I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Homemade Soap Second Edition

I learned a few things last year. I solidified my recipe into something that has worked well so far. All my Dove-only bars failed miserably even though they passed the first two rounds of inspections. By the time I had brought them to work, they had continued to shrink and develop cracks as they dried, so they went directly back into my bucket to be redone this fall.

Since there was roughly ten pounds (I was just guessing by volume. I didn't weigh any of it) of Dove soap already waiting for recycling, I decided to buy some soap to be used to that end. There was no way I would acquire enough soaps through the summer to add to them. At first, I thought my recipe called for three pounds of soap, and that I would be having two pounds of Dove to one pound of whatever else. Turns out my memory wasn't so accurate. It would have to be half and half. I found Ivory soap on Amazon - pretty much the cheapest on the market, I think. Anyway, I ordered twelve bars of Ivory with aloe - sounded good to me anyway. Aloe is good for your skin and the bars were white. Turns out twelve bars wasn't enough, so I have three pounds of Dove soap that gets to wait until next year. That's okay. That still leaves me with ten batches to do this year.

So what am I doing different this year? Last year, I wrapped my bars after a couple days of drying - one day as the block straight from my mold and another day after they've been sliced into bars. That third morning, I'd groom the bars to make them pretty and presentable, and then I'd wrap them in typing paper - it's what I had and it looked nice - then I packed them into my bucket. It seemed that I wrapped them way too soon. Later (I forget how long), I decided to check my soaps and discovered that they were still damp and the paper had soaked it up, and in some cases they had molded. No damage to the soap, but the paper certainly wasn't presentable any more. I didn't learn my lesson. I rewrapped those soaps and repacked them into my bucket. When I got them to work, I needed to move those soaps to the shelf where they would be available for use in the cabins. Lo and behold, still some of those soaps wrappings had molded again. After rewrapping again, after all summer, it would seem they were finally dry enough.

This year, I'm not wrapping them at all this winter. I got some wax paper and I'm layering the bars between the the paper with spaces between them. I hope it works - it should - I have my fingers crossed. Maybe early next spring I'll wrap them. As they are packed now, taking the bucket to work would damage them unless I'm really really lucky. Maybe if it was only a car ride to work, but there's a trip with a four-wheeler and then a trip in my boat.

So far I have three batches of nice white bars and one with a blue cast to it. The rest will be shades of light brown - lighter than last year.

Last year, after going through everything I'd brought and discarding the warped, cracked, and broken ones, I had three baskets of like thirty-six bars each. I used one basket. When all is said and done, it looks like I'll have several years worth of soap to use, and in the future, there won't be more than three or four batches to do each year. Maybe not even that much. That's not counting the three left over batches I won't be able to do this year. So, I anticipate having to do half as much next year as I did this year.

There she blows. I'll be sure to keep you informed of future developments. Stay tuned.


Friday, March 2, 2018

The Weight Loss Battle

Ever since coming to town, I have been searching for the magic formula to help me lose weight. It has to be something simple, because I'm doing all the right things that should result in at the very least no weight gain (well maybe with the exception of hours of aerobics). I shouldn't weight 215 pounds, having put on nearly 20 pounds since the end of my work season. 

The first thing we tried is breaking out the juicer and him teaching me how to juice. It's something I can't do at home, but it was worth a try to help me lose weight - nada. Next my son bought a NeutraBullet blender - he'd been wanting one since his old one broke. Still nada on the weight loss, but they both contributed to my decrease in desire for good old fashioned red meat. 

Most recently I've been battling heartburn - something I battle most every winter when I get over 200 pounds. It seems like everything I eat gives me heartburn, like I just ate a bowl of oats, and I think I might be ramping up to some heartburn - sucks. I'm drinking water in the hopes of heading it off. Over the last week or so, I've discovered that yogurt and bacon (baked on a rack) doesn't give me heartburn. I need to go get some more bacon. Too bad I can't get yogurt at home, except during the summer. It just doesn't keep very long.

Now that I'm in town, my son and I have been doing some experimenting and some research. We've discovered that niacin helps to clean plaque out of blood vessels, which in itself improves circulation. This might address my swollen feet when I get too heavy. That has not been a miracle cure, but the issue has improved. I'm also taking horse chestnut pills to help with my swollen feet - mind you, they don't hurt, they just look like balloons. Niacin also helps with depression (something I have no trouble with, but I have friends who do so I'm sharing). According to the YouTube thing we watched, these guys (doctors) have been successfully treating cancer and the really bad depression with mega doses of vitamin C and Niacin respectively. Both you cannot overdose on. One of their stories about niacin was this severely depressed woman who had a family with children. She took tons of medicine to address her depression, and the best she could manage was to come out of her room to sit in the corner of the living room, facing the corner. She started taking some niacin as prescribed by her doctor, but it wasn't having much of an affect. She went off the deep end and tried to take her life by overdosing on the niacin. Lo and Behold, the depression just vanished. NO OTHER ADVERSE AFFECTS WHAT SO EVER. She joined her family at the dinner table and everything. Of course she needed high doses of niacin to continue that level of interaction, but I think she went off all her other medication. I'd have to watch the show again to be sure. Look up Food Matters on YouTube and search for Drs. Abram Hoffer, Andrew W. Saul, and Harold D. Foster.

Another thing we discovered is iodine. Iodine is in salt, you say, but we learned that THAT iodine is among the poorest kind. Iodine targets the thyroid which, as we all know, does whatever it does to regulate our weight among other things. I am pretty sure my problem may well be genetic, but that doesn't mean I can't fight it. I ordered Survival Shield iodine from Amazon yesterday and will start taking it next week when it gets here, so wish me luck there. HOWEVER, in doing some of my homework, I discovered that it can also address depression. According to everything I looked up, Iodine deficiency is the fastest growing epidemic in the country, and maybe the world, because of the growing popularity of sea salt and such.

My getting iodine from my salt certainly has not helped me. I have, all my life, been a salt-aholic, frequently licking salt from the palm of my hand as well as dousing everything I eat. I love the taste of salt. Not long ago I heard about the high mineral content of Himalayan salt, so I went to the store and bought a grinder. Suddenly, I find myself actually needing to remember to salt my foods. The craving is just gone. That iodine I mentioned above comes from the same source and is the cleanest in the world. Iodine is found in kelp, but thanks to Fukushima the ocean is becoming increasingly radioactive, not to mention the rate of pollution. Iodine also comes in the form of a tincture, but what they mix it with to make it a tincture is one of the things that inhibit it's affects. I'll have to watch the YouTube things again, but I think I heard there that the fluoride and the chlorine added to our drinking water for very good reasons also messes up our thyroid. 

I came across this website - EWG's Tap Water Database - that shined a rather freaky light on what actually is in our water. Just enter your zip code or scroll down and click on your state. You'll get a list of cities where water is provided from, just click on the one closest to you. Of course, this site is there to sell you water filters, but since they suggest all brands, I don't think they're too biased, especially since they refer you to Amazon for the most part. I'm happy to say our water seems to be pretty clear. There's a little runoff affect, and in my opinion, too much chlorine, because I can smell it, but some of the other things I saw were truly shudder-worthy.

That is the sum of my experimenting and research to date. Wish me luck in finding my magic pill, or drop, or whatever. I SO want to permanently get rid of all this extra weight.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

And Baby Makes Three

I came to town last November so we could be there to help out when the new baby came, and to be a little moral support for the new mom and dad. When labor started, I was there for them, and I must say my daughter-in-law was a real trooper about the pains. She just kinda stiffened up and went all quiet for a bit, and then it passed. Boy, I could tell she was just all-around uncomfortable.

Some hours later, the doctor was starting to get concerned; there just wasn't much progress and momma was getting very tired. They gave her something like an epidural to numb all the pains and let her sleep for about an hour. When that didn't help much, they called in another doctor who had small hands, thinking the baby was facing the wrong direction now, but that didn't help. Their next and last choice was to try pulling. That sounds terrible, and I was really getting worried. The things I'd heard about pulling were just plain scary. The modern version was this small suction cup they stick to the head; it allows them a small amount of control from the outside. Still no luck.

I became truly frightened when they said C-section. This was way out of my experience. I've never known anyone who had one. I so wanted to watch over my girl, but I wasn't allowed. Only daddy could go with her. In one way, I was glad something could happen now, and that experienced doctors could handle the situation. I wasn't really afraid for her safety, but this is surgery, and God forbid, things could still go wrong, but after 12 hours of hard labor, it was good to have an end in sight.

Waiting in the room really sucks. I wished I could watch, even through the window in a door or something, just to keep an eye out, you know, but I had to wait, and I had to wait without really knowing how long I would have to wait. Yeah, they told me about it would be less than a half an hour, but I couldn't see it. So like twenty minutes later, my son comes for me and we go meet his brand new son.

The surgery went well, Baby was really stuck due to all the work they tried to get him born natural, but they got him unstuck and out safely. Momma was still getting all put back together, but she was doing just fine.

In the nursery, Baby got weighed and measured and tagged and labeled, and then, because he was pretty gooey, he got his first bath too. Then he was put in his first diaper and wrapped up like a baby burrito and handed over to Daddy. Then it was back to the room for us to wait for Momma.

He was such a bright baby, looking around at all the brightness and colors. And then he sneezed and scared himself. He might have had a bit of a headache too, but he just looked so surprised at his little explosion, and then he started to cry.

Momma told me once she was hoping for blue eyes and blond hair like Daddy, but we both told her there was like 0% chance of that. So, he is the first dark haired, dark eyed baby in my family. I have a brother with dark hair and eyes, and I have a sister with not so dark hair and eyes, but  their dark is an Irish dark. Momma is from the Philippines, so it's a different kind of dark. Most of my family is average for the Midwest - some shade of light colored hair and light eyes.

Since then, I have been totally enjoying watching him learn. He just turned a month old and already Momma and Daddy are totally wrapped around his finger. Momma does all the good things like nice warm titty and nice soft pillow and warm. Daddy gets the other end and deals out a cold wet wipe and a dry diaper, but he's got a nice warm chest to sleep on once in a while. I think Baby likes to listen to their hearts.

Already, I can tell he's getting stronger as he kicks and wiggles and squirms. He's also starting to do more than just holler for food and then sleep. He's starting to look around and play a little. Today, while laying on the floor (something I suggested), he almost rolled up onto his side. Couldn't quite stick it though.

I've proven useful a time or two with a willing lap and a rocking chair. Baby eats like he's got a hollow leg, so he gets a bottle or two of formula every day too, and sometimes I get the pleasure. Unless I'm actually babysitting, I'll let Daddy do the diapers though, Mmuahaha. I am having such a great time.