Saturday, May 25, 2019

Hairy Thoughts and Deeds

Since deciding to retire, I've under gone a few minor changes. One intentional, the other unplanned, but shouldn't (to be honest) have been unexpected.

Like many folks, I spend too much time thinking about my hair. (Our crowning glory?) I could blame it on that popular pixie cut (I had until high school) that my Mom had read in a magazine was the only way to tame my wavy hair. Or, more likely, I could blame it on my lack of fortitude to stick to something for more than a short period of time.

Longer hair, the care and feeding of, is something a person needs to expend time and effort to learn how to do. Also, deciding to embrace and grow out curly or wavy hair, means you have to let go of that 'each hair in its place' mentality. That's a positive for me, but learning to (mostly) 'leave it alone', can create an internal struggle, between hair and hands.

My current hair care and schedule:
  1. Wash every 3-4 days. 
  2. Use one product in shower after shampoo & conditioner
  3. I use a diffuser (no brush or comb) for about 6 minutes to get the air drying started.
  4. Wear satin sleep cap to bed
  5. After showering on a 'no hair wash day', hang head upside down, gently use fingers to comb and shake through strands of hair. If needed I may work in a small diluted amount of product into my hair on no wash days, but tbh I prefer a softer feel and look.
My current product choice is from Ouidad's Vitalcurl line, but I'm open to suggestions.

The other minor change happened while I was trying to balance pain relief with a sensitive stomach (yet again). I thought I'd conquered the right way to take Naproxen, but then one day my stomach had had enough.

My brain didn't hang onto the details, but over a period of weeks my stomach began to hurt during meals and then I completely lost my appetite. Losing your appetite has always sounded like a minor thing, when reading an article, but once you experience it you know it's not minor at all. Every forkful (even dessert!!) took another concentrated effort to get that food in my mouth. Now, looking back over the last year, I feel like the 'event' reset my appetite. What else can I attribute my sudden ability to eat correct portions for my body weight? Eating half as much as I used to, is not the problem I can remember from the last time I lost weight.

I did my best to eat a bite here and there, but the weight began to fall off my body--nearly 50 lbs. Recounting the experience, reminds me of the old joke about whether you want the good news or bad news first. If there was good news, it was losing that weight. To me, the weight represented pregnancy and grief. Not things to be done with, but to embrace, honor and accept. The bad news, obviously, was I now had to use acetaminophen to control the constant hip pain. Thankfully, I was sent to a neuro muscular physical therapist. He gave me insight and exercises to strengthen my gluteus minimus--a common problem as we age and change. I look forward to conquering a proper squat.

There were hairy moments, but I reached out for help. Even though I didn't get the pain injection I was after, I may have ended up with something better--a little more knowledge about my body and some tools to help. Huh! I guess that covers the hair status as well!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Fun With My Microbiome

I've been fascinated with microbes, ever since I first read about their many roles--roles that are still waiting to be discovered. As a result, I peeled fewer vegetables, was okay with a little organic dirt, and ate as little processed food as I could. All things, I believe, that contribute to a healthier me.

Recently, I began to notice that wounds weren't healing as quickly as they used to. When you sleep with pups, their dreams can cause human scratches. Then *I* scratched an itch in my half sleep state. Rather a nasty gouge, it was. Aha! An opportunity to experiment with wound care!

The nasty gouge appeared approximately 2 weeks ago on my lower arm. I began to search for articles regarding wounds and by happenstance stumbled upon a health article written about using a pumice stone, all over, in the shower. I had no idea! Did you?

What I've learned so far:

  • Read entire article before beginning
  • Make sure you own one of the smoother stones
  • I've noticed a difference already

What I've learned regarding my own wound care:

  • There's is no substitute for a good regular cleansing of wounds
  • I saw improvement in healing, when I washed the area thoroughly 3x a day
  • The stone helps remove old tissue surrounding wound
If you want to give it a try, but are concerned about hurting your skin--start on your rear. You'll enjoy a smoother end, tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2018

One Pot Chicken Broccoli Rice

There are months when all I seem to do is search for some new recipe that will be 'life altering'? ;>)
My life hasn't changed much since I made this recipe, but it's definitely a keeper. I tried the author's link to another recipe (Easy Chicken Spinach Mushroom Skillet), but the link is no longer active and she hasn't answered my email. I found another similar recipe and it was also very tasty. If I remember, you'll find the recipe below. But for now, enjoy the following recipe.

Here are the changes I made:
I roasted the broccoli and onion (less fat and more flavor imo) before adding to recipe.

One Pot Chicken Broccoli Rice
Traci Antonovich


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion (1 small onion diced)
2 Garlic cloves (finely grated)
1 cup White Long Grain Rice (uncooked)
1 1/4 cup Milk (fat content your choice)
1 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
2 cup fresh Broccoli (bite-sized pieces)
1 cup rotisserie Chicken Breast (shredded)
1/2 Lemon (for serving)
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley (chopped)

In a large, nonstick skillet on medium flame, heat OLIVE OIL until shimmering (about 2 min).
Add ONION and GARLIC; sauté until tender and fragrant (about 3 min).
Add WHITE RICE; continue heating until moisture is removed and rice becomes fragrant and lightly toasted, stirring as needed (about 3 min).
Add MILK, CHICKEN BROTH, SALT, and PEPPER; stir to combine; adjust flame to HIGH and come to a gentle boil (takes about 3 minutes).
Cover skillet, turn flame to medium-low, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add BROCCOLI and CHICKEN BREAST to the surface of the rice (but DON’T stir into rice yet); cover and simmer 10 more minutes to steam everything.
Remove lid, toss everything together; squeeze fresh LEMON over entire surface; top with PARSLEY; serve warm.

The rice in this dish likes to soak up the moisture even after it’s cooked, so just before serving, I recommend adding small amounts of milk (or water) to promote creamy consistency, especially when reheating leftovers.

Creamy Chicken & Spinach Skillet Dinner

This is the recipe I referred to, but may have been looking at another for flavor ideas at the same time. I used rotisserie chicken, red pepper flakes and parmesan for the cheese
Recipe #2

6 thighs boneless, skinless
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon butter
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic crushed
1/2 cup cream heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup Swiss cheese shredded
2 cups spinach chopped
Heat a large skillet to medium high and add the olive oil.
When hot, brown the chicken thighs on both sides. This should take about 3 minutes per side.
Take out the thighs and set aside. Add the butter and sliced mushrooms and brown for about 3-5 minutes.
When the mushrooms are browned, add the broth, thyme and garlic and mix well.
Add back the chicken, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat.
Take out the thighs to make this part easier. Add in the cheese and cream and mix well until the cheese is melted.
Take off the heat and add in the spinach. Mix and then pour over chicken thighs or add the thighs back to the skillet if serving from the skillet.
Serve as is for a low carb dinner or over egg noodles.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Brian Doyle's, "Their irrepressible Innocence"

"Their Irrepressible Innocence"

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a moist gray November in my soul; whenever I find myself slathered by lies and poseurs, afflicted by devious performance art at every turn, and grimly expecting the worst of every situation and every person I meet; whenever I find myself expecting to be cut off in traffic, to be shortchanged at the store, to hear an ominous clank in the transmission, to catch a cold, to be ludicrously overbilled by the insurance company, to find the library closed early, to endure computer malfunction, to find the wine sour, to lose my keys, to hear of sudden surgery in the tribe, to discover a city of slugs in the cellar, and to find a dead owlet under the cracked front picture window, then I account it high time to get to a kindergarten as fast as I can, and sit myself down in a tiny chair, looking not unlike a large hairy bespectacled bookish giant, and inquire of the lives and dreams and feats of the small populace, and listen with the most assiduous and ferocious attention, for I find that as few as twenty minutes with people no taller than your belt buckle is enormously refreshing, and gloriously educational, and wonderfully startling, and endlessly hilarious and very much like drinking a tremendous glass of crystalline water when you have been desperately thirsty for a long time, and in something of a personal desert.

They will tell you of the animals with whom they speak cheerfully and at length every day, and explain carefully what the animals say in return, speaking sometimes with noses and their feet and their fingers. They will tell you of their dream in which they are swifter than falcons and bigger than bears, They will tell you of their futures when they are absolutely going to be dancers and pilots and firefighters. They will tell you of the strange wild mysterious people in their lives, some of the visible and some not, as yet. They will talk knowledgeably of angels and spirits and voices that come out of the ground if you dig a deep enough hole. they will speak other languages than ones you know or they know. They will sing with or without the slightest provocation or solicitation. They love to explain things by drawing them, and colors for them have flavors and characters and tonal intimations and strict rules and regulations, depending on the artist, you can use green for buffalo, but you cannot use blue for cougars, because cougars are afraid of blue, every knows that.

If you draw them out and give them time and afford them the clear sense that you are not judging or assessing or measuring them in any way, they will stretch out and tell tales of adventure and derring-do that would make filmmakers and novelists drool. They hold hands and kiss each other without the slightest self-consciousness or social awareness. They suddenly break off conversations to do headstands because when a headstand needs to be done it should be done without delay. They are inordinately proud of their socks and show you their socks at every opportunity and you never saw such a wild welter of bright animated colorfully patterned socks in your life as those in kindergartens: It is Sock Paradise. They use the word cubby all the time, which is a pleasant rotund word that we should use more often. When they are released into the schoolyard or the playground they sprint out into the welcoming embrace of the wild green world with all their might with their arms
flung open and their mouths open and their shoes untied, and when I see this from my tiny chair, when I see them fling themselves howling and thrilling into the delicious world that arose miraculously from the emptiness of the vast unknowable universe, I weep at the joy, and at some other thing I do not understand--their irrepressible innocence, my battered innocence, our assaulted endangered innocence, their clean fresh unconscious grace, the fraught teetering of our species, and then I arise, and thank the teacher for allowing me to visit, and drive home restored.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Gaia Tree

N and I, took our first trailer trip of 2018 (year of my retirement), to the south end of Oregon's coast,
where we stayed at Humbug Mt campground for the week. One of the somewhat unplanned highlights of our trip, was listening to the Beaver Baseball team play their way to the NCAA Championship--which could be tricky with spotty cell connection in our area. Not sure we would've stumbled upon The Crazy Norwegian and their fish and chips, if it hadn't been for our parking lot search to listen to the games.

The photo above was taken on one of the trails near the campground. It's more of an old highway than a trail, but who cares when there are oodles of trees, flowers and a brief view to capture my attention! I've begun calling this particular tree, "Gaia Tree". She sports feminine curves and an undeniable stance of exaltation.

Now to find out how to turn this into a tattoo or maybe put it on a canvas via an online vendor. She won't let me forget, nor do I wish to.