Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My DIY Disabled Kitchen Design

The high cupboards in my kitchen I cannot reach easily.

Even though I live in a senior housing apartment building and my apartment is handicapped accessible, my cupboards in the kitchen are too high for me. For anything in the upper cupboards above the bottom shelf, I have to stand on a stool or chair to get anything out or put away. Since that is not too smart for me to do anymore because I live alone, I decided to organize the items I use the most and put them in an easy reaching location for me. As much as I love the minimalist look of having cleared counters, I cannot do that here. I have been watching tons of YouTube videos on organizing kitchens and getting a lot of ideas. Nothing worked completely for me. I had to come up with my own design.

This cupboard is the only one wide enough for dinner plates, but way too high for me!

Cupboards that are high are not only difficult for someone in a wheelchair or someone short (like me!), but if you have difficulty reaching up above your head. For me that is very painful and one reach can affect me for the whole day. As you can see in the photo, I have kind of a mess in that particular cupboard because it is hard to put stuff away above my head. Most of those items I don't use that often. So if I need it, I can wait for someone to help me (my son or boyfriend) when they are here. 

Bowls in this basket

I love baskets and decided some on the counter would work for other items. I put my small bowls, like my bowls from Corning or Pyrex custard cups in this basket because I use them often. Here they are easy to get or put away. Even though on the corner rack, I have some bigger bowls, these are the ones I use most often. I think the baskets keep it looking neater and more organized. It is easier for me to do this since I live alone, but even if you are living with a spouse, this is still doable. Having a large family would make it harder due to not having enough room. But then, you would not be living in a studio apartment as I am!

My hand mixer and immersion blender are kept here.

This basket is a bigger and sturdier basket than the other one. Both of them, all of my baskets, in fact, came from the local thrift store. In this one I keep my electric hand mixer and the immersion hand blender. So much easier to have it right there when I can get it out without much fuss. I realized after watching a few YouTube videos on organizing a kitchen, that if some items are not in plain view, you might not use them as much. It is due to forgetting you even have them or thinking I can get by without using it since it is so much trouble to get out. Now I use the electric mixer more and it has the beaters right here with it. No searching for it in a drawer or cupboard. Which I did all the time!

Kitchen Corner Shelf Organizer

I tried using  baskets for the plates on the counter, but they rubbed against each other and I was afraid of breaking and chipping them trying to get one out. I wasn't sure what to do with them. I hate having them stacked up. I decided to see what Amazon might have in the kitchen organizing category. Amazon did not let me down! They had the perfect answer. This organizer is actually made to be in the cupboard, but it works this way too. Makes it so easy to grab a plate real quick and no more trying to reach up into a cupboard for it. This one is also made to stand on its side and the plates would be standing on their edges. I like it better this way for my counter. This little rack is my favorite thing! I love it!

As you can see in this photo, there is plenty of room on my counter for food preparation. I am always figuring how to make it easier and having less work is one of my top priorities. 

I am an affiliate of Amazon and others and will receive a small commission it you click any links to their site and make a purchase. It does not cost you any more money. It is the way I keep my sites going. Read my 
Blogging Disclosure for more information.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Best I Can Be At My Age

Not the most flattering picture, but my hair was long.

After I got myself all settled in to my new city life, I wanted to work on my appearance a bit. Since I am in my later sixties I am aware that I will never look like I did in my twenties, nor do I want to. What I want to do is to look and feel the best I can at the age I am now at. I had let my hair grow very long and it was really too long. Hard to prepare foods when your hair is in the way all the time. Not good for kitchen work at all. One of the reason I had stopped getting it cut at the hairdressers was because we did not have the money. I am serious. Our money was very scarce back then and we had no extras. Unless it was money to be spent on essentials, not luxuries.

After having my hair cut off!

So a few weeks ago, my boyfriend treated me to an appointment at Teasers, the hairdresser around the block from me. Sophie, my hairdresser took about 10 inches of hair off! Can you believe it? Yes, she had me donate it. So I am happy that I did not have to see my hair laying on the floor around my chair. I felt good about that because my hair was very healthy and shiny. I hope it is welcomed by whoever gets it. I had her cut it about shoulder length with bangs. Now it is easy to wash, dry and style. I love it! It is more stylish. Now I don't look so much like an old hippie from the 60's.

The entrance to the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, NY.

Soon I wanted to do more. So I was looking for a place to get my ears pierced. I had pierced ears for years and always wore earrings and other jewelry. Then I got into the homesteading lifestyle and it seemed senseless to do that. Rings would get in the way working in the garden or kitchen. Soon I was not wearing any at all. My holes in my ears had closed up and when we needed money I sold most of my good jewelry on eBay. I just have a few pieces left. Next thing I know, my boyfriend is taking me to the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, NY. My old stomping grounds! I spent an awful lot of time in that mall in the 80's. It was my favorite place to be in my previous life.

The Piercing Pagoda

We ended up at the Piercing Pagoda picking out a pair of amethyst studs. This is where I had my ears pierced originally long ago. I must say the woman who pierced my ears was very quick and I barely felt it. The piercing was free with the purchase of the earrings. I have to leave them in for a month before I can start wearing other earrings. I still have a few pairs of my earrings left which I did not sell on eBay. Now I am having fun looking at the jewelry on eBay! Uh oh!

Living in the state forest

People think I must have been living in a third world country to have gone without things that most take for granted. No, I was only 6 miles from the closest town. It was a matter of not having enough money for these things and every penny went for bills, hay, gas and what was left went for food. No extras. I was not in the position to go out and find a job. When I did, I had to spend money for gas to get to the place to apply, then go back for an interview and then it would be a dead end. Nobody would hire me for I could not walk very good and had to use a cane. I felt like that put up some sort of warning to them not to hire me. Because they probably thought my health was not good would mean lots of sick days. Though that has never been the case with me. I am rarely sick. My knees are bad and that is really the only thing that affects me. My walking ability without a walker or a cane is not good at all.

So here I am. Not living the homesteading life any longer. Less work. More fun. Time to enjoy doing things I like to do. Less worry. Much happier!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

I Am Looking Forward To Fall and the Holidays

Beginning of fall colors in NY state

Fall is here. Holidays are coming. I am happy about both. Happy? More like excited. I can decorate. I can make a holiday for my friend, my son and I. Just like we used to have when he was younger. I used to go all out for Christmas all the years he was growing up. After his dad and I broke up, not so much. Now he lives a block away and we can celebrate holidays together again. Now living in an apartment building for seniors, I don't really expect to have trick or treaters for Halloween. But you never know, so I will at least buy a bag of candy, just in case. And then there is Thanksgiving! Which I am really looking forward to. I will write more about that is a future post.

Light and airy in my apartment

I am waiting for the fall colors to brighten up a bit and then I will take some good pictures to share the beautiful NY fall with my readers. As much as I loved the colors of the trees as they changed, in NY, it means cold weather is coming. Dark days and a lot of work in my previous house. I lived with wood stoves and an alternative energy system, which depended heavily on solar.....sun. Not easy at that time of the year. Being dark as early as five and sometimes earlier. Living here in my new apartment, this will not be a problem. I will have plenty of lighting and no wood stoves for heat. Snow removal is included in our rent here, so nothing I have to concern myself with.

The Parking Lot

The hardest thing, I believe I will have to deal with, will be walking with my rolling walker in the snow. I am guessing that my ramp and parking lot here will be completely plowed out to the surface. So it would not be a problem getting out of my building and to the parking lot. I have to believe the other parking lot behind the stores on Broad Street, will also be plowed out pretty good since it is a city parking lot. So hopefully, I will be able to use my walker all the way to the stores on Broad Street. Most of the time though, my friend will be driving me to the store. I would not take a chance on falling due to icy conditions.

Air Conditioner and Electric Heater

I will be exchanging air conditioning for heating. So I imagine my bills will remain the same. I have not done too bad on using air conditioning. I have it on all the time because I am always hot. So I like to keep my apartment cool and only turn it down when someone is here, who can't take it that cold. My maintenance man is going to put silicone on my windows when he takes out the air conditioner. I have not been able to open and close them myself. In winter, I would like to be able to open them at least a little bit. Need some air, even if it is cold.

Rabbit last year at the house keeping warm.

I am not too worried about being cold. My building is an old school building and built with brick. It will hold the heat well. I have a cedar chest full of afghans crocheted by my mother and these things keep you really warm. Plus I have heavy robes, nightgowns, sweaters and sweatshirts. Did I mention I am a hot person? Yes, usually I am too hot rather than too cold. The electric heaters are the baseboard type, so Rabbit can get as close as he wants. He seemed to like the wood stove in the winter time at my house. We are ready!

First sign of fall!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Flame of Love

Love is like a fire, if you do not stoke the fire,
the flame will go out. It needs tending, as love
will die without it. If it is not addressed daily,
it disappears. Taking it for granted, without a word,
never mentioning the L word, will kill it for sure.
Feeling unloved and insignificant is the most lost
feeling ever, so pay attention or you will feel that
way instead…...just a matter of time.

“I love you” is not that hard to say, though for some,
it seems to be. Showing love with little silly gifts,
cards, surprises, rides, meals shared, messages, phone
calls, just whatever you think of. Gets those love juices
flowing, into your heart and mind. Feeling love from
another fills you with love for them. It makes you feel
energized, positive, happy and joyful. It makes you thrilled
to just hear their voice or see them at your door.

Falling in love, that excited feeling you get at first,
may tend to fade, but instead will deepen. Deepens as
you learn every detail about your loved one. Learn what they
like and think. Put them first and they will do the same
with you. Never, ever take them for granted or expect them to know
…… know how you feel if you do not speak. Deep kisses speak
more than words, but words are needed as well. Just a piece of paper,
a note, a text message, with the words “I Love You” say more than
you will ever know.

Why is it so hard to keep your love alive? Why is it so hard to
say what you feel? After your love of your life has left, will you
speak then? It will be too late. One person will come along who
will speak those words. Will do those little things. They will
develop a lasting love that is strengthened by constant tending of
the flame of love. Strong vibes of love reaching the inner deep
spots of the heart. Fighting for love after it is gone is futile. There is none
left. It is gone on to another. Another who is not afraid to show love.
Not afraid to say or write those magic words. Doing all those little silly
things, and some not so silly. That is how love is.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, October 01, 2018

St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery

St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery, New Berlin, NY

Spending an afternoon in a cemetery? Now who in their right mind would want to do that? Well, me, for one. I love to spend a day in a cemetery. So one day in August, my friend took me for a ride and I never know where we will end up. It just so happened we were in New Berlin (NY) which is not that far from where I live. Yet I had never explored it before. This particular day we had lunch and then was driving up the street and we spotted this awesome church. Not only was the church beautiful, but the cemetery surrounding it was enormous. It was St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery on Main Street. As far as I could see, there were gravestones. I can't imagine how you would find someone you were looking for without some help from the office.

The small town of New Berlin is six miles from Norwich, NY, which is the county seat. It was formed from Norwich in 1807. The name was changed to Lancaster in 1820 and changed back the following the year to New Berlin. It is on the Unadilla River. The land this small town is built upon is rich in native American history. It is a pleasant town and most people drive through it on their way to another place. If you stop and browse a bit, you will find a historical treasure. The gem I found was St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery. It was the first Episcopal church in Chenango County, NY.

St. Andrew's was organized in 1814 by Reverend Daniel Nash, the first pastor. It was consecrated by Bishop Hobart in 1816. The original church building was torn down in 1847 and the church that stands today, was then built of stone in the Gothic style of architecture and was then consecrated by Reverend Andrew Hull. The cemetery is owned and cared for by St. Andrew's. 

The day we were here was a beautiful summer day and we spent some time driving through the cemetery. The grounds were vast and covered in gravestones as far as I could see. There were many old graves with some that were difficult to read. And others that were old, but so well marked that were as easy to read as if they were put in recently. 

I hope to go back there one day and take photos of some of the more unusual grave stones and monuments. They really are a work of art in some cases. The Victorian era, 1837-1901 was a time of elaborate tombstones and headstones and cemeteries evolved into a park like existence. Loved ones had started adding more to the headstones to leave a bit of information about the deceased. Some adding the sculptured designs which included their religious beliefs, their occupation, social class or other such notes. The Colonial era, was just the opposite fearing the afterlife.  

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a nice day. Though most of the cemeteries I like to visit are ones that have my own ancestors buried in. Having worked on my family tree for more than a few years now, I like to go to their graves and visit them in person and take my own photos. I have not found any of my family members in this cemetery as of yet, but who knows what or who I may discover in the future?

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Disability Independence With A Rolling Walker

katlupe at The Wolf Mountain Nature Center

Living with a disability is easier with the right implements made for your particular disability. Mine is my knees and my ability to walk. For years I struggled with my cane. I thought that was the best I would be able to do. I lived in a home that was not designed for someone that was disabled. When I moved into my new apartment in May, I suddenly discovered a whole new world open to me. I could do so many things that I never thought I would be able to do in this lifetime again. One of the problems of walking with the cane over a walker, is that the cane causes you to walk incorrectly. It would cause me to have hip pain later that night or the next day. At the time I did not realize it was related to the cane. Maybe I was not using it properly, but I did the best I could.

ProBasics Rollator

After I moved, I was gifted by a friend, a rolling walker or a rollator. I love it! I have written about it before on here. It gave me back my independence. I could not walk very far without having to sit down. With the walker, I can sit down anytime anywhere. The more I have used it though, the less I have needed to sit down. Maybe the cane caused me to need to sit more often because I was not walking properly. There are some days I do not use it in my apartment at all and then others when I need to walk from my chair to the bathroom.

Laundry Day!

I like to keep it close by and it is really handy if I am carrying stuff. I use it when I do my laundry and can put my small laundry basket right on top of the seat. I take it downstairs to the laundry room that way. Later on, I just take the dry clothing to the closet or the dresser to put away right on the walker. My normal routine is to put my laundry in the washing machine and then come back upstairs and wait till it is time for the washer to be finished. Then I go back to put the clothes in the dryer. If I am doing a second load, I put it in now, as I do not like to hog the machines in case others need them. Plus, there are times I start doing the wash and just don't feel like doing that second load. So it can wait till tomorrow. Sometimes it is just easier on me that way instead of doing it all in one day.

Seat up and basket below fits a lot of stuff!

My rolling walker is manufactured in China for ProBasics and I think it is very sturdy and I feel confident using it. I am able to go places with it that were difficult for me to get to. Now I feel free! I like the fact that the seat opens up and there is basket below the seat that allows for me to carry my camera, my purse, whatever I buy at the store inside. It is great. It has hand brakes so when I am going down my ramp, it does drag me down, but the hand brakes make it so I can go at my own pace, which is slow. Coming up the ramp, I am able to go pretty fast. Every time I use this walker, I thank God for making it possible for me to have one. I can honestly say I would be lost without it.

Carrying distilled water home from the store.

I am an affiliate of Amazon and others and will receive a small commission it you click any links to their site and make a purchase. It does not cost you any more money. It is the way I keep my sites going. Read my Blogging Disclosure for more information.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, September 09, 2018

My Random Thoughts

The lobby at the front entrance of my apartment building.

I wake up early, free to do whatever I want. That is as long as I get Rabbit his handful of morning greens. He is doing binkys all around me as I try to make my way out to the kitchen. Turn the coffeepot on. Make my coffee. Drink the whole pot. Or pour it in the thermos. It will still be there later. No one to drink it up on me. I check my computer. I check my emails. Say good morning to my friends. Sometimes my adopted daughter, L, messages me to see if I am up. Needs her hair braided. She is just down the hall. She used to be my son’s girlfriend and just happened to be living in this very building that I wanted to move into. We have become pretty close now, even though they have been broken up for awhile and she has a new love in her life. It is fine with me, I understand exactly. Couples meet couples fall in love. couples fall out of love. couples split up. Not all, but it is a common cycle.

The steep stairs going out the front entrance!

It has been difficult for me trying to write my blog now. All those topics that used to appeal to my readers had to do with homesteading, self-sufficiency and self-reliance. None of those activities are a part of my life any longer. I am on to other goals and a completely different lifestyle. Some of the things I wrote about though, I still do. I still cook, I still am frugal, I still am caring for my pet rabbit and other things too. I remember all those days before I moved here wondering if I would even keep this blog going. I decided to do away with Solar Baby, my blog about living with solar, since I do not live with solar any longer. I have gotten so used to the grid electric, that I would not be able to get into writing an article about the solar. As my old life is fading, my new one is focusing on me more, not the lifestyle.

At the age of 66, I want to establish a life that is simple, focused on me and accomplish the goals I had set down on paper more than two years ago. I am doing that right now. After I got moved in and settled, I had to get my son moved near by. He is disabled and I look out for him. Not easy, since he an adult and can be stubborn at times. But it is extremely important to me that he is a part of my life. I still have a number of health issues to take care of and one I am working on tomorrow. My first appointment to deal with that. It is a good feeling as I cross out a goal that I have accomplished. Some of them I never thought I would.

The front doors to the street.

It took me a few months to finally get my apartment set up and bring my stuff from my house and include it in this small 338 square foot room. I have a storage area downstairs also. So that helps, but it is not that big. I still have canning equipment to pick up from my house and not sure if I will actually be canning here. I do not have much room or need for that much food. Maybe I will sell that stuff little by little over time. Some of my jars are from my parents and I am quite sentimental about those. It is best for them to go to people who need them and will use them. The same sentiment I had when I sold their home. My first purchase of canning jars was from a lady who had lost her husband a few months before and did not need to can as much food anymore. She was a little sad selling them to me, but she kept some for small canning amounts. I loved doing it and it is hard knowing I may not ever do it again.

Living in the downtown area of a small city makes it easier for me to do the things I need to do. Not having a vehicle is really not that hard since there is a few different types of public transportation here. They are much cheaper than a motor vehicle payment and related expenses. The bus is only fifty cents if you have a Medicare card, which I do. I just have not tried it yet. I was was waiting for a cool day. Now that fall is almost here, the weather hopefully will become cooler. Today it was. I could not stand to leave my air conditioned apartment the whole time it was so hot. I even dreaded going to the grocery store and I was riding in an air conditioned car.

I love the glass windows!

The one thing I have noticed is that your age is not what makes you feel old. It is either the way you live or not being happy and satisfied in your life. You can still have problems, illnesses, financial problems, family problems or a million other problems. You have to learn to deal with them so they do not overwhelm you. Set aside a certain time of the day to try to figure out how to take care of them and when that time is over, put those problems aside till tomorrow. My mom always said to make a list of your problems and under each one a list of the pros and cons of how to solve them. It has always helped me. Sometimes your problems are not as bad as you think. I had a friend recently step in and help me with some problems that I felt were strangling me. I was depressed and upset constantly. He stepped in a few days ago and WHOOSH! Like that, those problems are history! Thank you my friend, you know who you are!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Low Carbs Does Not Leave You Hungry

Sausage Salad

Once again I am exasperated by a friend showing me a product she is going to buy to "suck her fat cells out." I say quietly, "all you have to do is eat low carbs." She ignores that and keeps talking about sucking her fat cells out. I tell her if she wants to lose that belly fat, there is a better way. Just stop eating grains and sugar. No pasta, no bread, no gingerale, no sweets of any kind. She says, "No gingerale?" With some people it is the bread they don't want to give up. I know how that is. I was the same way about bread. I loved it with cold butter. Now, I don't really miss it.

Bacon Satisfies Hunger

Yes people, there is no easy fix to getting rid of belly fat or any other fat. Nope. The only way is to find a low carb food plan that works for you. How many low fat diet plans are you going to start and stop over your lifetime? Too many. And you know why, don't you? Because you can not stay on them for very long. You start a diet and maybe you do lose some weight. Then you eventually fall off and start eating what you used to eat. Maybe being careful at first. But when the pounds start creeping back on, you say what the hell? Start eating what you want. Back to where you started before, but maybe with more weight this time. The sad part is the more times you do it over and over, the harder it is to lose it.

Scrambling Eggs

What most people don't understand about a low carb diet is that you are eating vegetables too. It is not just meat. Or just bacon and eggs. It does entail cooking, but you do not have to make long drawn out recipes with a zillion ingredients. I basically eat eggs with bacon or sausage for breakfast. And meat and salad for supper. Easy to do. While your meat is cooking, make the salad. If you don't mind leftovers, which I don't mind, cook up extra meat so the next few days it is even easier. After three days of eating low carbs, I will not be hungry in between. That means no snacking. If I need a snack, I will get one. I would rather eat a snack then to get so hungry that I eat something I shouldn't.

The famous 1 Minute Muffin

I like to carry portable food with me so I am not tempted. Especially if I am at other people's houses or out for the day somewhere, These foods can also be used for snacks if you need something at work or home. One is nuts and you can usually find them at any store. Convenience stores carry a large variety and the ones I usually eat are the smoked almonds. They come in little bags that can be tucked in a pocket or a purse and come in handy when you need them. I like pepperoni, beef jerky, pork rinds, string cheese, whipped cream cheese with salmon. Some of those would need refrigeration or an ice chest in your car if you are traveling. There are available some low carb crackers and things like that, but I cannot tell you anything about them since I do not use those.

Fresh Berries

Fruit sounds like a good snack. But if you are eating low carbs, other than berries, it is too high in carbs. Eating only 20 carbs a day for me about does it. It may not sound like a lot, but some days, I have trouble getting that many in. I like to make my own fat bombs using just cream cheese, heavy cream and one of DaVinci's sugar free syrups. Or some chopped up olives and grated cheese for a savory snack. The fat is what satisfies you so you are not hungry. Contrary to what "old school" medical doctors will tell you, fat is not the culprit. On the Ketogenic forum I belong to, the members always answer someone who says they are hungry, by telling them to eat more fat. So that is what I do, it works!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole