Friday, September 19, 2014

Unplanned September Garden

When I look at my Garden Layouts blog post I laugh. They are mostly different now. When I created them, I wanted the same thing each year. What I have discovered is that I like the surprises my garden has is store. There are certain flowers I always want around, but there are other things I have moved around.

I plant a lot of Mums in September. Mums only bloom for 4 - 6 weeks depending on how bloomed they are when you get them. If you buy them in full bloom you might only get two weeks from them. Because of that I tend to have a September Garden and an October Garden for my main garden. The October Garden will feature dark orange and dark red Mums. The September Garden features yellow Mums and Asters.

This Year

Last Year
I switched the Asters and Mums because the Asters don't last that long. Yellow is my favorite color and it's nice to have yellow Mums in the front on my birthday. The light purple Asters are 'Daydream' Asters and my favorite. Last year's 'Magic' Asters were pretty but I am still drawn to the 'Daydream'.

The decorations light up. They are in the front this year thanks to an extension cord I got last year for the Halloween decoration. That comes out in mid-October on our Anniversary. Not long after that, I get the cabbage. But for now, I start collecting Mums.

This year I have had a lot of unplanned things happen in the garden since the beginning. At first, it was frustrating. As I look around now, I smile at the unplanned. I am leaving space in my garden for these unplanned flowers in the future. It's not that I will plan to get something for this space. I'm just going to leave it open in case I get any more surprises.


Like the peppers. We get peppers for my parent's each year for their anniversary. But I have never gotten them before. The purple beaconed and when Zach asked for one, I couldn't resist. The Mums behind are the First Day of School Mums. They look like they will bloom pink based on the buds. I had no idea what the color would be when planted. I did the same thing last year and got pink too. Ironic how I didn't plan on the same color each year but it just happened.

I didn't plan on getting an extra Mum for myself on my birthday but I had gotten yellow earlier in the day when I couldn't find a mostly unbloomed dark red at one nursery. I ended up getting it later when Zach got his Mums. I like the Dark Red because it will go pretty far into October and the dark red looks great with the yellow Mums and orange and red Mums. It's a good thing I had a place for the yellow Mums from that morning!

It's one of the beautiful things about annuals, your garden changes each year. Perennials look the same each year. I have planted some of them this year too. Including "Walker's Low" Catmint and "Autumn Joy" Sedum. Articles in Fine Gardening inspired them. I thought September would be predictable for my garden. Apparently, I was wrong. GOOD!

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' It's a little darker pink now. It will get bigger. It's an excellent Fall blooming Perennial

Monday, September 08, 2014

Kindergarten

Zach started school this past Thursday. Josh worked from home and the three of us walked to school. On the way there, we talked about what to expect. He arrived early enough to play on the playground. When it was close to the doors opening, we went over. They open the doors 15 minutes before school starts. For Thursday and Friday we met in the Cafeteria/Auditorium. There are a lot of parents we knew from High School. Zach knew a few kids from Tot Lot. He never cried and cheered up the one kid who was crying. As usual, he's great at making friends.

Today was the third day. He arrived early enough to play on the playground before school again. He got dressed quickly and quickly walked up the hill to get to school. I think the playground relaxes him before school. I'm not looking forward to the cold weather when he can't play first. Today, the kids entered the school alone. In a sea of taller kids I watched my big boy wave goodbye and smile while saying "Bye, Mom, I'll see you later."

I have planted a bunch of flowers in the first three days of school. I have enjoyed being able to walk to get a bunch of errands done. I miss him, but I appreciate the four hours I get for myself. He misses me but is enjoying making friends. I have made some parent friends too.

Last week Zach and I both felt anxious but excited about Kindergarten. That's typical. He's a great student so far. His "About Me" wheel is due by Wednesday's open house but was turned in on Friday. He brought in a donated tissue box. All of the paperwork required from the parents have been handed in. He had everything he needed for the first day neatly organized and easy to find in his backpack.

Today provided the memory that very well might stick with me forever. It was finally cool enough to walk home from school. He ended up walking with N home. N was the friend I talked about in the post "We Will Still Be, Friends Forever". Watching them walk home was wonderful! I like all of the kids Zach has made friends with. I hope he remains friends with ALL of them through High School and beyond!

http://homewithmommy-fran.blogspot.com/2014/07/we-will-still-be-friends-forever.html

Today Zach has a little Math homework. When he's done with lunch, we will go do it. I want to teach him good work habits. If they become a reflex now, it's how he'll work best when he's older. He looks like a big kid now. I offer him more freedom as he shows he is responsible enough for it.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Eating Habits Of The Poor

I have read a lot of articles lately about the poor eating habits of the poor. The most common recommendation seems to be "grow your own veggies". I think the following when I see that:

1. Fire escapes are to save lives in a fire. They need to be clear enough for everyone to move around on as they wait to climb down the ladder. You can't do that with pots of veggies out there. Most veggies get really big like tomatoes or peppers. They can't fit out there. While I did have a friend grow tomatoes in her trunk when she was living in her car, that's not a reasonable option for most people. They simply need that space.

2. There is a limited growing season for veggies. What are they supposed to do in the off season?

Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries help but they rely on food donations. They are also less likely to get fresh foods because of how quickly they go bad. The donated food is more likely to be the same canned and boxed stuff we are told to stay away from.

The studies all state the obvious...............poor people eat a lot of fast food. Well, duh! We feed all three of us at Burger King for between $13 and $14. It's one of our Friday night take out options. Here is the average cost of a cooked meal:

Pasta Salad: $4.06

Roasted Peppers - 2 nights $3.69 or $1.85 a night
Artichokes - 2 nights $1.89 or $0.95 a night
Small Container olives - 2 nights $0.99 or $0.50 a night
Oil - $3.79 a container or about $0.04 a night
Vinegar - $2.99 a container about or $0.15 for the one night
Garlic Powder - $8.99 a container or about $0.22 for the pasta for one night
Pasta - $1.39 a box or $0.35 a night



Protein:

London Broil - $7.98 (sale price just enough for one meal, no leftovers)
Oil - $0.04
Garlic Powder - $0.22
Total: $8.24

or

Chicken - $12.92 for 2 nights $6.46 a night
Oil - $0.04
Bread Crumbs - $2.39 a container about $0.80 a night
Eggs - $2.29 a carton or $0.76 a night
Flour - about $3.50 about 10 nights is $0.35 a night
Salsa - $2.49 a container or $1.25 a night
*It's been a while since we've needed flour. I have been using receipts for the other prices but this is an estimate. I dip the chicken in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs. It's hard to estimate how much I actually use. We also use lemon juice but it's possible to use just salsa OR lemon juice. Lemon's won't be that much cheaper since you need about 2 lemons for the one meal. It's probably close in cost.
Total: $9.66

Veggie:

Lettuce - $1.29

We have a few veggies with lunch so we only have lettuce at dinner. Most of the time I don't bother making veggies with dinner. It doesn't matter WHEN the veggies get eaten, only that they are eaten. I'll use the lettuce for a veggie reference but the cost of veggies vary significantly. The Red Leaf lettuce is $1.29 a pound. I'll use that for an estimated cost.

Total Cost of Dinner:

London Broil: $13.59
Chicken: $15

It costs the same for us to cook as it is to eat at Burger King. This didn't include the cost of electricity. We assume everyone can afford electricity but that's not the case. Some people don't have power to use to cook. You can't cook these meals if you live in your car or on the street. If you add the cost of electricity and dish soap, they cost MORE then Burger King.

Too often we focus on the meals themselves and forget about the other expenses that go into making the meals. Power for the stove, power for the lights to see when cooking, and dish soap to clean up afterwards, these are all things that are automatic for most people. But when every penny counts, those are pennies you think about when making decisions.

A lot of poor people skip meals too. The extra calories from unhealthy meals might help with the missed calories from a skipped breakfast. Especially since most poor people have labor-intensive jobs! This is why there is such a big push to raise the minimum wage. It's not about being able to afford more or better STUFF. It's about being able to afford to live healthier. When you don't have to worry about if you can pay the electric bill, you ARE more likely to cook meals like this at home. It might be a small difference when ALL expenses are considered, BUT you save a lot more in health expenses.

To me it seems that some people just want poor people to die. It doesn't matter to them if it's from a curable disease or hunger. Poor people aren't "too lazy to work". They are the ones not getting paid enough to live off of. They are the first to get laid off and in the fields that are less likely to need employees. Don't make assumptions about someone just from what you see.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/29/maria-fernandes-low-wage-work_n_5736790.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/01/diet-poor-eating-habits-wealth-inequality_n_5748874.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl9%7Csec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D523266

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life With OCD, GAD, and PMDD

I have OCD, GAD, PMDD, and sometimes Depression. All have been diagnosed by my Psychologist.

I find when I tell people I have OCD I get the following responses:

1. EVERYONE has that.
2. I have that too.
3. No, you don't.

When I tell people I have GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) I get the following responses:

1. Get over it.
2. You're not anxious and scared; you're just lazy.
3. Everyone is scared of something

I don't tell people I have PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). If I did, I suspect there would be a lot of comments along the lines of:

No, you don't you're just using that as an excuse for your mood swings.

As I have mentioned before, I get Depression sometimes. It's not feeling sad and calling it Depression. It's actual Depression. This goes back to that one comment "Everyone has that". Yes, a lot of people have each of these four things. But not everyone. For those of us that actually have these disorders, it's offensive when someone who clearly doesn't have that disorder either says they do or that you don't. Actual Psychologists and Psychiatrists don't say these things. Actual Psychologists and Psychiatrists say:

1. We'll work together to make it easier to manage.
2. Do you have a strong support system?
3. How does it effect your life?

With OCD most people think two things:

1. If you like things really clean, you must have OCD
2. OCD is turning the lights off and on 50 times before entering and leaving a room

The second one is closer to reality but the actions involved vary for everyone with the actual problem. In my case, there are a lot of things that have to be a certain way or it gets me too frazzled to do a lot of things the right way. Routine keeps me sane. I can't function properly if the routine is thrown off too much. These compulsions are too important to my life. My biggest obsessions include: Gardening, Season Themes, Month Themes, Decorations, Zach, and Cooking. If a decoration is even an inch out of place, I literally can't think of anything else until it's been moved back to a nice and neat pattern. I physically shake until it's fixed. That is OCD.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Everyone double checks things sometimes. For example, you might double check to make sure the stove or iron is turned off before leaving the house. But people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts or perform routines and rituals over and over. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can't control these obsessions and compulsions. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them.
For example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If they develop an obsession with intruders, they may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. Being afraid of social embarrassment may prompt people with OCD to comb their hair compulsively in front of a mirror-sometimes they get “caught” in the mirror and can’t move away from it. Performing such rituals is not pleasurable. At best, it produces temporary relief from the anxiety created by obsessive thoughts.

Other common rituals are a need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence), or count things. Some common obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence and harming loved ones, persistently thinking about performing sexual acts the person dislikes, or having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs. People with OCD may also be preoccupied with order and symmetry, have difficulty throwing things out (so they accumulate), or hoard unneeded items.

Healthy people also have rituals, such as checking to see if the stove is off several times before leaving the house. The difference is that people with OCD perform their rituals even though doing so interferes with daily life and they find the repetition distressing. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing is senseless, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Signs & Symptoms

People with OCD generally:
  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy
  • Do the same rituals over and over such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again
  • Can't control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors
  • Don't get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause. Actually, for most of my obsessions I DO get pleasure when performing them or thinking about my obsessions. But that's because of what my obsessions are mostly about. The obsessions that are about violence I file under "GAD"
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life.


As for my GAD, I'm not just scared of one or two things. I'm scared of many things. It becomes severe enough to be General Anxiety Disorder if you have a lot of fears and they interfere with your life. My biggest fear is a fear of heights. I can't get to most second floors. It prevents me from doing a lot of things. At one point, during my first episode of Depression, I couldn't even leave the house because of my fear of dogs.

I have a lot of fears. I worked on that fear of heights for 21 years. Zach was born on the 3rd floor. But I had limitations there too. Like I couldn't have the bed by the window and the windows always had to be closed. The hospital was very accommodating with that. After Zach was born, I told my fantastic Psychologist that I give up on that one. I'm mostly not scared of dogs anymore but at a certain point some fears are not going away.

I wake up every night at least twice. My mind never shuts off. There are times I have panic attacks even if I'm not doing anything. I mean that literally. Once, I took a walk and then laid down. I didn't encounter anything unusual or scary on the walk. Yet a panic attack hit.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/index.shtml

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

“I always thought I was just a worrier. I’d feel keyed up and unable to relax. At times it would come and go, and at times it would be constant. It could go on for days. I’d worry about what I was going to fix for a dinner party, or what would be a great present for somebody. I just couldn’t let something go.”
 
“I’d have terrible sleeping problems. There were times I’d wake up wired in the middle of the night. I had trouble concentrating, even reading the newspaper or a novel. Sometimes I’d feel a little lightheaded. My heart would race or pound. And that would make me worry more. I was always imagining things were worse than they really were. When I got a stomachache, I’d think it was an ulcer.”
 
“I was worried all the time about everything. It didn't matter that there were no signs of problems, I just got upset. I was having trouble falling asleep at night, and I couldn't keep my mind focused at work. I felt angry at my family all the time.”

All of us worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks.

Signs & Symptoms

People with GAD can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.

GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood. Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and often are worse during times of stress.

When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

And there it is "people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe." People don't believe me when I say I am a Stay At Home Mom to control my anxiety. Because it's not visible, they think I'm just too lazy to work. But it's very real that this anxiety is severe. I am home for a medical reason. Keeping stress low means I can function properly. THAT'S why I'm a SAHM. I'm tired of telling people I am home to control my anxiety and having them ask when I will be going back to work. I won't be. I have a lot of reasons why I won't be. But the biggest reason why I won't be is because of my health. They need to start listening to me and taking me seriously. Because this is very real. I know the people who actually love me based on how they act about my being a SAHM to manage my anxiety. Fears and worries need to be taken more seriously. It makes things worse for the person with it when it's not.

There's PMS and then there's PMDD. How do you know which one you have? Take this quiz:

https://www.pmscomfort.com/assessments/pms-symptoms.aspx?gclid=COXXrfj9q8ACFQwV7AodnTgAYA

I got 99 out of 100. But my PMDD was diagnosed by my OBGYN and Psychologist.

It's basically ultra PMS. I suspect it's like menopause for most women in severity. Oddly, my mood swings mostly calmed down when I was pregnant. Usually, it gets worse during pregnancy. Josh knows that I mean what I am saying just not as strongly as I am saying it. It's easier to manage on a regular month but when I have an unusual week it's very severe.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004461/

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

PMDD; Severe PMS
Last reviewed: November 8, 2012.
 
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
 
PMS refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5-11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. The symptoms usually stop when, or shortly after, her period begins.
 

Symptoms

The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.
Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:
  • No interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings with periods of crying
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

These are all related to hormonal imbalances. Basically, my mental hormones aren't balanced and that means a lot of things. I'm not a danger to myself or others. Most people with one of these four things have at least one more.

I have had severe enough problems when life seemed too difficult to manage. My Mom had considered taking me for emergency care but never has. But my parents and Josh do provide the support I need.

I had a rough week last week and couldn't handle the stress. With Friday's breakdown, that meant my parents took Zach overnight even though I never asked for help. I heavily expressed my gratitude for that. That's the support I really needed. Josh was able to take care of me and help me through my rough patch. I'm still recovering, but because I had the right support, I am recovering quickly from the worst of it.

But it will always be there. It's just a matter of severity level at any given time. My parents and Josh don't say those things I listed in the beginning. They talk like the Psychologists. They understand what I am experiencing and love me enough to help me where I need it. It's rare that I need that kind of care. Most of the time, I can manage my needs on my own. But there are times when I need help. That's true for anyone with these disorders.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

ALS ON ICE!

"Are you having a party?"
"No some friends and I at work decided to do the Ice Bucket Challenge"

Last night, Saturday night, this conversation took place in the checkout line at Shop Rite. They guy ahead of us who was about our age was buying a bag of ice.  I knew right away what he was referring to. I don't know where it started, but I know it's catching on. I learned about it from the NY Giants' website.

The owner of the NY Giants, John Mara, had a bucket of ice dumped over his head in a video and then challenged Robert Kraft (owner of the Patriots), Bill Belichick (coach of the Patriots), and Woody Johnson (owner of the Jets) to take the challenge. You can choose to get a bucket of ice dumped over your head or donate $10,000 to ALS charities. Most people do both.

Soon after I read that Obama was issued the challenge and chose to make an undisclosed donation instead of the ice. His challenger, 86 year old Ethel Kennedy, widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Bill Gates also took the challenge from Mark Zuckerberg after he took the challenge.

 I wanted to learn how it worked. Is there a set amount for the donating? What if someone can't participate in the money donation part and doesn't want to do the ice bucket part? It seems to vary based on who started the challenge. The average seems to be that those challenged have 24 hours to dump the ice or they have to donate $10 or sometimes $100. But you can choose the time and donation amount when issuing the challenge.

It starts with challenging a friend. Much like the guy ahead of us in the store, a group decided they would challenge each other. That means if you would be open to being challenged in the first place, you have volunteered. That's good to know. Not everyone can afford the money donation and shouldn't be forced to be put on ice for their financial status.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is very serious. It's also called "Lou Gehrig's Disease". It effects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and muscles throughout the body. You slowly loose your ability to control your muscles.

http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html

My heart goes out to those with ALS and those caring for someone with ALS. It can't be easy to manage. The more it progresses, the less the person with ALS can do by themselves. That must be hard to deal with. The Ice Bucket Challenge is helping bring awareness to ALS and hopefully the research these donations will pay for will make a difference in management and cure.

This challenge has inspired the Robin Williams "Mrs. Doubtfire Challenge". You put your face in a pie or donate to help Depression. He committed suicide recently from depression. I hope Depression charities see an increase in donations as well.

This has me thinking about cancer. So I am issuing my own challenge. I hope it helps with cancer donations. It's the "Planting Challenge"

rules:
you a flower, shrub, or tree or donate $10 to a cancer charity within 5 days of being challenged.

please let me know if you took the "Plant A Tree" challenge. I'm curious about if anyone will.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watering Tips

Rain and Watering:
If it rains heavier then a drizzle before 10am, you don't need to water. If it's not raining by then, you are better off watering anyway. Use half the counts from below when rain is in the forecast and it looks cloudy but hasn't started raining yet. Sometimes, rain is called for the afternoon but even if they call for a possible heavy rain you might not get much. If you water AND it rains, it doesn't matter. You're supposed to check each day of growing season if the plants need water anyway. It just means you might not have to water the next day.


80 Degrees:
For some ground plants, you only need to water every day if it's above 80 degrees that day. If it's below that, you only need to water if it hasn't rained at least an inch in five days. This is true for:
Grass
Shrubs
Trees
Perennials
Ornamental Grasses
Ground Covers (like Ivy or Pachysandra)

* water each day for the first two weeks after planting so the roots can get established.


Grass Tips:
1. Hose Sprinkler: It's hard to water evenly. This is especially true with the kind of sprinkler you attach to a hose. 30 minutes of watering is one inch of water. Depending on how big your lawn is, you need to find a way for everything to get 30 minutes of watering but not more or less then that.

2. Hose in Hand: in order to get 1" of water you need to count to 5 for every 6 square inches of grass. It's not as hard as it sounds if you make focal points. Use lawn flags or empty flower pots. Choose places on each side of the lawn that are natural places to put focal points that aren't further then a between a foot and a foot and a half apart. After putting the flag or pot down, walk back across the lawn and check that it's in a good place. After that, you just count to 5 for each square 6 inches. For me, that means counting to 5 then moving the hose next to that place and counting to five again as I go across the lawn. That's a foot across. I move forward and repeat.

                                    X

                                                         X

                                     X

                                                         X

                                     X

                                                         X

Container Counts: watering can and based on pot size
Count of 2: 3" and 4"
Count of 3: 5" and 6"
Count of 4: 8" and 9"
Count of 5: 10"
Count of 6: 12"
Count of 7: 14"
Count of 8: 15" and 16"
Count of 10: 20"

* for watering containers with a hose, just make sure the soil at the top is saturated


Ground Counts:
Watering Can 10, Hose 5: Bulbs 0" - 6" and Annuals 0" - 12"
Watering Can 15, Hose 5: Perennials 0" - 6", Annuals 12" - 24" and 6" of Grass
Watering Can 20, Hose 5: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 12"
Watering Can 25, Hose 10: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 18"
Watering Can 30, Hose 10: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 24" and Shrubs 0' - 3'
Watering Can 35, Hose 15: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 30"
Watering Can 40, Hose 15: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 36", Shrubs 3' - 5' and Tree Trunk 0'-2'
Watering Can 45. Hose 20: Perennials and Ornamental Grasses 48" and up, Shrubs 5' and up and Tree Trunk 2' and up

*All Counts speeds are meant to be a normal pace. Think no faster then the beat to "Cotton Eyed Joe" but not much slower either.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Dona

Dona was my babysitter. She was in my life for 18 years. She died a couple of weeks ago of cancer. I said in the "Friends Forever" post that Kindergarten thru High School Graduation are the most important and influential time of your life. She was there for all of mine. She told me stories about myself that my parents never knew about. Apparently, when I was three, I locked myself into a closet. A month later, I locked myself into the car. The police came to let me out both times. She told me the Police officer asked on the time with the car, "is that the same kid?" We had a special bond. She knew me better then anyone when I was a kid. She took part in shaping me into the person I am today. I have always loved her and will very much miss her.

I send my biggest hugs and deepest condolences to her family. They are wonderful people. She was a wonderful person. She was always nice, loving, fun, and caring. I have a huge amount of fond memories of my time with her. I am grateful that she was able to be at my wedding and hold Zach as a newborn.

My Dona. She will always be my Dona. My Dad told me a story. When I was three we were on vacation. I was enjoying myself but, after a few days looked sad. When he asked what's wrong, I answered "I miss my Dona". Now I will miss her forever. She was always special to me and always will be.

Some of my favorite memories are the little things. When I was around 8 - 10 years old she went through a phase of always getting her nails professionally painted. She always got a decoration on one. I was obsessed with her nail decorations and enjoyed just looking at them.

I will always remember around Christmas the house she took us to. The owners created a magical Christmas world including hiring a Santa. It was a special part about Christmas time when I was a kid. She just loved us. She always loved kids and I'm sure one of her favorite things was seeing a child's eyes light up with joy from seeing the Christmas lights.

I will always remember an average afternoon. I would do homework at the kitchen table while she made dinner, to be heated up later. First, she would make me a healthy snack. It was usually grapes, diced apples, diced pears, and cheese. Sometimes there would be something else but these were the snack bowls I remember.

I remember the table we took at the town pool every day. It was the second one in from the path closest to the 3ft entrance steps. We would spend most of our summer days at the pool. I will always fondly hold the image of her at that table while I swam. She went in for a short dip during the adult swims. At our town's pool, they periodically get the kids out of the pool so the adults could swim peacefully for 15 minutes. Most kids just sat on the edge of the pool staring at the lifeguards waiting for them to blow their whistles to let the kids back in.

I will always remember the Snapple bottle sitting next to her all the time and her big smile. I will always remember her crocheting a blanket when she was pregnant with her now college age son. She used to live near where we live now. I have been there many times. I walk by her old apartment all of the time. I think about her all of the time. She was family at heart.

She was around age 52. She started taking care of me when I was 6 months old. I will cherish the little memories of our every day routines that she was a part of as well as the special things that weren't routine. She was paid to take care of us but it was clear she loved us. I hope she knew we loved her too. No matter what lies ahead for us I know that I will forever be guided by my time with my Dona. I hope she knew the influence she had on my life and how much I loved her.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Fashionista

No one would call me a Fashionista. I stick with denim bottoms and solid tops. No graphics, rhinestones, patterns, or accents anywhere. I'm not a case for a makeover show but I dress for comfort, not style. I like cloths that are stylish. But they don't fit my personality and needs. But I think they look great on other people. So, I decided to put together pictures to create outfits. I'll do one casual and one dressy outfit from Kohl's. I'll post the links under each picture.

Kohl's Dressy

Top in this color: Cobblestone. It is an undertone color in the skirt
http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1725409/dana-buchman-essential-lace-tank-womens.jsp



http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1654347/212-collection-a-line-skirt-womens.jsp



http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1228978/journee-collection-leslie-high-heel-mary-janes-women.jsp

 


http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1428483/14k-gold-over-silver-black-onyx-teardrop-pendant.jsp





http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1428415/14k-gold-over-silver-black-onyx-teardrop-drop-earrings.jsp




http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-902491/buxton-organizer-mini-cross-body-bag.jsp?color=Taupe

Just the cardigan. In black.


http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1744402/dana-buchman-solid-open-front-cardigan-womens.jsp

Kohl's Casual




http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1641742/chaps-floral-jacquard-a-line-dress-womens.jsp



http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1677760/lc-lauren-conrad-flip-flops-women.jsp



http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1810850/sterling-silver-lab-created-sapphire-blue-topaz-linear-pendant.jsp

 
 
 

http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1911564/croft-barrow-jackie-crossbody-bag.jsp



The Color is Yummy Mint


http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1907076/sonoma-life-style-pointelle-open-front-cardigan-womens.jsp?color=YummyMint

 

 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Boko Haram - Bring Them Home

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. On April 14th a Boko Haram extremist group broke into a school in Chibok, Nigeria and kidnapped 276 girls. 57 escaped. The remaining 219 are still missing.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/23/nigeria-says-21-girls-in-boko-haram-kidnapping-still-missing/

Boko Haram terrorists have killed over 5,000 people. In the time since the girls have gone missing, their village has been destroyed. Apparently, the captures are converting their victims to Islam. They are being taken from a Christian community.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/27/nigerians-fear-missing-girls-kidnapped-by-boko-haram-will-never-be-found/

I don't think it's right to try to force someone to convert. You have to connect with the religion in order for it to be something you can commit to. Religion takes commitment. You either believe something or you don't. You have to find the religion that matches your beliefs. You have to find the religion that makes the most sense to you. These "converts" are going through the motions but aren't connecting to Islam.

Not all Muslims are terrorists. They aren't all trying to convert everyone. There is a reason the word "extremist" is included. I like learning about different religions. I have met some Muslims and have asked about their religion. None of them were extremists. None of them would agree with what the Boko Haram terrorists have been doing.

Boko Haram extremists are doing what these terrorists have been doing for many years now. They are the new Nazis. If you don't believe what they believe, they think you deserve to die. They don't believe that random individuals at an airport could have different beliefs. Some of their innocent victims are Muslim too. It's a level of obsession and insanity that can't be helped.

There isn't anything we can do to stop them. The attacks are going to continue. Their missions are to make everyone extremist Islam like they are. They will use threats and violence to get attention and make people be like them out of fear. But fear doesn't change the truth. I pray for these girls to return safely really soon. Remember in the meantime, not all Muslims are like this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You Look Great!

I haven't taken a walk for exercise in a couple of months. Yet I am down to 136 lbs. In March I was 143 lbs. I still have a long way to under 125 lbs. but people have started to notice I am loosing weight. I even fit into my bikinis! Ironic since last month I got a couple of bathing suits a size bigger then I was just in case I needed it.

When someone has luck with a diet, those dieting wonder what worked so they can try it. For me, I take 2 hours plus to water every day. That also includes a lot of walking during that time. I cook dinner most of the time and my meals are lower in sodium. I am loosing some of that "sodium belly". But those meals are quick to make.

In the Fall I can walk more again. The grass and perennials only need to be watered daily if above 80 and no rain or 5 days of no rain if 50 - 80 degrees. Come the Fall, I won't need to water this much. It will also be more comfortable to take walks anyway.

I never know what to make when someone says I look great because I clearly lost weight. Maybe it's a layover from that 9 year long eating disorder. It ended 12 years ago but the mind never changes. I want to take it as the compliment it's meant to be but when I look in the mirror, I still think I'm fat. However, I see and feel a difference too.

It's funny, last Winter I was worried about how I would get exercise in the Summer. But this year my garden at home is double the size it used to be. It takes at least 12 trips with a gallon watering can each day. I have two and fill one while watering with the other and switch. My Dad's grass has never looked this healthy. I have a thorough method of watering there but it takes a while. Somehow, I found my hot weather exercise.

How will I continue to loose weight in the Winter? I don't know. Maybe something will just fall into place like it did for Summer. For now, I am appreciating the compliments and using it as motivation to continue my positive habits.

I'm sure there are a lot of people dieting that can relate to this. It's easier to continue these positive habits when you feel they are working. But we aren't the best judges of our own progress. So others noticing weight loss makes a difference.

Everyone finds something that works for them but won't necessarily work for someone else. We all want to share what works for us. The only advice I can give is to try to find something that fits your lifestyle. You'll never go to that gym if it's not near a place you go to all the time. You'll never eat healthy if you aren't finding meals you love that are like what you eat already and healthy. People are creatures of habits. Diets only work when you modify your lifestyle not change it completely. That's why we binge after a juice fast.

What foods do you like to eat? Can you make a healthy version that's not too different then what you have now? What exercise would realistically fit into your life and when? That might mean walking to nearby stores for errands instead of driving. It's the same thing you need to do anyway but in a healthy way. Can you really give that food up? If not, how can you make sure you have a smaller quantity at special times. So you don't feel deprived. Because there are some things you'll never be able to give up. But most things you should minimize.

You look great! Thanks. Everyone needs to hear that sometimes. But I don't know if you mean it or not. Part of me knows you would only say it if you meant it. But another part of me will never believe that I can look great or pretty. It's not about what the scale says with me. What I see in the mirror, isn't what you are seeing. But a lot of people have said it lately. It makes me feel good every time.