Short on time...I sum up:
These days we
1. Are keeping the plants Jack transplanted over the winter watered and seeing how they do. Moringas are great, mayan spinach/chaya plant came back and is doing well, cranberry hibiscus only reasonably well without cultivation, gynuras proliferate, comfrey and rosemary soldier on as always, the plants-I-can-never-remember-their-names are lovely shrubs (whatarethey, whatarethey...oh yeah the Surinam cherry shrubs, oh I'll think of the real name soon, but they supposedly make little sour fruits when mature) That's it...no garden this year, SO SO weird. But so much going on otherwise that with 4 growing seasons, it's only like sitting out a breather.
Aye-yi-yi how could I forget that Jack has been jonesing to get a Loquat and finally found one for a really great deal...brought it home, plunked into a freshly dug and composted hole, watered it in...and then mentioned it to me (heh heh). It's about 8 feet tall and really nice! Loquats do well in our area and all the way up into Zone 7 (which swings like a smile across the US, so don't think "latitude"...I'm surprised about some of the states they'll grow in). Anyway, we're smack in zone 9 and it will both overwinter well, even with freezes and handle the heat...maybe we'll be able to get some fruits and turn them into tropical jam? Mmmm :)
2. I'm done with my CNA classes and practice my "skills" daily and am studying for the state exam. Nothing about the skills is difficult except remembering the correct order and doing them enough to get good enough not to be nervous and to forget one of the "fail points"...I'll keep doing this daily till the test. No word yet as to my assigned test date. I'm very nervous, actually, but shall practice, practice, practice. I'm determined to NOT let myself do what I habitually do and set impossible deadlines for myself and work myself into a quivering mass of nervous expectation. Just not going to do the stress thing anymore...it costs too much in diabetes meds because it's the first thing that will up my sugars and shut me down. So practice I will, and take the test when I'm ready, Freddie :)
3. Have I mentioned I LOVE BEING AT HOME?? We really need my income, ergo the CNA training. The fun will be seeing if there are any shifts out there available in the hours my husband is not at work, meaning When I Can Have The Vehicle, as we're a one-vehicle family and have been now for about a year. That has its unique challenges but is the only solution without taking on more debt and a fuller monthly budget (car insurance, gasoline, blah blah blah). I'm at home more now, and I LOVE BEING AT HOME. When we get out of debt, our focus will be developing some cottage industry (from HOME) and I've been promised a "sabbatical" to hole up for a month or two and flesh out some outlines I'm working on into hopefully recognizable book form.
4. Debt-busting PUSH. We make sorties as such against our debt foe, hotly-schemed and persistent. We will wear it down! Right now we have Jack's remaining undeveloped properties (a few, residential, nothing we can move onto ourselves since we're needing agricultural) and all of them are FOR SALE. So any prayers to help them sell are very very welcome! If anyone wants a cheap lot to build on here 30 minutes from the beaches of the SW coast of Florida, let us know!
5. Finally some really great reading...and it's nonfiction. I love to read, whether my days are really full or whether they're not, I'll make the time to keep at least one book going or else I feel my brain begin to rot. THE most enjoyable read recently is a true account written by Victor Sheymov, called Tower of Secrets. If anyone out there likes thrillers, it's a true life account of a brilliant man who was a member of the 8th Chief Directorate of the KGB in the 1970s and became disillusioned (to say the least) and defected to the U.S. in 1980. I've read a lot of books about the Soviet Union, the KGB and related subjects...for some reason I just am drawn to those...but this one stands out. I couldn't put it down. Sheymov defected with his wife and child, and the Soviets didn't realize it because it was made to look like an accidental death. I hope to get permission to share some of the excerpts here soon because his insights into socialism, communism, and free societies are razor-sharp and so illuminating to me that I'm copying them down for my own sake as important "reminder" reading in the future. LOVE this book.
I also finished the prison year memoirs of Albert Speer, Spandau, which I also could not put down. I have mixed feelings ever recommending former-Nazi ANYthing because I dislike the idea of perpetuating royalties for those who framed and executed the destruction of millions in WW2. That said, this is an important book, too, at least for me, because in it Speer documents some processes in his own thinking over the course of his 20 year imprisonment at Spandau prison. The insights I most gleaned were from his writings about how he ever became caught up in the Hitler "personality," how his own excellent talents in the areas of architecture and organization were absorbed and utilized by that regime, the problem of Honesty To Self and Speer's hindsight about how we can compromise (rationalize) and still convince ourselves we're operating on a high moral level. I did not find a monster within these pages, but rather a highly-intelligent mind wrestling with the same interior issues most of us overlook in ourselves, or have to reckon with at much lower stakes. This book also raises the question of morality in wartime, which is something I've spent a lot of time thinking about over the years. Again, I won't purchase the book but I'll be writing out many of its insight for my own personal use. I just checked out his other two books, one on the Third Reich and the other about Himmler's attempts to build an SS Industrial Empire.
I'm perhaps lacking the diamond-sharp perception of a crack historian or historical/economic analyst when trying to piece together the concepts in these books that seem to jump from the pages to remind me that they are not just history but are also contemporary...we are players in our own current history that can be altered irrevocably in our own lifetimes...by individuals...through the everyday venues of business, architecture, writing, art, management, industry, music...and especially by ideology and the manipulation of how these things are perceived by the public at large. It's also a grim reminder of how influential our media has become. I used to wonder why we needed to know history at all. Now I know how mature a person is as to how they answer that question.
6. And finally...another book. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Whew, I made some failed attempts at getting some good steam built up at the beginning of that read, and all it resulted in the first couple of times was a good night's sleep ;-) But I finally got some momentum going once I got through the first three chapters and the setting fell into place, and now I want to find out the answer to "Who is John Galt?" Don't tell me in comments, please :) I want to make it through this book because I hear it quoted so much as relevant to what's happening within our own nation's ideological struggles. And as my opinion NEVER falls squarely in one camp's or another very neatly, I'm curious as to what I'll find challenging in it personally. Can't wait to see :)
7. Health. This is ongoing. I have regressed to WANTING 99cent drivethrough hamburgers. How savagely against everything I really have learned about our Best Life we're trying for is that?? Maybe my body's a bit whacked out, but I suspect it's my American spoiled-ness rising up because of the factor of my not having much spare change (literally) to jingle in my pocket while only one of us in this household is employed. But the things we do RIGHT are that I make (minus my occasional surreptitious 99cent drivethrough caves) all our food from scratch at home. Yep. I need to remember from whence I came. My daughter reminded me the other day how much I was the frozen chicken nugget and fish stick queen back when I was raising her. Brrrrrr, hard to think of that now, but wow we have come a long way, a better way. I can't remember the last time I had a potato chip (not a guilt trip for those of you who do, it's just that it was a normal daily thing for me for so long and is evidence now...its absence is...of how we've made some progress in the categories of Fruit and Veg). In short, we continue to be 98% Unprocessed. And our bodies LOVE being free of the chemicals, if nothing else.
8. Fruit Smoothies...60% spinach (hidden in there! you don't even know it) and the rest are fresh or frozen fruit and berries...always the blueberries for us...and we have this nearly every day. This has made a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference in our health...this one thing. We never use milk, icecream, or yogurt as the liquid vehicle in the smoothies, even though that would also taste great with a Fruit Only (no spinach) combination. We've mostly eliminated milk products for allergy reasons since we don't have an affordable source of raw milk. The liquid we use in our smoothies to help it all blend in the blender is 100% juice (we like the cranberry/grape 100% juice mix). Frozen bananas turns smoothies into a nice icecream substitute, too, if used minus the spinach...but is still a delicious smoothie with it (honest! all those berries color it up and everything's liquified in the blender). We also make a lot of homemade lemonade using stevia/Truvia as the sweetener, especially when we've sweated a lot of had a lot of muscle exertion. There doesn't seem to be anything that helps Jack cope with the heat and prevent muscle cramps like the lemon or limeade (no sugar, only stevia). But back to the smoothies...we seldom if ever eat the right proportion of servings of dark leafy greens with our meals. These spinach/berry smoothies are THE way we use to counteract that and we are KEEPING them. The health effects are amazing.
9. OK I'm not a supplement pusher, but I have mentioned one before that really works to help our joints and body aches. Jack and I both have had knee trouble in the past to the point we've had problems walking when our knees are inflamed, painful to even move them at all. Yeah, talk about feeling like old folks! But a very insistent friend kept (and kept and kept and kept) mentioning how she had had great results using a supplement (pill form) called Hyaluronic Acid. We looked it up, decided to try one bottle's worth, and in a very short period noticed our knee inflammation was going away...and then as we continued taking it, our knees returned to normal. Stopped taking, the problems came back. So we take it. Don't do anything based on our recommendation, but if it's something you deal with, it might be worth looking into yourself.
That's the case with my latest find. I saw Philip McCluskey, a raw food advocate who lost 200 pounds or so by changing his diet to raw foods, on a youtube video being asked what, if any, supplements he uses in addition to his meals. One he mentioned using was MSM. Based on some of the effects he mentioned, I looked it up. I've taken it before, but only in very small quantities. After reading up on it, it's touted as being safe in even larger quantities, and my health condition also reads as being deficient in MSM (which is organic sulfur), so although I've taken it before without any big whoop, I got a cheap bottle of it a few months back and started taking a dosage that's larger than the usual. I had no side effects. Except my skin looked immediately younger (the hyaluronic acid also helps with skin) and many of the uneven places and damaged skin I assumed I'd always have because I'm 44 and not 21 any more...went away. I kept taking the MSM, my dose is 4x the daily dosage listed on the bottle (again, don't do this at my recommendation, i'm simply saying what I do). I take 4 MSMs twice a day with no side effects other than good effects. Well, after three months of it, it's literally my Youth-in-a-bottle. I don't see my daughter every week, and last week was the first time in about two months we got to catch up in person. She was amazed at the difference. My skin feels like a baby's. Pretty great when I realized that if my skin tissue I can SEE is becoming healthier, so are the tissues I can't see.
This was underlined for me in another way that I had to take seriously. I had a long-term cyst that was partly under the skin and partly at the surface become tender. The skin around it was softening, just like my facial skin. One day I became worried...it was painful to the touch. Why? That night, it erupted, drained...and...was GONE. I'd had it for years and years. The cyst was gone!
Big deal? Well I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, supposedly never reversible. I've had some "ouches" going on now and then internally since taking the MSM, and without going into detail here, I am beginning to suspect that those cysts that rendered me infertile for decades may be going away. I think my body membranes NEEDED whatever MSM is doing and that they're healing.
So homecooked food without chemicals (minus the occasional contraband 99cent burger). Spinach (or other dark leafy green) and berry smoothies, 1 quart at least 5x/week. Lean meat. Amping up the spices for those hidden nutrients. Lots of lemon juice/lime juice made into homemade stevia lemonade. Water. Hyaluronic acid and MSM, twice a day for joints and membrane health.
10. What's not happening, and needs to: Weight loss and exercise, otherwise known as I hate the heat. Yeah, ok, I live in Florida and the heat is not going away. Every part of my body swells uncomfortably when I get out in the heat, especially to work/exercise. My diabetes needs to GO. I believe it is what is making me sensitive to the heat that way. I have the book Death to Diabetes and LOVE it and believe I can easily (well, hmmm...easy if I'll DO it)defeat diabetes by making further changes. Have you ever tried making a push when you feel pretty rotten? The pretty rotten I feel a lot is WAY better than the TOTALLY CRUDDY I felt a year ago, so we've made progress :) SLEEP is helping me, but my body is still adjusting to being on a day schedule...my body still thinks it needs to sleep more hours than my head tells me I really need.
This weekend I had another diabetes mini-crisis. I just felt so swollen and glucose-flooded I lay in bed a lot, waiting for the diabetes meds to balance things out again. Crud crud crud. But I feel much better now, thank God. I'm working with the doc to get that on track, but I want to do the PUSH of working the diabetes-ridding program enough to one day get off the meds and have normal glucose readings permanently. I just can't seem to get the energy to do the exercise! So I'll work on that. That's where I'm at right now. Thankfully I have a furry canine personal trainer awaiting my every notion of a walk, if I can just get past the dread of the Wall O'Heat that slams me as soon as I walk out the door. But I will...oh i WILL.
11. Getting House In Order projects continue. I'm liking my house now! I've slowly been making my way from corner-to-corner, into the drawers, conquering closets, sorting fridge and frozen goods, perusing the pantry, cleaning things that seldom get spruced, etc etc etc. Prioritizing the household things, decluttering with an eventual move at the back of my mind, but arranging things with an eye for nesting. It's all good, and a burden lifts from my shoulders as organization finds its way slowly to all the procrastinated areas. YAY. Eventual goal is to have it all DONE by year's end, including outside storage and garage. But at least the interior and exterior of house. Let's see. My enthusiams grows as order ensues :)
12. Happiness is...so many things...but also paint chips! Does anyone else out there love sampling the paint chip swatches and taping them here and there in the house to see how they really look in different wall locations? I have this idea for blues and greens along the lines of the muted colors of Ameracana chicken eggs, but without being to pastel-ish. Sort of sea glass colors, very light and soft and shadowy. I also like so many other colors for the rest of the house I'm not sure how I'll get them all to flow, but I LOVE playing with paint chips! part of the House Sprucing involves my (slowly) transforming each room with paint. I LOVE doing this :) Once the guest room gets cleared of all the random storage items that have been migrating there (literally piles of them) I'll set up my easel and get to paint for real...oh joy!
OK that's it...so much for a short update. Aren't you glad I didn't shoot for a long one? ha~
let me know what's going on in your neck of the woods...I love to see everyone's gardens erupting with harvest!