Friday, February 2, 2024

For goodness sake, unplug those small appliances


It's 6 a.m. and still dark here in Pittsburgh. I woke up with something on my mind, so I got up, plugged in the coffee maker, grabbed my laptop, and started to type. It's been awhile since I've checked in with you, so, hello. I hope you're well. I've missed you. But do me a favor before you read on. Go into your kitchen and make sure you've unplugged your air fryer. And your slow cooker (remember that THIS IS US episode? And any other unused small appliance. 

Done? Phew. Okay. I can stop worrying now.

You see, I watched a news report the other day about an air fryer that started on fire while a man was in the living room watching TV. He heard a loud pop and saw smoke coming from the kitchen. His air fryer was on fire. He quickly woke his son and called 911.

Earlier this month, another area fire company was called to a house fire caused by . . . you guessed it . . . another air fryer. The thing is, neither one was in use at the time they started on fire, but, they were plugged in. Now, I don't own an air fryer, but my daughters do, so do you know what the first thing I did was after I saw the news report? I texted my girls, of course, and told them to unplug their air fryers. And I'm asking you to do the same thing.

Years ago, when I started my Vinegar Friday posts, a young mom read about the toxins in bathroom cleaners, so she switched over to vinegar. She later sent me a message letting me know I'd saved her daughter's life. Courtney had gone into the bathroom to discover the young girl sitting on the floor with the bottle of vinegar. She'd unscrewed the top and was sucking on it. Imagine if that had been your standard bottle of toxic bathroom cleaner! 

I've often thought of that story because it reminds that what I write matters. And that,, my friends, is why I got up at six this morning to spend time with you. 

The fire chief in the above mentioned news story said it is not uncommon for these types of fires to happen. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents when I was a child back in the '60s and our toaster started on fire. It was on the counter and, like the air fryers, was plugged in, but not in use. Ever since then, I've been vigilant about keeping my toaster unplugged.

Of course, it's not just the kitchen appliances we have to worry about. How often have you left your hair dryer, straightener, or curling iron plugged in and left the house? Never? Good for you. That's what I want to hear. Anything that heats up is a potential fire hazard.

One final warning, even I needed to hear this morning as I did a little research. Watch where you place your phones and other devices when you're charging them. They need to be on hard surfaces. Which means keeping them off the couch or bed while plugged in. According to numerous fire officials, it is not uncommon for a device to overheat while charging and start a soft surface like a mattress or pillow on fire. This tip is especially important to share with your kids, especially your phone-obsessed teens. Seriously, folks. Please have "the talk" with them. Fire safety is no joke. Actually, anything that would get me up this early in the morning has to have some weight to it!

Now it's time for me to pop some sour dough bread in the toaster. But first, I'll have to plug it in.

Keeping it safe,

Green Grandma

Friday, August 11, 2023

In the case of being redundant . . . Hello, my friends, hello.

In April 2022, I posted part of the story of the ischemic stroke I had in September 2021. My intention was to finally start blogging again, despite the fact that my left hand wouldn't cooperate anymore when it came to typing. I was determined to recover. Then a couple of months after my "reentry" in the blogosphere, I got Covid again. This time, it attacked the scar tissue in my brain (from the stroke), causing a seizure. I thought I was having anoher stroke and it scared my husband, Bill, who called 911. 

On the way to the hospital, I had a second seizure. This time, I aspirated. When I woke up, I was in critical condition in ICU on life support. Since my husband and I both were recovering from our second bout with Covid-19, he was not permitted to come to the hospital to see me. I cannot imagine how frightened he must have been and how awful it was for him. My daughters took turns watching me through the window of my ICU room and kept him updated. A friend of my daughter's told me later that my daughter was texting her things like, "This doesn't look good. I don't think she's going to make it." Of everything I went through, for me, that was the worst -- knowing my daughters suffered through that, especially after all they went through following my stroke.

AHN Wexford July 1, 2022

After recovering, I ended up back in the hospital a few weeks later  in serious condition following a reaction to the second seizure medicine they prescribed. The first one caused a psychotic breakdown and I was dangerously close to suicide. With the second, I had profuse diarrhea and vomiting for 46 hours before I finally went to the hospital for a three-day stay, where I received 9 liters of fluid and discovered I had acute kidney damage. 

The third seizure medicine was tolerable, but seemed to reactivate many of my stroke-related deficiencies, which led to much frustration and depression. And, of course, I lost my driving privileges.

What a ride it's been. 

But it's all behind me now. Through the grace of God, and a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I'm back. I've recovered the use of my left hand, and am typing again and my brain seems to be functioning normally (or as normal as my brain has ever functioned!). I prayed hard for God to calm the wind, as Jesus did when the disciples were frightened by the storm on the sea. My storm was the effects of the stroke, particularly the use of my left hand. Day after day, I'd look at my hand and say, "Jesus, calm the wind." One day, a few months ago, that's exactly what He did. Now it's my responsibility to get back to my disrupted life. I have a new perspective and new appreciation for so many things. And I'm writing again! 

My plan is to complete BEYOND VINEGAR FRIDAYS as quickly as I can and make it available to all of you. The book will include many of the great tips in the first book, but will expand the tips beyond vinegar for more ways to ditch the chemicals without ditching the clean! I hope you'll join me  in my quest as I regain my life and my purpose.

Wishing the best for you always,

Green Grandma

Sunday, April 10, 2022

In the words of Neil Diamond, "Hello, my friend, hello.'


Hello, my friends. It's been a while. Have you missed me? I've certainly missed you, but I'm hoping to visit with you more frequently in the upcoming weeks and months.

Oh happy day! I could drive again!

On September 5, 2021, I had an ischemic stroke, followed by surgery five days later. It's been seven months now and I'm clawing my way back to as close to who I was before a blood clot hit the right side of my brain. At this point, typing is one of my greatest challenges, so each blog post will take me two-to-three times longer than it used to take me to write. And there will be mistakes . . . I guarantee it, so I'm asking for some grace. I have not recovered the use of the ring finger and pinkie finger on my left hand and my left arm continues to give me trouble. There are cognitive issues as well, but the good news is that I can walk and for the most part, I can take care of my personal needs, although my husband, Bill, often has to help me get dressed (who ever knew that bras would be so darned difficult to put on?!) Bill also has to pay attention to whether or not I have my clothes on the right way and not backwards or inside out.

My life as a writer and editor has taken a back seat to my recovery for now. I have two books on hold for the time being, but hope you'll be lining up for book signings some day in the future. I was working on my book, Beyond Vinegar Fridays, before the stroke and have been working on another book (mostly in my head) called If I'd Known I was Going to Have a Stroke, I Would Have Shaved on Sunday. My plan is to blog some of the book right here, so I hope you'll be interested in getting a glimpse of what life is like following a traumatic brain injury. I'd love to hear some of your own personal stories about this as well, so if you're a fellow stroke survivor or are a caregiver for one, feel free to email me at I'd love to hear from you!

Of course, I don't want to stray completely away from the original purpose of this blog, so I'll also be sharing tips about common sense greener and healthier living, and I'll be featuring guest bloggers and hosting giveaways. So stay tuned. I'll post updates on the Green Grandma Facebook page, so if you're not following that, please do. 

Well, my brain is saying it's done for now. Thanks for stopping by. And if you get the chance, drop a hello in the comments below. Like I said, I've missed you.

Stay safe and well,

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The empty sound of school days

Thanks, Pixabay!

School's back in session, or about to be. So how are you doing, mama? Propping your feet up and letting out a big sigh or crying into your hankie in disbelief that time has gone so quickly? It does go quickly, believe me.

My second youngest grandchild started kindergarten today. I watched my daughter's video and choked back tears as I saw this little one boldly climbing the steps of the big yellow school bus. And then she was gone. It reminded me of when my own little ones went off to school for the first time. It's hard letting go of them as they venture out into the world... well, the world of elementary school. It's something those of you who are home schooling miss out on, but for the rest of us, there is a camaraderie, an understanding of how this first day tugs at our heart strings. Don't worry, though. You get over it. 

If you are a SAHM, there is a void at first. What do you do with your time?? You can clean. You can do laundry. You can lunch with friends. You can nap. You can watch adult television. Oh, the things you can do. But first, you have to dry your eyes and figure it out. Day by day. Hour by hour.

And then there are those of you who wish their kiddos were just starting kindergarten. Your kiddos aren't exactly kiddos anymore. They're adult teens (oh the horror!) and you've packed them up and settled them into a dorm room -- it's a bit scarier than the big yellow school bus. Really. It is. 

Again, you have to figure out what to do with your time. No more rushing out for ball games or track meets. No more watching the clock to see if they make it home before curfew. 

Time. It goes so quickly, yet often just crawls along. For those missing their kids at college, have you started a countdown already for Thanksgiving break? Or will they be back for homecoming? Or are they so far away, they won't be home until the end of the year? That's at least a two-hankie cry. 

Take comfort, mama, in the universality of this time in your life. Others have gone before you *and survived* and others will follow. 

In the meantime, for those of you with adult teens (at college or otherwise), I highly recommend checking out Deanne Persinger's blogpost: Nobody Talks About This Stage From Hell. Grab a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine and commiserate. It'll be worth it. I promise.

Whether it's just for several hours a day or long term, enjoy the empty nest while you can. Solitude can be good for the soul.

Friday, August 13, 2021

The light that shone in the darkness

One thing 2021 taught my husband and me is that people really are kind. And they care. And they bring light.

If you read my posts the past two days, you know that my husband and I faced a really rough year so far. There were times, I didn't know if he'd make it. There were times, I honestly didn't care if I made it or not. In the darkest of those times, people shone light into our home and our hearts. Kindness.

During our three-week nightmare with Covid-19, meals, medications, soup, violets, and even a bag of tangerines were placed in our front entryway. Some were from family members and neighbors. Some from church friends. Some from people we hardly knew. These gestures were light to us, my friends. Hope.

From that time and beyond, there were text messages and phone calls, cards and notes, flowers... concern, caring, and love. Light

Others shed tears for us/with us. Some made us laugh. Shelter.

After Covid, when it was safe to be together again, there were visits. People came and spent time with my husband so I could get a break. That probably meant the most to me, because as someone who values her alone time, their visits helped me to breathe again. Air.

When I'd share my heart on Facebook, so many responded. So many. And that, too, meant the world to me. It helped me to not feel as isolated. I read the messages to my husband. Sometimes he would cry. Other times he would smile. Every time, he felt a little less alone in his suffering. Community.

During the month of May, I started to lose hope. I vacillated in my faith. I could no longer pray. Life was a burden and I saw little sense in it all. My purpose, other than caring for my husband, was gone and my routine was drudgery. Despite all of the light, I chose to focus on the darkness. It was an awful time during which I no longer recognized myself. Not only was the husband I knew gone, but I was gone, too. I felt empty. I had nothing left to give. I simply went through the motions. Bitterness.

Coming out on the other side, I've learned many lessons. One of them was an old lesson I'd learned over 30 years ago after my first husband died. It seems that sometimes all that God requires of us is that we endure. In the book of James, Chapter 1, verses 2-4 (NASB), he writes, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have it's perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Endurance.

It's August now. Those awful months are behind us. Next week, we'll celebrate our anniversary and it will have new meaning. The bitterness is gone and we have so much to celebrate. For one thing, we endured. Others shone light for us through the tunneled darkness and we came out on the other side. To me, there's only one word for that: Miracle.

Thank you to all the light carriers out there. What you do means the world to someone, even if you don't know it. And sometimes that light comes disguised as a simple bag of tangerines.

Now stay tuned next week and beyond for news and tips and giveaways! Green Grandma's back and she couldn't be happier!

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