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.

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.

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.

Super Healthy Vegan Protein Smoothie

Happy Sunday!

The color of this smoothie was such a gorgeous jade green, I just had to pour it in a pretty cocktail glass and take a pic.

Ingredients:

+Vegan Pea Protein
+Moringa powder (Organic)
+Wheat grass powder (Organic)
+Spirulina powder (Organic)
+Kale
+Banana
+Mango Peach Juice

So easy; toss it all in a blender and enjoy!

More Green Goo…WHAT did she say?

green-goo-logo-stack-1Yes, I said, “Green Goo”. There’s something I really like about the vibe I get from this woman-owned company which is why I chatted about them a while ago.

Recently, the nice people from Green Goo sent me a sampling of their products.

Here’s the crazy part. I first gave them my home address. Then, I thought I was going to be visiting all of my Angels 1-4 so I gave them THAT address.

At the last minute, my flight was cancelled so the package of goodies is now 1000 miles away from me and Angel Boy 1.0 and DIL are using them, which is totally cool, but I do SO LOVE getting prezzies, so it’s a bit sad for me haha.

Hopefully there will be something left for me by the time I get to visit–if not, that’s OK too. It is what it is.

I’m seriously looking forward to the pain relief salve with ginger, peppermint, and arnica–three of my favorite ingredients, enriched with cinnamon and olive oil. It can temporarily help ease the aching of arthritis, sore muscles, and bruises. It emulates hot and cold therapies to help increase circulation for rapid relief. Check out their website for great reviews.

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This release was emailed today, so I thought I’d share it because I like to support companies who walk the talk and give back.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREEN GOO DONATES HAND SANITIZER TO U.S. BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Women-owned brand expands mission to ‘Spread Goodness’ in face of global pandemic LYONS, Colo. (May 21, 2020) -– All-natural body care brand Green Goo, under parent company Sierra Sage Herbs, is honored to support frontline workers, medical facilities, and local and national organizations making a difference in the fight against COVID-19 with instrumental product donations, including FDA-compliant hand sanitizer and first aid items. Pivoting at the onset of the global pandemic to produce an affordable hand sanitizer for those in need, Green Goo has leveraged its manufacturing partnerships to produce a steady supply of the 63.5% alcohol gel, in a variety of packaging options, in order to provide an in-stock solution for consumers and organizations alike. With production capacity and volume steadier and more reliable, Green Goo has been able to realign focus back to its philosophical cornerstones: philanthropy and humanitarianism. ”Our company mission is ‘Spread Goodness,’ and that never stops, regardless of the obstacles thrown in our way,” Green Goo Co-Founder and CEO Jodi Scott said. “We recognized at the onset of the current situation that we not only needed to protect our families and our employees, but that we had an obligation to find a way to make a difference, no matter how big or small. We are privileged to be in a position to share these meaningful products with those in need. The organizations receiving our hand sanitizers — major government and educational health authorities, hospitals, first responders, and shelters for at-risk populations, for example – are doing the kind of work necessary to keep people safe and informed during these uncertain times. To play any part in that world is the reason we started this company in the first place.” The following organizations have received donations of hand sanitizer and/or all-natural first aid products from Green Goo: • Alameda Health System – Oakland, Calif. • Bayshore Medical Center – Flanders, N.J. • Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times – Los Angeles • Central Texas Food Bank – Austin, Texas • God’s Love We Deliver – New York • Harbor House of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla. • James A. Haley Veterans Hospital – Tampa, Fla. • McLeod Health Clarendon – Manning, S.C. • Navajo Nation with help from Orenda Tribe and The Lani Rhys Collective – Albuquerque, N.M. • Not 4gotten NY – Woodstock, N.Y. • OUT Boulder County – Boulder, Colo. 424 Main Street | Lyons, Colorado | 303.823.2468 | greengoo.com • Providence Fire Department – Santee, S.C. • The Arc of Washington County – Hagerstown, Md. • The City of New York’s NYC Health Department – New York • UCLA Health – Los Angeles While the preceding list ranges from hospitals and medical personnel to food banks, other first responder groups, and entities providing educational and protective services. Green Goo is also setting aside a percentage of monthly hand sanitizer sales to select local and national organizations. The recipients of the financial contribution for the month of April were L.E.A.F (Lyons Emergency & Assistance Fund, Lyons) and Direct Relief. Boulder Community Health Foundation (Boulder) and Johns Hopkins Medicine have been selected to receive financial donations following the month of May. Additionally, donated products have been sent to numerous individuals working in hospitals with affected patients, social workers, small-business owners, and others defining the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Green Goo will continue to produce compliant hand sanitizer options and search for additional opportunities to offer related support for as long as deemed necessary by U.S. health officials. ### Media Contact: Shea Martin, Vice President of Public Relations shea@greengoohelps.com T: 917-903-2795 http://www.greengoo.com Facebook/Instagram/Twitter — @greengoohelps About Green Goo Formed in 2008, Green Goo is a women-owned, family-operated, B-Corp. Our products are cruelty free and made in the USA with 100% natural ingredients. We started small, making products for friends, family, and the local farmer’s market, and we have now grown into a thriving, value-driven company. As we evolve, we remain committed to our roots: a time-honored infusion process, high-quality ingredients, and simple, effective products that are safe for you, your family, and the environment.

Veggie Power! Keep it simple. Keep it clean. Keep it GREEN. *

wheatgrassAs in the green of wheatgrass.

Now don’t scrunch your face at me or say YUCK.

Just give it a chance.

For some of us, the fresh and refreshing flavor of wheatgrass was an instant hit with our palates, but I do realize that for a lot of you, it might take a bit of effort to enjoy.

I’ve been an advocate of wheatgrass since 2000, when a girlfriend started carrying around a water bottle filled with a jade-colored beverage, and said it was the single best thing she’s done for her health and well-being since becoming a vegan.

Ever since then, tugboat man and I “do” wheatgrass pretty much on a daily basis.

What’s the best time of day (and method) to take your greens?

I like to add them to smoothies or drop a tablespoon to the water I bring to the gym and drink it during class.

Here’s what Pines suggests: Take with a good amount of water or other liquid. This helps your body take full advantage of the nutrients without competing with other foods, and may also take the edge off your hunger so you don’t eat as much at meals. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are great times for a green energy pick-me-up.

(There are tablets, if you just CAN’T.)

The health benefits are HUGE. 

According to the Pines International Wheat Grass (the wheat grass people since 1976) website…

1) PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM CANCER
There is significant scientific evidence that eating certain green, leafy vegetables can help prevent cancer.  The American Institute of Cancer Research states:

Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids that can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer .

2) A RICH SOURCE OF VITAMINS & MINERALS
Greens represent a convenient, essentially non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese .

3) LOWER THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AND TYPE 2 DIABETES
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables contain fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals. This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes .

4) BOOST YOUR MOOD
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and collards contain folate and vitamin B12. According to WebMD, there is a correlation between the consumption of these vitamins and rates of depression. “These veggies contain lots of the B-complex vitamins, which are needed to make serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical” .

5) IMPROVE BREATH
Green leafy vegetable like spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, and lettuce, kale and salad greens contains the highest amount of chlorophyll (the green pigment) which is an excellent deodorizer. The green vegetables help balance the pH level of the body and thus prevent the occurrence of dry mouth which is one of the root causes of bad breath. A diet which is comprised of loads of green leafy vegetables will not only eliminate offensive odor but it will also boost the production of digestive enzymes .

6) SLOW THE AGING PROCESS
In addition to playing a key role in helping blood to clot, vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions. Researchers in California found inadequate K can lead to cardiovascular disease, bone fragility, and arterial and kidney calcification.

Pines grows the only sold anywhere that is Non-GMO Project Verified.

Try it!

No, really. TRY IT!


PINES International offers a line of the purest, freshest and nutrient-rich wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa and beet juice powder that can be added to your shaker bottle for some instant Green Energy®. PINES also offers veggie power in tablets and capsules. Just one teaspoonful of PINES Wheat Grass powder, mixed in water or juice, provides the same amount of nutrition as a serving of deep-green, leafy vegetables. Seven wheat grass tablets will do the same.

Pound for pound, PINES Wheat Grass products are many times richer in chlorophyll and iron than spinach. Protein levels average 25 percent and contain virtually every vitamin known, along with 20 amino acids, including the eight that are considered essential for human health.

*The Pines slogan

I was provided product to sample and review; the opinions are my own.

Learn What “Eat Small” Means From Scientific American

Mexico-Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife

Mexico-Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

I think we can all agree that it’s important to eat healthy and it’s equally imperative that we become better stewards of our world, especially our oceans.

My Yale prof son asked me to share this interesting and informative  Scientific American video and article produced and written by his friend, Patrick Mustain.

Patrick Mustain is a Communications Manager at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. He is interested in how environmental factors (built, social, media, economic, etc.) affect health behaviors and outcomes, especially those places where media and public health intersect. You can find more of his work at his website, patrickmustain.com. Follow on Twitter@patrickmustain.

*As you watch the video, look for the wooden bowl used to make a salad. I gave it to my son a while back and it’s now starring in a film! It’s famous!
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clickhere_button_redwhite_10Eat Small: Why our Big Fish Problem is leading to big fish problems. (VIDEO)

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P.S. I’d appreciate shares on his behalf. Thank you!

Boys DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses. Oh YES, They DO.

Kate Spade glasses2

Newsflash: Eyeglasses are the new aphrodisiac.

Sasssy and sexxxxy in a slightly librarian-beeyotchy way. 

That describes both me AND my new Kate Spade glasses, don’t you agree?

Aren’t those polka dots TDF?

And the hair? It looks like my head had a curl explosion.
Oopsie, it seems as if the picture on the wall behind me is slightly askew; my OCD side will fix it immediately, since I clearly have no control over my hair.

And yes, that IS my enchanting bathroom, and no, I’m not wearing any makeup.

Kate Spade glassesIt’s a different world now than when I first needed to wear glasses. Back then, it tolled the death knell if you aspired at all to be a popular gal and hang out with the cool kids.

I was continually taunted with.such witticisms as,  “Hey, Coke-bottle‘s here. Ha Ha.”

Not so funny to be the target of mean girls. 

I couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear contact lenses.

But now, wearing glasses is just another important fashion accessory, not a signal to the world that the wearer is a bookish nerd, not that there’s anything wrong with that!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Stop Wolf Hunts Now

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Ghandi

Monday’s Life Lesson

People talk to me. Maybe it’s because I’m small and seemingly non-threatening (little do they know!) — whatever the reason, I can be anywhere and random folks’ll share very personal stories.

Like today, I was out and about finding the perfect plastic containers to organize old files and financial documents that aren’t supposed to be thrown out — I’m not sure if the rule is to keep them for seven years or ten years, so I’ve settled on forever, just to be safe.

I’ve lived in the same house since 1985 and have a LOT of paid bills and receipts and I’ve saved them all, because you never know when you need to find the receipt for a chair we purchased in 1987. Even if we don’t have the chair anymore. Is anyone whispering “hoarder” yet?

That’s another day’s post about my office purge, and it’ll be complete with pics.

Today, I found perfectly sized plastic containers with locking handles at Target because I hate Walmart. Standing in line to purchase them, the clerk was making every mistake in the book ringing up my THREE ITEMS. First, she only charged me for one box which would have been cool, then she corrected her mistake when I said, “Is that the price for all of them?”

Staring off into space when I asked, “Do I need to press a button for credit, not debit?” was slightly troublesome and weird, but I was having a happy day and repeated my question, thinking perhaps she was hard of hearing.

This was no twenty-something with a bad attitude at her first job. This was a lady in her mid-to-late sixties and you could tell by her wrinkles and gray hair that life had not been too kind to her. Here she was, working at a minimum wage job, standing on her feet for hours, when she should have been at a book club or gardening or anywhere but wearing that unflattering red t-shirt. Ya know?

Tears slowly filled her eyes and made their way down her cheek.

“I’m sorry”, she said. “I’m not really ‘with it’ today.”

“My best friend just called me to say that her dog died suddenly and while she was taking him to be buried, her car blew up, and to make matters worse, she’s being evicted from her apartment.”

She said, “It’s hard to keep my mind on anything but thinking about her. She loved her dog more than anything. How much pain can one person bear?”

I was sooo glad that I hadn’t been my snarky/bitchy/impatient self. (At times I feel that everyone was put on this earth to serve me (princess complex) and I’ll admit to acting a teensy weensy beeyotchy.)

I racked my brain to come up with an appropriate consoling response. What was the right thing to say in a situation like this? I felt so bad for her, her friend, and the dog. I told her that she was obviously a great friend to someone who must be a wonderful person to feel that kind of love for her dog. It’s all I could come up with at the spur of the moment.

This brief interaction made me pause and think about life and what’s important and somewhere in all of that, there’s a lesson to be learned.

What’s the lesson learned?

1 Sometimes, life sucks.

2 Sometimes, it’s not all about the shoes.

(Come on, you didn’t really think I was gonna get all preachy, did ya???)