Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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There is much pressure this time of year to start loading up on candy and other treats to celebrate Halloween. This commercial season swings right into Thanksgiving, followed by end of the year parties. Our household is a reasonably healthy place to eat, but in the past we have used the holiday season as an excuse to indulge in extra sugar and junkier food. As I observe #OctoberUnprocessed I have not felt overly restricted. We are almost three weeks into the experiment and I have not prepared anything with sugar in it all month. I might make an apple pecan bunt cake this week, but I do not plan to bake any more desserts during October. This will set the tone for our seasonal celebrating. We will still have special foods, and go out to dine. I am not going into production of extra loads of sugar and butter filled foods because it is been our habit around this time of the year. This is a fine time to alter that.
Going to extremes rarely results in permanent change. Too much restriction results in rebounding. I am not banning all sugar, but am limiting our consumption from now until 2017 to two small packages of sugar, one white and one brown, which I have on hand. I have some wonderful honey in the cupboard, some pomegranate molasses, and agave nectar. These sweeteners will have to last us until the end of the year. I think this will be easy, but it remains to be seen.
I am signed up for the recipes and helpful hints published by Eating Rules that arrive daily in my e mail box during October. The above very insightful article arrived two days ago reminding me that all forms of sugar and salt must be used sparsely. The biggest problem with processed food is the excessive use of sugar and salt. This diet has accustomed Americans to those higher levels to the detriment of our public health. I have been eating fruit and honey as a snack, but the amount is small, so I will continue to enjoy that within reason. There is no need to go radically ascetic about holiday eating. Cuisine is one of my life’s great interests. I will not cut us off from all food fun, just from the least nutritious and most fattening. This Halloween we will focus on the dearly departed rather than on our trick or treat haul.
There is despair in the air. Our society’s collective adrenal gland is shot from the constant stress of our current political battle. Fight or flight, a reasonable healthy reaction to scary circumstances, has been exhausted by the season’s campaigns. We are sick of the fight, and there is no place to flee from reality. The blame and shade is flying freely. Our weary spirits are drained of faith hope and charity. By charity I mean extending the benefit of the doubt to those with whom we disagree. The most charitable act to make is to listen with care. The most civilized goal to set is mutual understanding. After this election we will still be living with each other, so our current problems will not vanish in November.
To dig ourselves out of this mess we will need to:
This is a tall order, especially when everyone is bracing for total disorder. We have our work cut out for us after we finish counting votes. Our futures depend on our ability to listen, which means we will need to be quiet for a while. We will need to be still and know. How hopeful are you, gentle reader? I am optimistically neutral. We have survived tragedy in the past. This too will pass.
The Latin phrase caveat emptor means let the buyer beware. This concept is a warning to all consumers that they have less information about the product in normal circumstances than the seller. Common law provides that the seller must deliver the goods, free of encumbrance by third parties, and that the goods must be suitable for the intended use. This applies to real estate contracts, where the seller may hoodwink an unsophisticated buyer into paying more for the property than it is really worth.
Once the deal has been closed there is very little the buyer can do other than regret the purchase. Property sold with obvious concealed flaws is difficult to return, and will involve legal fees and court costs. A couple from Europe bought their first home in our condo village and learned after the closing that the place was full of toxic black mold. I felt really bad for them because they were stuck with the home and the costly mold removal fee because they could not prove that the seller knew about the mold before the sale. A good inspector could have saved them before they signed that contract, but after the signatures, they were stuck. To prove fraud after the fact is much harder than catching it before the unfortunate purchase has been made.
In real estate sales it is common for both parties to employ agents to represent their interests. The buyer needs to be wary of the true intention of both agents, which is to make a sale from which they will cut a commission. The first time buyer can be confused by appraisals, financing, points, insurance, inspections, taxation, and by the contract itself. Emotional factors go into home buying that make this important decision very tricky from a financial standpoint. For many people the investment in housing is the biggest single investment the family makes. After the last housing meltdown and mortgage fraud this reality became clear to many who lost their homes.
If you consider purchasing a home that is governed by an HOA I urge you to fully investigate the corporation and its standards before you buy. Some are overly strict and micro manage. I live in a condo village that has had no management, standard operating procedures, or enforcement of our deed restrictions since I moved here. The governing board has drained the value from all the homes by neglecting the common areas and failing to properly manage and maintain our assets. This puts a real wrench in the works for shareholders who have pride of ownership. I would avoid buying any property that is governed by an HOA in the future. The system leaves much to be desired. I have learned this lesson the hard way. Have you ever made a disastrous investment due to factors beyond your control, gentle reader? It is a drag. Inform yourself. That goes for elected officials too.
History teaches us that political and religious movements go through transformation on a continuous basis. While in the eye of any storm it is impossible to assess the impact it will have. We find ourselves embroiled in a serious vortex of change that promises to be destructive. It remains to be seen in what ways we will endure this shift. My ancestors all come to mind as well as into focus on Day of the Dead. My parents are buried in a section of the cemetery where holiday decor is the norm for the dead, especially at the end of October. I upgraded my parents to solar decorations this year. They have been popular with their neighbors, and my parents were always competitive about their yard. Leaving them without attention this time of year would signal some major abandonment, so I make sure they have a little seasonal something on their grave.
They voted Republican their whole lives. I have no idea how their parents voted. I have followed my ancestry back for centuries and can only detect very large trends in my family. They were pioneers, many early European residents of Massachusetts or Virginia. They followed different religious persuasions, predominantly Protestant in nature. My parents were not religious, but they carried the inherited beliefs of their respective families in their subconscious minds. I very recently learned that my mother’s grandfather William Ellison Taylor, who was a preacher in the Church of Christ, was not raised in that church. He was converted to his faith and began an itinerant preaching practice in East Texas after the Civil War. I had always assumed his parents and their parents had given him this idea. This recent discovery has shown me this was not the case:
William Ellyson Taylor was born in Alabama, November 22, 1839, and was reared in that state. His education was received in the common schools. When the war broke out between the states he enlisted in the 4th Alabama Regiment and went to Virginia. In the battle of Manassas. July 21, 1861, he was wounded, which made him a cripple for life.
Dec. 27. 1864, he was married to Lucinda Armer, who has been his faithful help-meet, and to the present shares his joys and sorrows. To this union six boys and two girls have been born.
November, 1869, he moved to Texas. In August, 1874, Dr. W. L. Harrison preached the first sermon he ever heard. Afterward and and David Pennington became a Christian. In 1877 he began preaching and though he works on the farm, he has preached as he found opportunity. Entering the firgin field he has established congregations in Montgomery, San Jacinto and Walker counties and is now preaching monthly for congregations at Willis, Bethan and Ne Bethel, Montgomery County. When confined for nearly two years through sickness his brethren administer to his every need. All who know Bro. Taylor love him for his intrinsic worth and work in the Lord.
Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail by C. R. Nichol, 1911.
Originally posted by: Tom Childers
This is very interesting to me since some of his distant ancestors seem to the Presbyterian in a serious way in South Carolina. I wonder if the religious idea or the gene to get into religion is carried through generations. My father has a large number of teachers in many of his branches. My mother has a plethora of preachers. I am talking about over centuries, as well as in their lifetimes. They had to feel influenced by these people because their own image of reality came from them. William Taylor fought for the Confederacy, moved from Alabama to Texas on an ox cart, and became a preacher. He must have had some strong political views. We do not know what they were exactly, but we have in his own hand the Rules for the School, which must have to do with Sunday school for his congregation. This is pretty formal stuff:
Do you ever wonder what part of your own political belief system you have inherited from your ancestors? I do. Many people say what would the founding fathers think. I don’t care what famous people in history thought. I care what my own relatives were thinking and doing that defined their lives and the future. That subject fascinates me. Do you know about the politics of your forefathers, gentle reader? What do you think of them?
If we were having coffee I would invite you to sit down and tell me about your week over your favorite beverage. I am loaded with chai, roiboos, green, white, and herbal teas. For me, this season is perfect for jasmine roiboos. It is floral with a full rich flavor of harvest. Jasmine makes me swoon. Today is the full moon known as the hunter’s moon. There will be a lunar eclipse. With all that drama in the heavens I am sure some stories will be brewing down here on earth. What is happening in your world?
The story we all want to bring to an end is the election. The population is weary. We can’t take much more of this bickering. People are short-tempered about everything now. Any social discourse can end in controversy for no reason. I spent most of my time this week at home to try to avoid the total breakdown of society. Of course, this tactic was futile. I did write a few short poems, trying to get in the swing of a more productive practice as a poet. I am hoping to ease into a poem a day for life without setting a firm discipline…wondering if that will work. I bid adieu to my Audible account without regret, after my free three-month trial. Alexa is still able to read any book in my kindle library for which I purchase the audio component. Amazon has also launched a new free trial which I snapped up right away. Prime members can now pay 7.99 a month for access to the entire catalog of music in the Amazon system. This is very similar to the Apple music deal I took last year. I will not keep this one after my free month either. For the time being I am having Alexa play Bob Dylan songs. She can play his songs all day and never repeat herself. I am thrilled to fill my home with the works of our new Nobel Prize winner, Bob. In my youth I memorized all his songs and could play them on the guitar. He was an idol. He is inspiring me now to practice being a poet. His early songs are so funny and brilliant. Many fit perfectly with this election too. I am so glad he was not a lazy poet like I am.
The healthy trend continues in the kitchen. We had a tasty walnut spinach nut loaf this week, and I found a recipe for nut crisp crackers I believe will be the bomb. The only ingredients are ground up nuts of your choice and egg white. I look forward to rolling some out next week because I think they will replicate those nut crisp commercial crackers I love. I also discovered that the pesto shortbread dough makes a fine topping for savory cobbler dishes. I think the nut crackers could go either sweet or savory as a crust on the top to add crunching excitement. I am planning very nutty meals until all the old nuts have been consumed. I will let you know what I learn about preparing and eating nuts. We will learn everything there is to know about nuts on November 9. I wish everyone forbearance and wisdom.
To join the international coffee party this weekend click here. Read, write, opine with a group of congenial writers of all kinds.
October “Super” Full Moon October 15-16th, 2016 by Ruby The Full “Super” Moon in Aries is going to be strongly intense and at times erratic feeling. The Full Moon in October will grow full on Saturday at on October 15 at 11:23 PM CST and Sunday, October 16 at 12:23 AM EDT. So that’s late […]
I will soon celebrate my anniversary as a student of my family history. I joined Ancestry.com during the financial crash of 2008. I had just inherited some stocks and bonds when they began to vanish into thin air before my very eyes. I was watching a website following the stock market when I saw an ad for the Ancestry site. I decided to take the free offer of two weeks because I was sure I could learn everything I needed to know in that two weeks. I had not planned to stay on for the paying contract. The first piece of evidence I found was the 1900 census taken on Indian Territory in Oklahoma. My grandfather lived there with his father and step mother. The census taker recorded him and his brother Ed as children of this Cherokee woman who was my grandfather’s second wife. This lady, Annie, turned out to be a relatively famous Cherokee con woman. In this census she says she was born in New Mexico in 1854. That is pretty suspicious since she says her parents were born in Georgia and North Carolina, a place where the Cherokees originated. She would be under very special circumstances to be born as a Cherokee in New Mexico in 1854. Later she says in other census records that she was born in Florida. She did have a reputation within the Morse family as a witch. I did not know any of this when I saw this record of my grandpa on the Cherokee Nation at the age of 10. I started searching madly to learn more about him and all my other ancestors. I became fascinated with all the history I learned and the puzzle of matching up the data with the tree. When the two weeks had passed I signed up for a permanent membership, and never looked back.
Now that I am a relatively sophisticated investigator of my ancestry I would urge beginners to follow some simple guidelines in order to have the best results:
There are more records available all the time. Since I joined the DNA study at Ancestry I have found new information and connections. My yearly subscription to this vast database is the best entertainment value for my dollar. I thought I would be done in 2 weeks, but now I know I can’t quit until I reach Adam and Eve. Have you ever looked into your own family history, gentle reader? What surprised you?
Our political process in America has never been such a shocking reality show. The whole world is tuning in while we use the presidential election of 2016 to display our worst national attributes in public. Sexism has reared its ugly head and is parading around as if it were the only important issue we have to consider. It is paramount to perceive how much of our own thought processes are controlled by outside forces. Both men and women are subject to our inherited stereotypes. We may also carry deep prejudice about foreign cultures, races, or religions about which we have no direct knowledge. These oversimplifications of society’s condition harm everyone. The fact that a woman is running against a man has engendered some kind of cartoon version of public consternation, indignation, and unacceptable conduct by almost everyone.
I propose that we take a step back and see our personal situation as an integral part of a much larger scheme. People everywhere vote because of their feelings about their own economic future. This is not strange. It is survival instinct. In times of dramatic change and disruption dysfunctional systems must give way to new ideas for the survival of the entire environment. Civil rights were first won by serfs who existed as chattel to nobility. The hard fought war against tyranny will not be won in physical battle, but in hearts and minds. Terrorism begins at home, in the angry hearts and minds of indignant citizens. By imagining evil enemies everywhere we maintain a militant mindset that does not foster peace.
In ancient Greece Aristophanes wrote a comedy about women and war. The heroine, Lysistrata proposed that women take over the treasury, since the old men had squandered all the funds:
“What matters that I was born a woman, if I can cure your misfortunes? I pay my share of tolls and taxes, by giving men to the State. But you, you miserable greybeards, you contribute nothing to the public charges; on the contrary, you have wasted the treasure of our forefathers, as it was called, the treasure amassed in the days of the Persian Wars. You pay nothing at all in return; and into the bargain you endanger our lives and liberties by your mistakes. Have you one word to say for yourselves?… Ah! don’t irritate me, you there, or I’ll lay my slipper across your jaws; and it’s pretty heavy.”
The men were duly concerned:
“Chorus of old men: If we give them the least hold over us, ’tis all up! their audacity will know no bounds! We shall see them building ships, and fighting sea-fights like Artemisia; nay if they want to mount and ride as cavalry, we had best cashier the knights, for indeed women excel in riding, and have a fine, firm seat for the gallop. Just think of all those squadrons of Amazons Micon has painted for us engaged in hand-to-hand combat with men.”
― Aristophanes, Lysistrata
I think we are once again at a pivotal point in history. Equality will serve as the only kind of chivalry we can afford to accept. What do you think, gentle reader?
We have a special exhibit on loan from the New York Botanical Garden this winter. A tribute to the home, garden, and life of the famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, works very well in Tucson, close to the Mexican border. I visited yesterday for the first time. The central display is a replica of a pyramid Frida had in her court yard for plants. The vibrant blue color of the walls contrasts very well with the marigolds in place for Day of the Dead. The exhibit includes a photography collection I did not see, an indoor collection detailing life in Mexico City during the lives of Diego and Frida, and the garden show. There will be educational opportunities offered for those who want to learn more about her life and times.
I have been her fan for many years, as much for her politics as for her art. I am happy to see her on tour. I met a lady at the garden with her two teen daughters from Phoenix who was visiting to teach her daughters about her. The girls were impressed with what they saw. Frida lives on as a cult figure. If you have a chance to see this very well curated exhibit I encourage you to do so. I know I will be a frequent visitor during this show.
I developed a practice of dancing around in my living room last year when my dog was on hospice. She needed almost constant care, so rather than go outside or to the gym to exercise, I danced at home. The advantages of this practice are multiple. If I am alone I truly can dance as if nobody is watching… because nobody is watching. This is liberating, allowing me to do all kinds of upper body movements that would certainly draw some attention on the river walking path or the treadmill at the gym. Sometimes I even dance around with free weights or tossing a weighted ball from side to side. I can get up from my desk and spend a few minutes moving around just to keep my metabolism up and my mind clear. If I have an issue to ponder I can usually work out the answer during a dance around the house, while putting it out of focus for a while. I dance while the ideas incubate. It is a healthy, happy deal. Nothing could be more convenient.
At the gym, which I do enjoy more than ever, I usually listen to 8 tracks music app. These playlists designed by others keep my curiosity alive by finding new artists I like. The discovery factor is the reason I use this app. I have not tried iHeart radio, and have not used my other music services much since Alexa came to DJ all the Amazon Prime songs at my vocal bidding. Having Alexa in the home is a really fun upgrade for me. I make her play music all day, switching at will from a certain artist to a playlist, to a radio station. There are even comedians on Amazon Prime audio. With new music added all the time, I will never run out of excellent dance tracks.
It is now 9:53 am, and I have completed my 10,000 steps, and surpassed that number. I will make sure to put in at least 250 steps an hour during the rest of the day. At the gym I will probably log another mile on the treadmill. Fitbit is even connected to Alexa, so I can ask her any time, “Alexa ask Fitbit how I am doing.” She will tell me my stats and say a cute little encouraging phrase. I do appreciate everything Fitbit has done for me. There are multiple benefits, including much better sleep, that I have derived from wearing my tracker. Alexa, however, is the icing on the fitness cake. She brings the party to the workout when nobody is watching. I have spent endless hours dancing in classes, at clubs, at parties, or festivals. That was all good and well, but now I am very content to have only Alexa and some empty space at home. She rocks my world. Have you met the versatile and self sufficient Alexa, gentle reader? She gets smarter ever day.