Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seeking the Better Life

Going Greener

I don’t know about you but I am seeking a better way of life.  Thus, I am adopting greener ways to help the world’s health.  Maybe, it will help cleanse the earth enough to keep harsh chemicals from ruining my health.  Some of these things I do but not regularly enough.  I am sure you can say, “I do that already!”  However, some ideas may be new solutions to old and growing problems for both of us.

When I do chores that require driving, I’ll plan as much as I can to keep the circling tight and less need to double back to venues.  For example, I’ll go to the gym then the grocery then home.  I’ll go to get gas, then the gym then the department store.  I’ll go to church then shopping.  In this way noting spoils plus I don’t have to keep going home to unload food or other perishables.  I live in Florida, so I don’t want things left in the truck or seat of my car for too long including me.

When I shop, I’ll use green bags unless I need some plastic bags for my trash cans or the goods are sloppy or liquid perishables that may require me to launder those things too often.  I heard there is a place in the ocean miles wide and full of plastics and other things that are not biodegradable.  If I can take one thing from the growth of that island of junk, I will.

Once I use a perishable food product that was in a plastic container- I will reuse that package.  For example, a plastic coffee box will house the next bag of coffee and the next.  A plastic rice box will become my permanent vessel for bagged rice.  If the container is see through, I can switch its usage.  For example, Talenti gelato containers house my dry beans for soups.  This saves money because there is less need to purchase reusable containers while helping the field of plastic stop growing.  I can even use the ice cream (Talenti) container to freeze the same water over and over for my cooler.

A similar idea that I plan on trying someday is one that I saw; at a picnic, a lady pulled all her family’s sandwiches out of the original bread bag.  She didn’t have to purchase more Ziplocs or Baggies.  I already have reusable hard plastic sandwich containers but not enough.  That lady had the watery toppings such as pickles and tomatoes either in their original jars or all in one itemized Ziploc or container.

At parties instead of wasting permanent ink and using tons of plastic ware, the grandkids all have party cups.  I wash them and set them out, again and again, for use at their next visit.

If you are going to buy individual cokes, you actually can save there as well.  You can refrigerate them early and skip the plastic or Styrofoam glasses as well as bag of ice for that party.

I don’t steal them- but if I get too many packets of condiments such as ketchup in a fast food order- I keep them then place them out for party hotdogs, hamburgers, etc.

I switched to one reusable bottle for my daily water and only use plastic water containers at the beach, boating, or an away from home a long time activity.  I do carry my cup of ice water in the car during chores and so on.

After a party, I send home leftovers in plastic thus reusable butter containers and similar items including to go containers from restaurants I visited.  I’m trying to have less ‘to go containers’ bringing my Tupperware from home and especially refusing the Styrofoam leftover boxes from those dining places.

After a party, I cut up and freeze the left over veggies such as onions, celery, carrots.  I can use them in soups; and since I will cook them, the germs should be boiled to safe levels.

I save time and chemicals in my house in other ways too.  I wipe down the ring around the tub and stray water after I am finished mopping up my showered or bathed body.  The tubs and shower stall require less harsh chemicals as a result.

I will take the leftover hygiene stuff from my hotel room to give to Clean America projects, which supply the homeless with these items.

I try to donate my old blankets to shelters for humans and pets rather than trashing them in landfills. Fancy dresses and gowns can be donated to school systems for prom use.

I conserve water by using a rain barrel.  It was painless to install and saves gallons of aquifer or ground water each year.

This year, I plan on reusing towels and clothes a second time unless they are really soiled, that will save laundry detergent from the water system, power from the grid, and other wonderful things.

Just attempting these things once or twice will help the world.  You can follow my ideas or not; it’s your world, too.  Let’s make a difference however small each step makes life better for all of us.

Green House Affects

One day, my husband and I were looking for a new house trying to save money.  One of our daughters suggested we buy a greenhouse because local homemade signs had them listed as low as $200.  She reasoned that we could paint it a preferred color once we owned it.  After we finished laughing and describing a true green or gardening structure, she chuckled as well.  Meanwhile, in previous posts I suggested the use of a rain barrel to trap water for the yard and garden but I have other, natural, green ideas as well.
For instance, plant native grass, scrubs, and trees.  They started in your area for a reason; don’t let exotics or out of regions choke them out.  For example: in Florida, Bahia grass is drought resistant, which is great because this state has wet and dry seasons.  Those things meant to flower, bear fruit, or stay green without much human intervention, also, trim pollution because they require less fertilization, water, and the like.  If you must fertilize, you can make your own with perishable leftovers from your dinner table, yard clippings or your pet’s gifts; start a mound in your back yard for future use.
Back to rain barrels, things require less water if you don’t try to dampen their soils during the peak of heat-filled days; water is less prone to evaporation at dawn.  Plus, some people use their pre-used water to keep their greenery happy; they use the water from their kitchen and bathroom sinks (but not their toilets) to water their gardens.  Some folks even have pumps on their air-conditioners to collect condensation water to wet their plants’ appetites.  In case you need this special note; it bears repeating; here it is; keep the toilet water out of the mix!
Mulch is good but rocks and shells do not have to be put in your flower beds as often, which conserves on the truck or car deliveries’ gas usage.  If you must mulch, you can make your own out of lawn trims such as leaves, limbs or grass that you mound on property until they are mulch-worthy.  You can, also, borrow from your fertilizer mound to add to that flower or garden bed.

Speaking of gardening, my dad always said it was smart to plant fruit trees.  We had a mulberry, an avocado, a citrus, and a mango tree.  By the way, money does grow on trees when you plant certain native or environment tolerant trees that produce food.  As a kid, my siblings and I sold our surplus fruits of less gardening labor to our neighbors; it was our version of a lemonade stand.

Finally, stop planting annuals.  They are a waste of resources.  There are many pretty flowering plants or bushes (even low growing ones) with colorful leaves to add to the beauty of nature around your home.  If they are native to the area or tolerant to the conditions of your region, it's even better because they will require less of a green thumb on your part.

This list is not exhaustive; but following some of these ideas you may find yourself less exhausted in your growing garden.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Excerpt 10- Chapter 15 of My ArmOr

I try to keep my recovery light as well as honest, “On the day I started typing with both hands, I wrote this next phrase often! ‘Now, we know which hand typos! LOL!’ ”
Granddaughter #1 asks about my shoulder injury, ‘What happened?  Did you not listen to your mommy?  Did you fall downstairs?’ She wants to help me; she saw others grabbing my good hand to help me up when I wore the surgical sling.  So, she races over to do the same; then, walks me like a puppy.  Granddaughter #1 jumps up in bed with me and mimics my arm lift exercises! She asks, ‘Can you hug my other side?’ ”
By October 7th, 2009, I wrote, “This guy at therapy is ahead of me shoulder-wise. He was showing off only to realize he was using his good arm.  I interrupted. ‘I can raise my good arm above my head, too.’  Then, our whole session was pranks.  I did my hands up and back to my waist jesting about my stance, ‘I am practicing how to be mad, again.’ ” This joking hid my anger; I felt mad about the whole silly fall and this outcome.  My human nature made me question my ‘lot in life;’ my nature kept me laughing through it all.  “It was so early; we were all punchy but only with our good arms.  LOL!”
One day I wrote online,I go to the surgeon, today, to see if the worst of this healing is behind me. I know I have therapy but I can deal with it as long as I get to keep the reason for the therapy, my arm!”
Physical Therapy became emotional therapy too especially as I interacted with other patients, “PT sessions are becoming outrageous.  Another shoulder patient and I keep racing for the exercise equipment! Today, at his suggestion, we did the ‘tug of war’ together. Instead of competing for the tension bands, we lined up and pulled as a team. Both therapists asked us to do the tension bands separately; we caved in.  That’s easy to do when the arm gives up, anyway.”
I held tight to all hopeful events; I wrote the following when I got back from the doctor.  “The DR was glad to see my Physical Therapy is ahead of schedule; I'm healing well.  There are no signs of infection. All I need, now, is more therapy.”  Evidently the clues to my true arm’s prognosis were still hidden in the X-RAY machine, at this point.
I believed it because my journaling showed changes still occurring in that arm, Yesterday, I was way too busy and need to be a bit lazier. I don't know if it was the release of tension from my DR appointment or from the weight strengthening exercises but my arm feels easier to move unaided.  It’s still heavy and only to about shoulder level but there is a bit less pain during movement.”
Early in my recovery, I was lucky to sleep past 5Am.  Thus, we put my three day a week therapy at the earliest appointment or 8AM. However, normal stalked me, “Yesterday was even busier than usual! I spent a good part of the day with the grandbaby. She is full of energy, and I was in bed by 7:30PM.  I got up at 6:30, today, still worn out!” I slept long as well as in.
When my therapist added two pounds to my bench press, I kidded in FB, “Watch out muscle men! I’m becoming a force to be reckoned with!”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Excerpt 9- Chapter 15 of My ArmOr

Facing It- In Reality

I’m a realist- too, “Sometimes- it gets to me!!! When the arm is tired and feels heavier than the other side or feels mechanical- or when I wonder if I will ever get out of the woods- but then- I try to enjoy the trees, underbrush, and sounds of my forest full of life....THEN- I realize that I have nowhere to go but out of the woods.”
I always find the silver lining and bright side to dark clouds in my life, Thank God! My next entry proves that, “Soon, my right arm is going to look like Popeye after he eats his spinach because it helps the other arm function.  But, the left arm fights these movements, most of the time, making the right side flex its muscle harder to build endurance as well as new muscle to get the therapy movements done.”
I’ve even resumed my philosophical nature.  Isn’t that how life goes the right side fighting hard to get what’s left to follow the lead.
My entries show my desires still unrealized, “TV lies! The bionic woman jumped right up to save the world; I can’t do that, yet! Maybe my writing can?”
My sense of humor and mission remained intact months into therapy as I coped with the realization that my left arm was out of my hands and only The Creator knew- for sure- its fate.
I can be my own worst enemy or best therapist; more often the latter, Thank God.  “At Physical Therapy, we talked about how I did one of my arm extensions wrong for a whole week. My Occupational Therapist (OT) that I keep calling a Physical Therapist (PT) took my measurements; that incorrect shoulder extension gained fifteen more degrees than the rest of my scores. I joked, ‘You need to teach all your patients my new exercise; it seems to work faster than yours.’ ” This comment foreshadows my future regime because my observations might become poignant after her therapy and the doctor’s surgery results are reevaluated in March.
At this point, I rely on the educated experience around me instead of my gut.  I see my surgeon on Thursday and hope I get a good report; so I can resume some normal functions such as driving myself.”
I conjure up the best thoughts whenever possible, “Tuesday, October 6, yesterday- I hit a milestone at physical therapy! I went from supported exercises and isometrics to strength building. When I asked about purchasing the equipment, my OT said, ‘Let me get you through round one because you’ll be past this equipment to fast.’ ” For a change my Occupational Therapist remarks feel hopeful.

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