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Summer Jam

I am still alive though I am frequently shifting from doing okay to downright depression.

The one thing that I have been doing for the past couple of months has been making jam. It's about the only thing that has been helping keep me grounded. Part of my jam making has also been to keep my sister supplied with her latest addiction, mainly due to my newest nephew that she's carrying.

Over the course of the summer I have made the following jams:

Mint Jelly
Strawberry-Mint Jam
Blueberry-Cherry Jam
Spiced Honey Plum Jam
Carrot Cake Jam
Blackberry Port Jam
Blueberry Lavender Jam
Peach Basil Jam
Spiced Peach Jam

I have also canned a batch of Pickled Heirloom Cherry and Pear Tomatoes, a batch of British Bread & Butter Pickles and a Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce.

So when it comes to jamming and canning I've been a busy little bee. Everything else I've just been blah.


Three months have passed since my grandmother's death, and well, I am still here.

The tax season has been keeping me busy, but as that will be ending 18 days, I'm getting a bit anxious as to what will happen once that's done again for a year. Partly, I don't know what I'm going to do about bills. I will totally be without money which will force me to be more of a house hermit as gas prices down here in this part of SC means that it costs over $50 to fill up my car. And then this leads to the next problem. This was grandma's house, and she still is present in every corner of the house. And we're still in the middle of probate. . .so everything has to be taken down, priced (as the probate court wants to determine an estimate cost of the estate), and then put aside as to whom it will go. The house also will be made to sold, which can hopefully be done by the end of the year. I am getting a third of the equity of the house once sold, so that will get me a little money to move on, but until then I'm basically trapped here with the memories of my grandmother.

All this stress has not been helping my health either. While the t-cells are still up and the viral load still nil, the arthritis continues to get worse as the pain medication and NSAIDs are losing their efficiency. And as I already have a depressed immune system, I really can't use any of the normal treatments for my arthritis, as they are suppose to depress an immune system. And well my heart has started being affected as well. I've had an increased heart rate for a little over a year now, but it had been consistent in the mid-90s. Lately I've had incidents where the heart rate has increased to 130+. Right now I am having to wear an Event monitor 24/7 (except while showering) for the next 21 days. I'm on day 10 right now.

I suppose I should just finally break down and apply for disability for my three conditions (HIV, Psoriatic Arthritis, and depression), but I don't know if I can take the two to three rejections, and years of reapplication all the while trying to deal with how to pay may current bills, feed myself, and actually find some place to live after all is said and done.

I put on a strong face, but inside I am really a mess. But I continue to try and smile, to take each day as it comes even though my room is a shambles because I never seem to have the energy to clean it and sometimes dishes sit around for a couple of days before they finally make there way into the dishwasher. I am fine, really I am. . .just have to keep telling myself that, but ultimately I am alone, and continue to deal with this alone.

Crappy Christmas

I lost my grandmother yesterday on Christmas. The rock of my life is gone. I'm lost and I don't know what to do. I'm numb and I'm worried. I don't know how I'm going to pay my bills. . .I don't even know where I'm going to be living anymore. I don't want to stay in SC, but I have to. Unless I can find a state without a waiting list for ADAP I've got to stay in SC where I'm at least able to still receive my antivirals. Without those. . .without those I might as well be next to follow. Where am I going to live? How am I going to live? I lost my grandmother yesterday on Christmas. . .the rock of my life is gone. . .it's been a crappy Christmas and I can't stop crying.

Update - Mission 101, August 2010

I haven't updated my LJ since before World Cup, and thusly I haven't updated my Mission 101 list since March, so it's long overdue, even though personally I don't think I've done much.

17. Take 5000 pictures. (1062/5000)

As always, the pictures can be viewed on my Flickr page. A lot of the pictures are of my yarn stash, or my knitting projects, but there are pictures in there from my cruise, and various other things I've taken pictures of to try and increase the number.

36. Visit 5 National Park Service Units I Haven't Visited Before. (5/5)

Finished this one by visiting Cumberland Gap National Historic Park on 7/24/10 while I was visiting a friend up in Tennessee.

40. Use Passport at least Twice.

Well since I visited three different countries during my most recent cruise, I consider this goal complete as I would have received stamps had I flown into the country rather than just arriving via ship. :-)

42. Go on another cruise.

Took a birthday cruise around the Western Caribbean back in May. . .what a wonderful experience.

47. Hike 100 miles collectively. (12/100)

I can safely assume I added about another 1.5 miles to my count while I was visiting Cumberland Gap, and I don't know, but a lot of it seemed to be up hill. ;-D

Well I've a little over a year left and 77 of my 101 things left to do. Some of those are currently in process so they'll hopefully be done soon. Some though I'm afraid I don't see completely by September of 2011, but you never can tell.

Men of the Week - USA World Cup Team

For this installment of Man of the Week, we shall of course celebrate the World Cup Soccer Season. And in preparation for the England vs. USA game tomorrow I give you some of the rather sexy men of the USA World Cup Team. I have to admit, I do mostly watch the soccer games because a lot of the men tend to take off their shirts when the game ends. ;-D

Tim Howard, Keeper

Landon Donovan, Midfielder

More Soccer Hotness. . .Collapse )

Atop the Acropolis

Since I started the practice of using my birthday to celebrate life, beating back the scourge of HIV after another year, and thus travel to places I haven't been before I have found that I've done some very interesting things. Two years ago on my birthday I was standing on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty look out over New York Harbor. Last year on my birthday I was soaking in a tub of hot spring water, participating in a tradition spa treatment at Hot Springs National Park. This year, I was standing on top of a Mayan ruin!!!Today's port of call was Costa Maya in the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Costa Maya is actually a fairly new port town, not much built up or commercialized yet, having only been in operation since 20011. This though was not the main attraction. The main attraction was an additional two hours south by coach near the Belize border, the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich. These ruins are still in somewhat of a natural state, and unlike Tulum, you are still able to climb up and through the ruins. All I can say is that it was a wonderful experience. . .I took over 130 pictures just in the two hours we were there at the site.

The drive down to the site was quite interesting as well. As I watched out the window I was struck with actually how beautiful this portion of Mexico was in its starkness. Kilometers upon kilometers2 of mangroves and palms, bananas and noni, hundreds upon hundreds of tropical plants two numerous to name, broken up every so often by tiny little pueblos that clung to the side of the main highway that runs the length of the Yucatan from Cancun to the capital of Quintana Roo.

Tomorrow's port of call will be Roatan, an island off the coast of (and part of) Honduras. I can say that I shall have a lifetime of memories from this trip. . .all of them good.

1The port was closed down for awhile after damage from Hurricane Dean and wasn't reopened until 2008.

2Or "Miles upon miles" in those tiny few of us that still use the Imperial system of measurement.

Atop the Acropolis
Originally uploaded by GhstLght74


Today's excursion was to the Mayan ruins of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. In order to get to the ruins, it consisted of a 40 minute ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa del Carmel, then an almost hour drive to the ruins themselves. Despite the length of the trip to get there it was well worth it. The ruins were beautiful. . .and even though it was very hot, there was a nice breeze coming off the Caribbean.

After visiting the ruins, our tour group was treated to a nice buffet lunch and then some time to swim in the Caribbean. . .now that was fun, if exhausting. With the size of the waves it was a lot of work to keep oneself afloat. Then everything was reversed, hour drive to Playa del Carmel, then 40 minute ferry ride back to Cozumel. By the time I got back to the port it was time to board the ship before we set sail for tomorrow's stop at Costa Maya, Mexico where I will spend my birthday visiting more Mayan ruins. Fun, Fun, Fun. :-)

Originally uploaded by GhstLght74

Kissing the Turtle

Today is day two on my birthday cruise around the Caribbean. Our stop today after a day at sea was Grand Cayman. Upon arriving at Grand Cayman, Grandma and I did a bus tour around the island stopping off in both Hell and at the Grand cayman Turtle Farm. At the Turtle Farm we actually got to hold a baby turtle. It was so neat!!! It was a hot day though and when we finally got back to the port we did a little shopping before heading back on the tender toward the ship. I was so drained that I actually took a nap before dinner. After dinner I attempted to go to a Friends of Dorothy gathering. There didn't seem to be barely anyone there and we were also overshadowed by an art demonstration next door in the Art Gallery. I also tend to have a slight social anxiety problem when I'm by myself and don't know anyone. I just kind of sat there, sipping on a ginger ale since I don't drink alcohol anymore. I couldn't bring myself to approach anybody. . .it looked like there were at least two couples there conversing. . .and as couples I would be kind of the odd man out, which also kinds of makes me uneasy.

Tomorrow we will be in Cozumel. . .and I will be taking the 40 minute ferry to the mainland in order to visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins. I am so excited. A lot of pictures will be had. More later. :-)

Kissing the Turtle
Originally uploaded by GhstLght74


Just to let you all know. . .I have finally downloaded and set-up Skype on my laptop. My user name is grmllns if you ever want to chat. :-) I've already been able to talk with my sister who lives in Orlando and hopefully will soon get to talk with my brother whose stationed in Germany right now.


Playoff Beard??

Well I haven't shaved since the last day of work on Thursday. As such I'm thinking on the possibility of doing something rather manly and grow a playoff beard. Trouble is as I don't really have a "home" team to root for, I'm at a loss as to what team to really support. As I will always be a Floridian at heart I could always support either the Panthers or the Lightning, but as neither has made the playoffs that is a moot point. Technically the "closest" teams to me are either the Hurricanes or the Thrashers, but again as neither of those teams have made the playoffs, another moot point. I've always kind of had a "thing" for the Bruins, but that's only because I often dream of moving to Boston one day and living out my days as a Bostonian. Hmmm. . .I've always considered Phoenix a "second home" so there's the possibility of the Coyotes. Then again I could possibly go for the Avalanche too. Thus you see my quandary. Any suggestions??

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