Thursday, February 2, 2023

February 2nd

 And just like that, January is over!

I am so proud of myself!  I bought a little water purifier test kit for an experiment and actually did it!

That seems silly since I am a Ph.D. level engineer but the truth is that for years, I had toddlers running around snatching things off of surfaces, so got out of the habit of actually doing experiments.

It worked. We put nasty, dirty, oily water in the top and cleanish water came out of the bottom. It looked great but of course nasty things can be in water and the water still be clear. We didn't drink the water, but we admired it.

Push ups are a big thing here among certain strong people.  Here, Miriam and Rose are doing push ups.

Sarah made a very unstable, tall tower out of Settlers of Catan houses. Neat! She is so creative!

So I went to the dentist yesterday to get a couple of cavities taken care of. I did not enjoy the experience.  Our dentist is great and I was treated very well but wow, my jaw was mad at me and I do hate that feeling of having a numb cheek, nose, and jaw after the novacaine.

And yet, I still have my teeth and I have the opportunity to have someone competent take care of my teeth, so am very thankful for that!

I came home and rested for a couple of hours and today I have been tired too.  Maybe a minor illness?  Not sure.


We also published an updated edition of The Banished Uncle today.  The original was 57,000 words and the new version is 89,000 words, so I added a lot.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Health Update

 I did an at home A1c test a few days ago and it was 5.8.  Color me happy! That is pretty good!

Many months ago, I said that I had gained some weight and was going to try to maintain 165 lbs.  Since I am 5 ft. 9 inches tall, that isn't exceptionally heavy, but I was like 140 lbs until I went on Lexapro. Apparently anxiety kept me from eating, or from resting, or something. I will gladly take 25 healthy pounds and not be anxious.

Anyway, I was at 165 for months and then about a month ago, maybe 6 weeks, I decided to start exercising more.  I've been consistently punching the punching bag in our basement, and doing the elliptical machine, and even lifting weights.

And...I promptly put on 5 more pounds. I don't think I'm eating more!  Maybe it is muscle?  Anyway, I am not going to worry about it but it does show how lame "weight" is for analyzing one's fitness. I am certainly in better shape but now weight 170 lbs!

I have been messing around with low carb fudge.  I made some that was pretty good, made up of cocoa, no sugar peanut butter, butter substitute, vanilla, and low carb sweetener.

It was quite tasty, but there was always a nasty aftertaste.  I kept messing with the recipe, trying different sweeteners, but the after taste remained.

A couple of days ago, I tried agave nectar, which isn't as low carb as I usually go for.  That fudge tasted pretty bad for some reason. Ugh.  I ate quite a few bites before deciding forget it -- I am not going to worry about wasting food when this tastes so bad.

At some point, my Ph.D. level brain thought -- hmmm, maybe it is not the sweetener?

I think it is the butter substitute.  I took a tiny bite of straight butter substitute and YUCK!

So next time I will try coconut oil.

In the middle of all this experimentation, I didn't think to google agave nectar and whether it is high fructan, because I do have a fructan intolerance...

Yes, agave nectar is very high fructan.

So yesterday, after eating some of the fudge, I got pretty unhappy digestively.


The older I get, the less I can eat.

But I am doing pretty well all in all.  My doctor is always thrilled at my A1c levels and my blood pressure is low and my cholesterol is high but not too high...

So I am grateful that I am as healthy as I am.  And also vaguely annoyed that my body has decided that no dairy, no wheat, no high fructan anything, is my future in life.

Oh well. There is always dark chocolate!  Thankfully.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Little Vacation

Kevin and I got away for a long weekend!  We went to an Air B and B about an hour from our home. It was a little cabin next to a pond.

When we went on Friday, there was no snow. Sunday morning, I woke up incredibly, 10:30 a.m.!  And there was a ton of snow!

The 10:30 a.m. was extraordinary.  I haven't woken up that late in years.  But it was dark and very quiet and I just slept and slept and slept.  It was beautiful outside.

Kevin and me!  Kevin obviously balanced the camera on something to take this picture.  It was great spending one on one time with each other.

Steak and mushrooms.  One nice thing about our vacations is that Kevin usually does the cooking, and he is a great cook!  I am particularly fond of steak and mushrooms. Yum!  To the right is an elegant bowl of dark olives.  He also prepared peas for this dinner but a.) they are high carb and b.) I don't like canned peas!  So I got olives!

It was nice to get away, and nice to come home. The children did well at home.  I always stress out a little when we are gone though we have a 20 year old and 3 teens at home, and even Rose is pretty sensible nowadays.  

After a very mellow, warm January, we are finally getting some snow. It is snowy outside and then tomorrow morning we are supposed to get 4 to 6 more inches of snow, followed by a few hours of temps in the upper 30's, which means rain.  And then it will get cold again. Tomorrow is going to be a mess.  Isaac is supposed to go to a late lab class but we will see.


Friday, January 13, 2023

Mid January and Medical appointments

 After the incredible storm a couple of days before Christmas where it was below zero with terrible winds, we have had a mild January.  It is snowing now, but not in an enthusiastic manner. We have gotten up to 60 a couple of days. Weird.

This week we are getting back into the swing of normal school.  Isaac started up at college, and Joseph and Miriam will start next week.  Rose is now reading quite fluently which is awesome and fun.

This week was also a "visit to the doctor" week.  Tuesday I took Miriam for her well teen checkup plus she got her work permit signed saying she could safely work. She has been working at Burger King for six months so that is silly, but life is silly sometimes. The story is that she started working in the summer when she didn't need a work permit, and it took BK months to realize they needed one for the school year. So we jumped through hoops, one of which was going to the local high school to have the superintendent sign the work permit.

Which is absurd.  She isn't in public school and the only knowledge the superintendent's office has is that she is homeschooled. But whatever. Paperwork.

I also took the six younger kids to the dentist for six month cleanings.  None of the kids had cavities!  Hooray!  I did have two cavities myself, but given that I am in my 50's, that isn't too bad. I mean, I have had other fillings but mostly I am doing well.  Of particular interest is that I have forty year old fillings which are still intact and happy, so that is amazing!

Yesterday Joseph transitioned to an adult medical provider, the same one that I see.  She is a great doctor.  I didn't go in with him (he is an adult!) but apparently the doctor's one concern was Joseph's weight. He is very thin. Some of that he comes by honestly because Kevin and I both have thin genes.  He is also tall (over six feet). I am certain he is fine and will put on weight in the next few years but it is amazing how thin he is!  He is going to try to eat more.  I am not really worried and I think he looks great.  There are a range of healthy weights.  It would probably be good if he weighed a little more though.

So that was my "medical" week.  Next week I have two more appointments but at least we are done with the dentist. I love and hate going in one day.  Love because we get it done. Hate because it makes for a long day at the dentist.  But the kids are older now so I don't have to worry about a small one climbing the furniture anymore!

I had a major issue with my left foot earlier this week. It hurt so much I was on crutches.  I did a few things; I took one day off from putting weight on my foot.  More importantly, I bought a new "night" boot from Amazon.  I realized my old "night boot" which helps relieve plantar fasciitis, was old and worn and weird.  So now I have a new boot and my foot is mostly better. Thankful for boots!

Friday, January 6, 2023

New Year's Day Feast (not on New Year's Day)

We have a family tradition of having a big New Year's Day brunch on January 1st. This year, January 1st was a Sunday and we didn't want to make church impossible, so we had it on Monday.  It was fun as usual, especially for me because Kevin did it all with some help from the kids.  He rocks!  I just sat and ate!  The meat.  Because most of it was off limits for me because of various dietary restrictions. But if the kids and Kevin are full of good food, I can enjoy it vicariously.


Warm Spell

 After the insane cold and wind the weekend of Christmas, we are enjoying a warm spell. Today it was like 40.  However, a couple of days ago it was...

Like.  Wow.  From 0 degrees on December 24th to 58 on January 4th.  Wow.

Five of our cats.  I don't see Cocoa but maybe she is in here somewhere.

All of these are strays or rescues. They either just showed up, or we heard about abandoned kittens and rescued them.

Here is a funny thing; the last kitten we acquired in any kind of normal way was Shadow, a female black cat who was a gift to Lydia.  She decided a couple of years ago that she preferred the neighbors house to our own, in spite of the fact that we had food on our porch and they didn't.

Well, our beloved neighbors were transferred overseas and another family bought the house next door.  Can you believe that they have been VERY kind to Shadow, to the point of letting her into their sun room during the cold snap?

This is in spite of her not being their problem at all. She has a home. She has us.  She doesn't want us.  She wants the neighbors.  And they are kind enough to take care of her when the temperature plunges.  We have had great neighbors for years and we are grateful. 

It was so warm that Isaac went sunbathing. Those are Cocoa's limbs in sight.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Three Kid Birthdays

Miriam, in orange, turned 17 last week.

Isaac turned 20 last week.

Naomi turned 23 in the last couple of weeks.

My babies are growing up!