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Making Everything Work Together

IMG_0424It was straight up bribery and it worked!  I told BG if she would be good when we were moving I’d get her a kitten (read mouser).  She was amazing and so since things have started settling down and it was her birthday this week, I delivered; two for one.

Please, help me welcome the newest additions to H.S.H. (Home Sweet Home). The grey stripes is Velcro and the grey calico is Hellcat.  Yep!  That’s her name and they both earned them.  I understand that they look sweet and innocent in this picture.  Appearances are deceptive, watch your… well, everything!

That being said the old man who had them said their mother was a great mouser and that she’d already started feeding them fresh meat if you get my meaning.  For now they are living in the house, but when they get a little older, we’ll transition them into being indoor/outdoor kitties.

The other project that is moving up on the time-table is chickens.  We want to make sure that kittens grow up knowing that the chickens are part of the farm and not to be messed with, so CC and I are diligently working on putting together our chicken welcoming mat.

We’re also working on cleaning the place up and trying to get all the paperwork squared away with the bank.  I hate banks!

It all seems to be very slow going so far.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that we left the city at least partially because of health.  Some days a whole lot just isn’t going to happen, but those days are becoming fewer it seems.

A lot of our friends think we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, but *shrugs* we’re still enjoying the flavor!

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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Water Counter

Everyone knows that we should all be drinking more water; however, the actual doing of it leaves a lot of us at a loss.  For me, the big hang-up seems to be keeping track of how much I’ve drunk.  It’s all well to say, “I’m going to drink X amount today.”, but the fact is that after a while it all sort of runs together in my head.  Hence, my latest project: the water counter.

They have counters made from paracord and pony beads for almost everything, but I’ve never seen one for this.  It isn’t anything fancy or complicated.  You simply slide a bead down for every container of water you drink that day.  So far, I’ve drunk one and need a refill.

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It also gives me a heads up to where I should be depending on the time of day.  That’s a big one for me because as I said, I always start off with the best of intentions and then I’m like: “Did I drink one… No, I refilled it… Or was that BG’s water bottle?”  Of course you could just go with the theory: drink more, but hey…  It’s pretty, too!

 

On the practical side, you could use whatever kind of beads and cord you wanted.  I thought of making one for my friend with big chunky crystal beads because that’s more her thing and she’s always lamenting the lack of bling on her water bottle.  Also it makes a great leash for dragging the thing around.

Let me know what you do with it and if it works for you!

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Fitness

 

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Moses, the Second Coming

I love Dilbert. Like the immortal Calvin & Hobbes, the cartoon carries a pithily accurate set of observations of our society.

In this episode one of the riffs is about people staying home when they’re sick. Or not.

Right now I’m tending to DG because she’s home with a cold and the remains of an allergy attack. I’ll ignore the allergies – suffice it to say that some people need to recognize that they live in a country with relatively plentiful and clean public water, and need to utilize this utility instead of gallons of cheap and noxious perfume or cologne.

She’s sick because it’s the latest round of what’s being boomeranged between her coworkers, who won’t/can’t stay home. Why not? Because management is more stupid than most and actually punishes contagious employees for at very least refusing to spread disease to themselves and the thousands of public they have close contact with every day.
Likewise, they’re all sick because people choose to go out in public each day while ill, spreading the crud as if they were tipping those who serve them.
Crud you, too.

Do we really need to realize the prophesied second coming of Moses? (Read the judeo-christian bible(s), they explain a lot about american culture, or at least Dilbert.) I mean the dude’s claim to fame was really that he revolutionized public health back in the day, regardless of perpetrating genocide and misogyny.

I may be on a soap box here, but I firmly believe that ignorance is the core problem here. Ignorance of basic public health (despite the commercials), ignorance of basic personal health, biology, business and history.

Which costs more, to excuse an employee from attendance or Smog Forbid actually dole out the sick day pay they were promised at orientation, or to work them until they can’t and have spread the health to everyone else? Not to mention the customers who either have the sense to stay home when they get sick (from employees) or to avoid the petri dish that is your workplace.

But it isn’t just contagion. One of DG’s coworkers was injured by a faulty elevator – sustained a serious concussion, as it happens. The woman couldn’t function, but no one would help her. They just shoved paperwork in her hands and gave attitude with it. Never mind that she couldn’t get herself home, figure out the paperwork and frankly needed an ambulance and worker’s comp (which she didn’t get, either).
People at large don’t know when it’s time to stop soldiering on or to stop demanding such of others.

Not that I have a problem with our armed defenders, but somehow everyone who doesn’t act like a Marine in a war zone is treated like a hypochondriac. As a result we have a decided public susceptibility to disease, a host of prevalent, chronic conditions and a rising cost of getting things treated when they get out of hand. I’d prefer that people have an affordable, easy access to certification that they’re sick or injured and don’t have to work and the basic education to care for themselves. And no, I don’t believe that Johnny Carry Gun should or needs to demand money from everyone to fund this convenience. This is a fairly easy matter for employers to create, and that I believe would save them money.

Right now the common situation is that one needs a doctor’s note in order for an absence to be excused. That means that said employee shells out, say 4 hours of pay for a copay, plus Rx costs, if they have insurance. Whereas a simple clinic that only certifies in writing that yes, Bob was contagious or too ill or injured to perform his duties, needs _______ modifications, etc. No treatment, no ongoing care, no Rx that isn’t necessary for a swift recovery, but maybe a sheet of paper or info link saying what to do for self care. Things like what over-the-counter medications actually cure, what simply alleviate symptoms and when a recovery can reasonably be expected.
Oh, and a compulsory education course for management and admin, whose duties include sending people who appear contagious and not antagonizing employees who aren’t skiving.

In short, have the sense the gods gave Girl Scouts in the 50s.

-Cappy

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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A Whole New Kettle of Hope

I’ve been overweight most of my life and all of my adult life.  I usually run somewhere between 360 and 380 pounds.  Yeah! I’m almost 400 pounds.  Most people who know me wouldn’t believe it.  When they finally do, they say things like “it doesn’s look like it because you’re so tall” and “you carry it well”.  Well, yeah, I am tall and yes, I do carry it well the way they mean it, but it doesn’t change the fact that my body is breaking down due to the strain of carrying too much weight.  Then there is the issue of not being able to find clothes that fit, much less ones that I like.  Oh, and they cost more and never seem to last as long.  Let’s not even talk about chairs with arms on them!  Ever stood up and had to lever a chair off your ass with your back and thighs?  Ever seen the look of revulsion on someone’s face when you eat your piddling little portion of food even though smaller portions don’t make you lose weight.  Ever had someone look at you and actually have the balls to say, “why don’t you eat a salad?”

This sounds like a lot of whining, huh?

That isn’t the point of this post.  The point of this post is HOPE.  Want some?  I’ve got some to spare for you.  Why?  Because most of us have that “extra” that we’d like to get rid of.  What I’m suggesting isn’t going to be easy.  It isn’t going to be a magic pill that you take every morning with your milk chocolate mocha and donut and the pounds simply melt away.  Its going to be hard work, but you’ll love yourself for doing it.

I will say this: I have yet to break a sweat doing what I’m doing and I’ve been losing a steady five pounds a month.  (more now that I’ve incorporated phase two)

Before you whine, listen.

Five pounds a month isn’t all that much, but if you talk to everyone who has ever lost the weight and kept it off (and I know you have talked to them), they will tell you that long-term weight loss is the way to go.  The reason is because it means that you’re changing not only your scale readout, but also your body, mindset, and metabolism.

The first thing I did was go gluten-free.  Yes, yes…  I know everyone thinks that it is simply the latest excuse going around.  As someone who started losing the moment she stopped ingesting this crap I suggest you try to convince someone else.  What’s more, I don’t have the joint pain that I did.  I don’t have the moodiness that I did.  I don’t have the apathy that I did.

Wait a minute!  What?  Apathy?  What’s apathy?  Dictionary.com says:

Apathy
noun, plural apathies.
1.  absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2.  lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

Check out this link: Food Intolerance

Notice any symptoms that might be you?  I sure did.

So what happens when you get rid of those food intolerances?  You body tries to come back to normal.  It took MONTHS, but I’m proud to say, I’m happy.  Yeah, I know.  You ARE happy.  Lie to someone who hasn’t been there.  You have moments of happiness and optimism, but you live in a drudgery of just making it through the day.  I now live in a place of optimism and positive outlook and the only real difference in my life is the gluten.  Are you gluten intolerant?  I have no idea.  It might be something totally different, like dairy or nuts or…  Play around with your diet and find out.

Before you throw what I’m saying out the window, try it.  One week just cutting back on the gluten was enough to convince me, but everyone I talk to, says give it two weeks.  Two weeks of cutting something out of your diet?  You’ve done stupid fad diets for longer than that.  You’ve given up sugar for longer than that!  Haven’t I done that stupid heart healthy diet too?  Grapefruit every blessed morning?  Bleck!  I HATE grapefruit.

All that being said, I now get to the hard work phase (as if giving up gluten is easy, that crap is in EVERYTHING!). Does anyone know what these are?

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The two smaller ones are kettle bells.  (The big purple one is a bouncy ball that BG thinks is her kettle bell.)  The little puny one is mine.  The not much bigger one is CC’s.  I’ll let CC tell you about his experience.  I’m telling your about mine.

My kettle bell weighs 15 pounds.  BG weighed more than half that when she was born!  I use a fifteen because my wrists aren’t strong enough handle a heavier one without hurting myself.  Eventually, I will move up to the 25 pound (red) one, but for now I use the little one.  They make smaller ones for those of you who need something even smaller.

Here’s the deal.  Kettle bells are NOT a NEW thing.  The Russians have been using them for a VERY long time with huge success.  You DO NOT have to do endless reps.  You DO NOT have to do impossible weights (15# remember!).  I DO NOT sweat when I do mine (big issue for me; I HATE to sweat).

What you DO HAVE TO DO is not drop it on your head or foot!  These are solid iron.  Take the time to research how to do the exercises correctly.  I know you know someone who is doing this, but are they doing it correctly?  Probably not.  Go online and look up a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline.  This guy might be weird, but he knows what he’s doing. Click on his name to go straight to his website or hit YouTube for videos of him doing his thing.

Since I’ve started doing kettle bells, the fat is melting off me. (Yesterday was the start of week 2 and yeah!  I’ve already noticed a HUGE difference.)  I don’t know how much I’ve lost because they don’t really make an affordable scale that will weigh me, so I don’t have one (the five pounds a month thing is from the doctor’s office).  I do know that since I’ve started doing kettle bells, my pants are starting to fall down and my shirt no longer tried to pop a button over my belly when I sit down.  I can SEE the difference in the mirror.

I do recommend that you do some serious stretching after working with kettle bells.  It seems to help with muscle soreness.  Yoga has been my friend for years and I find that combining it with kettle bells is a wonderful synergy, but FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in Fitness

 

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Eating Scraps

We’re all seen those posts about how you can grow real food from scraps. The ones that interested me the most were celery and green onions. We love them. We eat them all the time. They are such a nice addition to so many of the foods we like. (Remind me to get you the recipe for my Cajun Celery Beef.) I did the rough math and for our family it looks something like this:

1 head of celery per pay period: $3.00
2 bunch of green onions per pay period: $2.00
Pay periods in a year: 26
Total yearly savings if I can make this work: $130.00

For many people $130 is not all that much, but in this family that’s a lot of money! Especially, when you start considering that you can add that to the money we’re saving growing our own herbs. Basically, I looked at my little kitchen window and I see that it all adds up to about $300 plus a year. Wait a minute, you say. Yeah, all of a sudden it starts to make sense, huh? $300 plus is nothing to sneeze at.

So we bought celery and green onions, not organic or anything, just regular old celery and green onions.  We used the celery like we always do, but as we got down to those last few stalks attached to the stump, I simply lopped them off leaving that little core of leaves in the middle.  Then I put it in a jelly jar on the window sill. Everything was going great. It was growing like none other, then I put it in dirt like it said to do.

It rotted within days.

I’m nothing if not stubborn. I’m trying again. This time I plan on putting cinnamon on the stump because it is said to be anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. I have three stumps growing very well, as you can see, but I’m not sure it is going to work because I still don’t have a single root on any of them that I can see.  If it doesn’t work this time, I may have to break down and try the organic celery to see if that makes a difference.

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Now in regards to the green onions… Did pretty much the same thing as the celery. I cut all the green off and cooked it. The white ends were placed in a jelly jar on the window sill such that the water was only over the very bottoms. They sprouted roots immediately! When the roots were about an inch long, I transplanted them into this little pot.

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They’ve been helping to feed us for weeks now.  It takes about three days for them to grow almost two inches. (CC has talked about setting up a time delay camera to capture the growth of these rascals.)  I am starting some more from the grocery store today to basically double what I have in this one little pot.  I feel that this amount doubled will give us all the green onions that we’ll need or want.  So hopefully today will be the last time I buy green onions!

(One thing I have noticed about the onions, is that some of them just will not thrive. Do NOT waste your time on them. Throw them into the compost pile and concentrate on the ones that are thriving.  If my experience is anything to go by, the ones to thrive will be the big fat healthy ones that aren’t knicked or roughed up.)

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Why?! (Thanksgiving Thoughts)

Why do people spend a fortune in time, money, and tears visiting people who only make them unhappy for a holiday that is reserved for nothing more than celebrating all our blessings.  My job puts me in a unique position of being able to observe all these families that proclaim loudly how much they love each other, but the moment you add travel they are at each other’s throats.

I’ve dug into why everyone is so miserable and it usually boils down to one thing.  They are traveling to visit family that only makes them miserable because of DUTY.  What kind of duty makes us spend time with people who only make us feel bad about ourselves?

CC and I made a pact when we got together that we would not inflict stupid duties on each other like that.  Have we done it anyway? Yes.  Are we trying to give up the habit.  Yes.  Why?  Because we genuinely like our life and the direction it is headed.  Our families do not like, approve, whatever you want to call it.  The disapproval comes out as silence and avoided eye contact.  It comes out as snide comments.  It comes out as out-and-out rude comments and angry condemnation.

Why!?  Why would you inflict that on yourself?  Why would you inflict that on the spouse and children you claim to love more than anything?

But I love my family too, you say.  Do you?  Or do you feel an overwhelming need for their approval and acceptance?  They’re supposed to love and accept you, that’s what love does.  But do they?

Now for the hard question.

Are you accepting of your own children?  Are they going to be miserable coming home for the holidays because all you do is nitpick and condemn? Or are you going to change the pattern?  Are you going to say I love you and mean it?  Are they, their spouses, and their children going to be laughing their way through their holiday travels, giddy to be going HOME to you who will welcome them with open arms and loving acceptance?

Here is my gift to you:

Welcome! Come on in to our warmth and acceptance.  Spend your holidays with us.  No, you don’t have to buy us presents, but a healthy appreciation for a good joke, kettle popped popcorn, and maybe a glass of good mead would help.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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Gluten-Free Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

2 cups milk

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all the dry ingredients.  Form a hollow to cradle the two eggs.  Crack the two eggs into the hollow and add two cups milk to hollow.  Whip the eggs into the milk with a fork or whisk.  Slowly add the sides of your hollow into the mix.  Your batter should NOT be a thick paste.  The consistency you are looking for is the same as a cake mix from a box before you pour it into the pan.  Coat the inside of a cast iron skillet with oil and pour the batter in.  Pop it into the oven and bake until golden brown.  The time will vary by location, but roughly ????? minutes.

*You can test to make sure the inside is done, by inserting a butter knife or toothpick.  If it come out clean, it is done.

I’ll update the time and add a picture next time I make it.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Recipes

 

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