Fair Season in NW Indiana

I honestly cannot tell you the last time I was at a fair … probably at least 40 years!

Last year really shouldn’t count only because of Covid. Everything was shut down. Now that everything is chugging along, full steam ahead, Fair Season is pretty active around here.

So last week, LaPorte County had Toby Keith. On a Thursday night. Saw tickets were available and wanted to wait and see if I could get a partner to go with me ( it was on a Thursday night) … waited too long and then all tickets were sold out. Drats.

Then this past week the Porter County fair was happening. Ohhh … Brantley Gilbert! We saw him open for Kid Rock back in 2019 (best concert ever and checked off a bucket list item for Mark). Pit tickets were $55 so I purchased one.

Then there was Miranda Lambert on Friday. I did not buy immediately. I kind of wanted to go with a partner. But then tickets started going fast. I finally bought another pit ticket for one. $80.

Uhm. Hello? These two tickets were the best money spent to date!

That is how close to the stage I was. So awesome. And Brantley does put on a pretty hard core show.

and then there was Miranda.

Again, front and center … and she rocks hard as well.

Nope, didn’t eat any fair food. And both those concerts were attended 100% sober as the fair did not serve beer or any alcohol. I was very surprised by that. I can’t image the money that could be made but then again, this is most likely why the crowd was great both nights.

I spread a little bit of Mark both evenings. I think he would have enjoyed both evenings, even if it was crazy hot and humid.

Oh. I did something. Need to learn how to play the guitar. Maybe Jamie can visit and teach me? 😉

Moving – Up and Out

Yup, we are doing it. The #tinycondo has run it’s course and we are moving up to NW Indiana …

Mark is in a really bad way at this time and we have already had to delay our drive by a week to give him a chance to recover from his last hospital stay (1/4 to 1/8) … he has not eaten much in the past month … I would say his last substantial food intake was the day of the Ranch Margarita taco bar … he has been getting a hydration/iron/nutrient/electrolyte infusion but that still does not help

This past week, they put a stent in his esophagus. That helps with the swallowing but NOT with the stomach tumor that I swear, it sounds like pop rocks in there some days as its ulcerated and just bubbling away 🙁

So now, the POD shows up on Thursday (21st) and we plan to have it picked up and we will hit the road on Tuesday (26th). I will do the driving as he is not in any position to drive right now. The cats will chill in the back seat with the crates opened so they won’t feel trapped (we did that on the way back here last time and it was like night and day with them). I may have to stop every 2 to 3 hours to stretch and get him situated but if that’s what we have to do, so be it. Alternatively, I said IF he is still in a bad way, I can always put him on a plane and make arrangements for someone to pick him up and take him to the house … I have no qualms with driving by myself UNLESS there is snow! Been a while since driving in snow.

This is where I get my current, realtime weather report for NW Indiana!

The end goal for Indiana? Getting to University of Chicago the 2nd week of February to meet with our new fight team. We can’t do the travel to MD Anderson due to the deteriorated health and well, the doctor that we signed up with focuses 100% on esophageal cancer which is what we need since there isn’t a whole lot of options out there for this.

And that, my friends, is the latest and greatest from The Mark and Jan Show!

Ranch Water aka Easy Margarita

Ok, so maybe it’s not a true margarita but sure is tasty and easy to make!

The pictures are from when I made a small taco bar for Mark and I. He had one small taco. I had a taco bowl with cauliflower rice and a few Ranch Waters.

*food waste lately is awful around here with. Mark not eating much at all … plus some days I feel like a short order cook but then I pinch myself and think how thankful I am to be able to feed him when he is ready to eat*

So anyway. Back to the cocktail of the month. If you love margaritas but hate the calories and sugar in the premade aka easy mix stuff, you need to give this a whirl!

Super simple … my only issue is the last 2 times I’ve not been able to find the mineral water …

1 bottle Topo Chico Lime sparkling mineral water (12 oz)

6 oz good tequila

Juice of 1 lime (or lime lime juice)

Lime slices

I cheated and wanted to see how I could use this as a pantry type (snowed in/quarantine/etc) cocktail so opted to use the lime juice and it was perfect and beats squeezing limes!

Ok, ready? Grab a large picture, dump in all the ingredients. Taste and add more lime juice if desired. I liked it with a lot, personally.

Fill up a couple of tall glasses with ice and serve up.

Yes, you can do a salt rim. I did it both ways and well, I like salt but don’t think this is a requirement, especially if you are going with a ‘skinny margarita’

Enjoy and make sure you drink responsibly!

#Margaritas #StayAtHome #Tequila

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

December 2020 Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything … I need to really change that, huh?

Life has just been challenging, to say the least!

I was in Indiana at the new house from beginning of August to November 10th. We drove both ways. I worked remotely that whole time, flying back for a week to do some hands on office stuff. The office survived.

A good day in September 2020

But … Marks situation has changed. A lot.

Last chemo treatment was October 19th where the local NWI oncologist said no more, too toxic and it’s not working. 2 day hospital stay a week a go for blood clots in both lungs and leg. Visit to MDAnderson (after receiving clearance to fly) and as suspected, the cancer has spread. Much more than we thought though. He has lost over 20 pounds in the past 3 weeks.

So now it’s trial time. He doesn’t qualify for any currently which really sucks and makes me ugly cry. Clots removed him from one. His blood counts and overall physical issues removed him from other.

So Monday, he is set up for a blood transfusion. I will be calling university of Chicago to see what they have and how we get in for review.

See, if we did go with the MDA trial after his blood work is cleared up, we would need to fly out for day 1 and 2, then again for day 8 and 9 and repeat that every two weeks, for the rest of his life. Mark flat out admitted that he didn’t think he would be well enough to travel like that. The cancer that has spread into his stomach is causing major stomach pain, non-stop and pretty much cripples him. Not to mention leg and back pain which effects his ability to walk any amount of distance (wheelchair at airport and hospital this last trip).

Feeling chill after endoscope at MDAnderson

So, as you can see, it’s bad.

We are getting ready to put the #tinycondo in the market and will sell it fully furnished which is a sweet deal for someone … makes me sad but needs to be done to eliminate additional stress.

We will drive to Indiana again in January after we (ahem, I) get most of our personal belongs packed up and ready to move.

Supposed to go to west coast of Florida to spend Christmas with the kids and grand baby BUT that may be cancelled I’d Mark still feels as bad as he does currently.

AND TO TOP EVERYTHING ELSE OFF … 2 of the 5 people in my office have tested positive for COVID in the past 48 hours. Glad I was only in the office and only had contact with ONE positive person … but the other 3 need to get re-tested and I need to get tested as well now.

That’s pretty much my life update. I need to start back to blogging, cooking and sharing as that is what brings me happiness. Cooking sucks now because Mark can only eat a few bites of something before stomach starts screaming so I hate to cook and torture him, let alone eat and enjoy in front of him 😐

I’ll try to keep you all updated (thank you for the random messages as well!) 🥰

Watermelon Lime Cocktails

It’s been a long time and I am ready to get back in the groove of things!

We went from one hotspot (south Florida) to another (Houston) this past week. We landed at 5pm on Wednesday and sitting in the #tinycondo by 7pm on Friday. In and out of MD Anderson. Blood work, scans, trial board and lead oncologist all done. I’ll share the results with another post!

So. It’s summertime. And this is like no other summer …. 2020 will go down in the history books for so many reasons! One of those is the amount of watermelons we’ve been using around the #tinycondo! Mark likes to eat it during g the week of chemo and I think it’s a good, easily digestible food for him so I’ve been buying a whole watermelon every 2 weeks. *check out the easiest way to deconstruct a watermelon!*

Sometimes we have leftovers that are getting a little too ripe and those get frozen. This time, however, I processed it a little to make this yummy drink!

Ready? Let’s do it!

2 cups of watermelon, cubed

1 Tbshoney

1 oz fresh lime juice (one lime)

3/4 simple syrup – mix 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in saucepan, heat til sugar dissolves and chill

4 oz vodka

2 oz fresh lime juice (2 limes)

12 mint leaves, torn up

Watermelon sparkling water OR boring club soda

Add watermelon, honey and 1 oz lime juice to blender and run til smooth. Toss this mixture in some ice cube trays and freeze at least 2 hours

To make the yummy cocktails, mix vodka, 2 oz lime juice, mint leaves and 2 oz of simple syrup in container filled with ice. Top with sparkling water or club soda. Stir

Grab 2 highball glasses (tall, narrow) and add 3 to 4 cubes of watermelon in each and pour cocktail mixture over the top. These are best if you let them sit for 5 minutes to let the cubes melt a bit. Add a a straw and sprig of mint if desired, make a toast to summer and enjoy!

As always, remember to drink responsibly. Since we are semi locked down and no longer allowed to have house parties, I can drink as many of these as I’d like 😉

#watermelon #cocktails #summer2020 #vodka

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

May Days

Hi everyone … it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I hope you all are plugging through the shutdowns and self imposed isolation/quarantines which are starting to ease up a little bit here and there. Not in Broward County, currently, but soon.

So … updates?

  1.  My father passed away at 3:01am May 8th, 2020.  The energizer bunny’s battery finally died. He just stopped eating a few weeks ago and deteriorated from there. 86 1/2 years old. It’s just sad that it happened while the nursing homes were in lockdown. Because he was considered crisis care, they made an exception and let me in to see him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I left the office too late and they said no.
  2. Mark’s experience with the immunotherapy allowed his cancer to spread to his pelvic bone. That really stinks as we had such high hopes for that treatment. Our MD Anderson follow up and meeting with the trial board on April 30th was postponed until Mid-July, thanks to the virus.  He will have a local PET scan on May 18th and hopefully it has not travelled anywhere else with the current treatment (which sucks by the way, every other Monday followed by 2 days of the pump and a week of feeling crummy.  The local oncologist is also trying to see if we can get in to Moffett in Tampa but I have a feeling, thanks to the virus, they are not taking anyone right now either.
  3. I am still working, and thankful the bosses listened to me and applied for the PPP program (Paycheck Protection Program) and received so our payroll is good for 2 months. We are actually still busy but not closing many transactions. Lots of refinance applications are in the process from April but not firm commitments on anything closing yet. Even my hard money people are quiet which we find odd. I’m confident things will bounce back, just going to be awhile, in my opinion. Working from home and going to the office a few times a week. This is hopefully a good lead in to the Indiana move.
  4. We did something that a lot of folks would say was wrong: we cashed out all our mutual funds to cash. Only because Hubby’s earning years are over and well, we’ve lost over 40% already this year so it wasn’t a real hard decision to make. Hopefully we can be quick when it’s time to reinvest and make some money again but at least, for now, it’s safe, even if it’s stagnent.
  5. The house in Indiana is about 95% complete. I am ready to make the move. That means I’m ready to sell the #tinycondo although I don’t think this is the time. The good news is that our complex is in pretty good demand and they sell rather quickly BUT we are probably over-improved and would like a little more money for it but we’ll see. Hubby had flew the coop and went there beginning of April for the month. Considering the we were in a hotspot for the virus, I wasn’t too upset … there he can go for days without close contact with people. Here, going out our front door is a risk! He flew home on Sunday night and we were to fly out to Houston then but that all got changed up. Good news? Flight there only had 7 people, flight home had 38 so all in all, there was quite a bit of social distancing going on.

6.  We went to the west coast for the weekend to see the baby. It’s time, been a long while (2 months) and the kids wanted to come last weekend for my birthday and we said no because there isn’t anything going on over here. Heck, our pool just opened but there are no chairs!

Ended up going to the drag strip as it was on Hubby’s bucket list and we really had a great time! Kind of took the sting out of all the bad stuff that’s been going on.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful, Happy Mother’s Day!

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

 

2020 Here We Come!

Hi all … long time no see.

No Joke.

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Things have been busy, and certainly have kept me occupied with other things besides this blog!

  1.  Mark started Keytruda … 3rd treatment will be on Tuesday. This is good in a few ways: 1 treatment (30 minute infusion) every 3 weeks as opposed to 4 to 6 hours every two weeks! Also, less side effects AND he certainly feels better. Bad news? Not sure how the cancer will respond.
  2. My dad has been a hot mess that I’ve had to deal with. Seriously, emotional, sobbing breakdowns with “am I doing the right thing?” … he’s been in and out of the hospital sooooo many times this past year (15 that I can count) and finally, I agreed to call in hospice AND relocate him to a long term care facility. The last part is only because he is not able to stand without TWO assistants.
  3. Work. Work has been overwhelmingly busy which is good on the bonus front (I get a bonus for each closing) AND I’ve picked up billing for one of the attorneys as a side gig along with doing the private loan documents for another attorney.
  4. Indiana house is DONE. Finished, except a few small punchlist items. I bought the kids tickets for 10 days and we all were together for Christmas there. It was very nice (no snow but hey, maybe next time!) … Mark has been there for about 2 1/2 months solid so when I broke the news to the bosses that I was going for 3 weeks, that was not well received. I stood my ground and said I missed him, I wanted to be with him AND this may be his last Christmas which is why I had all the kids flown in. I drove with the cats, straight through for 19 hours. Doable. Tedious, but doable. Coming home was somewhat better in that Mark came with me BUT it rained from Louisville to south of Atlanta. That was a long drive.
  5. Money stress when it shouldn’t be an issue. Just dumb decisions on my part. BUT the new year is here and I’m buckling down!

The last scan of Mark was late October. All tumors have shown an uptick:

Increase FDG uptake in the distal esophagus, gastroesophageal junction, and gastric cardia concerning for recurrent disease

Increase in size and FDG uptake of multiple lymph nodes in the abdomen most consistent with nodal metastases

New FDG uptake in the right adrenal gland suspicious for metastasis

That really sucks. And then we find out that his leg issues he’s been having was actually neuropathy from the current chemo and was stopped immediately. He went 6 weeks without any kind of treatment. Felt better, energy and brain fog wise, but the swallowing became an issue again. We were hounding MD Anderson for a treatment plan which finally they gave the Keytruda. So far, so good, minimal side effects although the past few days he has been very itchy, describing it as getting into insulation. I told him he needs to tell Dr. Oz tomorrow!

Ok … enough of that, in a nutshell, that’s my life! I’m hoping to get back to blogging again but really need to get my head clear 🙂

Hope everyone is doing well and you all are embracing 2020!

 

Updates from Florida

HI!

I’m still here … Mark is in Indiana (since Labor Day) but flies home tonight! I’m very excited since I’ve not seen him since!

9-7-19 dinner cappellos shrimp scampi

I’ve been eating good foods while he has been away and I’m excited to share a few new things with him (and hopefully you too!) … we fly to MD Anderson on Thursday for scans and come back Saturday … then he’s home for a week before he heads back to finish the house.

I’ve bought all the kids round trip tickets to come for Christmas … hoping it’s a white Christmas for those who haven’t seen snow in ages. This has put a little pressure on Mark but hey, he can get it done.

Cabinets in 11/15. Appliances in 11/15. Flooring thereafter. Painting and trim, new doors going on now. New sliding door already installed. I’ve lost track of the budget and just let Mark take the lead. It’s his project 🙂 And, a gift to the rest of the family.

Mark is doing ok. He’s been getting his bi weekly treatments in Michigan City … although, he did skip out this past week as he’s sick and on antibiotics. Kind of stinks, but then again, this is the FIRST time he’s been sick since all this started January 2018. The treatment is kicking his ass and it’s getting harder each time to recover … that’s why the house project is good, motivational and has a reason to push forward every day!

Thank you for those of you who are sending me messages and well wishes. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts!

screened room selling point.jpg

Looking forward to spending some time in this awesome screened room … need to figure out a way to make it more 4 season friendly!

Life Today

HI! For those of you still popping in and knocking on the door, we are still here. No need to peek through the windows!

It’s just life has taken a few twisty turns lately ….

Hubby skipped out on MD Anderson this last scan and had it done locally at the local hospital where he gets his infusions. We never “did” receive the full results as he hopped in the Charger the following day and drove BY HIMSELF to NW Indiana … took him 3 days due to being overly tired from the chemo but he enjoyed the drive. It makes me sad in that it is probably the last road trip he will make in that car, his dream car AND he made it by himself …

We closed on a cool little house with three acres of land, a creek and 3 car garage in NW Indiana.

We are starting a renovation project on the subject house … with a budget. A very tight budget, I might add. The replacement sliding glass doors are already hitting us HARD as we wanted to go with triple pane glass AND the blinds encased inside! Eek!

However, we did take a friends advice and listed the kitchen countertops and cabinets on Facebook Marketplace …. sold within 2 hours of listing for $700 (asking price) and they remove. Sweet!

I am currently up here now helping to make decisions on what to do AND to see my hubby since he’s been gone for 4 weeks! I’ve been flying solo at the #tinycondo and working like a crazy lady … still working remotely here in NWI when needed.

This is actually a little test as far as the work goes … I still “need” to work and bring income in for the time being as floating two households is NOT cheap by any means. It’s nice to NOT have any mortgages, that I will say, but still, you have monthly expenses regardless and with no other income besides mine (and Hubby’s disability which does NOT even cover the insurance payment), I continue to plug away.

So. A few of you have sent me emails inquiring on Hubby. He’s doing ok but tired of doing chemo every 2 weeks but as long as it appears to be working, fine, he’ll continue until he just can’t handle it anymore.

Still takes his blood thinner shots daily although he makes his own decisions when to take a break from them. Such as when he hit the back of his “good” hand and bled for quite a while … he opted to stop for a few days. He’s been prone to nosebleeds as well and will stop taking the shots when those come up frequently as well. I am not sure but pretty certain that he only takes one shot a day instead of two. I have decided to let HIM make the decision of what he feels is right at this point.

Buying the house was a bucket list item for Mark and he really needed a project to keep his mind busy. Yes, it’s a fairly expensive project but we will reap the benefits at the end of the day. Sometime, in the future, we will most likely sell the condo in Florida and move to Indiana permanently. That’s a few years down the road though, God willing.

It feels good to be back “home” as this is where we grew up and started our relationship all those years ago … I ask myself is this means we are coming full circle …

Thanks for stopping by … I do need to try and give a little more time here 😉

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties … go check them out!

Jan and Mark Lipinski are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.