Tuesday, August 21

. . clean up, clean up ~ everybody, do your share ~

. . .our neighborhood will be cleaning up from last night's storm for a while today and probably some will be at it for a few days.  We had a crazy big storm last night and I am now aware of how fortunate we were to only have a very young tree that was uprooted and easily pushed back into place...

This was what I saw on my walk with the pups earlier ~ big old palm fronds were laying in the streets and in front of houses EVERYWHERE ~ but three very tall palms on a street couple over from us in the community must have been top heavy because they hadn't been pruned lately, or were particularly shallow rooted, because and they had completely toppled over like our tree... [in those cases the neighbors across the street from them were probably scared witless in the storm last night, because the trees were so tall they reached all the way across the street and the houses opposite had roof and window damage from being hit when they fell ~ clean up crews were already working on that damage...]

A few other different houses had what looked like enclosed patios that had been ripped off the back and were either sitting in pieces in front yards, neighbor's yards or the street.. some were draped over fences like fabric or over the roofs of the houses they had previously been attached to.  It was bizarre...

A LOT of people lost gutters and those temporary car ports that you see used for shade... I saw several older homes that were built before safety glass was the standard which lost plate glass windows ~ unfortunately most of those looked like they were also owned by snowbirds because the drapes were still hanging out of windows and were a shredded mess... I made note of addressed and called those in to the local PD.

I'm not sure why I didn't think to take a picture with my phone... but at the park we love to take the pups over to run at, there are a couple large eucalyptus stands and both were terribly damaged... I suspect a really bad micro-burst went through there and down the street from it, because a few trees were uprooted, stripped and tossed around the park... a couple trees were simply stripped and the trunks were left standing there looking sadly as though the giant from Jack in the Bean Stalk had walked through in an angry fit taking his frustration out on them ~ but then continued down the street that comes out from the park... nearly all the trash cans [which were no doubt taken out last night before the storm] were still topsy turvy at 5:30 am, and trash bags were laying every which way... many loose items that were probably safely stored most evenings on a porch for the night [strollers, tricycles, bikes and balls for small children] had been toss around too... I even saw one car on it's side and in the front yard of a house on that street.  Nearly everyone on that street also lost a few roof shingles or tiles, and quite a few lost Satellite TV receivers which were generally hanging from the wires for nearly the whole block I walked... and two house lost solar panels off roofs on that street... that was the worst whole street I saw, on all the other streets it was just a house here or there that seemed to take the brunt of the storm... but on that one street both side had damage ~ still the houses facing the south had the worst.  The craziest thing was possibly the pretty significant flag pole that was bent over flat too, a good reminder to take your flag down at night and/or during storms..

There were already the sounds of chain saws when I was coming home, so the clean up was starting early, but I'll bet it'll be a busy day for LOTS of insurance adjustors for a while...

Saturday, August 4

. . .catching up

We have been traveling the last couple weeks to visit family, and some very good friends...  When I say we, I don't mean hubby and I ~ HE evidently has spent a good part of the time I was gone sick with bad allergies, flaring RA and even a toothache.  Sorry honey ~ I missed you a LOT... and I will be home today ~ sounds like YOU need some TLC...

So back to my story ~ because Hubby has a fairly new job again, and couldn't get away ~ I begged Princess Bride and GrandP to go to the Great Northwest with me ~ because I do not fly alone.  It takes serious anxiety medication support to get on, and stay in an airplane, [all of my phobias rapped into one little tin can...] and I need someone to help me stay safe when I have that much medication in me...

That said we have REALLY enjoyed each minute of the last 2 weeks... Illness among my sisters aside, [2 of them ended up in the hospital for part of my stay in the Portland area, and I could get a complex if I thought about that too much... haha] ~ but, beyond that the trip was really GREAT.! 
I saw 5 of my 7 siblings [one of my brothers passed away some years ago, and my oldest brother/SIL are serving a mission for the LDS church in Nauvoo IL right now... so were not available for a gathering at our niece's wedding, even.]  But it was a wonderful reason for 5 of the rest of us to get together for a photo op...  We had tried to get all 5 sisters in one place but K was sick the day of the wedding and was SO sad to miss it...  So we will have to try again...

Our next planned extended family reunion will be in 2015 which all my parent's descendants are invited to ~ and those that can make it will always try to come... Still there are so many of us now... the great grands are piling up and there might even be some g-great grands among their posterity in the next few years... so it takes a LOT of effort just to get a few of us together... not to mention we are so spread out...

I miss mom and dad so much and when I see my brothers & sisters it's a huge reminder of just how much fun we have... Nevertheless, I know they look down from time to time and are proud of this big bunch of noisy and happy people...  There is not an bad egg in the whole group! HONESTLY.!!

We can be a tad on the silly/crazy side as is shown in the photo display below, 

Our youngest brother in the family and father of the bride the day this was taken ~ with 4 of his 5 sisters.  L to R ~ Me [#7], G [#2], M [#5], J [#6], J [#8 ~ the baby]...
G didn't catch at first that we were all suppose to make funny faces... but this was the best of M's silly face so I went with it...

 . . .then obviously the youngest two have no idea when to STOP being silly!  haha

BUT, all in our great big extended family are law abiding citizens ~ and compassionate caring people.  As a family [and as a rule] we serve and give to the community and greater good on a regular basis.  Many are involved in various church and community efforts to improve the world we live in... I was reminded lately that there are a BUNCH of Eagle Scouts [13 out of 19 grandsons just as a start on the posterity... I'm pretty sure there are already some g-grandsons that are Eagle Scouts too].  Several members of this family have served missions for the LDS church, some have given time and much effort to other churches and vital organizations, like the Red Cross, Literacy and Child Safety groups, the list goes on... Some have served in the military [Son1 ~ currently in the Navy, just the most recent].  All have reached outside their own comfort zone to emotionally, physically and financially help family/friends in need over years of following mom and dad's example.  That legacy will always continue because Daddy & Momma taught us well and we their children have taught our families well too.

I love my great, big, NOISY, loving and sometimes silly family... I appreciate that I can keep up through emails, FB, text messages and especially SEE them through pictures exchanged over many miles... When we get together the years and miles melt away... and I wish for a smaller world where we could see each other a little more often.

We are spread from one side of this great country to the other [quite literally].  I am proud to say that as a family we represent the NE, SE, SW, NW and an amazing number of points in the heartland of this country as well.  It's a blessing in my life to call each family member something... husband, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, and niece... and I thank God every day for the blessings we share as a family.  We are SO very blessed, and while we each have our own private challenges, collectively we are an amazingly fabulous and strong group... One that I feel so happy to call "my" family... I am very VERY grateful to have spent some time visiting them this last couple weeks ~ and while I am ready to go home, I am also a bit sad that I know it will be a while before I see them again.

Thursday, March 29

. . .being happy with my progress!

This year my focus is all about getting healthy.  The last few years have often been out of control because of my disease, and pain levels.  But "I'm tired of being sick and sick of being tired", as the saying goes.

Last week I participated in a discussion about how to drop some weight quickly... that discussion left me questioning my own efforts to drop extra pounds while I get healthy... I think we all want to "be trim"... and I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that MY quest is not about weight loss it's about getting strong and staying strong so I don't end up back in a wheelchair.  However I have lost some weight and weight loss can be so exciting, and even addicting...  I find myself getting frustrated by small plateaus, and minor set back in my eating habits...

I did a small "study" of all the current "fit" people I know [both men and women in various walks of life ~ who  maintain weight and fitness levels that I would like to achieve].  They are so different in the "jobs" they do, and the body styles they have I can't even being to list them.  I sent 77 text/email messages out asking 2 questions...
1) How do you stay in your optimum weight?
2) What is your primary weight loss choice, when you do need to drop some pounds?

So far I have heard back from 53 of those people and ALL of them say approximately the same thing when it comes to staying trim ~ they all exercise between 3-7 days a week and watch portions.

The other thing most said was if they did need to loose a few pounds they were careful about fad diets and did not drink, while trying to lose weight. [What an easy thing that is for ME, since I don't drink... LOL]  Some mentioned simple carbs being eliminated completely, others mentioned upping their fiber and water, a couple said they stopped eating red meat for a few weeks, one even said he went on a strictly vegan diet for 4 weeks before every weigh-in [he's in the Navy and will be retiring this year, after nearly 35 years ~ WOW].

The one thing that seems to be a trend is that when you are exercising "regularly" and/or strenuously like some of them do [especially the few weight trainers I know], that it's important to have enough complex carbs [like whole grains and veggies,] also some mentioned that they ate only certain fruits, like berries and citrus, because those fruits don't tend to "get stored" in the body when you are already exercising.

One of the weight trainer hubbies that responded with his wife to my question [he's been in the AF for 13 years, and is stationed in Afganistan for another 3 months,] anyway he sent me this link and told me that they met this sports coach randomly while he and his family were all on leave with him in England last year... As a weight trainer he was very interested in this person's approach to fitness, because he had always fought the "battle of the bulge" as a young man, [especially in HS as a football player, and he comes from a family that is "mostly a little plump" ~ as he put it]. One thing that he said that really struck me [so I asked him if I could share it with everyone...] ;-) Is that he had come to the same conclusions this sports coach/trainer had... and HE has not struggled with his weight for 5 years now ~ since he and his family started concentrating on eating whole foods.  His personal food intake balances out at 20/30/50. That is 20% mostly lean proteins like chicken and fish, 30% fats, like avocados, monosaturate oils, and also some of his proteins and fats come from the dairy he eats, and 50% fruits, veggies and whole grains.  He eats approx 3000 cals EVERY day. He is 6'2" tall and weighs 195 lbs with a BMI of 17 [he's absolutely ALL muscle]. He says he feels and preforms far above others in his same field in the AF [a HIGHLY competitive field] that are younger than he is.

That info blew me away... and it really helped me to put to rest in my own mind what my efforts really need to stay focused on. Healthy eating, exercise, rest, and some fun in my life, every single day.!!

I know there are many ways to lose weight and keep it off [pretty much all of them include exercise and a healthy diet... for life....]  I just thought I would also mention that all of these very healthy and trim friends that I have, have the opinion that you can keep any excess weight off by changing your the way you "think" about food.

As a nation we need to look at school cafeterias, which are loaded with starches [white breads, pastries, and potatoes]... and teach children to learn to balance food, and play and retrain all of our brains to love "activity".

I personally have gotten off the processed food train and gotten back to basics.  I feel so much better, and I am losing weight... but that is NOT my first goal ~ and I really need to remind myself EVERY day ~ that my goal is healthier muscles and bones so my body can sustain me for many years to come... I still have another future DILove to get to know ~ someday... and hopefully quite a few more grand babies to love...

Not to mention, I SO very much like being able to "move"...

Saturday, January 21

It's what my momma taught me ~ too....

. . .this book ~ [In Defense of Food] reinforces all the things I have been taught for my whole life.  Government Studies are often NOT what they claim to be ~ better informed than our common sense... Fad diets are really not healthy... A balanced plan of fruits and vegetables in season, meats [and that goes for all meats] in moderation, whole grains, instead of refined starches. That fats are NOT the monster we have been lectured they are, and while we only need them in moderation, we do need them.  Butter is WAY better than margarine ever thought of being ~ that olive oil is so much better than "vegetable" oil pretends to be as well ~ and stay away from processed sugars and prepackaged foods!  White sugar  truly is not good for us.  Our ancestors ate very little sugar, and they cooked from scratch. 

I KNOW these things and I am trying to eat this way.  In the last couple months I have done really well, actually.  I didn't even gain any weight on vacation...  BUT, as this book points out ~ historically, eating food was also a social and cultural event ~ but we have turned it into something negative and guilt ridden.  But in reading about the cultural positives of foods, I am now noticing that I do way better about not overeating when I don't eat alone... I notice I am statistically better able to combat binge eating when I write down what I consume each day... both the good and the bad ~  and I know that if I want something that isn't as healthy I can have it, as long as I don't make a habit out of it.  Finally, I am reminded that consistancy is it's own reward.

I am VERY happy I decided to read this book.  It's been on my list for over a year. My doctor mentioned it so long ago I can't remember when it was... But, in my quest for answers and help in my renewed effort at strengthening my body I finally got around to borrowing it from my library, in kindle format.  Because I have my tablet with me everywhere, I read on the go sometimes ~ and I've been sharing with hubby.  It's become a valuable asset in my efforts and desires to get stronger! It's given me encouragement to stay on track, and reminded me that one day of backtracking isn't the end of the world...

Food is important, we need to eat ~ but like my momma taught me eating food that is not over processed is even MORE important.  I find myself very angry that nutritionism is still so rampant in this country, though more people each year I know are taking back "control" of their own food lives.  "We" [in this house] are enjoying food more than ever, lately ~ since we started to eat more whole grains and raw/lightly cooked veggies. We are more satisfied too... still we are eating all foods we like, [even Mexican food].  In some cases we have rethought how to make our favorite dishes more healthy by trading some of the meat, most of the highly processed ingredients for whole grains, and adding a higher percentages of veggies.

Finally I would like to mention, our grocery bill has actually gone down since we started eating this way...  ;-)

Monday, January 2

. . .on to an energized Clanhouse in 2012

It's a new year and some new goals [and challenges] to face!

I am adding "The 52 Weeks to an Organized Home" ~ weekly challenge to my 2012 yearly plan.  This coming year is all about personal improvement in my mind.  I have some personal goals that I've been doing pretty well at, but I am stepping up my game to include getting stronger physically and more organized generally.

I use a "mesh" of several cleaning and organizing ideas. Sidetracked Home Executives, Don Aslett, The Fly Lady, and a few other cleaning gurus have helped me created a personal cleaning plan that works for me... this year I'll also have a housekeeper, our daughter [PrincessBride] is going to work for me ~ she is a really great worker, and I have really missed her get it done abilities since she left home.  She's already made such a big difference to the house's cleanliness...  The other plus to this arrangement [which also will help her be a SAHM] is that I get to play/be with our little grandPrincess once a week while PB cleans.

The Food Nanny, My Recipes, and Meals Matter ~ while utilizing Google Cal/Docs are all sites that have helped me get a better handle on meal planning and recipe management. This saved so much time and money ~ I love living with some organization in my life.

Now I want to tackle some of the stuff that falls through the cracks [like strength building through good health habits and organizing all those small spaces that are hidden from view...]  I am hoping this organizing plan will be one of the answers to getting the small stuff dealt with around here.  I've been doing pretty well when it comes to this "first week's" challenge, espeically since we moved to our new home.  Still I like a LOT of the ideas here, so I thought I would share... and keep track of how my progress goes.

We did a big declutter/purge as part of the move ~ so it's easier to keep going now.  Anyway ~ let the organizing BEGIN in earnest!

Week 1 ~ Kitchen Organization