Friday, April 19, 2013
I'm struggling to express how I feel right now. The suspects in the Boston bombing have been caught. But I'm not cheering in the streets. I am not jubilant. More than anything I am sad. Sad for these men (boys really) who went so far astray. Sad for the people they hurt. Sad for our country and our world. And I am, once again, resolved to do what I can.
We *all* need to spread peace and happiness, love and joy. Each and every day. Next time you're angry, pissed off and ready to snap -- stop and think. Because you know what? That belligerent guy on the phone -- the one cursing at you? Turns out he's not really angry. He's not angry but he is scared. He feels like a little boy trapped inside a man's body and what he really needs, more than anything, is a hug.
And those people who broke into your car and destroyed your stereo? Perhaps they were hungry. Or addicted to meth. Or schizophrenic and off their medication. No matter the reason they were not in a good place to be breaking into cars. They need light and love.
And that woman who cut you off in traffic? Maybe she was worried about her Dad who was just hospitalized. Or maybe she was your co-worker who thought you should move over and you, in your own daze, didn't. But guess what? You didn't run into her and she didn't run into you. So the minute she cut you off was the minute the incident was over. No need for anger. No need to dwell.
And what about that guy who flashed our kids inside the school? Turns out he did us a favor. He showed us our flaws. Our children are safer for his misguided actions.
Maybe I'm just a silver-lining kind of girl. Someone who looks for rainbows through the storm. But I believe we have the power to positively change the world one interaction at a time. Of course, with each interaction, we can also perpetuate hatred, anger and negativity. So, before you act, stop and think. What do you want to put out in the world?
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
It's no secret I want a hobby farm. Just five or ten or forty acres to fuel my dreams. Only, at this point in our lives, we're not in a position to buy. At least not yet. However I've decided to be positive; to act "as if."
Now if we were to buy a farm we'd have to move. And we'd either need to rent out our house or sell it. Either way we'd have some cleaning and sprucing up to do. So, acting as if we are going to move, I'm spring cleaning.
I started in the girls' room which was scary to say the least. Cleaning that room resulted in a monumental pile of laundry. And, thus, I began a laundry binge -- determined to clean every last bit in the house.
Now midway through my laundry fest my washing machine starting giving me a "sud" error message. I'd just made a new batch of detergent using a new brand of soap. I figured it was a little too sudsy and made a note to myself that I wouldn't use that soap in the future. Then the machine took it one step further -- "F2".
According to Google the drain line was clogged. I found a drill, an appropriately sized bit, took apart the front of the machine and cleaned the filter (which, by the way, was disgusting). I put the whole thing back together, proudly dusted off my hands and continued to launder.
Of course things couldn't be that easy. Next the dryer stopped drying. Turns out I'd been a bit exuberant putting it back in place (after moving it to repair the washer) and the exhaust line was pinched off. That little issue was fixed without too much trouble.
By this point most of our clothes were clean and I, in the laundry zone, moved on to other household items -- specifically the rugs in our house. Bad idea. Very bad idea.
The rugs have (had) rubber mats on their undersides which came apart -- into tiny tiny pieces. These pieces subsequently clogged the drain -- again.
But no fear! I can fix it! I intrepidly removed the front of the washer, pulled out the filter, cleaned it and put the whole thing back together.
Only the washer still wasn't draining. Ugh. I got back in there and cleaned the drain tube in front of the filter with a chop stick. The clog broke free and a HUGE FLOOD of dirty smelly water spilled out onto my laundry room floor. Yippee!
I mopped up the floor using every single towel in the house. While mopping I discovered a slimy mess of now wet dog food under the washer. That got cleaned too. I pulled out the washer and dryer and cleaned behind them. Then I discovered a hole in the dryer hose and repaired that. Finally I put everything back together.
Then I washed the grungy dirty towels. Halfway through the wash cycle the filter clogged again. And, yet again, I pulled the whole thing apart. This time using sheets to catch the water because there were no more towels. Of course it was more of those evil rubber pieces.
As I type I am hoping my laundry adventures are complete. The towels are still in the wash and appear to be completing their cycle. I've purchased new rugs.
I've learned a few things along the way:
1) Sometimes it's better to spend a little money (i.e. I should've simply bought new rugs).
2) New rugs cost much less than a new washing machine. Thankfully, hopefully, a new machine won't be needed.
3) "... you can't always get what you want, if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need." In other words -- though a sparkly clean laundry room wasn't on my to do list, nor were lessons in washing machine repair, I got both. Win-win.
4) And, finally, once the Rolling Stones are stuck in your head good luck kicking them out.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
A confession: Today I did dishes and laundry. I vacuumed. I had coffee with friends. I weeded and raked leaves. I hung a window on the chicken coop and built the girls a new perch. I went to my son's lacrosse game. I took an hour and a half break when my ear was acting up. I shuffled kids to and from school. I made $2.63 (money found in the wash).
Today was my day off. My weekend. My time to decompress. It's 10:00 pm and I'm settling in with a cup of tea. I feel guilty as there are things left to do. Before I go to bed I'll switch the laundry and dust the book shelf. Then I'll lay in bed trying to decide whether or not I should pop up, just for a moment, to give the toilet a quick scrub.
Only here's the thing. If you were to come to my house you'd look around, smile politely and think "does this woman *ever* clean?" You'd likely wonder what I do all day.
You see my efforts are just enough to keep this place from completely falling apart. Nothing more. Nothing less. I am one woman. One woman with three kids, a husband, two dogs, two cats, two cockatiels and seven chickens. The odds are *not* in my favor.
Tomorrow will be the same. There will be new laundry. New dishes. New weeds to pull. People will want to be fed and driven around. There will be shoes in the living room, dirty underwear in the bathroom and dishes upstairs. If I'm *really* lucky someone might even pee on the floor. Friday I'll return to work and all that was done will be undone.
I will work, come home and begin again. Should the kids be helping me? Absolutely! Is it like pulling teeth to make that happen? Oh yes. Yes indeed. Does Mr. Peculiar help? Sometimes. Though he feels his time off should be just that -- time off. And yet someone has to get stuff done.
My point? Judge not lest ye be judged.
I've been chatting with lots of moms. Many of us are in the same boat -- working and trying, as best we can, to maintain a household. We are not lazy. Rather quite the opposite. But we are all decidedly human and can not accomplish Herculean feats. So let's be kind and understanding and forgiving; both of ourselves and others.
It's easy enough to clean a corner, take a picture and throw it up on a blog. I'm as guilty as anyone for editing out the clutter. I just want you to know that behind most pretty pictures lies disarray. Embrace it for what it is - a beautiful mess. Love it, love yourself and carry on.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Today was a day to eat the rainbow; a green-colored juice, an orange-colored juice and a gorgeous raspberry-colored juice (which I am currently enjoying). We've had spinach, kale, ginger, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, a pineapple, oranges, coconut and celery. Quite varied and quite delicious (if I do say so myself).
Tonight's juice is another creamy one; a texture that satisfies the tummy. And the color? Well it couldn't be prettier. Serve in a clear glass and add a straw for maximum enjoyment.
Ingredients: (makes ~ two 20 ounce servings)
3 medium beets (including tops)
2 oranges, peeled
2 stalks celery
A nub of ginger (approx the size of your thumb)
Rinse beets and celery well. Slice apples to fit in juicer. Juice all ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Our Orange Julius juice recipe has quickly become the family favorite. It seems to take on whatever flavor you desire. For me this juice tastes like, well, an orange julius. Mr. Peculiar thinks it tastes like a peanut butter smoothie. To each his own.
At any rate this juice has a gorgeous orange hue and a lovely creamy texture. It's chock full of vitamins (Vit A, Vit C, Calcium, Iron, Thiamine, Niacin and Postassium).
This juice tends towards the sweeter side and therefore makes a great introduction to juicing.
Makes two servings (~ 15 oz each)
Two medium red garnet yams
3 medium oranges
Peel oranges. Cut yams (leave skin intact). Juice oranges, carrots and yams.
Serve and enjoy.
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Note: If you are going to start juicing I recommend you either a) start a compost pile, b) get a worm bin or, my favorite, c) get some chickens. You'll have lots of pulp leftovers that you won't want to waste. My chickens are gobbling up our pulp and I can't wait to taste their vitamin enriched eggs.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
For the past three days I've been on a juice fast. That's right -- nothing but juice. Mostly vegetables and some fruit. I was inspired by Joe Cross and his film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Joe went on a sixty day fast and lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 80 pounds) But not only did he lose weight, he also weaned himself from his medication (he was taking prednisone for a rare auto-immune disease).
This struck a chord with me. I have a poorly understood disease that may very well have an auto-immune component. Medication is hit and miss at best. And, honestly, I'm looking for a cure rather than something to mask my symptoms.
Then I came across another documentary -- Forks over Knives. The creators of Forks over Knives have compelling evidence that a whole foods plant based diet can halt (and possibly reverse) a multitude of diseases from coronary artery disease and diabetes to breast and prostate cancer.
Would I? Could I heal myself with food?
I've always known that food plays a role in health -- after all you are what you eat. But I've been reluctant to change my diet (which was, in my mind, not particularly bad). However I've also come to realize I like feeling good. And if this is what it takes to feel good then so be it.
I bought my juicer from Bed, Bath and Beyond (don't forget your coupon). There are two different kinds of juicers: centrifugal and masticating. Masticating juices do a better job overall. Masticating juicers are also more expensive. I went with the less expensive centrifugal juicer (if it's good enough for Joe it's good enough for me). I find that I can get more juice by running the pulp through once or twice after the initial juicing. This is especially true for vegetables.
Honestly I've been enjoying the juicing thus far. I started slow -- juicing for two meals and then eating a meal at night. Then Monday -- full bore. Well, not quite. The hubby and I agreed that we'd allow ourselves coffee (cappuccino made at home with local goat's milk). For the first two days I had a small cappuccino in the morning and mid-afternoon. Today I skipped the afternoon caffeine. Baby steps.
Things we've noticed so far. First and foremost my ear feels great. I have very slight tinnitus, minimal hearing loss and no dizziness or balance issues (now this disease waxes and wanes so I can't claim any benefit here yet). As for my husband -- today, day 3, he had no pain in his knees. He always has pain in his knees. Yet today, while at work and going up and down stairs, no pain. Psychosomatic? Maybe. But he's a doubter and therefore I doubt it's psychological.
We've also both lost some weight -- him 5 pounds in three days. Me -- 9 pounds in three weeks. Not too shabby. Am I hungry? A bit. Late afternoons/evenings are the hardest. Food smells SO GOOD! Nonetheless the benefits are out-weighing the hunger.
I plan to juice for as long as I can (30 days?). I'd still like to lose another 15 to 20 pounds. When we are done juicing we plan to switch to a whole foods plant based diet -- lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. We'll continue to eat meat but in smaller portions. I'm already careful to make sure our meat is from local grass fed sources (read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food to find out why grass fed beef is better).
I'm also going to reduce our gluten intake though not go completely gluten free (unless it becomes readily obvious we need to do so). I'm pinning tons and tons of recipes in anticipation.
This fast will reset my weight and, I think, my taste buds. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the end result.
Tomorrow I'll post recipes of a few of my favorite juices (thus far).
Monday, January 28, 2013
|Mew Mew napping in 2010|
Last night we euthanized our sweet old kitty Mew Mew. It was time. She was but a wisp of her formal self, skinny and with no reserves. She'd been sneezing for months and yesterday her nose clogged completely. She couldn't properly breathe nor would she eat. She was weak and wobbly.
And yet, despite her struggles, she remained affectionate. We sat as a family on the kitchen floor, ignoring the escaped onion peel, the random popcorn kernels and the dirt. We rallied around our kitty. We pet her, scratched her chin and cried. The dogs were curious and lay nearby.
She let us pick her up and hold her (not typical Mew Mew behavior). She rode on my daughter's lap to the clinic. I tucked my family into the euthanasia room and brought Mew Mew to the back for a catheter. Then we rejoined the family. My husband held Mewey as I gave her the injection. She went quietly, peacefully and in the arms of those who loved her and whom she loved.
Mew Mew was a week shy of nineteen-years-old. We've known her since the day she was born (her mama gave birth in the very first veterinary clinic I worked at). She preceded marriage and children. She outlived a multitude of kitties and a few dogs as well.
Last night there was a conspicuous absence as we lay in bed. No soft thump as she jumped up to join us, no gentle purr to lull me to sleep. She will be missed.
*** *** ***
We got home from the clinic just before 9:00 pm. I was ready to escape and snuggled in on the couch for an hour of Downton Abbey. How was I to know (spoiler alert here if you haven't seen it) Lady Sibyl was to die? Another hour spent sobbing my eyes out.
My heart ached for the characters (and for the actress as she was out of a job -- later I googled it and discovered it was she who quit the show so at least there's that).
Then I went to bed, eyes swollen from too much crying. Should you see me today -- extra puffy about the face, a bit peaked, you'll know why.
This is a strange world we live in. So much sad along with the good. I suppose one must have both the yin and the yang. All I can do is appreciate the moments, both good and bad, and accept them for what they are.
Today there's cleaning to do. I have a book on tape. I'm hoping for quiet contentment; if you see her tell her I'm looking for her. And then send her my way.