While PGEW has become a resource for great money-saving tips and delicious recipes, it is also my story. As many of you have noticed over the past several months, life circumstances have made keeping up with my baby blog more difficult than I could have ever imagined. But I still have a lot to say! Over the next several weeks, you can expect to see a little more of the “me posts” in between all the incredible food. To understand me is to understand PGEW.com and how/why I do certain things here. Two years ago I never would have thought that a chronic illness would further compound things for me when they were already bad enough; and it’s definitely affected the one thing I’ve been so proud of for so many years – this blog. I want to share these stories with all of you, so that those who are new or casual readers can gain further insight into the innerworkings of PGEW; and so those who are in similar situations to mine know they are not alone. It can be pretty scary to be dealing with chronic illness, financial issues, and everything that goes along with that, so I find it helpful to seek out support networks anywhere I can. If I can be part of that support system for some folks, then that is all kinds of awesome. – K.A.M Oh, the places life takes you. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently moved to a different place. Still in Sacramento and I’m hanging onto the midtown grid for dear life (Midtown forever!), but there was no way I could stay in that place any longer. Not only was I drowning in debt because of the overpriced rent, but the place was – quite literally – killing me and my furbabies. I was never able to afford the actual tests while I was living there, but upon moving out, it became painfully clear that there was an issue with toxic mold – the VERY last thing an asthmatic needs. While I doubt I can blame shingles or PHN on toxic mold, a lot of my other smaller symptoms are much less pronounced, now that I don’t live there. Though it’s good to be out of that place, things still aren’t going all that well. My health issues are actually worse than suspected (though a lack of health insurance prevents me from getting the diagnostic tests I need. Grrr!), and that’s causing a reduction in my work hours, which I definitely can’t afford. I’m trying not to freak out about the unknown, but it’s looking more & more like I may be dealing with the beginnings of MS. I have almost every single symptom on the numerous checklists and evaluations I’ve taken; but again, without the proper tests, there’s no way to be certain. The only thing I can do right now is try like crazy not to drive myself batty thinking “what if?” every 2 seconds, and take care of myself as much as possible. Unfortunately, that’s not very easy to do without steady income that will actually pay the bills, not just keep me in a perpetual state of robbing Peter to pay Paul. So, I owe more money to more people than I care to think about right now, I have no real furniture anymore, I am down with some illness or other more days than I’m up and somewhat “normal”, and yet… and yet… I feel so much better, now that I’m not in that awful building. I never wanted to live there, ended up there because I had to, and so many terrible things happened there that I know it was dragging me down. Yeah, yeah, I’m living like a college student right now, sitting on the floor and living out of boxes, so that’s unfun; but all of us, the furkids included, seem to be much more relaxed. At ease. Dare I say, hopeful? It’s truly fascinating. It’s not a perfect place, and it wasn’t a planned, well-organized move. But it’s a place with a kickass vintage Wedgewood stove that I adore because it has the most even flame EVER, and has all sorts of random storage space. A place where the cupboards stay closed when I close them; where the drawers open and close normally because they’re not buried under 17 coats of paint. A place where I can actually open the windows and keep them open, not only because there are screens on the windows, but because the windows actually work. I don’t have to worry about Peeping Toms, or disgusting neighbors, or even loud neighbors (yay for corner apartments with very few shared walls!). There are real closets and cabinets, and the toilet and other plumbing is not from 1904. There’s even on-site laundry!!! The height of luxury for me at this point. Did I mention my awesome stove? I feel so much freer, liberated from the hell that was a building I never wanted to live in to begin with, and thought I’d never leave. Again, my circumstances have not improved much, other than getting out of there – but just that alone has given me new hope that maybe, just maybe, this several year long nightmare will end. Maybe without the exorbitant rent and stress-inducing, subpar living conditions, I soon will be on the road to a recovery of sorts. I know it won’t be easy; nothing in life ever is. But it’s a start. And I look forward to a renaissance, if you will, as I take it all in and realize that one of the worst periods in my life is now over. As always, I want to thank you for your unwavering patience & support during this past year or so. If you’d asked me 4-5 years ago if things in my life could possibly get worse, I would have scoffed and said, “How could they?” But things definitely can get worse, as I’ve learned the hard way; they always seem to do before anything gets better. Still, it means the world to me to have so many of you who have been around since the very beginning check in and express their concern. I’ve felt very broken over the past several months (are there any refunds or exchanges on bodies? If so, I’d really like one, lol), so it’s really touching to get emails and letters of encouragement and get well vibes. I can’t promise I’ll get back to almost daily postings immediately; that kind of schedule with this kind of body is still being worked out, lol. But your kind words and good vibes, and my own desire and need to get back to my baby are driving me to bring you more amazing recipes and tips. I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things! Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone!