Sunday, May 23, 2010
I love National Public Radio. In my car, almost every button is programmed to one of the local NPR stations, and I can tell what time it is by whose program is on. I thought this was worth sharing (and the recipes look great!)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Warning: lengthy. But (I hope) worthwhile.
I was whining to a dear friend a few days ago about how I just couldn't seem to get my mind right, to get in gear for sparking or cleaning or planting or anydamnthinging. This (edited for family viewing) is what she had to say:
"You've pretty much checked off every item on the Stress List in the past few years. You went through the bankruptcy and the enormous stress that the financial mess caused that year. You had to go back to work and work your ass off just to keep the house and live at a very basic level of survival. ... Kids left home and we both know what a mother hen you are and how strongly you react to kid things. Your lack of reaction on that is symptom enough that you're shutting down. Your mother died and you not only had a ton of emotions to weather in regard to that beyond the standard grief fare, but you had to deal with the ... mess of that estate PLUS Joe G's bulls***. On top of all of that, you had to get used to the idea of being a widow and nursing him through terminal illness, then after you'd grieved him, [he] is getting well. Now you're wondering why you don't feel up to the monumental tasks of losing weight and power cleaning your house? Jesus, Mary and Joseph C. Phillips, it's a wonder you can still walk upright! ... "
A few months ago, that felt like "reasons" - now it feels like "justifications" and "rationalizations"
She went on to suggest that I perhaps ought to take a year off to heal, to relax, to gather my strength and wits, and while that has a certain appeal, I think what I'm craving isn't more-of-the-same, self-indulgent slacking OR 800 calorie per day, exercise til you drop, FlyLady action but gentle, positive change.
I took a walk an hour ago. I have 200 acres of varied terrain and conditions in beautiful Central New York. WHile walking, I remembered that when we moved here 12 years ago, the children were elementary age, the collie (now a geriatric 12 1/2) a pup. We covered every inch of the farm, fields and woods, turning over rocks, harassing the wildlife and generally enjoying every minute. In recent years, though, the only time I go out is to walk for exercise, and that only if I feel particularly guilty.
I couldn't remember the last time I'd walked for pleasure, written or drawn something that wasn't for publication, made something that wasn't for sale or commission, or grown something that wasn't sold ahead of time. I quit planting flowers in favor of vegetables and gourds (for sale, naturally.) I was raised with a certain hard-core Scottish practicality and frugality, but hell, even the Scots have fun sometimes! Something is most certainly amiss.
So here's the new plan: Water. Salad. Meditation. Sleep. Walking - slowly, and with an ill-behaved dog or two so I remember to look around. Cozies (a mystery genre.) Yoga. More sleep. Petting cats and sitting in the sun. Ignoring - politely - my husband when he's racheted up about something, instead of immediately locking on Phasers.
Because what's the point of all this healthiness if it isn't any fun? If your whole life is to work, and to work hard, both professionally and personally, then what's left at the end of the day?
Do you really live longer, or does it just *seem* longer?
Friday, May 21, 2010
I usually toss alarmist email right in the ol' e-trash can, but as this came through the Master Gardeners' Office at Cornell, I thought it was worth reading and passing along. While the chance of killing your pet with cocoa shell mulch is probably quite slim, if it saves one pet it's worth reading. (And in my opinion, cocoa shell doesn't make a very good mulch anyway. I'd stick with double- or triple-ground hardwood.)
PLEASE TELL YOUR DOG AND CAT OWNER FRIENDS.
Even if you don't personally have a pet PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO SOMEONE WHO DOES.
Please tell every dog or cat owner you know. Even if you don't have a pet, please pass this to those who do.
Over the weekend, the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. The dogs loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog (Calypso) decided the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk . Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.
Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company's website,
"This product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats."
Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that "It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it."
*Snopes site gives the following information:http://www.snopes.com/critters
Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores contains a lethal ingredient called 'Theobromine'. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells li ke chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks.
Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cocao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
For a professional grower (organic field crops, herbs and flowers) and gardener (design, installation and maintenance of perennial gardens, mostly) who is simultaneously renovating a 4500 sq. ft., 200 year old farmhouse, trying to get the gardens outside into decent shape, and taking care of a husband with health challenges, spring is a busy season.
Unreasonably, outrageously busy. Which is why I wasn't particularly surprised to discover that my clothing was a little looser despite a lack of planned meals and organized exercise routines. Heck, I'm even wearing a slightly smaller size.
I could use some good news along about now, so I thought I'd be brave and hop on the scale - if I'm smaller I have to weigh less, right?
In fact, I seem to have gained in the neighborhood of seven pounds (and a very chubby neighborhood that is.)
My first response was to lug the scale into other positions on the floor. If you've got an old house, you know that the floors - along with everything else - are uneven, and there is always the possibility that I'm just standing in a spot that tilts the scale in a heavier direction. Alas, it not only didn't get better, it threatened to get worse, so I stopped that maneuver.
Um...let's see...water retention? Nah, my fingers, which look like link sausages if I'm doing any serious retention, look perfectly fine.
Oh, I know! Muscle weighs more than fat! I've put on seven pounds of sheer muscle! Sure I have. *insert eye roll here* Way back in the day, when I was a real gym rat, I'd work for weeks to gain what was probably a few ounces of muscle.
So, it's time to face facts. I may have tightened up a little, but all in all I'm moving in the wrong direction. Time to put the GoWearFit armband back on (as soon as I find the strap - I took it off to charge it a week - or three - ago and now I can't find it. I just saw that thing, too....) It's time to take some time away from all these other tasks and plan healthy meals, get the diet thing back into gear. Make sure I get my 5000 step minimum in each day.
(I'm so horrified that I'm removing my weight tracker from public view - you'll know I've gotten my act together when it reappears.)
Plus, I have the oddest feeling that I'm waiting for something. Not waiting for whatever-it-is before I start getting my Spark back, just .... waiting. Like waiting for rain to stop before you put the dogs out, or waiting for the sanding to be done before you re-wash all the dishes and dust (again.) There's nothing coming up that Im aware of. One daughter is graduating from college and moving back home for a while, but if anything that should spur me to action, not cause me to march in place. Dunno. Guess we just have to see what happens.
Back to work!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Not from SP, or even healthy eating and exercising (although I may limit it to a walk.) I'm tired. My body is sore - even though I was a professional gardener for lots of years, the day after the first major gardening day of the year is always painful. I got enough sleep, though, and I'm not paralytically sore - as I have been upon occasion - so I suspect it's more of a generalized tiredness.
I'm tired of responsibility, of knowing that my husband's health, let alone my own, is pretty much in my hands. Tired of the sea of boxes, trunks and bags that contain everything my mother (and therefore a few more generations of forebears) had in her house, that were picked up and dropped in my (already fairly full) house and barn. Tired of knowing that as fast as I clean up one area, another previously tidied one has succumbed to household entropy and has to be tackled anew. Very tired of not being able to find anything or sit without moving a stack of something-or-other first.
And The Men are here again. Dave and PeeWee. They are, with various other assorted characters, our go-to guys for any sort of construction, repair, and general labor. We feed them lunch, pay them very little (by my standards anyway), listen to their tales of woe and generally nudge them along. The progress that The Men make on a job tends to be slow, but these days it's positively glacial because they're both having Personal Issues. Dave is contemplating quitting his pack-a-day cigarette, 18 pack-a-day beer and occasional Other habit, and PeeWee's wife (he's 38 or 40, Marci is 60... he's been with her, on and off, since he was fifteen *cough*) is facing some serious health problems.
Sure, it would probably be easier to hire the sort of professional workers you find licensed, in the phonebook, with professional references, but we like these guys. They've become a sort of extended family, and I know that if we had any sort of problem whatsoever, they'd drop everything and be here in a heartbeat, and would handle the problem somehow. We'd never freeze or starve or die because we didn't have a ride someplace (if they had to hotwire a car - or a snowmobile - they'd get to us somehow.) They're my boys and I love them.
Still.... I'm currently a little tired of The Men and their Issues.
For anyone who wondered, incidentally, what kind of accountant couldn't handle complicated tax issues, the answer is: skillful, popular ones. It isn't that Ray doesn't know how to do these things, it's that it was going to take longer than my alloted time - my fault entirely, for putting off my taxes until the last minute. I suppose he would have pulled them together if I'd insisted, but he's not only our accountant, he's our friend, and I didn't want to do that to him (or pay him what it would have cost for an all-night "emergency tax prep".)
So I'm going to take a day off. Im going to read (fiction! wow! not even useful stuff!) and play with my SoulCollage card(s) and generally putter about - I'll even put something in the slow cooker for dinner so I don't have to fuss with that (Paula, it's going to be the lentil/cabbage thing.)
Right now I have to make a run to the pharmacy, but the minute I get back, I'm hanging out my Gone Fishing sign.
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