A routine doctor's visit for a sore throat brought more than $28,000 in charges

A routine doctor's visit for a sore throat brought more than $28,000 in charges for one woman. The woman’s visit shows even when insurance does cover medical charges, costs can still skyrocket in the long run.

David Begnaud reports, and Kaiser Health News editor-in-chief Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the findings.

NEWS STORY VIDEO:  https://www.yahoo.com/news/woman-hit-28-000-bill-133357578.html

Rambling Over Coffee: A Great Movie if You Find It - Ocean Heaven (Chinese with subtitles)

It's the last day of the month and VUDU features a genre of "going soon!" movies and as I looked over the list, the image of a boat on an open ocean caught my eye.  I'd never heard of "Ocean Heaven" but I clicked on it to see what it was about (and decide if I wanted to watch it).

The storyline was a widowed father of an adult son with Autism, is dying and struggling to find care for his son for after he passes.  I decided to start the film, and to be honest, the opening scene caught my attention and dragged me in immediately.  It was brilliant.

This movie was sweet, yet not saccharine sweet.  It's in Chinese so you do have to read subtitles unless you know Chinese, but it also shows some of the cultural differences we have in the USA verses China as well.  They do seem to handle many things more matter-of-factly than we do ('we' being a generalization of course.)

The movie was just wonderful and if you have time, come across it or look it up, it's worth watching when you are in a nice quiet setting where you can give it your attention.  You won't do it any justice by trying to watch it in a chaotic setting, a setting where people among you will be talking and interrupting, or if you are in the mood for a hilariously funny movie.  This movie has many funny parts but I feel it's good of a movie for  someone to only half-heartedly watch it and not give it their full attention.

Note:  I watched the trailer AFTER I saw the movie and I think the trailer is awful and horribly done.  So please don't judge the movie on the trailer. 

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Heaven
Ocean Heaven (Chinese: 海洋天堂; pinyin: Hǎiyáng Tiāntáng; Jyutping: hoi2 joeng4 tin1 tong4) is a 2010 Chinese-Hong Kong drama film starring martial arts superstar Jet Li in his first full drama role. It also co-stars Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei, who previously starred in Jay Chou's Secret. The movie was filmed in Qingdao at the Qingdao Polar Ocean World.
It was announced that it was to be released in spring 2010, but the release date was pushed back to 24 June 2010, which opened the 2010 Shanghai International Film Festival on 2 June. Jet Li wants this film to get a good message across and promote the works with autism as well as the works of his charity ‘The One Foundation’.

Xue Xiaolu, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, wrote and directed the 7 million yuan (US$1 million) movie. The first-time director has been a volunteer for 14 years with Beijing Stars and Rain, a non-governmental educational organization for children with autism. The story was mostly based on her personal real life and experience. She said, "With the addition of actors like Gwei Lun-Mei and Wen Zhang, I am even more confident in the film production."[2]

At first nobody was willing to take a risk on such a non-commercial script until film mogul Bill Kong, the man behind Hero (Yingxiong) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu Canglong) stepped in. It saw the inclusion of award winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Hero, 2046, In the Mood for Love), composer Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Departures, Hana-bi) and production designer Yee Chung-Man (Anna Magdalena, Curse of the Golden Flower).

Ocean Heaven is about a terminally ill father, Sam Wong/Wang Xincheng (Jet Li) as he works his job in an aquarium and struggles to look after his 21-year-old son Dafu/David, who has autism. Sam has single-handedly brought up his son since his wife died in a swimming accident 14 years ago and looks after him day and night. Upon discovering Sam has less than five months to live, he multiplies his efforts to help Dafu learn basic tasks in order to care for himself, as well as searching for a home for him, before he passes away. As the story progresses, the growing relationship between father and son, as well as the community around them, become clearer. Ling ling plays the role of a clown who is part of a small traveling circus (they perform in the aquarium for a short period of time) and who gets on well with Dafu, leading to a close friendship between them

Though Dafu struggles to learn many basic tasks, Sam perseveres in teaching his son the tasks that he will need to know how to perform himself once his father dies. Though Sam never gave up teaching and explaining things to Dafu in a positive and supportive and memorable manner, he did contemplate ending his and Dafu's existence together rather than leave his child to suffer without him. Sam, at this point had yet to tell anyone how far his health had deteriorated, until one day while returning from their hometown, his neighbor tells Sam his doctor came from the city with bags of free medicine and waited two hours for him. Meanwhile, Principal Liu, of the boarding school for mentally challenged children that Dafu attended as a child, recommends Dafu to a newly opened institution where he can stay after his father dies.

Dafu continues learning, though Sam must move into the institution with him to help him adjust. Ling Ling, knowing that she is about to have to leave with her circus, teaches Dafu to pick up the phone in the aquarium when he hears it, and she will talk to him.

Ling Ling leaves with her circus. Sam, for the first time in the movie, swims in the aquarium with his son, dressed in a sea turtle costume he made by hand, telling his son not to be afraid when he is gone; he will be like the turtles in the aquarium, always swimming close by with him. He almost drowns but is helped from water by Mr. Tang and while they chat, Sam reveals his wife's death might not have been an accident as she was a very good swimmer and they had recently found out Dafu is autistic. Sam doesn't blame her for not being able to handle their son's circumstances. There was only one instance in which Sam loses his composure with Dafu, while he is nearing the end, and still working and trying to teach his son how to do his job, Dafu is distracted and Sam yells at him. Less than a moment later and Sam is already mending fences and reassuring his son.

Sam eventually dies, and his funeral is attended by close friends and family. Dafu waves good bye to the sky/Sam, as it seems he has learned people live there, something Ling Ling explained to him earlier when she spoke of her grandmother with him before she left town. After the funeral, Dafu is seen doing some of the things that his father struggled so much to teach him with success. He cooks by himself, knows how to ride the bus, and picks up the phone when Ling Ling calls, and working at the ocean park, a place Mr. has opened the doors for Dafu at any time of the day. It is implied that from then on, Dafu will know how to lead his life on his own, though he still has Sam's old friends helping him along the way.


I checked and the movie is available through Amazon! 

Ocean Heaven

Ocean Heaven

Ocean Heaven [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]

NOOO!!!! Ear Worms You Don't Want (Songs Playing in Your Head) - Like Achy Breaky Heart

I woke up around 5:00 am with this playing in my head...  hours later, it's still there. 
Can't. Stop. It.


How can these poor teachers TEACH when the schools and laws are giving all power to children and taking all power away from the adults.

California schools can’t suspend kids who defy teachers


In Virginia this upcoming year, kids get to miss a day of school for 'free' for attending a protest.

In California, elementary kids can defy the teacher to their face - be a little hellion and the school is not allowed to suspend them.


How can these poor teachers TEACH when the schools and laws are giving all power to children and taking all power away from the adults.  And why do they think this is ok?  Where is the common sense?



Rambling Over Coffee: The Coffee I'm Currently Drinking is Dark Roast, Strong, Sumatra! - Why I've not been reviewing new coffee lately

This morning I was brewing my second cup of fresh, hot, strong, black coffee and it popped into my head that the visitors to CoffeeTalking.com looking for coffee reviews will have to use the search feature to look back over reviews because honestly, we've been pretty well set on the coffee we've been drinking and frankly, haven't wanted to drink anything else for quite a while.  And I've already talked about them a few times.

But because I was in the kitchen and my coffee and I had my phone in my hand, I snapped a couple quick pictures literally as I was standing there.  So this is my kitchen morning, showing you (literally) what we are currently drinking the most of.....

Starbucks Sumatra

It's dark.  It's strong.  And as much as I really hate to give Starbucks my money... I do because we really like their Sumatra version.  When I do buy another brand or coffee blend, we (my husband and I) both end up remarking that we like the Sumatra better and I go back to buying it on the next grocery trip.

I did notice Amazon has their own version of Sumatra - which is organic and fair trade but I've not tried it yet. 

AmazonFresh 80 Ct. Organic Fair Trade K-Cups, Sumatra Dark Roast, Keurig K-Cup Brewer Compatible

Here is my kitchen this morning - real - didn't move a thing.  Just snapped a couple photos as my coffee brewed.

Here is the k-cup holder on the side counter (between my iced coffee machine a Hamilton Beach regular coffee brewer - both of which are on my COFFEEMAKERS I PERSONALLY OWN page above).

My husband sometimes grabs from this k-cup dispenser if the one next to the single-cup brewer is out.  This dispenser spins and the other side I've always kept options in for guests.  The other side has a few tea k-cups, some hot chocolate k-cups, any flavored blends and some decaf.

This is next to the coffee maker in the kitchen my husband and guests use the most.  I keep it stocked with the to-go cups, lids, insulators to slip over hot cups, and then some sweetener and creamer choices for those who use them.  (I've already reviewed this little coffee set up as well on CoffeeTalking but you can find it and other similar, bigger, smaller, other brands on Amazon, where I got mine.)

Mostly it's been dark, strong, hot Sumatra (made even strong because I brew my k-cup at just 6 oz. size) but when it's been really cold out, wintery out or when I had my cold/flu I enjoyed the peppermint bark flavored coffee.  Generally speaking I don't do flavored coffee though, so this is about the only one I drink, and only once in a while.

In our pantry I keep the box we use to refill the k-cup dispenser, the coffee condiment organizer AND the pretty rustic box I keep MY coffee in - which is in my office, next to the coffee brewer I typically use.

You can see we buy our k-cups in the bulk boxes, and always have one 'open' with a full spare behind it.

My husband did receive two boxes of coffee as Christmas gifts from an employee this year and they are names you would probably recognize at your local grocery store so perhaps I will do another review after all.  This week.  Watch for it!


Products related to this post are available from Amazon online or your local retailers:

Starbucks Sumatra Dark Roast Single Cup Coffee for Keurig Brewers, 4 Boxes of 24 | Great Holiday Gift for Coffee Lovers

Starbucks Sumatra Coffee (72 K-Cups)

The Original Donut Shop Peppermint Bark K-cups by Donut Shop Classics (18 Count)


Rambling over Coffee: The news - the man mugged for $1 on Christmas Eve has died

These assholes took the life of a man... and got $1. They KILLED a human being for a buck.

If you've been reading or listening to the news the last couple days, you probably saw and heard of the 60 year old man who was beaten by thugs on Christmas Eve, in New York... over $1.

He has now died.
Over $1.
Oh how my heart hurts.

A 60-year-old man who was kicked and punched while defending his partner during a $1 mugging on Christmas Eve has died.

Juan Fresnada died Friday afternoon at the Bronx hospital where he was taken in critical condition after the mugging early Tuesday, the New York Police Department said Saturday. Officers have released surveillance photos and videos in hopes of pinpointing suspects.

His partner, Byron Caceres, told the Daily News of New York that Fresnada suffered the fatal blows while trying to spare him and urging him to run to safety, which he did.

Police said the two men were walking in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx around 1:30 a.m. when several muggers approached them and demanded their property. When they refused, they were attacked.

Surveillance video clips released by police show a man grabbing another man's shirt and swinging him to the ground, then hitting him. Later clips show two other men joining the attacker, one of them grasping a trash can, as the beaten man starts to stand up.

The muggers took $1 from the men and fled, police said.

Caceres, originally from Honduras, and the Cuban-born Fresnada met through a program for poor gay men in 2015 and lived together in a building in Morrisania, according to the Daily News.

“He’s very calm, and I’m the one who is stressed all the time," Caceres said Wednesday as Fresnada lay in intensive care.  Caceres says the muggers didn't say anything to indicate the attack was a hate crime.

A neighbor, Aletha Jacobs, told the Daily News that Fresnada was well known and liked in the area.

“He never bothered nobody,” she said. “He’s a beautiful guy."

Rest in peace Juan Fresnada.

No 19-30 year old women is going to find a 70 year old man sexy. They can lie, they can pretend, they can flirt and fake it... but no, your 60 and 70 year old crepe-like skin and saggy balls are not a turn on to her.

This week in the news there is yet another story of an older man being taken advantage of and stole from by a young women he believed was in love with him.


This time she tried to cash a check for a million dollars... it didn't work so she tried to cash 3 checks for $333,333 each and managed to cash two of them before she was arrested.

The idiot man was a 77 year old and she was his new 26 year old wife.

At this point pretty much EVERY WOMAN that is reading this is shaking her head, sighing and thinking about stupid and easily manipulated men are.  Seriously.  This has been going on since the beginning of time but do the men ever learn?  Nope.

Guys... if you are 50+ - especially if you are 60 or 70 and yes... sadly even 80 or 90 (they literally NEVER learn, not even with age) and a 19, 22, 24 year little chippy is suddenly in love with you... especially if she is from another country and you live in Canada or the USA....

She is not in love with you.
Yes, I know she said she was.
Yes, I know she said she loves your body.
Yes, I know she kisses you and hangs on you.
Yes, I know she seems to enjoy it when you touch her.
Yes, I know that with the help of little blue pills, she is even willing to have sex with you and if you have any money at all or LOOK like you are well to do or have money, she will even pretend to enjoy it.

She isn't.

She is lying.

I'm sorry if that hurts your ego.
I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings.
Guys are even going to get defensive and angry when people tell them this.

But guys, seriously... us women know women.

She is using you.

No 19-30 year old women is going to find a 70 year old man sexy.  They can lie, they can pretend, they can flirt and fake it... but no, your 60 and 70 year old crepe-like skin and saggy balls are not a turn on to her.  I'm sorry.  They aren't. ... even though this desperate little chica is going to tell you they are. 

If she wants to come to Canada or the USA she will be ALL OVER YOU to do so.  If you look like you have money, a nice car or a nice house, she will say and do what she has to, to get it.  You can be old, fat, ugly, have 7 teeth left in your head and stink... but she'll pretend you are the greatest, most sexy thing she's seen.  To get that green card or that bank account.  Then... she's going to be gone.

There are news stories, message forums, reddit forums, blogs, websites, all over telling you this.  There are women who see it in person and will tell you this.  Family members, friends, even strangers you talk to in the grocery store and the topic comes up will tell you this.  Your coworkers will tell you this.  And even if you don't want to listen to them, your adult children or an ex-wife can also alert you to the fact you are being taken advantage of. 

Please, please protect yourself and your bank account.

(I've already written about women being taken advantage of as well...  this one is for the guys.  I've seen 4 guys in 'real life' fall for this in varying degrees from simple ghosting after and loss of only about $400, to a fake marriage that took place (he thinks it's real and it's love.  It's not.)....  not to mention the thousands and thousands of warnings online you can find and read about.

(The female co-worker I saw this first hand with a friend through work [co-worker] - who was falling for the online dating scheme where they are some guy in Nigeria pretending to be an American contractor working or soon leaving to work out of the country).  She fell for it, even with me gently talking common sense and then later, all out warning her...  but luckily when some of the red flags started to come through later she saw them and didn't send him money.  She did however fall long enough to get gifts of fruit, chocolate and flowers sent to her, she talked to him on the phone, made plans for him to visit that always fell through for one reason or another, and let her kids all speak with him on the phone... as well as the letters, emails and photos of course.  Thankfully I kept telling her he WOULD ask for money and gave her some scenarios and sure enough, when he did do just that, she knew... and she broke it off.  Until then she truly believed he was a good looking American contractor named "Nick" with one 12-year old daughter, who was working in South America for a big name American company.)   When I had his name and photo I was able to find numerous listings online of 'him' with different names, same photo, a couple different dating sites.  I saved her from losing thousands of dollars... but only because we were face-to-face talking and she listened to me.)

Amazon is running their "YEAR END DEALS" right now.... links included!

2019 is coming to a close and Amazon is running their year end deals right now. 
If you were going to browse or order anything from Amazon at all this week, I sure would appreciate it if you would visit them through one of my links.  Thanks so much!

Deals on Top Brands

Deals on Kitchen

Deals on Home

Deals on Toys and Games

Upcoming Deals


Shopping for a cold weather sleeping bag... OMG! How can anyone sleep in a mummy shaped sleeping bag!? I would die.

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I need to buy a heavier duty sleep bag for when I'm tent camping.  My current bags work great for where I live but when I hike and camp in South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, etc. in the month of May, we sometimes get snow.

I've never wanted to buy one and I've worked around it by using a fleece liner and layers of clothes.  But this Christmas my husband took pity on me and got me an Amazon gift certificate so I could buy a cold weather sleeping bag (and a heavier tent but that will be another post.)

This morning I'm sipping coffee and I looking up cold weather sleeping bags and over and over (and over) I'm seeing people love the mummy shaped bags.

My shoulders just did an involuntary shudder!

These bags freak me out.  Just the THOUGHT of being bound like that makes me start to hyperventilate.

I don't care if reducing the amount of air around me helps insulate...

I will DIE if I have to sleep in a tight, mummy shaped sleeping bag.  

You might as well just put me in a coffin anyway because it will FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME TO ME!  I would rather continue to dress in layers, line my bag, wear a stocking hat to sleep and wake up with my toes numb than have to try to relax and BREATHE in one of these.

Claustrophobic much?  Maybe.
But it is what it is.

Just. No.

If my legs are bound in any way, shape or form at night, my heart will race, I can't breathe.  I have to move.  I have to pick up the sheets, puff them out and let them fall gently back down on my legs.  I cannot have my feet restricted.

I can't even wear a night GOWN because it will wrap around my legs and kill me.

So no.
I will be buying a cold weather bag.
It will NOT be mummy shaped.
Or I will die.

Rambling Over Coffee: a sentence that you carried with you into adulthood...

This morning as I read the news (avoiding all things political and filled with hate) I ended up reading some celebrity news.  That led to clicking on a link, to a link, to a link and I read an 'older' article from last year but as I glanced over it, there is one line that jumped out at me for two reasons.  

First, here is a snippet of it;
"As children, we often hear comments that resonate one way or another and may impact decisions we make later in life.

Jennifer Aniston says she had one such impactful moment when she was 11 years old that remains a cornerstone of her sense of power today.

“I remember a parental figure saying to me around the critical age of about 11, after a dinner party, that I was excused from the table because I didn’t have anything interesting to add to the conversation,” Aniston said Friday at Variety’s Power of Women event.

“Ouch. It stuck to me, it stuck to me like painfully worded sentences can and if I’m being honest — and I’m being honest because I’m 50 and that comes with the territory — I carried that sentence with me into adulthood.”

"I carried that sentence with me
into adulthood."

... carried that sentence with me into adulthood.

The second I read that sentence, it had an effect on me.  Not only because it was pretty good "ponder over coffee" sentence and I like to find one of those each morning, but also because I INSTANTLY knew what my carried with me into adulthood sentence was.  Without even having to think for a moment, I had one ready and on the tip of my tongue.

My sentence....

Two days ago, when family was over for our Christmas celebration, the conversation turned to a young twenty-something female happily remarking that her butt had gotten bigger!  Yay!  She was so excited.

And thanks to the Kardashians, big butts became a 'thing' a few years back and they've stayed.  An odd body fad for those of us from the late 80's and 90's when we tried everything to NOT have a butt.  Curves are cool now but back when I was doing the 'teen' and 'twenties' thing, it was cool to be really thin.

THIS is body we wanted back then....  Thin all over and certainly NO butt.

And now, thin WITH a big booty is in.....  we would have cried our eyes out back then to be sporting this behind and there is NO WAY it would have fit in the jeans we wore in the 80's and 90's!

When she remarked she was so excited her butt had gotten bigger, I smirked and shook my head.  I told her as a kid of the 80's, we tried everything to have a tiny butt!

You did NOT want a butt back then. Tiny little bodies and tiny little butts were the thing in the 80's.

And that conversation ties in with the first part of this post;  The sentence that you carried with you into adulthood.

I am not sure of my exact age but it would have been around the age of 11... give or take.
It was the end of May and I was wearing white shorts and a pink shirt.  I was standing at the counter eating something or other.  If it was on the counter it was probably cake.  The only other person in the kitchen with me was my Dad, who was sitting at the dining room table reading.

As I stood there eating cake, he looked up and remarked to me that I better stop eating so much cake or I would get fat.  Then as I looked over to him, he went on to add;  "Your butt's getting big.  And boys don't like big butts."

That sentence about my butt getting fat is a sentence I carried with me into adulthood.
It didn't deeply effect me where it screwed up my brain or caused me to have eating disorders or anything really... but I certainly remember it.

Genetically I've always been destined to have a bigger backside... one of my siblings has the same butt. Not much we can about that.  But in the 80's it wasn't cool.

Below:  Me in the white pants and red shirt with the roller skates.

Me and my what-was-considered-BIG butt back in the 80's.

But in the 1980's and into the 90's a big backside was NOT AT ALL fashionable and you worked your 'butt off' doing aerobics to try to have the tiniest, little bitty flat butt that you could.

(Just check out some of the early Friends episodes!  Those first few seasons... see how thin Rachel and Monica were?  Yep.  That was the look!)

Rambling Over Coffee: When someone you love is divorcing and you aren't sure how to support or help from afar

Woke up this morning to see a few texts that had came through my phone last night while I was sleeping.  They were from my Uncle, who is a night owl and when he texts or calls me it's never before midnight... and always around 2:00 am.

Sure enough, a short series of texts at 2:44 am asked me if I had heard (through my Mother I'm guessing) that his wife had filed divorce papers on him two weeks ago.

I hadn't heard.

This wasn't exactly unexpected, but yet, it was.

This Uncle isn't probably what you think of when you think 'Uncle'.

He is the baby of their family - the youngest sibling - and he is only 8 years older than I am.  So growing up he was more like a big brother than an Uncle.  We have completely different lives, live 1000 miles away from each other and keep in touch mostly at Birthdays and Christmas but there's a connection there and while I'm happy he reached out to me, I'm not sure how to process what he's told me and most of all, I'm not sure how to help.  How to be there for him.

They've lived single but in the same house for years already, as neither could afford to live singly.  Probably 10-12 years of unhappiness.  They stayed together for that but lived separate in the same little house, and rarely talked.  Split the bills. Had separate bedrooms.  Sure, it was bound to happen and makes sense, but it seems as though it was still pretty unexpected for him. 

She has a lot of support as she has a lot of family in the area where they live.  My Uncle doesn't really have anyone at all anymore.  Two handicapped adult siblings in care facilities nearby that he oversees and helps with and one sister who lives about 5 hours away (my Mother).  Everyone else close to him has passed away.  Hopefully his best friend and his wife will be the support (and advice) he needs.

Man... divorce sucks.
And I am not sure what to say or do right now to help.


Rambling Over Coffee: 3 bank card numbers stolen in 3 months on two different accounts, needless to say I'm anxious about using my bank cards!

Anxiety over paying at the pump... getting gas shouldn't be something you have to stop and have a conversation about in your head!

3 bank card numbers stolen in 3 months on two different accounts, needless to say I'm anxious about using my bank cards!  Especially when we have no idea how they got them, where they got them, if they used a skimmer/reader at one of the gas pumps I had used during a previous road trip or if it was just a reader set up somewhere close to me as I walked by, etc.  Visa Fraud and my bank said there was no way to know..... I don't go shopping, I don't buy from questionable sites online, I don't use my card but to get groceries and gas for the most part.

After the last hack in November I have rarely used my new debit card.

Since I was having to dispute charges and submit a report to VISA to try to get my money bank (because it was a debit card, you have to fight to get your money back unlike credit cards), I stopped using my (new) debit card at all.

I dug out an old credit card and started to use it.  For everything!  Gas.  Groceries. Household goods like toilet paper and dish soap.  Christmas gifts. Annual renewals.  EVERYTHING.  Because I was scared if I used my debit card, it would be hacked again.

Once bitten, twice shy and all that, but I had been bitten 3 times in 3 months!  I wasn't shy.  I was terrified.

Well, I really need to figure out how I want to pay for gas now because previously I always used my debit card as a credit card.  I don't like running up debt on credit cards.  But lately I've been using it.

But I don't want to!   And I really really don't want to have to go inside the gas station to pay every time.  Plus, the news this week reports that's not even safer now as not only are there skimmers and readers, but hackers now have found ways to get malware into the stations payment SOFTWARE so they don't need skimmers or readers.  When it's in the software through uploaded malware, it's capturing everything through the computer program.

I also have Apple Pay, which I've only used twice and that was to send money by text to a family member.  I've never actually used it to pay for something like gas at the pump and many gas stations aren't set up at the pump with the software to accept Apple Pay.  Others make you use their own app in order to use it.

GAH!  It shouldn't be this difficult!!!

Tonight my husband and I were talking about this.  And I pointed out how stupid it is to even HAVE debit cards if you can't use them.  I jokingly told him I'm going to go back to writing checks!  Good old fashioned CHECKS.  I'm just going to be an old lady and pull out my checkbook. Except so many young people working the registers don't even know what a check is anymore. They would probably just stand and stare at me.  (At least in the part of the country where I currently live.  Not the brightest teens in this part of the country). 

Most places will run it through electronically and hand you the piece of paper back.  But... it would be safer than using my debit card, right?

My husband pays for his gas with cash. 
Every paycheck he takes out cash at the bank ATM that morning;  enough for 2 weeks worth of gas.  And he goes inside and pays with cash.  Every. Time.

A pain in the butt and waste of time but guess what?

He's never had his debit card hacked.



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Rambling Over Coffee: A Camping Gift Themed Christmas After All (And flashback photos of camping in South Dakota and Arizona)

I didn't have any intention of chit-chatting about Christmas gifts over coffee this morning, but then again, I didn't realize my gifts this year would be so... unexpected.

Earlier this week my husband said he was going to wrap gifts one night after I went to bed.  I made an off-hand comment about being surprised he was able to come up with any ideas as we haven't spent a lot of one-on-one time together talking about things to generate ideas and we've not gone anywhere together that we would have seen or mentioned anything that I liked or was interested in.

My Expectations
I truly expected him to get me an Amazon.com Gift Card. Last year he got me an Amazon gift card and he knows I can always find something there.  When he came upstairs with a pile of gifts to put under the tree I was confused.  There were about five gifts and I had no idea what he could have possibly thought to get me. 

I searched my brain for a second to think;  What have I possibly mentioned I'd like?  I was interested in?  Nothing. We've talked about nothing.  Nothing recently at least.  We've been so busy with 'life' that we've not had any "what I'd really like for Christmas" or "this really cool thing I saw...."  talks. 

The Realism

Pre-Seasoned 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
I had some pretty heavy gifts under the tree and I was incredibly surprised to see my husband actually got me one of these!!!!  Ok... TWO OF THESE!!!!

I opened a heavy box that had not one, but Lodge brand cast iron skillets!  The 10 1/4 inch and a smaller one, as well as the silicon hot pad slip cover. I've wanted one of these for years.  YEARS.  As in, probably 15-20 years. But I've not talked about wanting once since, oh, 2000 or so. 

He got me the medium sized skillet and then, because he isn't an internet shopper, he went to 3 stores to find the hot pad holder and a smaller sized skillet that he knew I could use on my solo camping trips.

I then opened another gift...
Estwing Sportsman's Axe

A really, really sharp camping hatchet Ok, honestly I'm not sure if it's this one (in the Amazon image I'm posting here) because I don't want to have to go get my new hatchet out and look at the exact style (it's put away).  But it has a real leather handle, a great cover and is oh so, so sharp.  My husband actually sliced himself taking the cover off to look at it the night he was secretly wrapping my gifts.

He had borrowed my machete's last week to chop down some brush I asked him to remove from the backyard, and he saw how awfully dull my machete's are.  But the problem is that I suck at sharpening them.  I try and try but I just can't get a good blade on them and I've asked him numerous times to help me sharpen them but he realized how sucky they were and he got me a good quality, made in the USA hatchet for not only here at home, but my camping trips.

A smaller gift I opened was something I hadn't seen before - it's a cell phone power pack (power bank) but it uses 3 AA batteries!  He said this way I can keep it in my pack and know that I will have power when I'm camping or hiking.  Even if I don't have a way to charge a regular power pack or my phone, I will have a backup that just needs AA batteries.

I had another awesome gift that isn't camping related, but the last one that is camping related - at least intended to be - is Amazon gift cards!  He had specific intentions for these that is also camping themed.

And he told me as I opened them that he remembered last month when I wanted to take off and go camping but it was getting pretty cold at night and my tents are all thin, summer weather tents, as is my sleeping bag.

I also had mentioned wanting to take off and go camping in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and South Dakota again, but the time of year I go (usually May) they still receive snow, and/or get down to the 20's and 30's at night which is really, really cold in my current tent and sleeping bag!

When one of my daughters and I camped in Arizona in May, it was pretty warm during the day (note my tank top in the photo below)  I was sending messages to my husband and kids back home and mentioned it was going down to 34 degrees that night.

And camping in South Dakota in May....  we woke up one morning to this. 

When we camped in South Dakota, we reinforced our tent with a tarp I had brought, which helped a lot!  And we had fleece liners for our sleeping bags and we slept in layers with hats on.  (But isn't it amazing how good fresh, hot coffee tastes on cold camping mornings?)

Here is a 'good morning' text I sent to my husband from the Badlands one morning after it had gotten down the 30's the night before.  The funny thing (I think) about this photo is it shows the crazy temperature changes between day and night there in May.  Note I was in a hat, layers of clothing including the sweatshirt you can see... but also note what I was wearing before I got ready for bed.  It's folded next to my pillow.


We had hiked in shorts, tank tops and a light flannel shirt over, which we could remove and tie around our waists.  So I slipped off my shorts at bedtime, replaced them with fleece pajama pants and layered on the sweatshirt and hat.

My tent was a very, very light weight tent, reinforced with the blue tarp I had thankfully packed just in case we needed it for something.  We stayed pretty toasty this night.


 If you are 'new' around CoffeeTalking you should know that...
my husband does not camp!
That's what makes this pretty awesome.
My husband WILL not and DOES not Camp.
That's why I do cross-country camping trips alone.
He. Does. Not. Camp.
I think I've made that pretty clear now.  Ha ha.

The last of my coffee is cold and I've veered pretty far off the 'Christmas Gift' theme by reliving some of the awesome memories of camping in the Badlands and in the desert of Arizona...  so it's time to wrap this post up!

Basically, my husband did AWESOME this year on gifts.
He went with a camping theme based on a conversation we had in the garage last month about how I wanted to take off and do some camping but I really needed to invest in a cold-weather sleeping bag and a heavier tent....  He recalled that conversation and ran with it!

And I got a skillet, a hatchet, a cell phone power pack backup, and a gift card to cover the cost of a tent and a lower-temp sleeping bag.

Happy Christmas to me!

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Amazon.com $100 Gift Card in a Black Gift Box

Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet.

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe

  Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A