Monday, December 24, 2012

It Really is A Wonderful Life

As far as I can tell, I have struggled with depression for nearly a decade. I have heard it said that depression is not a medical condition, but a state of mind that can be self-inflicted. In the early years, it was hardly distinguishable from my natural emotions of sadness or anger, but it soon overtook my life. To me, depression was a state of being, but it was certainly not self-inflicted. I didn't want to be uncontrollably irritable or sad. What fourteen year old girl wants to avoid her friends, spend time sobbing in her room instead of enjoying herself at parties, or fear for her future? When you have depression, it consumes you. Your heart is numb, your mind overrun with thoughts, your body aches, and your eyes are blind to what surrounds you.

Just a few weeks ago I watched the classic Christmas film "It's A Wonderful Life". I had seen it every year with my family or friends and expressed some appreciation of it, but somehow this year was different. This year I watched it at home, alone. I was surrounded by my pets, the warm glow of the gas stove, and the beauty of our family Christmas tree. In the past, I have had difficulty feeling the unseen blessings that Christmas brings. As I watched this classic tale of hope, I saw myself in the story of George Bailey. My battle with depression so often has overwhelmed me during the holidays that rejoicing in the birth of our Savior seems a foreign concept. Material matters clutter my mind, and thoughts of what I do not have cast a dark shadow over thoughts of that which I do have. But as George Bailey comes to realize that his greatest blessing is the gift that his existence brings to others, I too, realized that the depth of my despair and the greatest trials I have faced pale in comparison to the blessings that God has given me. I was born into the most loving and supportive of families. I love, and am loved by, dozens of dozens of friends and neighbors. I have a roof over my head, fresh food, clean water, and thousands of amenities which make life safe and comfortable. I have been afforded the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the world through education. I am healthy, strong, and safe despite all that is bad in the world. And I have found Truth in the life of Jesus Christ, whose deeds teach us that peace, love, mercy, and goodwill are the best gifts we can give or receive.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A December Update

Wishing you the very merriest of holidays! Things are moving along too quickly here, but it's best to take a step back and remember why we celebrate this season of the year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dear Lord, thank you for...

Allowing me to live in freedom
Health and vitality
The love of family
and extended family
New friendships
and old friendships
Four wonderful years of college
and a world-class education

and all the rest.

Monday, November 5, 2012


 Without this guy:

-I would have no health insurance.
-I might not have the right to make decisions about my own body.
-Costs for my education would rise (including interest for my student loans.)

-I would not be treated with equality in the workplace.
-I would be dismissed as one of the "47%" because I do not earn enough in a year to be required to pay taxes.
-Many of my friends and neighbors would not be given the same civil rights as me.
-Many of my fellow Americans would not be treated with the dignity and respect their age and station deserve

I am a loyal American citizen. I want what is best for the people of my country, and I believe that Barack Obama has got my back. He's got yours too, whether you plan to vote tomorrow or not. (But seriously, why not just vote for the guy that cares about you? What's going to happen? Oh, right. You'll get healthcare, equal pay, basic human rights, and a decent education. Bummer.)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A November Evening

Outside my is dark, cold, and it smells like late autumn. The last yellow and red leaves fell from the trees during the hurricane, and are plastered to just about everything in sight. There is woodsmoke and the rich scent of wet grass in the air.

I am thinking...that I will be glad when my parents return home tomorrow. This week has taken a lot out of me, and I’ve been longing for a quiet, cozy night with the family. I haven’t slept in my own bed all week, and I don’t quite feel myself.

I am thankful....that my family and friends are safe after Hurricane Sandy. There are so many people that have been affected by the storm, I am thankful that our house was not damaged and that no one in my town was hurt.

I am substitute teaching clothes! Grey tights, a blue patterned dress, and a navy blue cardigan.

I am hearing...the quiet noises of an empty house. The kitchen clock is ticking, the gas stove is settling, the animals are moving around, and the old floorboards are creaking under my chair.

I am pondering...the importance of self-control. For the past two nights I have found myself eating far too much Halloween candy, and almost immediately regretting it. Over the weekend I found a book that uses yoga practices to promote control of the body and mind. This morning I ordered it for myself (something I rarely do) because I feel that I need some structure to support my current lifestyle. 

I am wondering...whether I will have enough motivation to clean my room tonight. Otherwise I’ll have to spend another night downstairs. This past week, I was so preoccupied with parties, houseguests, hurricanes, work, and chores, that I didn’t take much time to do anything for myself. I was in the midst of cleaning my room, doing my laundry, and organizing my sewing projects when my parents left for their business trip. After that, all hope of finishing my individual work was lost.

I am reading...nothing at the moment. I have been trying to keep up with Bible readings when I read anything, but I seem only to be able to read my herbal healing books on a daily basis to deal with headaches, stomach aches, and cramps.

I am hoping...that this weekend I will have the opportunity to get started on a new healthy-living routine. I specifically used my trip to the grocery to buy flax seed, tofu, and lots of fruit. Tomorrow I hope to cleanse my system of all that Halloween candy, and make some vegetarian inspired snacks and meals.

I am see Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on Sunday. I haven’t taken advantage of any political events this election season, but I came up with a fabulous tee shirt slogan, and I’m planning to wear it to a rally in the capital. Here’s a sneak peek: “I’ve got a history degree, but even I’d rather move FORWARD than backward!” It came to me as I was thinking about how scarily backward Romney’s and Ryan’s views on women are.

I am smelling...a stinky dog. I think I should give her a bath tonight. :-P

I am much I have to get done before tomorrow afternoon! Clean house, strip beds, bathe dog, wash dishes, do laundry, take down Halloween decorations, cook down pumpkins for canning, put away laundry, bake, start healthy living routine, get Thanksgiving decorations up, put out campaign signs, run errands, etc. Yikes.
I am remembering...some of the wonderful things God has done for me lately. He is so good!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Importance of Self-Education

Maybe it's just me, but I think that education is important. I don't just mean the kind of education that can be bought at a university. College educations are an essential part of America's economy and culture, but education of the self is equally --if not more-- essential. Humans are not born with knowledge of the universe and its workings, therefore they must gather information to educate themselves. Whether in school, at work, or in the home, information is readily available.

When a person makes no attempt to learn, or learns but makes a concerted effort to deny true information, that person demonstrates ignorant behavior. Ignorance can be easily remedied by reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, or holding an intellectual conversation with friends and family. Therefore I find it absolutely unacceptable to live an insulated life of ignorance and bias. Recently, I found an ad in the village newspaper which made public the uneducated political opinion of a local resident. Here it is, unedited except to preserve the identity of the author:

" INTRODUCTION: This paid political ad was published in the Villager on October 3, 2008. It is still true today and a whole lot more painful. Now after four (4) years it is much worse with $6 billion more debt under Obama's watch, for a total over $16 billion...that is $51,000 to be paid back by every man, woman and child in the U.S. How is this possible with out your children and grandchildren existing at a very low standard of living. Obama is destroying the country with his reckless and unworkable economic policies. The only prayer we have is to change course and let Mitt Romney greatly expand the private sector with millions and millions of good paying jobs. Here is something we can relate to every day. Obama's disastrous energy policies have resulted in the price of a gallon of gas increasing from late Dec. 2008 (less than a month before he took office) at a $1.65 to about $4.00 a gallon in just 3 used to pay $25 to fill up your tank, now it is $60.


-He has never run demonstrated leadership.
-He has long-term associations with Terrorist and Anti-Americans.
-In his formative years his mentor was a marxist and communist.
-He was a continued drug user...marijuana and cocaine.
-As for education he attended an elite private high school, Columbia and Harvard Universities...little connection with the average American.
-He will have to cut our military and eliminate or reduce on-going new weapon systems to modernize our fighting forces to pay for his new programs.
-His new programs with higher taxes (paid for by you and me) will bankrupt our country.
-His legislative record is a zero and he has demonstrated no ability to work with both parties.
-He was unable to anticipate the pending financial crisis, inability to provide effective and timely leadership to solve it and is receiving financial advice from the men who caused the mortgage crisis.
-He has no experience in executive positions and will be unable to lead and move this great country forward as the leader of the free world. It takes more than catchy phrases and flowery words."

The advertisement made me question the basis of this man's opinion. Had he truly written an article of such utter fiction and believed it to be true? I understand some of his hesitation about economic recovery, but if this man believes that Obama was the singular cause of the recession, he needs to check his facts. I could say so much more, but it is exhausting to even consider the number of inaccuracies in this man's opinion.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to politics. The less you know about each candidate and the issues for which they stand, the more you put yourself and your fellow citizens in jeopardy. The United States of America are meant to be driven forward by the people. When ignorant and bigoted words and actions affect some of the people, all of the people are held back. Thus the country cannot move forward.

I therefore implore you to make an educated decision in this election. If you have already committed to vote for one candidate or another, I ask you to re-examine the choice you have made.

Will your favored candidate do ALL he or she can to support the well-being of the people? Will he or she promote the progress of that well-being? Have you chosen the candidate that will bring you the most personal benefit, or does your candidate bring the promise of broader benefits to those who most need them? If you truly believe in your candidate, by all means vote. If you remain uninformed, inform yourself. Listen to the facts, educate your heart, and vote for the person most likely to keep the United States moving forward.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quick Update: Prepping for the GGSE

In 6 months or less, I will be leaving for the Great Graduate School Experiment. In the meantime, I have been whittling away at my abundance of free time. Here are some tidbits about my life since I last posted.


-Traveled to Las Vegas for a trade show with my mom's company. It was a blast seeing the lights and action of Vegas, and I really liked working at the show!

-Finally everything is in line for me to become a substitute teacher in the local school district. I have desperately missed working with children, and I'm excited to be able to serve my community in a new way! My first scheduled teaching position is the last week of October, but perhaps I'll find a few other opportunities along the way.

-The daughter of a family friend swims six days a week, and I've been helping to transport her to and from her swim practices. It's a blessing to help out a friend, and spending so much time driving also allows me to take in the beauty of fall in New England.

-November vacation camp with the recreation department is all ready to go. My co-camp director and I are so excited to be offering a two-day camp exploring the origins of Thanksgiving-- including a trip to Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts (my future dream job)!

-Still working to get my seamstress business off the ground. Some of my work was on display at the town library between August and October, and my dresses in particular were given a lot of attention. I have made plans to attend a few local craft fairs and markets, and hopefully will be selling some items before Christmas. Look for the Rainy Day Seamstress near you.

-I met and played with some of the children in that I hope to be spending time with come February. The kids are all part of an early childhood program at our local community center, and when my friend Lisa goes on maternity leave in a few months, I will be taking her place for a few weeks.

-Since August, I've been housekeeping for my parents-- cleaning the house top to bottom every week. It's a tough job because as soon as I've vacuumed the dog starts scratching, the cat sheds, the bird molts, and I have to get rid of the dust and grime all over again. But I actually like to clean and organize, so it gives me an opportunity to rid myself of excess compusivity.

-After speaking with the president of the local historical society, I have been given the opportunity to join the board and work with the society on a number of projects. It will be a wonderful chance to work in my field during my year at home.


-In September I had the opportunity to visit some dear friends around the state. I will also be visiting UNH for homecoming this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to see a number of my school friends while I am on the other side of the state.

-I've been working hard to train my little Ollie bird. Since he came to live with us a little over a year ago, Ollie has been a bit wild. Unlike any other bird we've owned, Ollie would eat no "people food", would not perch on a finger, and did not talk or whistle. During the summer I spent hours talking to him, feeding him garden vegetables, and handling him on a regular basis. Within the last month, he has become (almost) a normal bird. He talks endlessly in my voice, scavenges for breakfast cereal and carrots, and will come out of his cage with hardly a squawk. Despite my family telling me that I'll end up a crazy bird lady, I'm very proud of all the work we've accomplished ;-)

-In my really free time, I have been sewing and/or plotting to sew all kinds of projects. It's just about time to think about Christmas, and I'm feeling prepared for the first time in years. Of course, part of that is that I don't have to take any exams or research any theses for the first time in my life, but still, it's nice to feel like I've got a grip on something.

-Although it's been dreary and grey for the past two weeks, I've taken every opportunity to work in the garden. We haven't got much left, but it makes me feel better to know that my beds and compost will be in good shape for the winter. Considering that I won't have much of an opportunity to garden in DC, I'm hoping that all the houseplants I've been repotting will be able to survive the big move. Most of our houseplants live on the porch during the summer, but I'm slowly collecting them in my room again as the cold nights settle in.

-I'm also spending a lot of time in the kitchen copying family recipes into my new recipe book, trying out said recipes, and preserving whatever has come my way. So far I've put up 12 pints mint jelly, 12 pints plum jelly, 26 quarts dill pickles, 3 quarts pickled zucchini, 6 quarts applesauce, and countless dried veggies, fruits, herbs and tea ingredients. I'm still planning on another 6 quarts applesauce tomorrow.

Wow. That's a long "quick" update. I'll stop now and leave the rest for another day.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Stand with Hope and Change

It's time I said it out loud: I am a Liberal.

I am a Democrat and I don't care who knows. I will be supporting President Obama and Vice President Biden in the election this November.

Sure, there is a part of me that is a reserved, modest, Christian woman, but there is also a cynical, outspoken part of me. There are times I pray for God to bring our country's leaders together and treat each other with love and equality. And there are times when I want to slap politicians upside the head and shout "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

Anyone involved in the running of our nation should educate him or herself on the historical context of the founding of the United States. Don't slap around mindless insults and accusations. Recently I had an encounter with someone on the internet whose ignorance of American history made me physically sick to my stomach. Comments like this:

"If you actually knew your history (Most liberals don't so don't worry!) Paul Revere went to warn the British after warning the city of Boston."

And watching people who are supposed to represent me, as a young American woman, fumble over themselves by combining ethical concepts, biology, and human rights just makes me want to cry. This misogynistic and ill-educated explanation of female biology and justice is unbelievable:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Honestly, I understand the need for competing political parties in America, I will not begrudge you the choice that you make to be a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, or a member of the Green Party, but GET A CLUE. If you are not educated enough to understand fundamental principles of biology, history, government, economics, social protocol, and human rights, you should not be in office. Educate yourself. In today's world, it should not be difficult to listen to the radio, watch the television, read the newspaper, talk to neighbors, visit civic centers, and immerse yourself in the culture of our fast-paced country. Make it your business to be an informed American. Treat others with respect. And remember that if your so-called moral integrity holds you back from doing these things, you have the power to make a change in your own life.

Because you live in America.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quick Update

Since the end of summer camp, my schedule has been somewhat less regular. It has taken me a few weeks to get into the swing of things. Hopefully I'll return to posting on a regular basis soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the things that I've been up to:

A good friend from school was encamped with her French and Indian reenacting group a few towns away from me. I joined her for a day of campfires, folk dancing, and 18th century bliss.

I have been sewing like mad once again. In addition to my own projects, I have also begun a little service for those in town who need a seamstress. So far, it is going well.

Harvest time in the garden! At least 8 lbs of potatoes in this basket.

My sister joined me for an evening concert in the park near our house. A few days later, she left for a semester studying in Spain!

Pickling time! 12 quarts of Kosher dill pickles in one day. Phew.

Pickles and jelly make for a very productive day.

After months apart, I was reunited with two of my best friends from school. We enjoyed a weekend complete with Ethiopian cuisine, a swing dance outside of Boston, pedicures, and an afternoon at the seacoast.
Looking forward to another few weeks of lovely adventures!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This Old House

I know it's been ages since I've posted. I have been busy with all sorts of projects, and have been too tired to get my act together at night. Mostly I have been organizing the deposited goods that have accumulated after five people have lived in the same space for 25 years. The attic is clean and orderly again after an extensive purge of all things on the 3rd floor.

During my cleaning spree, I have found a number of surprises in and around the house. I just love living in an old house. Surprises everywhere!

Ironstone saucer

Molded clay rooster

Ceramic game piece

Victorian "Frozen Charlotte" doll

1955 transfer-print reproduction coffee mug

Early 20th century linoleum floor cloth

 ...unfortunately, now that the attic is clean, I now know EXACTLY where the roof leaks when it rains.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Homemade Facial Treatments

My skin is very sensitive. I am prone to freckles, sunburn, heat rash, acne, and allergic reactions to just about everything that touches my face. Over the years, I have found it difficult to use many commercial products because they contain perfumes and irritants, or make my skin too dry or oily. Despite this, my quest for a beauty and health regimen is ongoing. Recently, I have found a number of mild facial treatments that can be done in the kitchen, and work well for sensitive faces like mine.

1. Yogurt mask
I am always trying to find solutions to acne scars, but many facial peels are extremely harsh and can further irritate skin. Plain yogurt contains a high concentration of lactic acid which helps to rid the skin of dead cells. 

About once a week I combine a few tablespoons of yogurt and a teaspoon of plain gelatin, microwave for about 30 seconds, and smooth onto my face. Leave the mask on until dry, then rinse with warm water. Immediately after facial treatments, I moisturize with a few drops of vitamin E oil.

2. Aspirin wash
To treat tough acne I use a 10% benzoil peroxide cream. Unfortunately, the cream often bleaches fabrics, and so I use my peroxide only at night. I use this aspirin wash during the day because it goes on clear, treats spots, and does not bleach!

Boil water and pour a few tablespoons over a crushed, uncoated aspirin. Let dissolve and cool, then apply wash to face with a soft cloth or cotton ball.

3. Steam cleanse
Every few weeks I use this treatment to open my pores and sweat out some of the toxins that my skin absorbs on a daily basis.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Set saucepan on a table, cover your head with a towel, and place head over the steam. Make sure you are a foot or two above the pan, otherwise the steam can cause painful burns. Stay in the steam for about ten minutes, or until you start to sweat. Rinse face with cool water and follow with moisturizer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Sentiment: A Reflective Moment

A glimpse into my summer.

Right now, I am...
:: enjoying my tea after a long day outside.
:: watching Momma and Bee (my grandmother) reading newspapers in the living room.
:: smelling the fresh summer breeze that is drifting through the windows of the kitchen.
:: looking forward to sleeping well tonight.
:: wishing for time this week to bake a pie with my fresh-picked wild blueberries!
:: hearing clicking keyboards, crinkling newspapers, the breeze of the fan, and the news on television.
:: feeling tired, but satisfied with my work in the garden today.
:: reminding myself that I have to finish sewing place mats for my future apartment.
:: rejoicing in the discoveries I made yesterday. Wonderful cookbooks dating from the 1920's to the 1960's found at a local yard sale!
:: laughing at our silly dog who rode across the lake today in the kayak, wedged between my legs.
:: being calm. My new Sunday night ritual is to rid myself of negative energy, and meditate to bring positivity to the week ahead.
:: happy to be at home in New Hampshire on this glorious July day.
:: working on a number of projects, most notably quilted place mats to match my Boleslawiec pottery.
:: noticing that I am in the mood for a second cup of tea-- not surprising, but also not a good idea before bedtime.
:: inspired to do so much, and realizing that I have an entire year ahead of me to do it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Midsummer Fun!

One of my favorite blogs is hosting a ModCloth giveaway. For all my historical fashion-inclined friends, I hope you will take a look at some of Kellie's stylish creations and be inspired! Also from  Accordion to Kellie, a little midsummer fun:

What is your favorite cold summer treat?
I ADORE raspberry chocolate-chip ice cream. Perfect combination of cold, tart, and sweet.

Ideal summer vacation?
If I had the opportunity, I would spend the entire summer on an island in Maine. But the ultimate vacation would be a trip to Prince Edward Island. One of my life ambitions is to live by the sea.
Favorite summertime sport?
To be honest, I love wading in rivers and ponds. It seems very childish, but I always find the most interesting treasures.
Name your favorite book for the perfect summer afternoon read
 Anything involving historical fiction, romance, or farm adventures.

Current #1 summer goal:
Enjoy my last year as a summer camp counselor and try to stay positive!
A favorite summertime memory
A few years ago, I was invited to spend a week with some family friends on their favorite island in Maine. I have to admit that it was one of the most wonderful, relaxing, and thrilling weeks of my life.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Sentiment: Summertime Adventures

June 16: My cousin invited me to sing the closing song at her wedding. It was a very emotional event, as her father (my Uncle Dan) passed away in late March. It was also my debut performance singing for people outside of my friends and immediate family.

July 4: A dear friend invited me to join him in Boston for Independence Day. We enjoyed the city all afternoon, and in the evening we attended the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.

Halfway through the performance, a lightening storm caused the forced evacuation of the Esplanade. 15,000 people were evacuated into the Storro Drive tunnel in Boston. After 25 minutes we were allowed back out, at which point the Boston Pops played their signature piece "Stars and Stripes Forever". Confetti rained down on us, and the fireworks began.

During the lightening storm and evacuation, the rain held off. As soon as the fireworks started, it DOWNPOURED. But it was a blast (literally)!

July 14: A picnic in Prescott Park along the Piscataqua River with some friends from college. We called it a "reunion" because some of us had since graduated, but I prefer to think of it as the first of many friendly gatherings. Each contingent brought something to add to the feast. I came with my own lettuce, local tomatoes & zucchini, homemade garlic vinaigrette, fresh oatmeal bread, homemade peach-plum jam, and grapes.

All in all, it's been a pretty fabulously eventful summer so far.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Sentiment: Project Wishlist Update

In January, I posted a list of projects that I wanted to accomplish. Now let's check in to see what I've finished this year so far!

  • Mug cozies-- Scandinavian pattern for Lily
  • Fingerless mittens for Ethan
  • Mittens for Daddie Working on it.
  • Cabled headbands
  • Baby sweater with locally farmed, dyed, and spun wool
  • Socks!
  • Fair Isle sweater
  • Sweater with Scandinavian pattern
  • Tablerunner for Momma
  • New potholders-- quilted
  • Quilt for Claire Finished!
  • T-shirt quilt for myself Working on it.
  • New swing dress for Spring semester Finished!
  • Undergarments! for swing dancing, etc. Working on it.
  • More farmer's market bags for Barb, Emily
  • Aprons for myself Finished!
  • Altering of old dresses Finished!
  • Denim skirt Finished!
  • Dog bed for Chessie
  • Rag rug
  • Hooked rug from scraps Working on it.
  • Tin lanterns
  • Cross-stitch finished! Working on it.
  • Seal and label seed packets from last year Finished!
  • Start seedlings for the Spring & Summer-- egg cartons
  • Frame drawings
  • Make more candles-- tapers, columns, and votives
  • Homemade shampoo Finished!
  • New batch of handsoap
Hmmm, it looks as though I'd better get going on my knitting! I think sewing is so much faster for me that I tend to prefer it. But I want to improve my knitting skills, so I ought to start some new projects soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Favorite Home Remedies

This year I've been striving to do away with the added chemicals in commercial soaps, painkillers, and hygiene products in my life. Being a fairly active person, the most difficult part of this transition has been weaning myself off of acetaminophen. About nine months ago, I broke a few ribs and found myself taking painkillers every few hours to ward off back pain and the pain of the actual broken bones. I am also prone to headaches, vertigo, and nausea. Needless to say, this has been quite an experience testing the limits of my pain threshold. In place of the over-the-counter medications that I used to rely so heavily on, I have found comfort in a few excellent home remedies.

For back pain and/or muscle aches:
-Drink a few cups of peppermint tea every day
-Draw a warm bath and add 1/4 cup baking soda & 2 cups freshly steeped peppermint tea (soak for at least 20 minutes, relaxing all muscles)

For nausea, indigestion, or bloating:
-Slice a few pieces of fresh ginger root & steep for 5 minutes to make tea-- drink a cup every few hours as long as symptoms persist
-Peppermint tea helps digestion as well, but it has a much stronger flavor and can sometimes give the sensation of filling you up before it provides relief
-If severe stomach cramps are a problem, I suggest steeping a teaspoon of caraway seeds in hot water & sipping slowly

For dizziness and/or vertigo:
-I drink ginger tea for my vertigo, usually while lying with a cool cloth over my eyes

And of course, one of my favorite home remedies is daily yoga! I find that doing a few stretches each night and meditating for about 20 minutes before bed helps me to focus on my body and its needs.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Sentiment

 Yesterday, our family suffered a great loss. The youngest son of a family friend tragically passed away in a swimming accident. He was just 24, but had already lived a full and adventurous life. Although he grew up in a different state and we didn't get to see him very often, I thought of him almost as a distant older brother. Every year at Easter, he and his brother would join us in our egg hunt. After he and his family moved away, we only saw him once or twice a year-- at Christmas or Easter. Once, when I was seven or eight years old, we visited his new house in Vermont. We went to a play, and I rode with him and his brother on the way there. They told me that every time you passed a graveyard, you had to hold your breath until it was out of sight or the dead people would come after you. I think I believed that story until I was eleven or twelve years old. I remember he liked to collect camels figurines when he was young, and I saw his collection once. I wish I had gotten to know him better as I got older, because I so enjoyed hearing about his exploits and adventures in college and beyond. I last saw him in 2009 at the joyful occasion of his graduation from college. I hope that as his family and friends mourn the loss of him in this life, his gentle soul will continue to live on and comfort them until they meet again.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vintage Find of the Month

Found this lovely 1950's oriental-style dress at a yard sale for $5! Not a great photo of me, but contrary to what the photo shows, the dress is very flattering in both style and color.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Sentiments: A Taste of Living Green

Do you recycle? Absolutely. Recycling is mandatory in my town, but even if it wasn't required, I'd still do my best.

Do you do you laundry with hot or cold water? Cold water. Occasionally I use warm water to deep-clean bedclothes, but only about once a month.

What kind of light bulbs are in your house? I have always used compact florescent or energy efficient bulbs. I also use LED lights whenever possible.

Do you compost? Our family composts nearly everything. We've got three composters for food waste, and at least two for garden debris. I'm sure if we measured it, our weekly compost would amount to more than our weekly garbage for the landfill.

What kind of vehicle do you drive? As a poor college graduate, I had the budget to purchase only a pre-owned car. My personal vehicle is a 1999 Subaru Outback. We live in rural New Hampshire, and unfortunately, there is no public transport. I usually walk when I need to get around town, but if I need a grocery store, a bank, or a pharmacy I have to take my car.

Do you use plastic or reusable bags when grocery shopping? We almost always bring reusable canvas bags when grocery shopping. Occasionally we will run out of bags from home, but I always ask for paper if they need to bag my groceries. That way, we can recycle the paper at home.

What are three ways you conserve energy?
-I limit the frequency of my showers, as well as the length of each shower. With five people in one tiny bathroom, it can run up an energy bill pretty quick!
-Whenever possible, I hang my clothes to dry them. In the summer, I use both the clothesline and my drying rack so that I can dry two loads at a time.
-I walk to work nearly every day. My work is only a block away, so it makes it easy to save gas and the environment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Garden Beginnings 2012

 We've barely planted all our vegetables, but the garden is going crazy already! The New Hampshire winter was so mild this year that most of our perennials are weeks ahead of themselves. The only downside is that with the mild winter, the squirrel and chipmunk population has exploded. I have to be very careful not to direct seed anything, because the chipmunks will swarm once I've left the garden. It's frustrating because half of what I've planted has been eaten before it could even sprout!
 In any case, we've got much of the same garden spread this year. Pickling cucumbers, peppermint, oregano, dill, edamame, summer squash, purple pole beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, Asian greens, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. A neighbor gave us an artichoke, which I planted near the compost. It's been in for about a month, and it seems to be doing quite well. I also transplanted some raspberry canes which were growing wild behind the garage. We'll see how things go with that experiment.
 I'm trying to diversify my herb collection, and in addition to my chamomile, mint, thyme, dill, chives, lavender, parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc, I have added yarrow, lemon balm, and bee balm.