April’s Full Pink Moon

I love all phases of the moon but I especially search for the full moon no matter where I am, whether it’s in the desert or the mountains or at the beach or even if it’s at my house–mama moon always makes her presence known and felt.

Tonight’s moon after the clouds is so bright!

Phlox 'Star of Heaven', Moss Phlox – Dancing Oaks Nursery and Gardens

I know it’s not really pink but that’s only a slight disappointment. Tonight’s full moon is also a super moon which means that the moon is full while also in perigee, or closest approach to Earth.

It’s actually referred to as a Pink Moon because Moss Phlox are in full bloom during this season.

I found this awesome YouTube video with all of the healing sounds and frequencies and thought I’d share it so everyone has plenty of time to dedicate to this experience.

It starts at 14hz and moves to 12.5hz at 4.20 minutes; 6.35 minutes it moves to 7.83hz
(Schumann Resonance) for 12 minutes, then drops to 0.5hz until the end. There is an underlying base frequency of 432hz which is enhanced within the music as well. The music has an underlying frequency of 285Hz.

I hope you enjoy this. I like to use headphones but it’s not 100% necessary. Don’t forget to charge your crystals!

YUM! Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese

Whenever I find a great product, I love to share it with you guys.

I thought I’d try vegan cream cheese again. The last time I did, it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. It looked gross and tasted like grainy, slimy wallpaper paste that left a nasty residue in my mouth. Yuck.

At Traders this morning, I gave in to temptation and picked up a tub of Miyoko’s Cream Cheese.

I didn’t examine the label with as much scrutiny as I usually do because the store was crowded and I wanted to hurry and get out of there.

When I got home, I was starving and opened a box of crackers, crossing my fingers that this new variety of vegan cream cheese wouldn’t be another disaster.

After my first taste, I thought I had accidentally purchased real cream cheese with LOX (salmon) and I was totally freaking out. I literally ran in the kitchen to look at the container to check ingredients in case I made a mistake. I was gobsmacked (love that word) to read this:

I can’t believe how accurately Miyoko’s replicated the flavors and texture of milk-based cream cheese. What a joy!

Product Details: •Non-GMO • Lactose Free • Gluten Free • Soy Free • Palm Oil Free • Kosher • Ingredients: Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Cream, Sea Salt, Organic Seaweed, Vegetable Juice for Color, Cultures

Even if you’re not a vegan, I suggest you give it a try because it’s simply DELICIOUS. And best of all, their products are cruelty-free.

**This post is an unsolicited endorsement; the company didn’t send products for review nor have I received any form of compensation.**

Recipe: Refreshing Infused Herbal Water

As promised, I’m going to share my recipe for this refreshing and healthy herbal beverage. It’s been unseasonably warm here and I was getting tired of plain old water to hydrate and quench my thirst.

Every herb came from my garden. To sliced cucumber and lemon, I added

Thyme
Basil
Sage
Lemon verbena
Cilantro and cilantro flowers, the whole thing, stem included
Celery leaves (yes I grow celery)

I suggest that you try whatever you have in your garden. I might add a sprig or two of lavender, but it’s an overpowering addition and I wanted the purity of character that herbs impart. My parsley and marjoram are still seedlings and I didn’t have any ginger on hand or I would have sliced a big hunk of that, too. It’s fun to experiment…just make sure every plant is edible and non toxic

After refrigerating for a while to marry the flavors and chill, I poured it into a big glass and garnished with an orange nasturtium flower. Keep replenishing the water and it’ll stay fresh and yummy for about four or five days.

It was so delicious and refreshing! I felt exactly as if I was being pampered at a posh day spa.

Happy first Saturday in April!

Through the Window

This little one returns every spring to nest in the same old birdhouse.

For some strange reason, I woke up with a raging migraine that haunted me all day. I have no idea what triggered it. Thankfully, I rarely get them but this one was especially dreadful because I was nauseous for hours and hours. I slept most of the day which is so unlike me but my body insisted.

At one point when I forced myself to drink water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated, I looked out onto the deck and was greeted with a melodic, warbling song and couldn’t resist grabbing my camera for a couple of photos and then I went back to sleep.

On a side note, I semi-watched Perry Mason and Wagon Train and Mash and Happy Days, not my usual choices, only because I didn’t have the energy to look for the remote to change the station or turn off the TV. I was able to discern a lot of nuance from Happy Days that I had originally missed, in case anyone studies old TV shows.

I feel better today.

Tail up.

Tail down.

P.S. Migraines are debilitating; I lost a whole day; my heart goes out to anyone who suffers on a regular basis.

Covid-19 Vaccine: Second Dose

No rainbows or IVs this time!

Here’s a timeline of my experience subsequent to the second vaccine:

Due to my visit to urgent care after the first vaccine because I had an allergic reaction, my doctor told me to drink at least 64 oz water for a few days prior to my appointment. I know that’s a great idea anyway, but I never really drank that much water, so I definitely know it’s important.

My appointment was scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at 8:15 a.m.

Again, the facility did such a great job that we were checked in and promptly seen. Because of my allergic reaction following the first vaccine, I was whisked away to an enhanced observation area. I must have made quite an impression (lol) because the same nurse was there and she remembered me.

This time, perhaps due to being well-hydrated, I didn’t experience an allergic reaction and went home. My arm was a little sore but no other major symptoms–until about six hours later.

I became super fatigued, had a pounding headache, muscle/joint aches, and abdominal pain. Still no fever.

I continued to hydrate the rest of the day.

Around 6:00 p.m. I took my temperature and had a fever of 99.8. I had prepared for side effects by stocking up on soups and made a batch of my ubiquitious lentil veggie soup

I fell asleep on the sofa watching Vera on PBS. When I woke up, I was alternately hot and shaking with chills. This time when I took my temperature, it was 101.5. I took Tylenol and went to bed.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m., took my temperature again and it was 100.8, so I went back to sleep but didn’t take more Tylenol.

The next morning I still felt pretty badly and managed to make a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and lie on the sofa. I was extremely tired and unable to do anything but vegetate, and that really annoyed me. The headache was as dreadful as the day before. All morning, my temp was steady at 99.8.

At around 4:00 p.m. I started to feel marginally better; the aches were dissipating, and my temp was 99.

I watched a bit of American Idol but couldn’t take more than five minutes of it before I turned to PBS. After “All Things Great and Small” was over at` 10:00 p.m, I took my temperature again. This time it was 97.6 which is my normal. .Other than a still slightly sore shoulder, it’s as if all the symptoms disappeared at the exact same time. I could feel an immediate absence of all aches and pains

It’s very strange to feel unwell and poorly but not actually BE sick. I didn’t have the flu. I didn’t have Covid. I didn’t have any other virus or infection. I kinda sorta feel as if I’m a human guinea pig involved in a gigantic science experiment.

Anyway, it’s over, I’ve had both doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. It’s supposed to offer 95% protection against the virus. I sure hope it does but to be safe, I’ll still follow protocol and wear a mask out in public.

Read about my first Covid vaccine experience by clicking on this link.

Rainbows and IVs: My Covid Vaccine Experience

Day One:
Vaccination day….

My appointment for my first Covid vaccine was scheduled for 8:15 this morning. I chose the Jefferson Street Scripps location because it’s close and also brand new so I thought it’d be nice and clean.

I got there early like I always do and stood in a not-very-long line. I was the 9th person. The entire wait was about twenty minutes or so. Every so often, an employee came out to update us on the status and thanked us for being patient.

We had some rain and then a rainbow appeared!

When it was my turn to get checked in, the process was smooth and swift and I was sent to another short line waiting to get into an actual room for the vaccination.

I’m a very cautious person…trying to stay healthy, that’s all!

The RN explained that I would be receiving the Pfizer vaccine and was given a small card to save with the date and vaccine lot number.

The actual injection was absolutely pain-free and over in less than five seconds.

From there, I was escorted to another area to sit for about thirty minutes to determine whether or not I was going to have an adverse reaction.

Guess what?

I DID!

After about ten minutes or so, I could feel my tongue start to feel thick and when I talked to the nurse, my voice was hoarse. Since I have asthma, I’m used to what it feels like when I’m experiencing respiratory distress. I was also a little dizzy. The nurse decided it was time to take me downstairs to be further evaluated by a triage team in Urgent Care.

Vitals were taken. My blood pressure was 160/120 and my heart rate was 114. Oxygen was 99% which is good, but there was definitely some type of negative reaction to the vaccine. The doctor suggested, and I agreed, to an IV hydration drip. Since I can’t take steroids because of bad reactions to THAT, she thought I should have Benadryl. I opted to wait and see how I felt after the IV before doing that. I should say here that if I were counseling anyone else, I’d tell anyone to definitely get the Benadryl, but I’m a pretty stubborn girl and like to make my own medical decisions based on what I know about my own body.

I was nicely set up with an IV, a pillow, and a heated blanket tucked in around me. That was so lovely.

I rested for the next hour or so; every so often someone would pop their head in to check on me and my symptoms didn’t worsen. I started to feel a little better.

The doctor took my vitals again; BP and HR were back to normal and I was discharged to go home and take my own Benadryl, 25 milligrams four times a day.

So far, the only other symptoms I’ve noticed is that my vaccinated arm is starting to become sore and I’m tired, but that could be from the Benadryl.

Before I left Scripps, I had an email for my second Covid vaccination in three weeks. How efficient is that!

I spoke with Josh, one of the location managers, and told him what an amazing and organized job Scripps did with the vaccines. Everyone was kind, professional, and caring.

All in all, it was a satisfying experience. I hope everybody gets the Covid vaccine as soon as possible so we can resume living!

Day Two:
I woke up with a sore arm and no other side effects, fever, aches, or chills. Fingers crossed!

Yummy Vegan Veggie Lentil Soup

My doctor totally depressed me cos she told me her husband’s best friend just died from Covid-19 and because she’s on the frontlines treating patients, she cautioned me to be extra careful and stay home and away from people.

I decided it was a great day to make another version of my favorite hearty and healthy soup.

Lentil Tofu Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
*Carrots, 3 large
*Celery, 2-3 stalks including leaves
*Tofu, whole package
*Lentils,1.5 cups
*Kale, 2 cups
*Broccoli, half head
*Canned organic tomatoes, 28 ounce can
*Bay leaves and other garden herbs

–Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot.
–Add roughly chopped carrots and celery. I don’t like onions so I didn’t add them, but go ahead and chop up half an onion if you like them.
–When they’re nicely browned and have released a lot of flavor, add dried lentils and six cups of water along with a couple bay leaves.

–Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
–Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli and tofu along with chopped kale.
–Simmer for about an hour, stir every once in a while. Add more water as needed.
–Add a large can of diced tomatoes in juice and any herbs to taste.
–I picked sage and oregano and thyme from the garden.
–Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt (optional).

–Serve in a large bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful lettuce this season, so I picked a few fresh leaves for a salad to accompany this delicious soup.

Sometimes I make a crusty French bread but I didn’t feel like it because I’m sad about almost losing our precious democracy but I might make vegan biscuits tomorrow cos I’ll eat this soup for a few days.

It gets better every day.

Beneficial Bay Leaves

Bay leaves give tomato sauce a special flavor profile, allowing all the other spices to develop with synergy and complexity, providing a subtle depth of flavor.

I LOVE bay leaves in soups too, and can immediately tell the difference when I neglect to add them to the pot.

A while back I planted my very own Bay Laurel tree so that I’d never run out.

I learned that bay leaves offer benefits as herbal remedies, too, as well as value in smudging like we do with sage.

Bay leaf tea is used to treat stomachaches, colds, and a sore throat.

A poultice of bay leaves is used for the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia (Goodrich et al., 1980).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Bay leaf tea is alleged to lower blood sugar, can eliminate bad cholesterol, and relieves the body of triglycerides..

Bay leaf protects the heart as it contains cardiovascular protective compounds. It’s rich in acids such as caffeic acid, quercetin, eigonol, and bartolinide, substances that are thought to prevent the formation of cancer cells in the body.

It eliminates insomnia and anxiety, and if taken before bed, helps you relax and sleep peacefully.

I’ve started drinking a cup of bay leaf tea twice a day, along with my everpresent ginger tea.

A simple soothing Bay Leaf Tea to boost immune function:

  • 4-5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • About 32 ounces of water
  • Add leaves and cinnamon to the water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Drink hot or chilled.

Vitamin Sea

Today was the perfect day to soak up the positive energy of the ocean.

“The ocean has the ability to trigger a psychological state of calm and contentment. It can literally wash away the pain.”

I didn’t see any whales and this beach isn’t abundant with shells, but the sand was warm and welcoming.

Hearts in the sand.
A pretty little shorebird. This looks like a painting.

And a couple short videos:

Heart/wrecked

Featured

Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.