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Weekend Coffee Share, Sorting The Nuts

October 8, 2016 17 Comments

nuts to crack

nuts to crack

If we were having coffee this week I would invite you to the nut bar to find the right mix to pair with your tea or coffee. The nut bar is a nod to both #OctoberUnprocessed, which I find easy to do, and to the tidy guru, whose advise I am finding very difficult to follow. I purchased more fall festive flavors of white tea and chai partly because my tea company offered a free tiny bottle of honey with an order over a certain amount. I was a sucker for the honey, and have yet to impose any kind of tidy rules on my tea cupboard. It makes me very happy, and when a swing the lazy susan cabinet that houses it closed it adds no visual clutter to my kitchen.

In my journey to minimalism and clean eating I have created an alternative to processed crackers this week that is far superior to the store bought version. I made pesto shortbread to die for. I still have some in the fridge ready to slice and bake. It has the flavor of homemade pesto I already had on hand and utilizes some of the pine nuts I also have in stock.  My tidy muse reminded me that all of the nuts in my fridge are from last year.  The few pecans I still have in the shell have been waiting for way to long to be cracked open and eaten.  She (tidy muse) is absolutely right about consuming the old food to make room for the new crop which is soon to arrive on the market. In the spirit of tidy AND unprocessed I have started eating a daily deconstructed dessert.  It started with apples and honey for Jewish new year.  It is so pleasant and satisfying that I have followed with sliced apples or pears with cheeses and with nuts.  I have been enjoying this sweet indulgence by purchasing different honey and apple varieties to combine.  The honey from the tea company is cinnamon flavored, which is delightful with both the nuts and the apples.  I have pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, hazel nuts, and pistachios all on special for my tasting pleasure.  During your weekend beverage visit please help yourself to these seasonal delights.  The tidy muse will be so pleased when all the nuts are gone.

I am inspired by the many ambitious writers who frequent this coffee share. Some of you are very prolific while you continue full lives in other realms.   I have been thinking about writing more poetry, since I do really love it.  Like tidying, I have to struggle against some lazy lady lurking in the shadows who does not want to make the effort to write poetry.  I was set up to attend a poetry reading on Thursday, meant to get my poetry mojo working.  I slept through it, as I did the vice presidential debate the previous night.  I am extremely early to bed and early to rise, as well as a very sound sleeper.  I count myself as lucky to be able to easily sleep and dream, so I am not too harsh on myself when I snooze through anything.  I can always catch up on world events on twitter when I awaken.

Politics in the United States are heating up in all the most bizarre ways.  The tidy lady needs to school the politicians about hoarding old nuts.  There are now scary clowns in the woods as well as in government.  We are on a strange collision course with destiny.  There is absolutely no telling what will happen.

Catch up with writers who share coffee on the weekend here.  Sit down, enjoy, share whatever is on your mind.  Have a Nut!  They are on special this week.

New Rule: 250 Steps An Hour

May 5, 2016

calories in

calories in

During my month as a poet I lost count of calories. They (the calories) did not forget about me. The extras have lodged themselves around my waist, as my jeans alerted me this week. I need to get back on track, and Fitbit has improved my ability to do so.  This morning Fitbit informed me that since our relationship began I have walked 1,997 miles, which means now I am over 2000 miles charted, graphed and tracked for my information.

While I have been wearing the device my needs have changed over time, and my involvement with recording data has varied from close attention to nothing.  I used to record my water drinking and all my food, as well as my water exercise when the Fitbit was not on my wrist.  My enthusiasm for this lagged and my need to get sounder sleep became the most urgent need I had.  During our time of doggie hospice last year I had to get up many times during the night, and I was very upset about the end of our dog’s life.  My sleep, usually my finest talent, had gone to hell.  The sleep recording feature of my device became a real help as I tried different methods of improving my sleep.  I figured out that honey before bed and during the night when I let the dog out seriously helped the ability to rest soundly.

Now I am back to being a star sleeper, but need to get back on track with a healthy weight loss program.  New aspects of the feedback are helping me do that very effectively.  In order to decrease the evils inflicted upon us by the sedentary life the new rule is to move at least 250 steps each hour.  My daily goal is 10,000 steps, so obviously I need to move more than 250 steps some hours.  The reminder to log those 250 steps gets me up from my desk or the evening news and gets me to move.  It only takes about 2 minutes to take 250 steps.  I find that once I have started to move I end up moving for at least 1000 steps before returning to my seat.  At the end of the day there is a very helpful chart with active versus sedentary time spent.  At 11:30 am I show 37% active and 63% stationary.  I also can see a comparison between todays active total and my 30 day average.  In the past when I finished my daily goal I felt free to let sloth take over the agenda for the rest of my day. Now I feel the need to get my 250 steps every hour and move that ratio of active/stationary in favor the more movement.

There is news on the calorie front as well.  The dashboard now calculates not only the calories burned but also calories left to be burned.  If food is logged there is also a comparison of calories consumed vs those burned.   This is why I need to begin to record my diet again.  I find it very helpful to see how many calories I still need to use to come out even for the day. Right now, although I have finished 10,605 steps, my calories are not yet half used…1,098 burned, 1380 still remain to be spent. New research shows that short intense blasts of exercise achieve much more than had previously been believed. I have  new thoughts on this matter.  I am going to concentrate on making sure I get in 250 steps during my waking hours, with an emphasis on sprinting.  I think what is best for my body is a hard aerobic sprint every hour, and I now have the tools to remind me and reward me for this behavior. I am highly motivated by charts. Lucky me.  I plan to sync my data as well as my attention to Fitbit for the greatest benefit.  Do you use a tracking device, gentle reader?  What do you like best about it?

Dashboard 2016-05-05 at 11.55.55 AM

Dashboard 2016-05-05 at 11.55.55 AM


Magic Magnesium Sleepy Time Bath

July 6, 2015 1 Comment

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that keeps us clam.  The GABA receptors in the brain require magnesium to do their job, which is to switch off the stress.  When we are low in magnesium our bodies respond with insomnia, daytime jitters, and other unpleasant symptoms. This uncomfortable situation can be addressed by taking supplements.  Another way to introduce extra magnesium into the body is by bathing in epsom salts.  I have used them for foot baths when I have sore feet, and occasionally for tub baths, but now I am trying a new technique to improve my sleep.  By using honey before bed I have made some improvements in deeper more uninterrupted sleep.  Last night when I woke to let the dog outside at 2 in the morning I decided to try a bath recipe I saw to test the effects.  It was nothing short of spectacular.

I ran a hot bath and used about 1 and a half cups of epsom salt, about 1/2 cup baking soda, and 2 cups strong ginger tea.  The ginger makes you sweat while you are in the tub, and for a few minutes after you exit.  The recommended time for maximum benefits is an hour, but I was falling back to sleep in about 20 minutes.  I did fall deeply back into dreamland and awoke this morning feeling very well rested.  My fitbit reports that I had a very good night of sleep, just over 8 hours.

This is such an easy and pleasant cure I plan to incorporate it into my routine every day.  One of the effects one can expect to see is lower blood pressure.  Pharmaceutical drugs are one reason we become magnesium deficient in the first place. I don’t take any drugs and hope to stay that way.  Isn’t it good to know that both insomnia and high blood pressure, very common today, can often be completely cured in the bathtub?  Have you used epsom salts to get a better night’s sleep, gentle reader?  I highly recommend it.  The addition of the ginger adds anti-inflamatory properties, again an easy and cheap cure for the entire body. There are no harmful side effects, and the evidence shows that this bath might be just what the doctor should have ordered.


Fitness Feedback, The Sleep Monitor

June 10, 2015 2 Comments



The systems now available to measure and monitor health are mind blowing.  This slice of health care/technology is growing more popular each day.  I started using Fitbit last fall to increase my movement.  It is effective motivation to see performance increase over time, complete with graphs.  I recently became most interested in the sleep measuring ability of my little wrist band.



As you can see I am frequently awakened during the night. My dog needs to go out and I must  walk down a flight of stairs to do the task, so it does disturb my slumber.  I am working this week to push back towards longer deeper sleep by using honey.  Last night on the 3rd trip down with the dog I drank a shot of honey and warm milk, which seemed to work pretty well.  I am also napping after lunch when possible because at that time I zonk out easily.  I do not pay for the advanced membership to Fitbit that provides constant reports and comparisons to your age group in the population.  However, I am taking advantage of the offer to create a one week report for free.  My results will be final on Saturday, and graphed.  I feel very competitive and funny about this challenge.  I want to see an improvement in my sleep in one week.  This may prove to be irrational as a goal, but I am still trying it.  I wonder if I can will myself to be a better sleeper in the long run. Over the last three days I have managed to increase my total time, but without the naps it would not have been the case.  This is one challenge for which gearing up is against my better interests.  How does one become a sleep champion?

Do you use any fitness monitoring devices or apps?  Have you found the feedback helpful in changing your habits?  What kind of sleep secrets have you learned, gentle reader?  I am on a quest for better rest.

Sleep Quality, Honey Hibernation

June 7, 2015 6 Comments



Sleeping has always been easy for me. I fall asleep quickly when I am tired, and normally sleep through noise and disturbances that bother others. For the last few months I am challenged to get a full night of rest because my dog needs to go out several times during the night.  Once I have walked down the stairs and let her out for a few minutes my patterns  have been disturbed.  I have been searching for a remedy that fits this situation.  I don’t want a sleep aid, even melatonin, because I do need to wake up for the chore.  I am doing research into various ways to enhance or deepen sleep.  In the meantime my fitbit reads my sleep efficiency.  It reports the number of times awakened, and the time spent sleeping.  My rate normally ranges between 79% and 85%, but last night I hit 73% sleep efficiency, with 23 times awakened.  I need to take action to save my sanity.

Last week I read about honey hibernation.  I have tried it several times and it seems to work.  Sometimes I neglect to do it before retiring, but take the honey on my first trip downstairs with the dog.  I think it might help me fall back into deep sleep.  I am going to start a real experiment with the honey method to find out if it is making a significant difference.  I have asked for a 7 day sleep report from fitbit and will now be religious about taking my son full of honey at 6 pm daily.  Last night I got 57 minutes less sleep than I need.  I did nap today, which I think is a fine solution to the overall rest situation, but I want a sound restful night  as well.  I have used self hypnosis in the past.  That might be useful for my purpose, but I will see if I need more help, after a week of honey.  Have you tried this method, gentle reader?  It is for weight loss and better liver function, but a side effect is better sleep.  I am up for all of the above, especially if it is all that easy.


Communication Loop

May 16, 2013 4 Comments

Butterfly convo

Butterfly convo

“The single biggest problem in communication

is the illusion that it has taken place.” GB Shaw

Are you in communities? Are you a leader? Do you create valuable content?  Does the internet make you compulsive and lonely?  I have read several posts lately about the brains of depressed people, and the effects of loneliness on health. It appears that insomnia, which seems to afflict most Americans now, can be a result of altered and damaged circadian rhythms.  Depression makes the day/night self timer malfunction. Isolation from live social contact proves to be as damaging to overall health as smoking or obesity.  It destroys the self monitoring abilities we learned in elementary school to survive in a social world.  Now that social order has been redefined, healthy relationships are less likely to evolve.  Human lovingkindness is essential for mental and physical health and well being.

Time spent with screens is not without merit, but if life is to be lived fully screen time has to be secondary to real human interaction.  Screen communication increases the chances of faulty assumptions on everyone’s part.  We normally present ourselves in the best light possible, keeping the shadow issues away from the public forums.  We know others must edit along the same favorable lines to give a spin on their life and times that makes them appealing.  How much noise is generated and how much valuable exchange?  The answer is never final.  It is a mix of magical electronic connections and spammy, even dangerous, invasions of privacy.  Caveat emptor, gentle reader.   The internet is what you make of it.

Dream Travel

February 6, 2013 3 Comments

Remembering and studying dreams can bring insight directly, and later through contemplation. Flying dreams are interpreted as liberation, although Sigmund Freud considered the flying to be representative of sexual release. Floating dreams are indicative of a total acceptance. Floating is representative of great success through calm and unresisting nature. Struggling to stay afloat either in dreams or in waking life has the effect of disturbing the surface of the water, indicating problems.

I have seen confidence grow significantly when fear of water is conquered and the skill of floating is mastered.  Knowing how to stay afloat in water essentially improves our chances of survival.  Appearing in dreams floating serenely is a powerful vision of stress free living. We only dream about people we have seen in our lives, although the circumstances may not be similar in our dreams. The content is very ephemeral and quickly evaporates as soon as we wake and begin to move or interact. To capture and study dreams it is necessary to record the memory immediately upon waking. The notes taken upon waking can be used as the subject of meditation or simply reviewed to find trends. With regular practice and the book right next to your bed it is possible to make significant progress into remembering more details as you keep the journal.

Artemisia Vulgaris is an herb used to improve the quality of lucid dreaming. I have used the essential oil for the purpose with good results. A combination of tea and smoking dried mugwort (one of the common names of this herb) before retiring is a traditional blend for inducing lucid dreaming. This herb has been used for centuries to enhance the dream state. The video above mentions a vinegar tonic easily created by soaking the plant in apple cider vinegar.  Anyone can make use of these techniques to learn more about unconscious and archetypal players in our personalities.

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