Saturday, August 19, 2017

An Informational Post

I wanted to share with you something I have recently been looking into.  As much as I gripe about Hubs always having the TV on, I have to (blushingly) admit that I do glean a lot off that TV that fosters further research and a lot of new, and usually helpful, information. 

The topic at hand is Dr. Helene Langevin's presentation on Integrative Medicine and how it is that our eleven body systems (respiratory, digestive, reproductive, skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, immune, urinary, endocrine and integumentary) are all connected, work "in tandem", and when one is not working right, all the others suffer as well.  She then gets into how it is that stretching connective tissue can be an effective tool to alleviate pain in all areas of the body.  Here is a presentation she did in 2016 about connective tissue and healing.  I found it very interesting.  Maybe you will, too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gcl7BN6-38

I have not seen any formal connection of Dr. Langevin to Miranda Esmond-White, but they were presented together during our local PBS channel's fund-raising event last week.  Apparently Miranda has a show on PBS in some areas, but not on OETA.  That they were giving her DVD's as "gifts" if you donated $144 that night, might mean that they're going to start airing her show in the new season.  She has several books and DVD's that are available on Amazon, of specific interest to me is the book "Forever Painless:  End Chronic Pain and Reclaim Your Life in 30 Minutes a Day", which has 88 verified customer reviews with a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.  If you go to You-Tube and plug in her full name, you'll find quite a few videos there.  She also has a book "Aging Backwards", which some of the reviewers said is a "companion book".  Others said if you have "Forever Painless", you don't need "Aging Backwards".  Her product name is "Essentrics" and claims to show us how to use all 623 muscles in our entire body.  She has training as a ballet dancer.  According to the information she presented, all the muscles should be stretched routinely.  Here are a couple of Essentrics You-Tube channels worth checking out: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/essentricsworkout
https://www.youtube.com/user/ClassicalStretchTET
The website is here:
http://essentrics.com/
If you go to http://essentrics.com/media.html , you can watch several of her videos there.  I actually think that's where you should start if you want to try to do them.  I'm doing that, and I've ordered the Forever Painless book.


A little update information on previous blogposts:

In the post before this one, I showed you the recipe I was going to use for "Secret Garden Tonic" and showed you where I was ordering Liquid Seaweed and fish emulsion.  The liquid seaweed arrived and I was disappointed in that I was thinking it was a gallon and it's only a quart.  Duhhhhhhh.  It's not like I don't know 32 ounces is a quart.  My mother always said, "A pint's a pound, the world around".  And two pints make a quart, four quarts make a gallon.  So I decided since the price I paid made it practically liquid gold, I would find a better use for it.  Or I might use less of it in the recipe.  Not sure yet.  The fish emulsion delivery was delayed.  So having Amazon Prime doesn't solve THAT problem.  There's still plenty of good stuff in that recipe, though.  They weren't in the original "Secret Lawn Tonic", afterall.  Being as my garden still has a few things that are alive, but struggling, I made up a batch excluding those two things.  The ground is still saturated from the rain.  Best to strike while the iron is hot.  The sun came out hot, and nothing showed any signs of being burned, and I did splash some on some of the leaves.  They seem to have perked up a little but it might be all this rain.  One thing though.  Don't leave your jugs of mixed-up "tonic" out in the warm as it'll expand and bubble over even if it's not in direct sunlight.  Best to use it all right after mixing if you can.

Now that we've had all this rain, I can attest to the fact that having taken vitamin B1 (Thiamin), 100mg a day, for several months has not helped keep the mosquitoes off me AT ALL, contrary to what I alluded to in a previous post.  We are trying to be careful not to have anyplace where they can breed except for maybe the 3 birdbaths that we keep on the property.  My thinking is that maybe mosquito larvae will be eaten by birds when they come to drink the water.  But I could be all wrong with that.  We have ponds all around us and so it probably does not matter whether we have standing water here or not.  I've known mosquitoes to breed and incubate their young in tall, damp grass.  Even at that, Hubs and I have been trying harder to keep all that to a minimum.  *Sigh*.  I'm considering stopping taking it, being that it is apparently not working to ward off mosquitoes, but when I looked it up, I found it's an "anti-stress" product, and that it helps regulate metabolism, and keeps your mucous membranes healthy.  I might've accidentally come upon something to help me with my dry-eye syndrome, because I've noticed in the last few months I haven't had to use my eye drops as often.  Here's what Livestrong says about B1:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/373790-vitamin-b1-benefits/
I am going back to that blogpost and pasting this paragraph there, as well.

While I'm on the subject of vitamins and other supplements, I thought maybe you might like to know what else I am taking right now.  I don't have to take any prescription drugs and that is as I want to keep it as long as I can.  Every time I see a new doctor, everyone who speaks to me is surprised I am not taking prescription medications at 70 years old.  You know, I find that a sad commentary on the health, or lack of it, amongst Americans.  My cholesterol is a little high but I had some problems with muscle spasms after I started taking statin drugs when I was in my early 60's.  And that opened the door for taking prednisolone, which scared the bejeezers out of me.  So as soon as I got home from the Emergency Room I quit taking that statin drug.  And as soon as I got so I could get up out of bed, I quit taking that pred.  Now and then I feel a muscle spasm coming on and that's when I lie down with the heating pad and take aspirin.  Sometimes a glass of wine instead of the aspirin.  Depends.  I'm grateful that so far I have not had a full-blown back spasm since I retired at the age of 60.  Maybe some of it was on-the-job stress, not sure.  But the problem with prescription drugs is that they have side-effects such that some other prescription drug has to be taken for the side-effect, and you get on a vicious cycle after that.  I'm lucky that my sugar readings, my blood pressure, and my heart functions are all within acceptable limits.  What I'm saying here is that if I were taking prescription drugs, I'd have to discuss any supplements I took with my doctor.  And we should all let our doctors know what supplements we take, anyway.  Keep in mind that some of them will interact with each other, some in a good way, some not.  It gets all so very complicated, and I know it's best to get your nutrients from food, but if we have to eat a limited number of calories per day in order to get ourselves out of the OBESE category, there are only so many nutrients that can be packed into that.  In some areas of our country, it's just nearly impossible to get certain things that are so good for us, like fresh-caught salmon, and even when we can, it's questionable what ELSE we're consuming as our oceans are polluted in certain areas, and we can't trust what's been done with them between the catching and the selling processes.  That's another sad thing.  We didn't eat much fish of any kind when I was growing up, and I have just never cared much for the smell of it, not to mention the taste.  So I buy Krill Oil.  I get MegaRed, 750mg, or a store brand equivalent.  It has Astaxanthin and I only have to take one a day.

My therapist at BPR recommended that I take Biotin Hair, Skin and Nails formula to help keep the skin healthy on my legs, and so I have been taking that once a day.  I got my first bottle at WMT and it's about gone.  I got a better deal on Amazon for Natrol Hair, Skin and Nails, contains 5000mcg of biotin and 10mg of lutein.  My hair has grown like you wouldn't believe and my nails, also.  It's a preventative thing for my skin, so it's hard to tell if it's doing anything there or not.  My dermatologist has always told me she thinks I have "beautiful skin", every time I see her, though lately she's been adding, "for your age".  Mom didn't start showing obvious wrinkling till she was 90. 

I take a WMT multi-vitamin that compares to Centrum Silver.  And my ophthalmologist asked me to take a vitamin for the eyes called Ocuvite.  It contains lutein and he stresses that.  I think since I take a multi-vitamin and now am getting lutein in the Hair, Skin and Nails formula, I won't need to take the Ocuvite.

A few months ago I started taking Turmeric in pill form.  I buy a concentrated formula that delivers 1300mg and black pepper, which helps the body absorb it.  It's Bio-Science's maximum strength.  I get what I'm supposed to need with two capsules a day.  And then I don't have to mess with the cooking procedure, mixing it with milk and honey and drinking it before bed when I don't really like the taste and don't really need the calories or the honey that I have to add to minimize the gag effect.  Turmeric helps with inflammation and every problem I have seems to qualify as An Inflammatory Disease.  Sheesh.

Most recently, I have started taking one Doctor's Best, High Absorption Magnesium.  Two tablets are 200mg of magnesium, and the recommended dosage on the bottle is two, twice a day, for a total of four tablets.  Yesterday I bumped it up to two.  I doubt I will take more than this, because magnesium is a component of my electrolytes and they can get imbalanced if too much tinkering is done with some of the components.  The selling point for magnesium is that it helps you sleep better at night and smoothes out muscles when there is a problem with spasms.  I haven't been taking these long enough to know if they help.  Although it seemed like, on the first day, my knee didn't seem to be as swollen and didn't hurt as much.  There has been some suggestion that the reason why my knee hurts is because the muscle that comes down from the hip, runs along the outside of the leg and then wraps down under the kneecap, (illiotibial band, sometimes referred to as the IT band) is the problem.  I notice I'm kind of sore in that area running down my leg, sometimes.  Since that was suggested to me, I've done a little research and it is said that people who have knee replacement surgery sometimes may have this problem.  The last time my knee had a fit, it felt like a hard muscle cramp.  And I know from experience with my back muscles, if they are allowed to go into a full-blown cramp and stay there, it takes days to recover after the cramps have settled down.  This muscle smoothing ought to be good for my back, and since I seem to catch myself 'tensed up' and not even knowing I'm doing it, I probably AM "high strung" as my mother used to say I was.  It's not like I WANT to be, OK????  The reason I was might be because I was born into a big family and certain family members were allowed to tease me when I was much too young to have the tools to fight back.  They made me nervous as hell.  If a little kid can't feel safe in their own home, WHERE CAN they feel safe?  Magnesium is good for your heart, nerves, and bones, as well as your muscles.  I have read that most people don't get enough magnesium from their diets.  And some say our soil is so depleted now that it's questionable whether there's enough magnesium in food even if you could eat enough to satisfy your needs.  I don't know, because I also know you can read anything you want on the Internet, everybody will lie to you if there's a dollar in it for them.  And well-meaning people pick up internet information and run with it, without trying it for themselves before they start recommending it to others.  Before long, you start seeing it everywhere you look, even if it doesn't work.  You just have to try it and see what you think.

I seem to be losing weight a little better this month. I've already hit 5 pounds lost for the month and there are still twelve days left to the month! Maybe now that I've said that, I won't lose another ounce for the rest of the time, but the chances are good that I might be able to knock of at least one more pound in the time that's left, maybe a little more. We'll see how it goes. I bought some jeans at a garage sale a few weeks back, in a size 14, and I can get them on and fastened. They are not nearly as tight on as some of those I see other people wearing, but they are still a little too snug for comfort. I don't like my clothes to talk to me. As it is, my regular clothes are starting to do that, in the other direction. Hubs calls me "Baggy Britches" all the time. We hit an estate sale this weekend, and OMG, the closets were stuffed with so many women's clothes that they were marked at $1 each. I noticed that there were, for instance, several tops on one hanger. I found several of those matching tops and pants made out of t-shirt material that I do so love for wearing around home. So when we got to the cashier, I asked if the pants and tops count as one, or two. And I was then told that it's a dollar PER HANGER. SUCH a deal. I spent $13 and ended up with these. I've tried them on and the pants are a little snug but by the time I'll want to start wearing them they are very likely to fit just fine. The tops are big but that's how I like them.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Almost everything still had the tags on them from the store.  The t-shirt/pants sets were originally sale priced at $14 to $16 for each set.  And some of the tops were Koret.  I like Koret because they are mix and match.  You can buy a pair of pants or a skirt and find all kinds of different tops that will coordinate. 
 
I wondered about the woman who bought these clothes, and why she never wore them.  Was she trying to lose weight, like me, and buying them for when she could fit into them?  Did she become ill and bed-ridden after she bought them?  Or was she one of those hoarders?  Did she own a clothing shop and these were things that didn't sell?  I went back on half-price day and spent $7 more.  Turned out there were two nice sets I'd missed, and I got some assorted pants and tops.
 
And so I asked the woman running the sale.  She said that there were piles and piles of clothing throughout the house.  So many that they had to donate a lot of them before they could even have the sale.  I'm grateful to that woman, though, and may she rest in peace, free of her hoarding illness and hopefully at peace where she is.  I will put these clothes to good use, as I donated all my clothes in sizes lower than 16 about three years ago, having decided I'd never be able to get into them again.  Oh, I wish I still had those hot-pink jeans with the white top that had pink polka-dots on it.  And those purple jeans.  They were Rockies, if I'm remembering right.  Though it might be too young-looking for me to wear now. *Sigh*.   I will pay it forward by donating my too-big clothes, although there are some things that I'm fond of and I will want to alter them. 
 
This pantsuit was worth going back for:
 
It needs a light pressing, and it's a size 18 so it's real loose.  But I think something like this is best worn loose, don't you?  Here is a close-up of the fabric.  It's just some kind of soft knit.  The pants are same material as the top that's under the jacket.  It's one of those "fake tops" that is front only, sewn into the jacket.  And the necklace is sewn in too! (?)  All supposed to be machine washable, cold.  But I'll take that necklace off, first, and fix it so it'll pin back in, or something.  Hubs said he loves this outfit.  And I kinda like it, too.  Bear in mind, I'm not wearing any makeup at all and my hair's a mess.  What you see is what you get.  Heh.
There was no price tag on this one, but it doesn't look or feel like it's been worn.  The tag in the back says "Pride and Joy".  I never heard of that clothing line before.  I guess there must be a gazillion different brands, though.  Polyester and cotton, made in the USA.  The color is ivory, though it looks green in this picture here.
 
There was another set that I had missed, as well.  It's more for winter
Yikes, I kinda look like Sissy Spacek here.  Errrr, maybe her grandma.  I have already lost my 5 pounds for the month and hope to be able to knock off a couple more before I do my Weight Loss Report to you in early September.  The pantsuit is by Queen Casuals, I don't think it's an 18.  Might be a 16 or even a 14 as it feels snug.  The top is a Sag Harbor, and not sure it's supposed to go with.  It is a large.  Not an extra-large.  The whole thing is very heavy, made for winter wearing I'm sure.   This picture was the third try for Hubs and that's why my smile is so weird.  I just hate to pose for pictures.  They never really look very good.  By the time I need to wear this, it'll be looser on, and maybe I'll find a top that looks better with it.  I think a long-sleeved one would be best, maybe in a splashy print.  Or a nice lightweight sweater with long sleeves.  She must not've liked long sleeves as I didn't find anything that had them in her 'stash'.  But I might have one that will work.   
 

That pink t-shirt set in the middle, I'll probably wear the pants with something else for awhile, till washing fades it out to go better with the top.  Apparently she wore the top and not the pants.
 
There were also a couple pair of cotton-blend pants, one in black that's too big and will be ok for the garden.  And the other is navy and very heavy, not exactly jeans but close, and I will wear them in the winter.  Fortunately the legs of all these things are big enough that my big legs will fit comfortably in them.  All I see in the stores now are "skinny jeans".  If I'm gonna wear those, they better be of some kind of stretchy stuff. 
 
Well, that's about all I have for you this time.  I hope you're comfortable and safe where you are.  Hugs xoxoxo


Monday, August 14, 2017

Daily Doin's, Mid-August, 2017

I start this on Thursday, August 10. 
 
I finished off our new compost bed today.  Starting another against the south side of it, but that's only because I had two or three blocks that were out there in my way.  Most of my blocks are used, so some of them have globs of cement in certain places that makes them not fit well, so I have had to pick over what's available.  I don't mind if the globs are pointing outward or inward, just not on the sides where they will have to have another block stacked on.  The first row can have globs on what would be their bottoms and I just dig out a little more dirt to make them sit right.  Maybe one of these days I'll find the time to take a hammer and chisel to them.  But not today. 

I'm kinda proud of myself for thinking this up. 
This bed has become full of Bermuda grass and Bindweed, and seems like every time I take a shovel to it, I have a pile of rocks to dig out.  You know how some people say they think those metal coat-hangers actually mate and have offspring in the closet?  Well, I think rocks do that, too.  Heh.  The combination of grass and weeds slurping up all the available nutrients and water, and crowding things out, with the rocks making it harder for the roots of desirable plants to get deep enough to sustain themselves, makes it so that I can hardly grow ANYTHING in this bed.  An additional consideration is that it seems such a waste to build a compost pile in a spot where nothing worthwhile will be grown when the compost has been removed, because there's lots of good microbes and minerals and stuff that goes into the ground from all the stuff that's been decomposing over the top of it, every time it rains.  So my thinking is to shade out the Bermuda, maybe make the soil there so healthy there that Bindweed will not grow there as well (hope springs eternal), or at least be easier to dig out, (more reasonable but still probably futile) and then when that pile is finished I'll move the blocks so that the compost bins will sort of "march" southward, year by year.  Does this make any sense to anyone other than me? 

 
I have some blocks that are not as wide as what we think of a "normal" cinderblock, so I decided to make two rows of them on their sides so the more narrow holes could provide air into the sides of the compost bin.  Laying on their sides also closes up the upward-facing holes of the blocks below so that grass and tree seed (or whatever) will not be able to grow in the holes.  Nor will there be soil falling into the holes during digging.  I don't think they make these narrow blocks anymore, they were in a pile we carted off from June's place, and it's anybody's guess when they were bought.  Or where.

I won't put kitchen waste in this bed, as it would draw the field rats.  I don't buy into that concept that you can put anything into the compost pile as long as it "didn't have a face", so that you don't draw the wildlife.  The problem with that is that rats, rabbits, skunks, opossums and raccoons are vegetarians, so they'll be drawn to the compost pile regardless.  I've had sweet potatoes dug right out of the ground before.  So I dig a hole and bury my kitchen compost, which at least keeps the decomposition odors down.  Plus it attracts and feeds worms, and it's very desirable to have a lot of worms in the soil.  Not only do they aerate the soil with their tunnels, but their excrement is top-quality fertilizer.  Usually I choose a spot that's near where there is something growing, so the moisture from it will feed the roots, and it's a bonus if, in the process, I can shovel out a spot that has a lot of weeds growing in it.  I sift the dirt out from the roots of the weeds when I cover the hole.  Then it is those weeds that go into the compost bin. 

I just don't have the energy or stamina to work hard, so I try to work smart. 

These are the squash plants as they look today.  I found no eggs on the leaves yesterday, but a few today.  I was late getting the eggs disposed of and already had little gray nymphs in the container by the time I got around to it.  These may have been eggs I missed from a previous day.  Hard to tell. 
I have lost part of one of the Pink Banana squash plants, and had to pick an immature squash because of that.  Haven't eaten it yet.  There's another one getting about same size and so far the vine is healthy there.  Maybe I will have one to get mature enough that I can get seed.  I have no idea from one day to the next.  A lot of this grass you see is Annual Rye.  I will never, ever, ever, sow Annual Rye in my garden beds again.  And I will probably be fighting it for years now.  Yeah, it's an annual.  Yeah, it's a prolific self-seeder.  And it makes roots that go to China. 

I really can't say that growing petunias with the squash has helped.  I do love petunias, though.  And they will self-seed so hopefully I'll have some come up next year.  One of the guys we workout with told me that it's an old method to pour vinegar in a circle around the squash plants to keep them free of squash bugs, but he said he'd never tried it.  I promised him I'd try but I haven't yet.

I've kind of let things come up as they will.  There are clumps of either Lime Basil or Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil volunteering in lots of places.  I can't tell them apart.  One was planted in the garden along the edges of one of the beds, the other was planted in the herb garden, up near the house, so unless the birds scattered the seed, it's different depending on where it's growing.  Not that I can depend on those birds to be that accurate.  So I'm just letting basil come up where it may, at this point. 

 
There's a zucchini plant here that's finally grown from seed I planted during the spring.  I tried to pre-germinate some of the zucchini, some spaghetti squash, and some yellow squash, but the seed must be too old because it just laid there in the damp paper towel and turned black and smelly.  Next spring I'll throw the rest of those seeds in the packages in the compost pot, and if they want to come up from where that gets buried, they can.  But I'll buy some fresh seed for a planting and not depend on chances for the old seed.  There are cantaloupe coming up all over the place from our grocery store cantaloupes.  I've been having about 1/4 cantaloupe and a banana for supper, sometimes also a half a whole wheat bun, toasted.  But I'm tired of cantaloupe and thinking of what to have instead for awhile.  I still cook for Hubs' evening meal, even though I don't eat any of it.  He's good about sometimes going for KFC, and he's getting better about eating leftovers.  He needs to have his evening meal and I understand that, it's just that there are many times when I wish he'd just try to eat what I'm going to eat, or at least offer to cook for himself.  But he doesn't clean up after himself.  I'm forever wiping up coffee dribbles, jam smears, and repositioning things in the dishwasher so that they don't shield each other from getting clean, as it is.  So most of the time I make something that has a component that I can eat, and I save that to have for my lunch the next day.  I prefer lunch to be my biggest meal and then just have something light for my last meal of the day.  Hubs is the other way around.  It's an old habit from his working days.  Hubs has a lot of habits that he has developed over the years that he is unable or unwilling to break.  Sometimes our differences are an advantage and are what makes us a good team when we're trying to do a project.  Other times, our differences are big obstacles.  I guess that's true of most couples that have been together for a long time.

It's gotten hot, so Hubs and I are in for the day.  He went out and sowed some of that Annual Ryegrass seed on bare spots out on the North Fourth, and looked for goat-heads (puncture vine) growing out around.  We have been digging it up and burning it for several years now, we probably always will have to as the neighbors all have it to some degree, and their dogs all walk around on our land, bringing the burrs on the fur of their feet.  Hubs thinks the Annual Rye will work out there, and he will be mowing it regularly, so it won't have the opportunity to make seed.  By next year, the Bermuda will have grown into it and will take over once the Annual Rye is done. 

Hubs said he was looking out the upstairs windows last night about dusk and saw an owl come down into the garden and get something.  The prey was bigger than a grasshopper, might have been either a little rabbit or a rat.  The owl is welcome to hunt there (or anywhere) for either, and I was really glad to hear about it, as they form their hunting habits and now that one's been successful getting a meal, it'll be back.  I hear them hooting in the early mornings, just have never seen one come inside the fence before.  But hey, it's easy enough to lite on the top fence rail and survey from there, and the garden is a big enough area to fly into without getting caught up in anything.  I knew there was something in the garden, I just didn't know what, as I saw my green bean plants being nipped off from a distance.  By the time I got close enough to see what was doing it, it had seen me and disappeared. 

This is now Friday, the 11th.  We had a terrific storm late yesterday evening.  No damage here except all the pears knocked off the pear tree and one of the benches on the back patio knocked over.  Oh, and some of the cardboard I'd put on the garden was torn out from under the blocks that were holding it down, and hurled into the yard.  The rain came so fast and hard that our little road was under water, between Randy's property and Jay's property.  Kind of looked like Jay might've had water running down his driveway and he told me it seeps into his basement when that happens.  Hubs said he thought Joe, across the road from us, was getting water running down his driveway and into his garage.  We are on a higher elevation than they are so we were ok in that way.  Several people lost trees or branches, we had one little branch on the ground that was torn off the maple tree.  The power stayed on with only a few blinks off and on, as the power lines were being hurled around by the wind like jump-ropes.  We lost service to our land-line phone.  Most of our neighbors don't have land-lines anymore, they just use their cell phones exclusively.  I used our cell phone to call and make a trouble report, saw the truck come out, and shortly thereafter I had a dial tone again.  We saw the truck come out with electrical technicians, too.  It went back behind Jay's and worked there most of the day.  Hubs said they were replacing a pole out in the field, which is on Charles and Geraldine's land. 

So today I gathered all those pears (this is about half of them that you see in the picture). 

They had to be scrubbed clean and wrapped in newspaper to ripen.  Some of them were hurled quite a distance and were damaged from hitting something before landing in the soft grass.  I went ahead and wrapped those, too, will keep them in the kitchen where I can check them more often than I normally would.  They are just too unripe to even be able to cut out the bad spots, and maybe they'll rot before they ripen, so I didn't want to mix them in with the unblemished ones that went into a cardboard box after wrapping.  We'll keep the box in the pantry till the skins turn yellow and the flesh turns mellow.  I will probably get the canner out and process them, as there will be more than we can eat before they get too ripe. 

While I was puttering around in the kitchen, I got my Spiralizer out and made "noodles" out of some small zucchini that I'd bought at the grocery store, for 79 cents a pound.  I had some pasta sauce with crumbled ground beef in it left from Hubs' supper last night.  He had the sauce over cooked spaghetti with green beans on the side.  So I sweated some sliced onions and then put the zucchini noodles in with them and cooked them with a lid on, just until they started smelling good. 

Added part of what was left of the spaghetti sauce and had that for lunch. 

Hubs has informed me he is not ready to substitute spiralized zucchini for cooked pasta. 

What I had left, I put into the freezer.  I want to see how the cooked zucchini spirals hold up after thawing.  I haven't been very happy with squash of any kind that's been packed away in the freezer as it turns watery and limp after thawing.  Up to this point, about the only way I like squash that's been put up for the winter is if it's combined with whole tomatoes and chopped onion, and canned.  This mixture has to be pressured, but it makes for quite a tasty addition to a pot of stew.  It's pretty in the jar, especially if I also add chopped green pepper.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation site does not recommend canning squash.  I normally use 10 pounds pressure for 40 minutes, which is what some cookbooks recommend for just plain squash canning.  I figure if there's acid in there from the tomatoes, it's safer than just canning squash by itself.  If you're going to be afraid to eat it once it's canned, though, it's best just not to can squash at all, you will have to be the best judge of what you feel is right and safe.  I've seen where some people say that the reason why the NCHFP does not recommend canning squash is because they lost their density records and they don't want to have to recreate them.  Many of the old canning books have a canning procedure for squash and many people grew up on it without ever being sick.  There's a post on the blog "Food In Jars" that contains a recipe for "Zucchini Butter" that sounds pretty dang good.  It is packed away in the freezer.  I want to try that, too. 
http://foodinjars.com/2016/09/zucchini-butter/ 
If I am ever able to hold the squash bugs back enough to actually have a crop, I'd like to have more than just one way of being able to preserve it.  This morning I just found one leaf that had eggs on it. 

Carole mentioned to me in her daily e-mail that she had just planted some bean seed.  She's in Joplin, MO, but her weather is a lot like what we get here in NE Oklahoma.  Although, seems like it's cooler than we are in July.  What with all the wet, warm soil out in the garden it seems a shame not to put some of it to good use.  So I went out there today and planted what I had left of some Scarlet Emperor runner beans that I got from Terroir Seeds last spring.  The ones I planted got shaded out by something else, so I thought "what the hell..." and planted the ones I had left in the package from Terroir Seed.  I stacked two of these "guards" on top, in case what has been nipping off green bean plants was NOT what the owl took away. 

Hopefully the bean stalk will grow up through the chicken wire.  Hubs made me these to protect my little seedlings from the chickens.  I had planned to let them scavenge in the garden, that last summer that I had my flock.  But it didn't work out.  They were so bad about digging stuff up when they looked for insects, plus they dug big holes for dust baths and also for nestling down into for their afternoon nap.  Some of them got so they wouldn't go back to the chicken house to lay their daily egg, and I'd have to hunt for the eggs.  And there was ONE chicken that wanted to stay out there all night, and would have to be herded up to the chicken house every. dang. evening

Terroir says the beanpods that this variety of Scarlet Emperor makes are long.  I'm kind of put out at Terroir, because I emailed them about how poorly their Lazy Wife performed as compared to what I'd been used to getting from seed by that name, and all they did was to ask me where I got the seed I have used in past years, in the first place.  Hell, I don't remember.  I think it was in a GardenWeb seed trade or something, probably over ten years ago, and I just saved the seed every year.  It was like they thought I have expectations of their seed that is too high.  So I'll be interested to see if these Scarlet Emperor beans live up to their description, because I've grown Scarlet Emperor before and the bean pods were short, wide, thick and fuzzy.  I didn't find them very appetizing, kind of strong in flavor, but at least the fuzziness went away in the cooking process.  So, if these grow, they grow.  If they don't, or if they do and are disappointing, they'll be out of my seed stash, and that will be another seed vendor I won't order from anymore.  We have till about the middle of October before our first killing frost.  Now and then, we don't get a killing frost till December.  There's no accounting for Oklahoma weather. 

This is now Sunday and I have been working out in the garden, due to some stuff I learned about squash bugs.  All this time, I have been thinking that the eggs are laid on the leaves or stems of the squash plants by some kind of moth, the eggs hatch, and then the squash bugs have live young after they have matured.  Wrong.  Squash bugs overwinter in vegetation.  There is no moth that comes in the spring.  If you didn't have them the year before, or you had your garden so cleaned up that they didn't have anyplace to overwinter, then they fly into your garden from someplace else.  I have no clue how far these things can fly.  I didn't even know they could fly, at all.  So if I'm still finding eggs on my squash leaves, that can only mean I've got a mature female squash bug in my garden.  According to the article I read, they hide under leaves or in vegetation near the squash in early morning.  When I grew Nest-Egg Gourd, I had such a bad infestation that I could go out there and find them, just lolling around, on the gourds that were hanging on the vine, so when the article said they like to hang out on the fruits that are on the vine, I knew that part was right.  It also said that if you lay a board down near the plant, they can often be found under the board in the morning.  So today I went out to clear out all the weeds vegetation under the plants, and found that I have four little yellow squash on that plant I thought was a zucchini!  I'm not finding eggs on the leaves of the Pink Banana squash anymore, they're all on that yellow squash plant.  I want to find out if I can eradicate all the mature bugs, will that be the end of picking off eggs?  Or will more of the dang things fly in?  Sheesh.  Hubs went to his workshop and found several end pieces of 1x8 pine.  He doesn't like to store wood scraps, and this just drives me crazy because there are so many times I might have a use for them.  Fortunately he hadn't gotten around to disposing of these.  The article also said if you can keep your plants protected from squash bugs while they are young, the mature plant may be able to withstand being host to a small population of them.  And that the key is to keep your squash plants healthy, healthy, healthy.  OMG.  I wonder if that's possible in this climate.  I've seen it written, elsewhere, that when a plant is stressed, it sends out some kind of signal, which the insects that prey on it will "hear", or maybe "smell", and then they all come to put the plant out of its misery.  No, nature is not kind.  Predators always go for the weak.  You know that if you ever watched any of those wildlife shows where they show you how a puma takes down Bambi.

That got me thinking about how once I saw somebody's formula for making a "spring garden tonic".  I thought I saved it somewhere, but now I can't find it.  I knew that it involved a can of beer, some liquid dish soap, and some molasses but I couldn't remember what else and I couldn't remember the proportions.  The closest I could come to it is this "Secret Lawn Tonic":
http://tipnut.com/green-grass-tips/
I started fiddling with the recipe because there were other things I wanted in it and I wanted to be able to use it for watering out of the watering can rather than using a ten gallon hose-end applicator.  What I ended up with was a ten-cup formula and you put one cup in a gallon of water at watering time.  Here is my "Secret Garden Tonic":

1 (12-oz) can of cheap beer
1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses, diluted in one cup water (I bought mine by the gallon on Amazon for about $18)
https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Barrel-Unsulfured-Blackstrap-Molasses/dp/B00M1ZYPXA/ref=sr_1_5_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1502710154&sr=8-5&keywords=blackstrap+molasses
1/2 cup of liquid dish detergent (not anti-bacterial)
1/2 cup of household ammonia or urine
1/2 cup of cheap mouthwash
1/2 cup of Epsom salts, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water
1 cup liquid seaweed (I bought mine on Amazon, a gallon for $16.45)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000COBUQC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
1 cup fish emulsion (I bought mine on Amazon, a gallon for $16.49)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I727QJU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Before starting, pour 10 cups of water into a container (I use a plastic kitty litter jug that holds about 2 gallons) and put a mark at the point that this comes to.  Then pour the water out.  Pour all ingredients into the jug.  Then add enough water till it comes up to the line you marked on the jug.  Before using in the garden, swirl to make sure all ingredients are well integrated, and then pour 1 cup into a gallon of water.  You could save ten plastic gallon milk jugs and make up ten gallons from this mixture, then fill each jug with water and put the cap on.  If you're like me, you'll probably find enough things to water with it that you'll use it all up on the same day.  If not, put it in the cellar or under your crawl space or some other place where it'll stay reasonably cool and out of the sun.  If you have rain water, or city water that has stood in an open container for 24 hours to release the chlorine, it's better for the garden to use that.  The original recipe says apply every three weeks but I think once a month will be ok. 

I don't have my liquid seaweed or fish emulsion yet, just ordered it today.  I'll have to wait till they arrive before I can mix it up and try it.  You might wait till I've used it and seen whether my plants perk up or whether they die.  Heh.  Of course, as with anything like this you add to the garden, if the soil is bone dry, you will want to water it in well. 

***************Update, August 17**************************************
My liquid seaweed arrived and I was disappointed in that I was thinking it was a gallon and it's only a quart.  Duhhhhhhh.  It's not like I don't know 32 ounces is a quart.  My mother always said, "A pint's a pound, the world around".  And two pints make a quart, four quarts make a gallon.  So I decided since the price I paid made it practically liquid gold, I would find a better use for it.  Still plenty of good stuff in that recipe.  It wasn't in the original "Secret Lawn Tonic", afterall.  And my fish emulsion is on back-order.  I made up a batch excluding those two things, as everything needs a little "tonic" badly RIGHT NOW, and the ground is still saturated from the rain.  Best to strike while the iron is hot. 
*********************************************************************
And oh, one other thing I wanted to share with you, and that is, next spring, if you'll go to the live bait shop and buy some red wigglers or what they call "night crawlers", you can put them right out into your garden soil and they will make lots of castings that you won't have to buy OR apply.  Plus they'll aerate the soil with all their tunnels.  The roots of your plants will find these tunnels and will grow deeper, thus making for a healthier plant.  Make sure you get ones that are still alive and are moving around.  Take them straight to the garden and cover them lightly with some soil so they won't lay there for awhile trying to figure out where they are, and become a quick meal for some bird. 

Well, I think that's about enough to bore you all with for this time.  I hope y'all are having decent weather.  Stay safe, healthy and happy.  Hugs xoxoxo

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lymphedema, General Health, and Weight Loss Report for July, 2017

July was a horridly long month, with hardly any rain, and temperatures into the triple-digits.  We were, except for during the early mornings, held captive in our home by the weather.  And Hubs' constant TV watching got on my nerves.

They have reported on TV that they have found mosquitoes that are carrying the Zika virus in Tulsa, so they are probably throughout the nation now. At first I thought about how I am well past child-bearing age and so it didn't really affect me, I'd heard that some people that had the virus didn't even know they'd had it, so it's not a health risk unless you're pregnant.  But then I thought about how we don't know enough about it, and I wonder what the length of time is that it affects the human body?  Can it, for instance, bite a child and affect all that child's offspring when the child has grown up?  To think further on this subject boggles my mind and is frightening.  I saw a thing on TV about how they are learning to modify the DNA in a fetus and perhaps that will be useful in allowing a Zika-infected parent to still produce a normal child.  Whatever normal is.  It would be wonderful to be able to "cut out" the parts of DNA that cause the child to have serious deficiencies but I wonder if the human race is selfless enough to not turn it into a curse.  Or to make so much money off it that we end up with a country full of "Designer Babies".  [[[[shiver]]]]

I started taking vitamin B1 back in early March, as I had read an article that said that people that went on an excursion in the Florida swamp were given B1 patches to wear on one of their arms, and it was reported that they received no mosquito bites.  I always wonder, when I hear something like this, whether it is actually "a breakthrough", or just an infomercial to sell the product, because somewhere in some lab they've made so much of it that it'll all expire and be wasted if lots of people don't buy it.  But so far I haven't even seen a mosquito around me.  Mosquitoes just love me, by the way, and they tend not to be interested in Hubs.  Which makes sense.  I am running my mouth all the time, and Hubs hoards his words like they are gold.  They say mosquitoes are drawn to carbon dioxide that is expelled when we talk.  However, we are not collecting water in the above-ground tanks this year, specifically because they do not drain out all the way, ever, and even when we keep the lid on, mosquitoes seem to be able to squeeze in to deposit their eggs on the water surface.  Before we know it, those water tanks with only the morning dew trickling into them from the roof becomes a mosquito hatchery.  Mosquitoes are not the only insects that have the power to bite us and make us miserable with itching, however.  Chiggers abound and the little critters go for anywhere on the skin where there is a crease or a fold.  Need I say more.  This is the face of Oklahoma that I hate.  Oh, for the days when a mosquito bite or a tick bite was only an annoyance.  Just another sign that The World, As I Knew It, has already ended. 

I can attest to the fact that B1 does absolutely nothing to deter chiggers, though.  My therapist raises horses and she tells me that what works for her is a dryer sheet in her sox.  I've tried that, in conjunction with showering and putting on different clothes when I come in for the day.  I can't swear that it works, because invariably there's something I've forgotten and I make a quick foray out there later on.  I could be collecting chiggers at that time.  Hubs mows and weed-wacks our land, but the garden is a challenge as I am having difficulty keeping it weeded and there are only certain places where he can use the weed-wacker. 

*****************Update, August 17, 2017***************
Now that we've had all this rain, I can attest to the fact that having taken vitamin B1 (Thiamin) for several months has not helped keep the mosquitoes off me AT ALL.  We are trying to be careful not to have anyplace where they can breed except for maybe the 3 birdbaths that we keep on the property.  My thinking is that maybe mosquito larvae will be eaten by birds when they come to drink the water.  But I could be all wrong with that.  We have ponds all around us and so it probably does not matter whether we have standing water here or not.  I've known mosquitoes to breed and incubate their young in tall, damp grass.  Even at that, Hubs and I have been trying harder to keep all that to a minimum.  *Sigh*.  I'm considering stopping taking it, being that it is apparently not working to ward off mosquitoes, but when I looked it up, I found it's an "anti-stress" product, and that it helps regulate metabolism, and keeps your mucous membranes healthy.  I might've accidentally come upon something to help me with my dry-eye syndrome, because I've noticed in the last few months I haven't had to use my eyedrops as often.  Here's what Livestrong says about B1:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/373790-vitamin-b1-benefits/

****************************************************

Enough of the ranting and on to the business at hand.

Unfortunately I did not quite meet my initial target of 190 for this month.  I was even kinda hoping for 185, but I knew that was probably not possible.  I made it to 192.0.  In my younger days, I could lop off five pounds in no time flat, but things are different now that I'm older.  And somewhere along the way I think I said that even a pound a week is still progress, and comes out to 52 pounds in a year.  We tend to think of a year as a long time, but really it is only a blip in time.  So I'm grateful for the loss of 5 pounds for July.  I have had some maddening plateaus and up and down spikes.  My lymphedema therapist says it's the lymphedema.  That doesn't seem right to me because I don't have a sudden drop the morning after I've had therapy.  Hubs thinks it's the weather, barometric pressure, and so on.  But I didn't seem to be losing when the weather was nice, and the last pound I lost was in the middle of a heat wave, so not sure about that, either.  It's possible I have been eating too few calories, I know that this will make the metabolism slow down.  It's all very complicated, how the body works, and we all need to appreciate what an awesome miracle our bodies are, the way they try so hard to protect and heal themselves.  We don't think of the skin as an organ, like the heart, lungs, liver, and so on, but it is.  We don't think of the "gut" as a second brain, but I've heard lots of people say that, indeed, it is.  As I write this, it's August 3, and I started the month with an additional pound lost.  So I'm going to set my goal for 185 for the end of August, knowing that it's a reasonable goal, maybe I will fall a little short, but any progress is still progress. 

I added half a homemade 100% whole wheat "bun", and, like Oprah, I do love my bread.  Not that spongey white crap that so many of us were raised on, but good, substantial, honest bread containing only four ingredients.  Some days, I have even had the other half of the bun before the day has ended.  Still trying to have mostly proteins and vegetables for breakfast and lunch and then some healthy carbs at supper, it runs about 350 calories per meal, with maybe a snack, if I really feel like I need it, in the early afternoon usually, of something like a salad containing a little cheese, dressed in a combination of a small amount of good oil and some cider vinegar, and topped with unsalted sunflower seed, or chia, or some hemp seed hearts, something I'm trying out and liking.  I didn't think to take this picture till I'd already snarfed down half of it, but you can get the idea from what's left.

Hemp seed is very nutritious and no, if you plant the seed it does not grow into marijuana, in case anybody is thinking that.  It's related, I think, but not illegal to grow or buy, and what the hell, maybe one day I might buy some seed that isn't hulled and try growing some, just to see what it looks like.  I just do not understand why we, as a nation, spend so much time trying to protect people from themselves.  Don't we already have enough to do, trying o keep people from hurting defenseless animals, children, and EACH OTHER???  Who would anyone be hurting if people were mellowing out on their own back porches on something they've grown in their garden?  Certainly better than some things people do that is perfectly legal, if you know what I mean.  If you think back to Prohibition and all the alcohol that was confiscated and destroyed, it looks kind of like now, how they search out secret fields of marijuana and set them on fire.  I fully expected that when my generation got to be old and all the people of earlier generations had all died out, that legalizing marijuana would just happen naturally, and taxed to the nth degree.  But so far only certain states are legal and it's a bit of a problem because it's still illegal according to the Federal government.  We can make beer and wine in our homes for our own consumption, and nobody ever seems concerned about the alcoholism that is rampant in our country.  Even though it still does ruin people's lives and that of their families, and can make for one helluva accident out on the highway.  A young adult can have too many drinks at a party, get behind the wheel and end up in prison for murder.  Now, that's pretty scarey.  And it's not like we can't grow something harmful in our gardens, there are lots of things that come to mind.  I wouldn't use marijuana because it makes people think they're hungry and if I really wanted to be in THAT state, which I don't, all I'd really have to do would be to eat some kind of sugar-laden food and I'd be there.  If it wasn't for that, hell yes, I'd try it.  I'd like to know how it feels to be "mellow".  Heh. But seriously, all this illegality just doesn't make any sense since our country is led around by The Almighty Dollar.  People will cheat you, lie to you, put your health at risk, and take advantage of the most vulnerable members of our population, in their efforts to amass a fortune or some other such thing that they can stick out their chest and brag about.  Sad.

I'm reporting on the lymphedema situation in the same post as the weight loss, because I am convinced that weight loss is a valid treatment for lymphedema, and that being obese can be a contributing factor in the development of this condition.  Most of the people that I see being treated at BPR for lymphedema are much more overweight than I am, even.  So here's yet another reason to not be obese.  I often think about what a fool I have been, saying to myself that I am robustly healthy and unaffected by weighing more than I should, and that "If I don't mind, it don't matter".  "I am built like a Grand Piano," I would say.  What a Dumb-Ass.  My family could never seem to get together without there being this huge amount of food being passed around, and it seemed like everyone thought it was an insult to the cook if they didn't just gorge themselves.  Oh, what my in-laws must've thought about me when I brought that same attitude to the dinners they put on!  They all were in the habit of eating normal amounts and saving what was left for another meal, and here I was, stuffing as much in as I could, trying, unsuccessfully, to make a good impression, without a clue. 

I am wearing compression stockings every day, removing them at night so that my legs can "rest".  But I've had a lot of trouble getting a good fit.  The first pair of JuZo Silvers that they got for me at BPR were so tight all over I just could not stand to wear them.  So they took them back and got me a pair of JuZo Softs, two sizes bigger.  Both pair had top bands that were so narrow and tight they were like wearing rubber bands.  The Silvers had silicone dots on the inside of the band, which was supposed to keep them from rolling down, but it seemed like the band was even less stretchy because of all those dots.  So I asked specifically that there be no silicone stuff on the inside of the band of the second pair.  Apparently the dots are there to keep the band from rolling up on itself and making itself into that rubber-band thing that I spoke of earlier.  But instead of making the situation better, it just made things worse.  So an unacceptable situation either way that could have been prevented from the git-go if JuZo had only made the cuff wider.  Considering that these things cost $80 plus, you'd think JuZo could justify the use of a little more stretchy yarn for the cuff.  What's up with that, anyway?  We people with Lymphedema HAVE BIG LEGS!!  If we had normal-looking legs we wouldn't be buying their product.  I made something to go under the cuff to keep it from digging into me, and that helped a lot, but personally, I don't think the band is ever going to get broken in enough that I won't have to do that.  And the seam has broken, showing untethered loops, in a couple of spots where the band is secured to the stocking.  I, being a quilter, had a bottle of Fray Check, so I repaired the spots while the band was stretched out on my leg, but I'm sure the stockings won't last as long as they would have if I hadn't damaged them.

So, you know, I really think I might've been led by God to look on Amazon and see if I could find anything I could comfortably wear.  I'd already looked at JuZo's website and they require the use of an Authorized Dealer and won't even tell you prices.  Not that I want to try anymore of JuZo's products, anyway.  I got signed up for a free month's trial of Amazon Prime, I don't know how that happened.  Maybe God pressed a button somewhere.....  My friend Carole told me to be sure I cancel before the end of the trial period or I'll get charged for a year's membership, so I dinked around and found a place where I could ask them to send me a reminder two days before the trial period expiration.  Thanks, Carole....  And really, I'm kind of liking Amazon Prime.  Never any shipment costs and they say returns are no problem when you have Prime.  Shipping alone can really add up.  I actually had earlier made out an order to Bob's Red Mill, their website said "Free Shipping" if the order was more than $50.  Well, mine was, but I had a set of four 27-ounce packages of a few things on my order, which they call a "case", (imagine that) and discount the cost a little.  Turned out, shipping wasn't going to be free for the "cases", and they wanted to tack on $97 in shipping.  Unreal.  So I didn't take the processing of the order past that point, and got my Bob's Red Mill stuff through Amazon instead, with free shipping no problem. 

But anyway, what I found in the way of stockings was this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009STLCL0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1
Notice the price:  $25.08.  I could buy three pair for less than what I paid for my ONE JuZo pair.  There is not a TruForm size chart on this page, at least not that I could find.  However, there is one on this vendor's Amazon page. 
https://www.amazon.com/Truform-20-30-Compression-Stockings-X-Large/dp/B000A33GCQ/ref=pd_sbs_121_1/140-0744447-8230801?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=A2EVB507KPY78F17WBWR&th=1
I actually found them first, and ordered their XL size.  Unfortunately, if you are not 6' tall with a size 12 foot, the XL stocking is going to be too long, both in the leg AND the foot.  I didn't find out that TruForm offers it in XL "short" until I saw that on the package the stockings came in.  So that first link I inserted in this paragraph is that of a vendor that DOES sell that size. It's open toe and I actually wouldn't want closed toe.  Notice that wide band just below the knee.  So when I ordered, I said a little prayer that the product would look like the picture.  The order arrived, the socks fit, the top band is comfortable, and is knitted in, not sewn on.  Hubs commented that the beige color actually was a lot closer to the color of my skin than the other stockings, and I agreed with that.  The texture is not as smooth, but that didn't bother me.  They weren't any harder to get on.  I wore them comfortably all that day from the git-go, though I did notice the band that goes across the foot was a little tight.  I solve that problem by folding it up onto the arch of my foot, where I am narrower and somewhat bony, and it doesn't bother me much.  So.  Stocking dilemma solved.

The only other thing left up in the air was the lymphedema pump that BPR said Medicare would pay for, with the proper documentation.  Having one allows me to manage my condition at home and remove the necessity to keep going out for therapy.  I can see how it would be in Medicare's best interests to do this for us.  BPR has an agent, I guess he works for the company that sells the pump, but no one has ever said.  He gets the pump approved for payment, and then orders it.  My situation is a little difficult, since my family doctor AND the orthopedic doctor, are both involved.  So all that caused a delay.  I had to get my family doctor back in the loop after she got back from vacation, but she was most agreeable and expressed the desire to do whatever she could do to help me.  She has been my physician for 35 years and I have told her often how much I appreciate her taking care of me in all those years.  I do realize doctors cannot possibly know everything, they aren't taught about lymphedema in medical school, and now that more is becoming known about it, our doctors can't keep up with new stuff and still have time to see patients, so I shared with her everything I had learned and she accepted it without being offended or any of this ego stuff I have gotten before from men doctors.  I got above my Medicare cap for physical therapy for the year but my therapist said if she were to let me go before I get my pump, my condition would probably regress.  So I went in once a week for about another month to try to maintain.  They haven't asked me for any money yet, and have said they'll discount the cost since I have a medical need and am having to pay for it myself.  I could ask them for a "running total" but I'm kind of scared to find out until they actually ask me to pay up.  Keep the shock all in one bundle.  I really didn't feel like I had much of a choice at that point. 

About two weeks ago I dinked around a little bit on Amazon and found a lymphedema pump, including a "boot" for each leg.  And it's only $400.  Amazon's vendor says it's "designed for personal use and is not intended to replace health professional care".  However it also mentions that "physicians, chiropractors and professional therapists are choosing to have this product in their offices".  So I seriously considered getting that one.  It's had a lot of reviews and almost all of them are five-star.  That's here if you want to see:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6E0CNV/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A6AVNXH0138GC

FINALLY, my pump came in and the agent brought it to me at home and showed me how to use it today. 



Here is a picture I took today.  I don't have compression stockings on, these are just my yoga pants, as in the first picture I took.

Here is the first picture I took, that was posted in a June post, I put it in here for comparison purposes.  I'm not sure if I can tell a big difference or not.  But I've only been getting treatments once a week for this last month.  Maybe that has something to do with it.

Robert, the man who brought the machine, told me I should use it twice a day, every day, for an hour each time.  That's a far cry from twenty minutes once a week, or even, as we were doing before I reached my Medicare cap for treatment, twenty minutes three times a week.  I really expect that after a week or two I'll be seeing some big improvements.

Robert told me the machine has a 3 year guarantee, with a one year guarantee on the boots.  And I can get a new machine from Medicare every five years.  They bill Medicare $1200 for it, but that doesn't mean that's what Medicare pays.  That debunks something I saw where someone said Medicare was billed $10,000 for it.  I didn't want to believe that and I'm certainly glad it isn't true.  According to Robert, they are not sure whether the machine that can be bought on Amazon is true to the pressures that are exerted in the boots, or whether it will last as long if it is used regularly.  I don't know.  I do know the controls are kind of cheap-looking on the Amazon product.  But if I didn't have Medicare or insurance of some kind, that machine would certainly be better than nothing, and something I could manage myself.   

As I said before, I really appreciate BPR for the part they played in all this.  If they hadn't done a "We see this all the time" informal diagnosis when I was in there for therapy on my shoulder, giving me a starting place for dialog with my doctor, I may have had to rock along with this until it became much worse.  They see people whose legs are so big and heavy they can't lift them, and it pains them to walk.  Their skin has deteriorated to the point where it is stippled and red.  Or gray and folded like an elephant's legs, with cracks where bacteria breeds.  Oh, so grateful I didn't have to go there. 

I have one more visit to BPR, where they will take measurements to see if my legs have gotten any smaller since they last measured.  It's really more for their records than it is for me, but I'll ask for a copy so I can share it with my doctor, as she has the measurements they took in late May and again in late July, which showed a reduction but I can't say how much in inches because they measured in centimeters.  I was smaller in the second measurement, we'll just leave it at that. 

Robert said some people that use their machines regularly are able to go without their compression stockings.  It will remain to be seen whether I can do that or not.  I hope I will be able to. 

Well, that about wraps this one up.  We're rocking on.  Hope you are, too.  xoxoxo

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daily Doin's, Last Part of July, 2017

Just a few odds and ends this time.

Late July and early August are brutal in Oklahoma.  We haven't had any decent rain in quite awhile.  The Bermuda grass is brown, the trees that haven't been watered are dropping their leaves, and the garden is burning up.  All I have out there now that are even worth watering are the sweet potatoes, which won't be ready to dig till September, the cukes that got planted late and are just now setting on, and the squash plants that have hung in there, so far, because I have gone out and removed the eggs from the leaves every single morning, scattered Sevin at the base of the plant, and I really can't say if the Petunias I planted all amongst them have helped any, or not.  They certainly don't stop eggs from appearing on the leaves every morning, is all I can say.  The beans I bought that were supposed to be Lazy Housewives are not and I'm so disgusted that I'm not going to buy seed from that company anymore.  They recovered from being munched on by the rabbit we had in the yard but the beans that they make are not worth the water I've poured on them or the time I've spent on them, even.  We had a nice garlic harvest, plenty to share with the neighbors.  A few examples here:




So life for Hubs and me has been rather boring.  We do what little we need to do outside in the mornings while it's what we laughingly call "cool".  Some days, we go to town and have our exercise at the workout center, stop wherever we need to buy groceries or whatever on the way home.  Sometimes we go garagin' on Fridays or Saturdays, but there's really not much we need and the pickin's have been pretty slim.  Sometimes the prices have been so high, even if I saw something I wanted, I'd be better off buying it new. 

Here are a few things we found, the last time we went:




 


And then we do stuff to pass the time, looking forward to the end of hot weather and hoping for a beautiful fall and a late first freeze.  I have some cabbage seedlings that have emerged in little paper pots and if some bug does not come along and devour them first, I'll plant them after the heat breaks. 

I planted some of the very small potatoes in tubs a few weeks ago.  Just the ones in one tub have come up. 

I don't know what's going on with the other tubs.  I tried to root some cuttings off the tomato plants so I might be able to have fall tomatoes, but it's true that rooting is just the replacement of one of the "o's" with an extra "t" away from rotting, and that's what my cuttings did.  I've decided to do things different next year, I know, I say the same thing every year, but seriously, raised beds have no purpose out here.  Drainage is already too good.  The weeds always take over, and so part of my plan is to go back to the way our parents all gardened, in rows, on the flat ground.  And leave enough space between rows to run the small electric tiller.

We are inundated with wasps and hornets.  I've heard the wasps kill BEES!  OMG!!!  They are building a nest, evidently, under our wooden steps that lead from the patio door out to -- uh -- the patio....  So far they don't seem to care that we're out there, but seems like lots of people around here are having problems with them.  I got a bad sting out in front of someone else's house several weeks ago on my leg and my lymphedema therapist seemed a little worried about it.  I wasn't all that happy, either, it hurt like the bejeezers.  I've been looking for ways to get rid of them and people are making traps with milk jugs and all kinds of formulas.  One guy baits his trap with cheap cat food, seems they not only are lured in by rotten fruit smells, they love rotten meat smells, too.  I was thinking that the pickle brine most of us throw out might be good wasp bait if there was sugar in it, and some liquid Dawn in it to break the surface tension.  Some people were buying bait at Home Depot, applying it to a cotton ball that was fastened to a string and dropping it into a milk jug about halfway down and a few inches above water with a little Dawn in it.  I was thinking, for those of us who buy tuna canned in water (or oil, for that matter...), could soak the cotton ball in that.  So that's a good recycling use for that.  If you don't have a cat, that is.  Your cat will arm-wrestle you to the ground for that liquid that you drain off your can of tuna.  Not sure if the salt in it is good for the cat, though.  Hubs has been out there "macho-swatting" and I just read today that, aside from the obvious, that's not a good idea as the wasp throws out a distress signal while he's dying that draws others.  An interesting thing is that, if you leave a freshly-swatted wasp on the ground, the ants will come from nowhere and literally cover the corpse up while they cut it up into pieces and carry them off.  Since it seems like the wasps are addicted to sweet things they must tie right in to the ants' appetite for sugar.

Ants are climbing up the post from which we hang our hummingbird feeder and that is annoying.  I tried putting Tanglefoot on the post at the bottom but somehow or other it gets it all black and dirty-looking in pretty short order, and then the ants just crawl right over the top of it.  Plus Tanglefoot is hard to remove from things.  I had never used my Tansy as a strewing herb but I piled some all around the base of the post.  Didn't seem to do a thing.  Tried Diatomaceous Earth, which does a good job out in the garden if I happen to get into an anthill.  But scattered around the post, it blows away.  It's about the consistency of powdered sugar.  Then, in desperation, I just started giving the ants their own bowl of sugar water.  But I swear, there are still those that climb up the pole, anyway, crawl all the way inside the feeder and drown in the sugar water inside.  It's gotta be their sheer numbers that makes them so persistent, because they sure as hell aren't very smart. 


Internet Explorer has started putting a news feed on new tabs that are opened.  At first I felt like this was just another case of sticking content in my face that I hadn't asked for, and I kind of resented the intrusion.  But it's growing on me.  I don't have to go up and watch the news with Hubs, where they sprinkle in news items that we saw DAYS ago.  That truly annoys me, and it makes me feel like they're cutting corners.  Surely there are enough things that happen in the world -- even in this country ALONE, that would fill a news program.  So I got on this morning and just looked around.  I found a tip about how to make corn on the cob even more delicious, which is to add a cup of milk and a stick of butter to the water it's cooked in.  According to the article, you don't even have to butter the corn because it's received a coating of it as it's taken out of the water.  And if you're like me and you don't like wasting food, you can refrigerate the water and lift off the butter from the top after it hardens in the cold.  Then you can save it for use next time, or stir in some herbs and maybe some lemon zest and have some herbal butter spread, or just cook your morning egg in it.  The water with the milk in it can be poured out onto the garden.  Mother Earth News has an article about using milk as a fertilizer and bug deterrent here:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/milk-and-molasses-magic-zbcz1402

And I learned about how I can clean my tub and shower with a cup of Dawn dish liquid and a cup of warm (not hot) vinegar in a spray bottle, following out a link on this interesting website:
http://tiphero.com/

Coffee is good, no, it's bad, no, it's good, in fact, have more than one cup, you'll live longer.  I like my coffee, but I still don't know whether I should drink it or not, for sure, because I suspect nobody really knows.  And who's paying for all these studies, anyway?  I guess they're not getting their money's worth, since the next one that follows is in conflict with it, and, unfortunately, with the one after that.  *Sigh*.

I heard about a good book and will buy it if I can find it reasonably priced somewhere.  Amazon has it but it's -- Yipe -- $24.95, USED, and not available, at least when I looked, new.  The book is "Be Your Own Doctor" by Rachel Weaver.  It got lots of wonderful reviews on Amazon. 

I made a good low calorie Ranch-style salad dressing -- I like to dip cucumber or broccoli in it and I can get all my quota of veggies a day that way.  But making it from the Hidden Valley powder that you just stir into half mayo and half milk makes it pretty high in calories and salt.  Plus food additives.  So this way I can avoid some of all that and still get the taste I like.  Of course if I wasn't the inhabitant of The Survival Body Type, I'd do 1 part mayo and 1 part real buttermilk.  But since I have to be more careful than that, my version is 1 part mayo, 4 parts real buttermilk, onion powder to taste and chopped chives and parsley, to taste.  It's still thick enough that it stays on whatever I dip it in and no, it's not the real thing, but it's so much less calories, no salt, no sugar and lots less artificial stuff, none, if you make your own mayo.  And yes, I might make my own mayo for this too.  But homemade things like this don't keep very long in the refrigerator, because they don't have all those "shelf life chemicals" in them, so I wouldn't make very much at a time.  And yes, I know that since I used Kraft mayo there was salt in that.  Not sure if this dressing could be frozen.  It might be worth a try.  Hubs and I freeze milk sometimes and that works out OK.  I don't drink very much milk and so Hubs doesn't drink a gallon of milk, by himself, soon enough to keep about the last quart from getting blinky.  Yes, I know we could just buy half-gallons but it's quite a bit more expensive per ounce that way.  During freezing, the milkfat separates and floats to the top and dries out a little and cracks, so it looks really ugly, but it will stir back in after thawing and then the taste and consistency is about the same as it is before freezing. 

If you are trying to use up milk, you can always make pudding, and sometimes I do that.  Hubs loves chocolate pudding.  I use the same recipe that I use for chocolate cream pie filling, just half as much sugar.  And if you also have canned milk that's about to go past it's Used By date, you can make these Fudgsickles.  We've been testing and approving these since my kids were in grade school, that's about 40 years now. 

Fudgsickles
1 3-oz pkg chocolate pudding mix (not instant), prepared as directed on package
  OR one recipe pudding that calls for 3 cups milk
1 C. canned condensed milk (not sweetened condensed milk)  (I guess you could substitute Half and Half for the evaporated milk, if you wanted to.)

After the pudding has been prepared, stir in the canned milk until well blended. Pour into ice-cube trays, paper cups or popsickle / push-up forms (now is the time to buy these.  I just saw some at the grocery store.  Look in Party Supplies at the Dollar Store.  They're impossible to find in the winter, though.) Freeze.

Here's the recipe I use for my cream pie fillings.  Remember, just half as much sugar for pudding:

Cream Pie Filling
For banana, slice a layer of bananas onto the baked pie shell, then fill half full with hot filling, add more bananas then rest of filling. For chocolate, add 3 T. cocoa powder to hot milk mixture and an additional 1/4 C sugar. For coconut, add 1/2 c. shredded coconut along with butter and vanilla.

3 C. milk
1 T butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 C. sugar
1/3 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, till thick. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk half the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolk. Gradually whisk egg mixture back to remaining milk mixture. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue made from the whites of the eggs used in the filling, and brown in the oven.

We used to eat a lot of homemade Popsickles, too.  They are just a package of Jell-O, any flavor, made with twice as much water.  Something about the gelatin and sugar in them makes them less drippy and they don't freeze as hard.  Not sure how the sugar-free kind would work.  The original recipe called for an extra cup of sugar and a package of Kool-Aid, just so you know. 

Isn't it funny how much things have changed?  I wouldn't feed anybody that much sugar, artificial color and flavor, these days.  But back then, I didn't think anything of feeding it to my kids and consuming it myself, and neither did anyone else.  The pendulum swings.  But wait.  If you buy Jell-O, or Popsickles for your kids / grandkids, that's all they're getting: little bombs full of artificial color, artificial flavor, sugar, and water.  No actual food.  You knew that, right?

There was a piece on the news the other day about plastics and how the chemicals leach out when they are heated.  For this reason, you should never microwave anything in plastic.  Hubs and I have been kind of lax about this, even though this is old, old news to me.  It takes the news media so very long to catch on and report this kind of thing, it seems.  So we finally threw away our old favorite insulated plastic coffee cups and are drinking out of glass and porcelain.  I guess that's what those breakable cups are made of....  I don't know if the plastic leaches without heat being involved or not.  If so, I'm in trouble, as I use plastic containers in the freezer.  I don't know what options there are, otherwise.  I remember when I was little, some 65 years ago, my mother got her first freezer.  She had little cardboard freezer containers that had wax coating on the inside, and the cutest little fitted lids.  They had to be expensive, and for sure they weren't very reusable.  Paper and cardboard do not hold liquids very well and surely they have a chemical component we're not aware of at this time.  Even those soft drink cups that used to be wax-covered paper have almost all been converted to either plastic or Styrofoam.  I'm kinda scared of that Styrofoam, too, when it comes to food storage.  I have tapered glass canning jars, a few in 3/4 quart size, many in pints, but I've tried using them and they tend to crack during thawing.  I've had less of a problem with starting the thawing process in the refrigerator, but that takes an incredibly long time to get to the point where you can get the food out of the jar.  I suppose liquids could be frozen in metal baking pans, then taken out of the pans and stored in a bag ----  oooops, there's that plastic again.  Europeans are so much smarter about stuff like that than we Americans seem to be.  They ban a lot of the food additives that we use, more to their credit.  I wonder if they use plastic freezer containers and if not, what they use instead. 

Also in the news was a piece about Samsung and how they're getting into pharmaceuticals now.  They've developed an arthritis drug that sells for quite a bit less than the currently available version.  We all know the drug industry is screwing us over where price is concerned, do we not?  Factored into the "costs of development" are things that have nothing to do with development at all.  Things like free catered lunches brought into doctor's offices, that's including all the staff.  Things like trips and paid vacations for the doctors.  And that's just two examples.  There's a lesson to be learned here and we'll see if the pharmaceutical industry (or anyone else whose business preys on old or sick people and/or the "deep pockets" of their Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance) learns it.  It is that, when you find something that is profitable beyond decency, it does not go un-noticed.  Pretty soon, some other corporation is going to say, "Hey, I believe I want a little piece of that pie", and, what with the price being set so high, they can afford to offer the same thing for less money and still make a fair profit.  It's done all the time in the non-pharmaceutical arena.  Just as Nature loves a vacuum, so does profit-taking.  So, hey, gouge the people who can least afford to be gouged.  Then take your comeuppance when somebody comes along and stiffs YOU.  Gotta love Karma.

Well, I think that's about all I have for this time.  There'll be an update post on Lymphedema and Weight Loss Progress in a week or so.  Till then, I hope you stay well and safe, Hubs and I will try to do the same.  Hugs xoxoxo