Ramblings on the river – August 31 – September 6

It’s September and there will be no more Loft Life. In November 2009 we left Hotel Life, still chronicled on www.spinningstrawintogold.blogspot.com, and moved into our loft apartment at Bigelow Commons. We enjoyed our almost five years there immensely.  5058e5af7145a247

But, life moves on, and so have we. So now Spinning will be about Ramblings on the river–our little river house on the Connecticut River, where life in New England continues. We have gone from Hotel Life, to Loft Life, to River Life–with great adventures in all of these places, but, I hope, the best yet to come as we enjoy our beautiful view and the blessings of life on a river.

On one of our walks last fall, while living at Bigelow, I said I wanted to walk to see the river–which I knew to be about a mile up Pearl Street. My hub said, “Why don’t we go down under the railroad bridge and see it at a different point!”

“There’s no river there,” I said in my true-to-ignorance confidence.”

“Follow me,” hub said, and I do and I did.  IMG_0679

On our walk to the other river (really the same one, but a direction I never knew existed), we found Jay’s river, and a whole lot more. We found a few houses, one of which had a large foreclosure sign on it.

We got curious. I went on Zillow, that trusty, but untrustworthy, site, and found out a little more about it.

Then I called the bank. The house was in litigation.

I followed up from time to time, praying that somehow it would come onto the market about the time our house in Illinois was going to sell. At the time, we had renters, wonderful renters, who we hoped would want to buy our Illinois home.

In February, they kindly gave us way advance notice that they would not be renewing their lease of five years. Sad.

They had bought a little foreclosure, and were going to be moving in June.

So we put the Illinois house on the market on March 1, 2014 and guess what? Of course. That is the exact time when our little Connecticut foreclosure hit the market.  Home Front

But, we pounced. We loved the view. There were many, many things we didn’t know if we liked, but we loved the view.

Our house in Illinois didn’t sell, and didn’t sell, and didn’t sell. We lowered the price and put in more and more upgrades, which made me more than a little concerned. We were bleeding money.

But we hired a Realtor, after realizing the Freddie Mac Realtor would NOT BE A GOOD IDEA for us to use. Boy am I glad I got that little tip. Thank you Kathleen!!

After winning the bidding war, our offer on the River House was accepted. We set closing for May 1. The Freddie Mac Realtor, who was not a very nice person, managed to create drama where there was no drama–things like ignoring attachments on emails and claiming she had never received them. She yelled at people, threatened people, and generally reacted to everything as though she were some sort of victim, while in reality, she was creating her own messes and making life for the rest of us very, very stressful.

But in the end, two weeks later, we did close on the house, with “as is” strongly emphasized.  But we now had three house payments, all with utilities, maintenance and other expenses attached.

We were bleeding money. Did I already say that?

I cashed in my retirement and we prepared for what my hub said would be an adventure. Oh how right he was. Maybe not the adventure he had imagined. He tends to imagine things going smoothly. They never do.

We were held up another two weeks starting work on the house, because we had to move all of his stuff out of a kind friend’s garage. That took time, and energy. And at the front end of our house project, we didn’t really comprehend what a month’s delay would cost us later.

Then we had to apply for a building permit. That took another two weeks. Luckily that two weeks perfectly coincided with  a business trip to California. So even though the delay was still costing dearly in time, at least we were in sunny California.  Unknown-2

Now we are into September. We moved out of our apartment August 31. We have now been living in the River House, upstairs where there is running water (barely running and cold only), electricity, and a working toilet. I thank God every day for this.  IMG_0661

I also thank God that late August, we finally got an offer on our Illinois house. God is good.

But work on the first floor of the River House,  where we eventually intend to live is very, very slow.  IMG_1361

I will explain.  IMG_1237



…to be continued.

It’s not easy being green

I’ve always been into chopping. (See March 2009 post: Food at my former site www.spinningstrawintogold.blogspot.com). But, what I am chopping these days has become life changing.

I owe a great debt to Victoria Boutenko and her book, Green for Life. It’s rare that a book truly changes lives–thinking, beliefs, behavior, which of course is always changed by beliefs and thinking.

Victoria starts by explaining that greens and vegetables are not synonymous. I know this it seems obvious, but getting my 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the prescription for health, was not mostly greens up until now, and very difficult to achieve.

I would get a head of lettuce and see it as three or four salad sides to accompany larger portions of meat and starch.

Now I see a head of lettuce and wonder whether I will need a second one to make my breakfast and lunch quart+ for the green smoothie, along with cucumber, berries, wheat grass, flax seeds, coconut juice, lemon (with rind) and maybe mint and ginger. And, that’s just Monday. I vary the greens, as Victoria suggests, sometimes adding a whole apple, orange (with rind) or a whole pear instead of berries–making green smoothies more green than purple. I usually need either banana or avocado for emulsifying.

th-1Wheat grass. OK, how many of you say to your friends, I need some wheat grass, then find them scurrying back to their kitchens to get you wheat berries and potting soil they have hanging around, so you can grow your own? I have friends like that.
I did tell you in my Feng Shui post (same original blogspot site, January 2012) that I tend to kill green things. This time I killed dirt! This is not easy. It was one of those muggy days, when I thought I was literally dying. My heart was skipping beats; I was listless, drained.

My husband came home and suggested maybe I turn on the air conditioning.

I said, “You think that could be it?”

It was.

I didn’t die, but the dirt Barb gave me in plastic containers with lids, did. Humidity created awful mold, so I had to throw the soil out and start again. I’m happy to report my wheat grass is growing, however timidly, and isn’t dead yet.

th-3Barb has also introduced me to sorrel, French breakfast radishes, with their greens, and bloody baron with golden beets. These exotic greens add wonderful flavor and color to smoothies, and sometimes I just enjoy them by themselves with some citrus and balsamic dressing, red onions, and tomatoes.

In addition to being grateful to Barb, I’m grateful to Linda and Rainbow. They’ve known about the healing properties of greens way longer than I have. I did have to back off the spirulina Linda gave me, because in my usual zeal for new discoveries, I put a heaping tablespoon of the really, really green stuff, into my blender–which did I mention is a BlendTec ($350 on sale at Costco)–and that was not wise. I broke out in a horrible eczema which finally disappeared.  No recurrence since, and I have since added spiralina with no ill effects.

The consensus is that I created a giant detox, which, along with my pound plus of greens, my body reacted to suddenly. So caution: go easy at first.

I realize I’m not sounding like an advertisement for the green smoothie life, but really, I am completely sold on it. My body now craves greens, as though I had not been giving her enough of this “live” food. My cravings for other foods–chips, bread, potatoes, meat, has seriously diminished. Unless I begin to eat these items, I don’t want them. It’s as though my body literally cries out for real food with a desperation that warns me never to return to my old food desert ways.

I am losing weight, I am feeling healthy, my skin is glowing and I am sleeping through the night most of the time–all because I have turned over breakfast and lunch to the greens. I usually eat a regular dinner with my husband, but my portions are less, because I’m just not hungry.   th-4
I know we all age and die eventually, but we can stem some of the worst effects of aging with nutrients that our bodies need to fight off free radicals, oxidation, and other environmental enemies of living a ripe old age with robust health. (Have you seen the YouTube Salsa video of Ginger Rogers dancing, at 92, with her grandson? I’ll bet she does the greens.)

As a testimony to my enthusiasm, other friends are trying green smoothies, and liking them. Some need their smoothies colder, some more reddish or purple, and one claimed she does better if her glass isn’t clear, so she won’t see the green. But, if they can heal asthma and allergies, and get off medication from other life-threatening diseases that now are under control with diet and lifestyle changes, I will feel so happy to have had an influence.  It’s not all about weight.  It’s about health.

This lifestyle isn’t simple. Unless you’re in California or Manhattan, you’re not likely to find wheat grass-, flax seed-supplemented green smoothies on the menu when you’re out of your own kitchen.
The minute I leave for two days, go back to the highly salted, oiled and processed foods out there, I gain weight back. The good news, and I believe a testimony to the power of greens, when I return to a quart of smoothie per day, I lose it again.


It took 15 years for me to break the weight barrier I’ve now pushed through in weeks. And the best part is the energy and feel better element. I love these smoothies, delicious and filling. With their miraculous healing power–who wouldn’t want them?
Hey, don’t knock ‘em until you’ve tried ‘em!


I should have known complications were on my itinerary when my son-in-law questioned my wisdom in booking three connections from Windsor Locks, CT to Burbank, CA.

“I’m trying to fly into a closer airport so you don’t have to drive to LAX,” I defended.

On a previous trip he had requested I do this. But, I think he believed I could do it in no more than two airplane connections. And, that was before he had spent three years getting used to California freeways. You do get used to the freeway crawl, believe it or not.

Anyway, the trip out found me delayed in Newark, which added three hours to an already long ten hour day in flight and in airports. That meant I got to Burbank at 8:30pm, instead of 5:30pm. Oh well.


After a lovely five-day visit with my daughters, including a Culver City lunch patio lunch at Tender Greens, with all three,

and some wonderful excursions with my youngest, which included good old California cuisine, Japanese boba tea (or as the newbies would call it, bubble tea), a cheese shop in Topanga Canyon where celebrity sightings have been known to happen, a macron shop in Beverly Hills, we made a trip to the gym to celebrate my youngest’s new membership. We skipped the cold pressed smoothie-juice bars. You know while Southern Californians are deciding on which type of smoothie shop to visit, we in New England are trying to find somewhere that actually makes healthful smoothies. The pickings are slim, as they say.    stack_multi_ribbonl


also had a wonderful

picHomeSunday starting at Bel Air Presbyterian Church where the memorable guest preacher was Carlo Campo, President of Regent University in Virginia, and followed later by a fantastic dinner at Fleming’s, of lamb chops and a berries and cream dessert.



Anyhoo, back to airplanes, it was on my plan for a red eye back home where I began to agree with son-in-law. Maybe it was my daughter’s scolding on the way to leg one of three, at Burbank, “Mom, don’t ever do this again. We will drive to L.A.”

I was early for my 6:00 pm flight from Burbank to San Francisco. Finally, we boarded at 5:30 pm, sat on the tarmac, apparently waiting for something or someone. About fifteen minutes after boarding the pilot came on the P.A. “Not good news,” he said.

So there are two “pins” in the cabin door, and one of them was missing. The pilot called to see if we could fly with one, and, I guess, was told that “the airplane has many parts, and we need all of them to fly.” I pictured the cabin door bursting open mid-flight, kind of like when the Muppets made their fly-through-the-air landing, and figured that being delayed would be a better option.

So we all deplaned from the regional jet, and stood in line to be re-booked, just in case, right!, they couldn’t get the part quickly. They couldn’t. I ended up on the shuttle to LAX to try to get my second connection,the red eye, to Newark.

Amazingly, even with a 10 pm flight from LAX to Newark, instead of a 6 pm one, from Burbank to San Fran, I DID make the connection. So this only made my 10 hours into fourteen hours. This is the house of cards result of my elaborate three connections.   71e9b57ff2f6465fffff8097ffffe904

But had this not happened, I would not have met John Fortune, a jazz-blues musician, originally from Haiti. I went to John’s website, www.john4tune.com and was delighted to listen to previews of his albums. I love Blues Jam from his Hand in Hand album. Check it out.

I was concerned about not making my Newark connection, but the shuttle driver assured me I would. He told me to relax. I asked his name, and he said it was Chris, but I pushed and got his real name, Hacheek. He was an Armenian Christian, and we had a lovely chat about Armenia and the faith there. He continued to tell me to relax, and I did make it on time, as he said I would, even with the extra stop to drop off John at his home.

All in all, I agree with Hacheek. It is best to just relax and enjoy the journey and all its serendipities, which really can be fun if you look at it that way.

Opposites attract…but

I think it is a testimony to God having a sense of humor that, to a person, we seem to choose someone as a mate who is our direct opposite in many important areas:



I like cool crisp September weather and hate hot humid. My honey likes hot, humid summer weather, and the minute he sees 40 degrees F. on any gauge, he instantly goes into what I refer to as his annual winter depression.

“But, it’s not even freezing, I say. “But, it’s gonna be,” he replies. I think he relives his South Dakota ordeal of feeding the critters in sub-zero weather.

He says, “We should move to Florida,” and I say, “How about Maine. He says, “How about New Orleans;” I say, “Alaska!” We have for some reason agreed that someday it will the desert–so hot and not humid. We’ll try it. I love Montreal.


On the same note, my sweetie piles up about six blankets (only three in summer) and I am kicking off my half’s three and swinging my leg out on top of the sheet to get cool–we’re still talking winter. They turn the heat on in our manufacturing building loft–central boiler room furnace–so we don’t even need to turn the heat on ourselves. He comes home and 20 seconds upon entering the apartment, he makes a bee-line for the thermostat to turn it up. I think the shivers runs in his family–maternal side.

Then there’s noise. He likes it. I like calm. He likes motorcycles. I like to go slow. He likes motors. I like quiet. He likes rock music (he is 90 percent deaf, so I think the drumbeat is all he can perceive). I like Chopin and Jewel’s lullaby’s.    IMG_0247293298f

He likes the smell of gasoline. I don’t think I even need to say, I don’t.

When we eat in a restaurant, I call him a fat magnet. He will peruse a menu filled with healthful choices, and opt for anything with sausage in it. And, even though he has agreed to our going more plant-based, he tries my quinoa casserole with roasted veggies and mozzarella cheese or goat cheese, and he says, “It’s really good. th-2Needs sausage.”


This is by no means an exhaustive list. For instance, I can’t tell you the joy it brought hubby dear when I signed us up for a Groupon shooting lesson. He is a sharpshooter, and I never held a gun in my life–being a city girl. He grew up on a cattle ranch in South Dakota. Guns are just part of ranch life.

But I will never forget the light in his eyes when he watched me hit the target–with pretty good success for a first-timer. Maybe I’ll give you the whole story in another post.  marj

Suffice to say, we actually have very little in common. But after almost 32 years, we are more in love than on the first date. He says, “We live in amazement.”

So I ask you, Isn’t this proof of God’s sense of humor. This opposites thing forces us to compromise, which I suspect is the heartbeat of love and the path to unity. Left to ourselves, we would be, well, selfish.

So in the end, it’s a good thing we are paired with one who brings out our complete other, and who forces us to consider that the preferences of another are valid and valuable too.

I just wish we could move to Montreal. I would be okay with the six blankets.

Finding my way

It was unfortunate that I unplugged the refrigerator in our IL home but forgot to leave the door ajar. So then three months later, when I went back to clean for our renter, I discovered the entire freezer had a layer of black mold.   Unknown

Stupidly, I cleaned in out and didn’t wear a respirator mask. So I got a sever bronchitis, and my lung partially collapsed.

The pulmonary specialized told me just to get lots of fresh air and to let my alveoli re-fill.  Unknown-1

I figured since my alveoli have to re-puff, and since that happens with activity, I needed to get going. In my usual extremism, I planned a trip to the Holyoke Mall, 16 miles away, to begin my Apple workshops, where, in my fantasy life, I pictured myself becoming proficient, and even creative, thanks to my MacBook Pro. But, 16 miles stood between me and my fantasy.

Why is 16 miles extreme? Harrowing?

Well, for starters, I don’t do Interstates. I only see out of one eye at a time, and don’t process visual information very quickly, i.e. I enter an Interstate ramp, turn my head left to peruse oncoming traffic, turn my head back to the road (ramp) in front of me, and don’t really know what lane I’m accelerating into for a few seconds. Doing this with oncoming traffic isn’t a good thing.

Try it. Something, possibly less life-threatening. Cover one eye as softball flies at your face. Switch eyes. You won’t know where the ball is exactly. You get close. But, traffic isn’t softball. This is semis and fast cars. Close may not be good enough.

Suffice to say that the seconds finding out what lane oncoming traffic is in, and whether I will collide with them or not, isn’t my idea of a good time.

Once I came to a dead stop, on I-57 in California, in front of a Greyhound bus. It was then, around 1981, I realized I didn’t belong on Interstates. The other convincing came on another ramp, with traffic chomping at my rear bumper and semis wheeling their 18 toward me. I stepped on the gas, lunged into traffic and somehow didn’t die.  Unknown-2

When I told my husband I’d actually closed my eyes and accelerated, he said, “Well, you do everything that way. And. some people have skill, others angels. Either will work if you stick to your system.”
I take surface streets.

Heading for Holyoke Mall, I got to West Springfield, slowly realizing that New England roads are not perpendicular. It isn’t always clear where to turn. And, they don’t believe in signs. That street name on the Google map is not posted on the road, meaning at that bear left thing, you’re not sure it’s the road on the map. Mostly likely, it’s not.


And, rotary circles. If you haven’t experienced these, you must come visit Massachusetts. One cannot live a full life without this adventure. If you think ramps and accelerating onto Interstates were challenges please picture me circling the rotary, reading signs for multiple spoke-exits, then crossing over four rotary lanes when I do finally locate the exit.

On this Holyoke Mall trip, it was raining; I had to circle twice before I ventured across the four lanes, and before seeing where the 5 N exit was; I couldn’t see signs very well in the rain.  l

I arrived at the mall, rattled, ten minutes late for my 10:30 a.m. workshop. It had taken me an hour and 20 minutes for the 16 miles.
I was there for the “Marketing Your Business” training. The tech tried to volley between me and the other participant, but since I had arrived late, they were at work on her personal project.

I thought I could work on beautifying my blog, since she was working on her blog. I also wanted to learn how to plug in my new microphone, turn it on, and record something.

My microphone didn’t record, had to be replaced, and tapping on the mike, trying to make it work, pretty much took up the last 20 minutes of my time.

What I ended up learning was how to find the place on my blog to add pictures. Not sure that was worth the hour and 20-minute road trip. And, that was only one way.

By the time I got my microphone replaced, packed my things, and looked apprehensively toward the door, one of the lovely Apple techs decided he had better walk me to my car. I wasn’t positive where I had parked it. Armed with a return trip Google map, where I had made clear I needed a route with NO Interstates, and preferably smaller bridges. Gavin walked me to the elevator in the JC Penny store, and attempted to explain to me as we rode the elevator down and then up and then down again, that even though it looked different, this had to be the right elevator. Once he finally realized I had used an outside elevator in the parking structure, before walking across the parking lot to JC Penny, I realized I had forgotten that small walk outside, in the rain.

“Oh yeah,” I confirmed. “Now I remember.”

I felt old; I felt blind; I felt handicapped. But, I felt cherished by this sweet man who implied I reminded him of his grandmother. That’s okay.

It was about 2:30 p.m., the rainstorm worse, the sky dark with black clouds. I was not feeling confident at all.

My return trip involved some surface streets; I got lost and ended up crossing the BIG BRIDGE in Springfield, After a DIFFERENT ROTARY, which dumped me onto I-91, IN THE RAIN, where I almost had heart failure. Thankfully, Highway 5 was only a few feet to the right off the Interstate.    440px-Memorial_Bridge,_Springfield_MA

Not the right route at all. I did the whole accelerate without looking–didn’t close my eyes this time, but might as well have. I really don’t know how I did it, but at least they had lights on, so I could gauge car-length margin a bit better to jump into traffic.
Constant prayer, I arrived back in my own parking lot at 4:00 p.m. I had not shortened the trip and had not shortened my life.

All I can say is those alveoli had better be re-puffing.


Originally published on my former blogspot site (www.spinningstrawintogold.blogspot.com) in February, 2010 Reposted here because it was a popular post. For those of you who wish to read all of the Hotel Life stories, please visit the blogspot site. And thanks so much for reading.

Light Green

I have to admit, buying my new recycled stainless steel kitchen utensils, responsibly manufactured from countries around the world, and providing a safe and healthy (it’s really healthful folks) environment, fair labor practices, and environmental protection for those who want to live sustainably (no kidding, this was all on the label) all tied up in those cute little pieces of hemp twine looped through the utensil hanger holes, felt good. I like the little twine especially.  images

Truthfully, I don’t think much about being green, living sustainably and making sure everything I buy is tied to fair labor practices. I mean, it’s not that I’m into destroying the planet or littering, or not supporting farmers or anything.

I just use common sense. And, as we’ve already established, I’m a conservative, in most senses of the word, and especially re-using things, and not wanting to overspend, and getting as much out of a purchase as possible.

But, I guess I am kind of light green when it comes to being militant about this green, saving the planet stuff. I do not think there is anything we can do about any sort of planet warming, and I believe the so-called “research” has been research by press release, mostly for the gain of certain politicians who have hugely profited over the scare.   Unknown-1

It is Biblically prophesied that our planet will someday burn up. So, sorry guys, but there you have it. I seriously doubt you can stop that merely by discarding your plastic in the right bin. And, again, I’m not against doing that. I do it. But, it won’t SAVE the planet. Only God can do that, and He has actually given us the blueprint for that, which I don’t believe included recycling. I don’t think He’s against recycling either. He just doesn’t save us like that.  (The Great Day of the Lord
1″For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 2″But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.…) Mal 4:1.

On the other hand, why not get into “natural” fibers, instead of manufactured synthetics?

It just feels better. Who wouldn’t rather untie a very attractive hemp cord from new utensils than some plastic wirey tie thingy!!

So, I’m not lobbying for anything here. Just use your own common sense, enjoy the earth, while it lasts, and if it makes you feel better to swing your dollars toward helping farmers in Central America or something, or, hey, even farmers in North America–do it! We all live here, and we can all benefit from anything that makes life prettier, cleaner, and longer lasting.

Old person, new world

It’s amazing how huge changes in our behavior sneak up in small steps. When I look at even the vocabulary I use today, I realize that even as recent as a couple of decades ago words like mouse, desktop, icons, footprint, kindle, application, tablet, and so many more, meant something completely different than they do now.

Unknown-6 images

I no longer have a home phone. I don’t subscribe to cable TV. I have no print. I rarely buy a hard copy or paperback book. I don’t collect coupons, or print coupons and loyalty cards are now on my keychain.

I do not have a GPS device on my windshield and rarely use paper maps. Why would I when that helpful woman’s voice, sometimes irritating, tells me where to turn and gets me, usually, to my destination.  Unknown-7 pge.jpg

I listen to news on a tablet in the morning or on the Internet radio station available on my Apple TV, and I don’t have to be sitting in front of a TV to do this. A tablet is quite portable.

In the early ‘60s I read a TV guide article about the future. I was excited about tall tales of being able to get any movie you want on demand through some touch screen. I couldn’t wait to have an audio greeting telling me I have messages, or reminding me to shop or call someone. Now I am frustrated if the movie I want isn’t yet available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If it isn’t there now, though, it will be soon, I am confident.

Jeff Bezos stated in an interview that it is his intention to have (almost) every book ever published available on Kindle. That is quite an ambition. I expect he will soon say the same thing about movies on Amazon Prime.  Unknown-8 Unknown-9

So modern life is ever changing, and APPLE, Amazon and Netflix have truly changed our behavior on a large scale. How many people have PC’s but still have the Apple products for phones, tablets and Apple TV?  Right?

It’s getting as though you have to think twice before you purchase almost anything—DVD’s of TV series that are free online make purchasing DVD series so unnecessary. And at this point, if the season I want on a series I am following isn’t out yet, I switch to a different series until it is. The selection is so vast, I wouldn’t have time to see everything anyway. And, unless I need to watch a live sports game, I have no idea why I would pay $100 a month for cable or Dish.

I just heard that the stats on people giving up a home phone have risen dramatically. We gave ours up ten years ago. The only people who ever called it were telemarketers and long, lost relatives, who if we wanted to talk to, would know our cell numbers.  Unknown-10 Unknown-11

Technology is so amazing that it connects over generations, gender, and even people with vastly different interests. Where but on Facebook, for instance, can you instantly find out which of your friends has a new grandchild, or a birthday, or needs prayer, or wants you to Like some cause they believe in–even if they are thousands of miles away. I don’t always act on everything there, but I am glad it is there.

The down side of all this is obvious. Privacy and quiet time are rare. I was unnerved to see my photos are waiting to upload to Twitter and Google Circles. I don’t remembering setting that up and don’t want to.

But, when I want to share photos, like asking my contractor friend to look at an inspection report on a house, it was amazing to be able to discuss that with him, having instant pictures and the report and being able to go over it line by line. No down time.   At Christmas, I wanted to give my son-in-law a picture of a train that my daughter took. It took my son and his girlfriend about a half hour to help me get it to CVS in Los Angeles, so it would be awaiting me at the store by the time we arrived there the next day. Then I could buy a frame and have it ready for Christmas, rather than the old days of film, developing, waiting, printing, paying for copies, etc. This was amazing to me.   Unknown-12       1003147_4894137400773_1868205741_n

For all its downside, I love technology, and am so happy to have the efficiency of  digital copy and paste, scanning, digital bank deposits, Amazon grocery delivery and countless other conveniences I never realized have crept into my life as normal, everyday activities. They say a million dollar idea is one that changes behavior. I can’t wait to see which one I can come up with. But for now, I will enjoy paying for or accepting for free the myriad of ideas that have changed mine–mostly for the better.



Shootout at the Ware Groupon Lesson

I promised you the full story of my very first shooting lesson, which hubby dear was very excited about. As previously mentioned, he grew up on a very large cattle ranch in South Dakota, where guns, shooting, and generally keeping “critters” in categories of pests, profit-makers, pets, and wildlife are just a part of life. 

 “Popping” prairie dogs, as they call ridding the ranch of these pests, is not considered to be cruel. In fact, not “popping” prairie dogs and letting those sweet cows break their legs in the holes left by the pests, would be considered cruel.  

I might want to add here my disclaimer, that this is a perspective of a city girl who has only visited the ranch a dozen plus times, and the opinions expressed here have not been approved by the ranch owners or their relatives, or their South Dakota, non-city-people neighbors. I heard a nasty rumor that the ranch folks think I actually hate the ranch, being a city girl and all, which is absolutely untrue. I love the ranch. I just need to learn how to do ranch life, which no one seems to think I am ready for.

That said, I found it somewhat amusing that when hubby dear, who loves guns, “popping” prairie dogs, hunting, and eating deer, bear, pheasant, and the like, discovered that he had sired a daughter who would say things like, “Aw, look at that poor (whatever the present roadkill was) creature. Can’t we take her to the vet to maybe save her?” hubby would look at me and wonder how in the world to answer such a strange question.

Her compassion for animals has since shifted a bit, mostly to cats, and she loves the ranch, and has learned to enjoy shooting–so her father is proud.

But, I have steered clear of the gun thing for our 33 years together, until I received a Groupon for a shooting lesson. 

This seemed to be a sign, and I decided it was time, in light of all the fuss over second amendments and rights and such, to at least pick up a gun, figure out how to hold it, and maybe take a shot or too.   

Arriving at the Ware Gun Shop, the outside was extremely different than I had imagined. This was a little house-like place, very rural, and not at all looking like a school for shooting lessons. Not that I really know what that would look like. Of course, we ventured in, Groupon in hand.

The owner, Mike, refused to introduce himself, or confirm that I had talked to him on the phone, and seemed to want to hurry us out of the main retail area, if you want to call it that (the place didn’t have a shiny, clean appearance).

I was fine with being escorted down the stairs to the basement area where there was a lot of open space with targets all around.  

But when Mike began to do his lesson thing, I found him rather fascinating in a grumpy kind of way. He started with a casual interview on why we wanted to have a lesson. Of course I told him I hate guns, but sweetie loves ‘em and I was doing my wifely duty learning a little. I pointed out that my cowboy husband probably didn’t need a lesson but was there to support me. Mike look dubious.

Next was the laser gun with the red dot thingy, that as he was about to hand to me, I asked, “Um, have you germicided that?” He didn’t answer, and you could feel the humorless countenance beginning to boil behind the eyes. “I mean, how many people have touched that?” I clarified.

Mike looked at Jay and said, “Is she serious?” Jay of course smiled and explained I was sort of “pulling his chain.”

Later Jay, also a pretty non-sarcastic sense of humor guy, tried to explain to me the irony of asking about germs while holding a lethal weapon, to which I, of course, replied, “That’s why it’s funny.” I guess not to everyone.

In any case, Mike had threatened to return our Groupon investment and tell us to leave if I proceeded with any more questions like that. I think he had real people coming in after our lesson, and there would be no more silly questions to waste his time.

Just so you know, when I get anxious, which happens when holding a gun for the first time, I get funny (or try to be). Since this was lost on Mike, and somewhat on Jay, I figured since I had no audience, I would shape up. I was, after all, here to do something sweet for hub.

I used the practice laser gun and didn’t feel a whole lot more confident, but cowgirled on.

When it came time to move on to the big guns–well in my case a .22 or something like that, I started getting serious, especially when Mike began to lecture us on muscle memory, and the three important areas to train.That reminded me of Jack Reacher, and having read the first four books, this lesson began to take on some challenge for me. Jack won’t even shoot until he gets his heartbeat under control. I thought I would try that, if I could remember to while training my muscles to shoot.

I am, as you regular readers know, extremely audio and Mike is such a clear teacher that the input into my audio file was really very thorough. 

So, my first ever attempt to shoot a real gun resulted in the cluster you see here. I think both Mike and Jay nearly fell over that this nutty city girl, obviously nervous, scared and worried about germs, actually did quite well. 

 Jay was ecstatic to a point where even annihilating his virtual rat wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing his wife take seriously the thing he enjoys the most–except for motorcycles.

I was a bit proud of the old gal myself.

Mike seemed somewhat tamed after that, and after realizing we shared the same eye problem–only seeing out of one eye at a time–he told me that on another occasion he would show me how to compensate so I would move slightly to the right and cluster right in that target area. I think that was a compliment. And did I detect an open invitation in that “next time” comment?

I read the Google reviews for Mike and his gun shop and most people found him rude, not customer-oriented, and not even in favor of the second amendment (which I doubt). My guess is that he just doesn’t prefer to converse with the public. Not sure why he is in business, but the bottom line for me is that his teaching style was perfect for my learning style, and I learned what I had come to learn. And I did well–especially in the eyes of the one for whom I was there picking up my first .22.

Loft Life: The ugly truth about soft drinks

In ongoing commitment to preserving the life and health of children, I must make a protest about an ugly truth that prevails in America—I don’t know enough about other countries to comment about them.  Unknown

We talk so much about choices, especially encouraging parents and children to make them healthful choices. We talk about obesity, and its growing peril to our nation, our budgets and ourselves. And. We have connected the dots on how choosing daily consumption of soft drinks adds calories at a level that simply skipping them could dramatically change the statistics on weight gain. We even have school changing their vending machine options to encourage better beverage choices, i.e. fruit drinks and water vs. soft drinks.

But, with all of these facts being true, I continue to be amazed at the number of venues where soft drinks are the only beverage being offered to children. I have observed this at picnics, church suppers, sporting events and family gatherings—and now hotel social hours.

Tell me why, when we offer adults alcohol and soft drinks as their two beverage choices, we cannot find a way to serve milk or apple juice, or even water to the children? For that matter, why wouldn’t that be an option for the adults also?

We seem to have become a nation who considers soft drinks a beverage Really it is not. Yes. They are drinkable. But, do we really want to classify a zero nutrition liquid a beverage in the same category as milk, juice, and water (which by the way does have minerals and health benefits), especially when we are talking about growing children? And, do we really want to send the message to children that this is an acceptable part of eating a daily meal? And, do we really want to have growing children become synonymous with increasingly obese children?

And, beyond obesity soda pop has a pathway you might want to consider before handing a can of the bubbly to your kids. John Tesh’s website reports the research on this:

In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. That’s 100% of your recommended daily intake. And the only reason you don’t vomit from the sweetness is because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor – so you’re able to keep it down.

After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver reacts to this by turning any sugar it can grab into fat. And at this particular moment – there’s a LOT of sugar in your system.

After 40 minutes: All caffeine is absorbed. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. 
The “adenosine” receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing you from getting drowsy. You also start producing more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.

And 60 minutes after you drink a soda: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc that was on its way to your bones – to your lower intestine instead. You also have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so you end up flushing all of those nutrients OUT of your body, as well as sodium, electrolytes and water. Then as your body quiets down, a sugar crash kicks in – causing you to feel irritable and sluggish. Not to mention you’ve emptied your system of the nutrients it needs to hydrate itself, and build strong bones and teeth. And all this’ll be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours.

So, John and I ask you: Is drinking soda worth all that!

Okay, maybe a cola at a special occasion. Maybe one at a baseball game. Maybe at a picnic, now and then. But, really, I implore you, let’s get good stuff into our kids for the daily fare. Let’s not make a treat into a daily beverage. Let’s all think about our choices—especially beverages at meals.

Loft Life – Taking pHun to a new level

You all know I am into green smoothies, organics, antioxidants and the like. But when I began reading about how to do the  pH thing, I was overwhelmed. Learning all about the balance of alkaline and acid for the body  seemed foreign to think about.    51doKJVk1vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I dabbled with the idea, but really had no idea what to actually eat. The whole idea of it reminded me of the chemicals we used to clean our swimming pool (when we lived in California).

But, I began to do more than dabble when my “California girl” daughter texted me a picture of her sore throat, gross as it was, and told me she thought she was getting strep. Rather than rush to the urgent care center, she decided to completely change her food for a couple of days to alkaline foods. The throat redness left, her fever left, and she was well in three days. Wow!  This got my attention, big time.

So when I started to feel some flu-like symptoms, I did the same thing and it all went away. Health.

I read up on what foods are alkaline. I started making sure my daily 8 to 10 glasses of water all had a squeeze of lemon. My daughter was buying alkaline bottled waters and was concerned with the expense. I told her to go to Costco for a bag of lemons, and make her own. Much cheaper, tasty and easy to do. You can get 8 wedges from one large lemon, which does the daily dosage for both alkaline food and water. I mean, really. If drinking lemon water can give me a flu-free season, why wouldn’t I do this.  Unknown

The research tells me that, although lemons and other citrus are acidic, they become alkaline when ingested.

On the other hand, animal protein becomes acidic to the body, So, next I cut down dramatically on how much animal protein I consume.

Greens, ala green smoothies, are also alkaline.

I have to say, that barring having all the overwhelming reading to do, these three simple steps–lemon water, less animal protein, more greens–have gotten me through flu season with no symptoms of flu and a really robust health, even with our extreme winter.

The pH people claim that it is the acidic diet that most Americans eat that increases inflammation in the body and they say inflammation is what leads to disease–and not just flu, but disease like cancer and other gnarly stuff. The toxins and waste that accumulate in our bodies because of our high-acid producing diets are also the culprits in decreasing energy and even speeding up the effects of aging.

Getting myself to learn how to maintain the ideal pH of 7.4 is more of a challenge, since it requires me to learn way more. But, the benefits claimed seem to warrant at least considering doing this.

If it is this simple, why not try it? It is easier and cheaper than medication, and has the benefit of not only warding off disease, but creating health. Rather than a cure, why not go for the preventive?


The answer for why most of us don’t attempt this seems to be tied to the whole idea of the modern American eater. I am sure our grandparents weren’t dealing with the problem of trusting food companies and restaurants, because they didn’t eat packaged foods and seldom went “out” to eat. They didn’t have the soft drinks daily, if at all, and they weren’t eating snacks we think of as normal (donuts, candy bars, giant sugary drinks). They had gardens, they canned veggies and fruits for winter. So when this seems like going to a lot of trouble to eat more like they did, it is true. It is a lot of trouble changing over to the former ways. But, did they have the health problems we think of as normal? Were they generally obese?

I am still in process on this, still reading, thinking, changing my diet. But, I will now hunker down and really read the book that claims miracle powers of a balanced pH eating plan, and I will begin to make permanent changes where it just makes sense to do so.

Let me know what you think about this, please.