The Wings of Evil

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from Funny Pictures

The flying lowlifes are part of the wasp family. They get riled up about anything at this time of year. Now you know why I love early frosts.

Recovery from Sunday’s nailing continues. The bite is still itchy, swollen and red despite essential oils, Benadryl spray, triple antibiotic ointment, and lots of time spent with my leg resting on an ice pack. Some improvement, yes. The itching is intermittent, but it’s still sore.

I checked with Dr. Google. The good doctor concurred with my choice of home treatments, but suggested adding oral antihistamines (specifically Benadryl, which works wonders but incapacitates me to the point where I believe Jerry Springer) and Advil. That doesn’t, so I took a couple doses of that. Looks like 7-10 days before it clears up.

The swelling’s subsided enough to see where the little mother grabber nailed me not just once, but four or five times. All the welts are along the hem line of my capri pants, the part of my calf that bumps against the edge of the seat as I get in and out of the car. Mindfulness is the order of the day. The next 7-10, to be exact.

So the ice pack, triple antibiotic ointment (it has a topical pain reliever and keeps bacteria at bay), and Advil are my companions of choice. It will get better. In the meantime, I contemplate the irony of all the bugs I get exposed to in the woods where Oakley and I walk. Yes, I get the odd mosquito or fly bite. But this? At a suburban gas station? Go figure.

Oh, well…sigh. Could have been worse. I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock. It wasn’t on my foot or many worse places (some of the pics will induce nightmares, so don’t ask).

I just wish it had been this kind of a Sting:

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not my work…not credited….used in Wikipedia

Retrograde: The Condensed Edition

Tomorrow, everyone’s favorite planetary trickster, Mercury, amps up the fun by appearing to go backwards. Mercury rules communication, electronics, and transportation. It makes for interesting times. No need to panic; just be extra careful signing contracts, driving, and protecting your devices.

Yesterday featured a thirty-minute period that felt like the whole three weeks in one shot. Many pleasant hours filled the day; don’t get me wrong. I took lunch to my friend who’s recovering from surgery and we watched “Outlander” for the afternoon’s entertainment. I’d slept well. The list of blessings goes on and on. But there was just that one half hour that I could have lived without.

En route to R’s house, I stopped to do a  bit of shopping. The customers in front of me at checkout time had been on an extended vacation. The cashier, likely a newbie herself, had to walk them through the use of the chip card that had arrived in their absence. Between the explanations of how the card worked and the customer taking the card out of the reader several times before the transaction had been processed, the cashier overlooked about a quarter of their merchandise. She rang it up, then had to explain the use of the reader again. OK. Finally finished that.

Next task: the procurement of lunch. We like the same Tex-Mex takeout place for the freshness and flexibility in customizing our selections. Usually.

Me: Two bowls, please. First one with half a serving of black beans…

Counter person: (puts a half-scoop of black beans in bowl, then almost puts half-scoop of pintos)

Me: NO! I’m sorry, just the half scoop of beans….

And so on down the line.

I escaped to the car with the bowls. Noticing that the gas gauge needle hovered uncomfortably close to the big red line, I decided to fill up at the nearest gas station. Not the best price, but cheaper than a blown fuel injector. As I put the gas pump into the tank, a jabbing pain and burning sensation spread through my right leg. I looked down to see a yellow jacket flying away. The stinger had fallen out of my leg of its own accord.

Luckily R had some essential oils that helped with the initial discomfort. We enjoyed the afternoon immensely, then parted ways.

The flakey energy leveled out by the time I arrived home. Oakley was happy to see me. We were able to get out for a walk. Plus there were tomatoes from a talented and generous neighbor. Home-grown tomatoes always make it better, whatever “it” is.

Some pretty intense storms missed us, causing flooding to our south, more of an annoyance that life threatening. A rainbow capped off the afternoon.

It was all good. It was all good, indeed.

My Friendemy the Scale

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Yep, I’m back to working on my weight. In the last couple of weeks, several friends have had problems related by conditions related to theirs. If any good is coming out of it, it will be that I’m drawing inspiration from their troubles.

Which is a polite way of saying that their experiences are The Mystery’s foot in my butt about deleting some pounds. I’m taking the hint and making changes.

The first one: I bought a scale last week. It’s a bit on the fancy side. The scale records weight and BMI readings for up to four people. Last week’s weigh-in wasn’t pretty, but at least the number was lower than at the start of the Weight Watchers disaster a couple of years ago. For that, I’m grateful. Sort of.

Some people feel that it’s better to go by how your clothes feel. In theory, yes. In practice for me, it’s been more like the icky, cruel story about the frog in the water that gets gradually heated used as a metaphor for getting lulled into compliance. It’s how I’ve convinced myself  in the past that I could wear jeans two sizes too small by rationalizing that it’s just water retention. Can’t do that anymore.

I also know that the numbers have squat to do with my worth as a human being. I need the objective information so I can see my progress. No more, no less.

Onto the second change: I downloaded an app to help with tracking food and exercise. It’s easy to use and calculates what your daily caloric intake should be based on starting weight, age, height, and goal weight. Personally, I think it’s nuts. It wants me to eat an amount of calories that seems more suitable for a professional athlete than for a sedentary middle aged woman who never had much of a metabolism in the first place.

The third: I need a lot more plain water. Heaven She knows I loves my iced tea and coffee. However, the caffeine is impacting my adrenals and throwing me off balance.

The fourth: I need to modify exercise. I walk Oakley for about an hour a day total. Well, it’s more like walk, sniff this, stand in front of me to protect me from a butterfly, take a few steps and repeat. The pace of a dog walk versus the pace of a walk to lose weight are very different. I will investigate YouTube videos for options and start using the dance DVDs already in my possession.

At this stage of the game, it’s about staying as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I have some nasty stuff running in my family (heart disease for both parent and Dad was type 2 diabetic). Dad also had arthritis in his knees and spine. I’ve started having cracking and creaking in my right knee. No, thank you.

I know I will never be a size two. Between age and genetic makeup, that ain’t gonna happen. As the tag line for the diet company ad said some years ago, I’m going for a size healthy.

Life Does Not End after Ren Faire Season

OK, it might slow down, and the fumes from the turkey legs and memories of the performances might have to carry me for a while. I might end up going to the much smaller Faire at Stronghold the first weekend in October and will see if I can convince Hubby to go to the Janesville Renaissance Faire next spring.

Earlier this summer, I went on line and made notes in my calendar to remind me of upcoming events. In September, there’s a pow-wow near by and there’s a couple of spiritually oriented events that I’ve made tentative plans to attend; in October there’s the Stronghold Olde English Faire; but in November…oh, is there something to attend in November.

Finally, after many years of wishing and hoping, Garrison Keillor will be doing his one-man show at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora on November 13. This is only 20 minutes from my house. The tickets are on the way.

Most Saturdays and many Sundays, I’ve listened to “Prairie Home Companion” faithfully. Lake Wobegon has been and continues to be an oasis of calmness and decency in a world growing crazier by the day. I’m glad that it’s continuing. It will be different this fall, yes, but I will still have my two hour vacations and soundtrack for dinner prep on weekends.

It’s a little bittersweet to see Garrison. The whispered word is that it’s likely his last tour due to age related health concerns, but no matter. Finally I will get to see him in person.

Hubby and I were able to see a live streaming broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion” some years ago at a local cinema. I know that this show will be just as good, even with the knowledge that this will likely be the last one. I’m just grateful that I’m able to attend.

I’m also grateful that I have a new perspective on Labor Day this year: it may be the end of the season at Bristol, but it’s the start of the countdown to see Garrison.

Oatmeal Morning

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Rain came through the soybean field on Saturday. It finally broke the endless string of days hovering between the high 80s and low 90s with tropical humidity levels. The windows have been opened since then.

The six a.m. sun turned the condensation on the window pink. The crickets’ songs of harvest time harmonized with the fan’s steady whir, gently waking me up. Make coffee, mix Oakley’s breakfast (he wakes up when he hears the microwave beep), then sip coffee while I offer prayers and intention to The Great Mystery. A few lines in my journal, and we begin the day.

That’s pretty much how every day starts. Today I had a definite craving for oatmeal. I’ve had yogurt or eggs or toast with a reasonable amount of nut butter on it and some fruit, but this morning I wanted oatmeal. Maybe it was the coolness of morning, but that called to me. So I had a packet of instant oatmeal with flax, a spoon of almond butter, and blackberries. I do instant because the need for portion control overrides the other benefits of plain ol’ rolled oats, plus you can’t make cookies with it, so it prevents scarfing down the dough.

If you can actually get the cookies in the oven or not sit and fudge with portion sizes, whole grain or rolled oatmeal is a great breakfast. The fiber fills you up, helps to keep cholesterol in line, packs in a good amount of magnesium (helps with generally feeling mellow as well as keeping muscles relaxed), and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Wanting lunch at 10 is a bit awkward. If you give in to the siren song of the donut to get you through until noon, that can cause a bigger blood sugar crash that will leave you feeling rotten and craving more sugar.

The biggest issue is making sure that you choose toppings that won’t play havoc with your nutritional goals for the day. Recipes abound for high-sugar variations on the oatmeal theme that pretty much negate the benefits, so I find it best to just stick to fruit and milk with a tablespoon of nuts or nut butter to boost the protein.

One of the spins gaining popularity in recent times is the jar breakfast: put oatmeal, milk of choice or yogurt, and fruit in a jar and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the oats will be soft enough to be edible. That way a person can reap the benefits of the humble oat year round without turning on the stove in hot weather.

It may not be the most exciting of breakfasts, but it’s reliable and does its job. You can’t ask for much else.

Cricket Songs

A lot, yet not too much, goes on hear in the soybean field. Oakley and I go about our day to day routines and rituals of heat and humidity truncated walks, our early morning communes with The Great Mystery.

We were up about six this morning. I had to turn on the kitchen light so I could see to make coffee, and the sconces by the fireplace needed to be turned on as well so I could journal for the morning. Just a couple of days ago the glow of the candle had been enough to see the pen leaving its tracks across the page, but not this morning. By the time we were out the door, all was bright, heavy and humid. If we don’t get a storm I’ll be surprised. This unending string of days in the high 80’s and low 90’s will break this weekend. I look forward to open windows during the day so I can get the house aired out.

At bed time, unless it’s storming or oppressively muggy, I turn off the air conditioning and open the windows for a dose of fresh air and to listen to the sounds of the night. Some sounds like the squeal and growl of the trains slicing through the dark or the coyotes announcing their presence pierce the night all year long.

Others happen only between the height and end of summer. If the field next door has been planted in corn, the wind runs its fingers through the leaves, rippling the dark silk of the night. The crickets chant like a Gregorian choir in a never-ending canticle of worship to the darkness, the turning wheel, conveying gratitude to the Mystery for a bountiful harvest.

The songs of the dwindling summer remind us to get it done, whatever the sacred “it” is before it’s too late. Corn and soybeans and produce can all be harvested and stored in canning jars and the freezer for later use, but the song of the crickets remind us that time cannot.

 

 

 

 

The Summer of Our Discontent

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image courtesy The Graphics Fairy

Yes, I know that the quote from “Richard III” is “winter” and not “summer.” However, the hellish humidity combined with a heat index of something like 103 is not making me happy. Throw in an air action alert, and we are neither amused or comfortable. It’s making us all downright crabby, in fact. Short, clear sentences with no room for misunderstanding are the order of the day.

Oakley and I slapped together a 30-minute walk. Emphasis on “slap” due to the mosquitos that plagued me. He tended to his social networking and business while I frantically waved and swatted. The good parts of the walk were its speed and efficiency and not whacking myself in the face with the cleanup bag. I am truly grateful for that.

When we finished, I dropped Oakley off at home, then ran to Walgreen’s to get antacid tablets for him and ice for me so I can indulge myself with a homemade iced coffee later this afternoon. I look forward to that. Not the same as from my favorite drive thru window, but worth it in the long run between calorie sparing (I use stevia here at home and can throw in a splash of vanilla extract to liven things up) and not contributing to the flow of plastic, even that which is destined to be recycled.

Later on we might make a run to one of the farm stores. This one allows dogs, and we will both benefit from a couple of laps around the store. For some reason, Oakley is infatuated with the automotive department. The scents of rubber and metal must have some kind of exotic appeal, the way that humans search out food not of their own ethnic background.

I’m doing my best to avoid news on TV. Part of me wants to monitor the weather, but the desire to avoid the deepening insanity surrounding the elections competes with it. I know that I can go on line, but the visuals and the walkthroughs by the weather people makes it more real, somehow.

Reading is always an option. I’m still working on Seafaring Women purchased during the opening Ren Faire weekend. I’m bouncing back and forth between that and Lake Woebegon Days. 

Oakley has toys to quietly maul. I’ll freeze some pumpkin in a Kong for a special treat–the last time he had the soy-based ice cream for dogs it didn’t sit well with him. He doesn’t mind pumpkin at all, especially with a squirt of spray cheese thrown in just because.

Tonight will bring storms and some respite. If not, a Thai curry is in order and we’ll pretend we’re in Bangkok. We’ll live, but the quality of doing so must be maintained.