be thankful that my new doc refuses to take chances. And I bet I won't ever, EVER forget to take my meds pre-appointment, no matter how early I have to be there.

This weekend is not the best. it would be awesome if I felt better, There is live music at the park that I can hear from my open window; the weather has cooled down to the right side of enjoyable; and I don't have my writing desk set up to do anything yet. I should be strolling down to the green to enjoy the music. Instead, I'm stuck inside, watching videos, reading, and blogging. I'm too drained to make the 2-block walk. Thankfully, I made it to the store earlier this morning before this fatigue sunk in. I'm pretty sure the problem is that I haven't had my regularly scheduled infusion. By the time I get it next week, I will be over 2 weeks behind. I never realized how much the infusions helped some of my symptoms.

I guess that, instead of complaining, I should be talking the positives. After all, even though I can't get to the park, I did make it outside for a while to enjoy the beautiful weather. And it really is a spectacular day out. Just a while ago, I went out and fed bread ends to the birds and squirrels! I'm still fascinated by the little creatures who are so friendly with us humans. Remember the friends I made while in the courtyard at my brother's apartment?

Speaking of peaceful, here is a shot of the very peaceful morning on Main:

That's from when I walked over to pick up some foodstuffs.  For a minute, I wondered if something was wrong, then I remembered. Sunday morning. It was so quiet that all I could hear was bird song. Did I mention that this is a "church" town? Sunday mornings are for worship and family. I think that there are about 4 churches in a 6-block radius of my building!

So, yeah, it sucks that I'm stuck inside on a pretty day but, on the other hand, I could be stuck inside and miserable. All in all, I realized how blessed I am. Hopefully, after the infusion I'll feel so much better.

Once I am feeling a bit more up to speed, I will be getting back to work on the book!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Oh, How I LOVE Dollar Stores!

One of the biggest benefits to living in the Lower 48 again is that I have access to all the "dollar" stores.

  • Dollar Tree - where everything really is a DOLLAR. (Okay, there is the 7% tax thing, but, hey...)
  • Dollar General - lots of premium items and no-name-brand on the cheap
  • Family Dollar - same as Dollar General
Of course, I still love Walmart (for the prices, not always for their practices), but I am starting to get the hang of how to use the "dollar" stores to stretch my budget. I call Walmart and "the Dollars" my Top 4. (And I still love you too, Amazon Prime, but a girl has to shop around.)

Some of you might remember the last time I went nuts over these "dollar" stores. And then, there was also the time I had my romance with Big Lots. The nearest Big Lots is about an hour and a half away in Des Moines. No bueno. 

Anyway, I'm happy with having 3 of the "dollar" places along with Walmart. When I had to throw this apartment together, I used my Amazon Prime for about 10% of what I got - the bed being the most important. The rest, I got from the Top 4. 

For people turning up their noses at the Dollars, I say go ahead and burn your money. Of course, like anyone else, I'd rather have the best of the best. But, like most tight-budget folk, I have to o with the best of the cheap. Sometimes, I have found that paying more doesn't always mean getting better.

For instance, I ordered some kitchen towels from a seller on Prime but was really disappointed with the quality. - especially after laundering them... Afterwards, I picked up a couple more items from Dollar Tree. Guess which was the better bargain:

The raggedy-looking towel on the left? Yeah, I paid too much for that... 

The only reason I didn't replace the more expensive towels with something from Dollar Tree is that there were none in the colors I wanted. Yeah, I have this thing for red. I'll be making another trip to the Tree next week.

Basically, I did my entire kitchen - minus the coffee maker - for around $80. That was between shopping sales at Walmart (for the toaster, staples canisters, and some glass bake ware), then hitting all of the Dollars for the rest. I literally got all of my kitchen towels - minus the horrible ones - mixing utensils and bowls, and miscellany for $1.00 - $5.00 each. I even got dust cans for the bath and bedroom from the Dollars. And, of course, I have photographs...

Also got trash bags & plastic storage bags

Paper towels & (name brand) toilet tissue?  From the Dollars. 

Sugar, flour, baking soda? The Dollars

Bleach and laundry soap? Toilet drop-ins and cleanser? The Dollars.

When I "splurged" the other day and bought myself some of those sparkling cider drinks I love. One dollah each.

Now, I'm not saying that everything from the Dollars is great. That's why I do a shopping circuit between the Dollars, Walmart, and Amazon. I am saying that I know people who consider themselves too good for the Dollars. Let me tell you something: even if I were to magically become rich, I'd still bargain shop. It's stupid to spend more money that you have to. If you want to throw money around, why not throw it at a charity or someone in need? 


I'm pretty much finished with the apartment set-up. The only thing I need - and it's not urgent - are curtains. I'm keeping my eye out for some bargains!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Praise the Lord & Pass the Peas!

I'm not trying to be irreverent. I truly am praising the Lord. I have so much to be thankful for that I don't even know where to start. But, since I have internet access again, I will try. LOL

I am thankful for family and friends who love me enough to always be there for me. The first things I decorated my new place with where very meaningful reminders of these folks.

From my brother & sis-in-law
because my name is in it!
From my best sister/friend
because she knows me so

By the way, without all my brothers, I would not have been able to make this life change. They offered money, love, encouragement, and continuing support. Not many people are that blessed here on Earth. To top that, I have a brother in Heaven, waiting for me along with the rest who've gone ahead.

I am thankful that I had such an amazing sister. I miss her everyday, but this huge sunflower reminds me of her. She loved the color yellow, and she was so much like the flower: beautiful, stunning, and shining bright.

God blessed me with a nice home where I can begin healing. Of course, it's decorated like a college dorm room, but, hey - a chick was working on a slim budget! 

Like my life - sparse but beautiful

And, because, I still know how to laugh at just about everything... This here is my shopping helper. Let me tell you how I came to love this cart:

I live in a "seniors" building. I never thought of myself as "senior". Heck, I never accepted being middle-aged! The deal here is, you have to be 55+ to reside in the building. I just slid in. As far as I know, there is one other "silver" woman here; the rest of the tenants are definitely gold (by at least 3 layers or more) and they look at me as if they want to feed me or knit me something. I adore them all. They are some of the liveliest, active, busiest folk I've known in a while! I adore them, but I didn't want to be too much like them. When I noticed that most of them use these wheeled carts for shopping trips, I decided I would never have one of my own. That resolved dissolved the first time I walked a block and a half to the market for groceries. 

I call my cart "Beauty" and I never leave home walking without her!
Look at those sleek lines...

She slides open and shut

 Beauty rolls like a dream. Curbs, gravel, little bumps in the sidewalk mean nothing to her! She is perfect for getting things home and into the apartment. And, to tell the whole truth, she gives me something to hold on to when my balance is off.

So, yeah, I have plenty to be thankful for. Of course, I'm still adjusting to a new routine and my surroundings. I'm glad to be near family and to be making some new acquaintances (I have enough friends!).

I'm going to sign off now so that I can go praise the Lord some more. I just can't stop thanking Him for keeping me through such tough times.


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

New Home & New Beginnings

Well, folks, this life changing move of mine just got real. I got into the apartment building that I so badly wanted.

When I lost my sister, I went through such a dark time. I didn't know what I needed to get out of that misery, but I tried looking. Turns out it wasn't a person or a situation. It was a place. This place that I am in.

I never had a doubt that God was going to bless me with what I needed but, this time, what I needed just happened to also be what I wanted. That doesn't happen very often.

This is just a post to give thanks to God and to the people he put in my life. Peoplake who prayed for me when I was so depressed the past couple of years. People who gave to me when they didn't have to. People who just let me drench their shoulders with my tears when I needed.

I'm thankful to my family who supported me and helped me along the way. I am truly blessed - not just in good times but also in times of sadness.