Thursday, February 23, 2017

Not Dead... Just Whelmed

Well, it appears a few of you have noticed my absence, so I decided perhaps I should write and let you all know that I'm alive and well. I'm fine... really. Just in a funk of sorts. I keep trying to write posts, but I can't seem to get beyond the first few sentences before I give up. Not sure what's up with that.

So perhaps instead if trying to craft something coherent, I'll just blather incoherently about what's on my mind and what I've been up to.

First off... a dear friend of mine from college died suddenly. Apparently he was diagnosed with some sort of horrible aggressive cancer a few months back, and went downhill really quickly. He kept it quiet so it came as a total shock when FaceBook suddenly erupted with RIP messages.

So that sorta threw me for a loop, but it did put me back in touch with some old friends, and I've been busy catching up and reminiscing.

Then there's the tummy stuff. This is a really long story that I tried to write a post about. Basically, I'd been having all sorts of problems with heartburn and acid reflux. I'm doing much better now, and I'm a bit unsure about how I got there.

I tried all of the normal stuff - cutting out foods that are supposed to trigger attacks, smaller meals, no food before bedtime... and honestly, nothing seemed to help much. But along the way I kept running into testimonials about people treating heartburn with apple cider vinegar.

I know, I know... it sounds completely ridiculous, but one night when I couldn't sleep because of the reflux I decided that I really didn't have that much to lose. I figured if it made it lots worse I could always just take more Tums. So I got out the ACV, mixed a spoonful in a glass of water and to my complete and utter amazement, before I'd even downed half of the glass the heartburn and reflux disappeared.

At first I thought it must just be a coincidence, but each time I'd get the heartburn I tried it again, and each time it worked.

Long story short, my working theory is that the tummy troubles were being caused by some sort of imbalance in intestinal flora, which the ACV apparently helps to rectify. I've been using both the ACV and also some oil of oregano, along with eating enormous quantities of yogurt & kefir, and the tummy troubles are almost completely gone.

As a bonus, my chronically stuffy sinuses have also cleared up - I'm even off of my nasal steroid!

So I dunno.

It's completely plausible that my problems were all psychosomatic to begin with and what I'm experiencing is nothing more than the placebo effect, but even if that's all it is, I'm quite pleased with the results.

Speaking of pleased. We've had incredibly warm weather here in the Mile High City - seriously, we're talking 60s, 70s, and even one day when we hit 80 degrees (around 27C) - in FEBRUARY! So this has meant that I've spent a lot of time on my bike, which is great...

It's also meant that I've been freaking out just a tad bit about climate change. I know, I know... weather is not climate, but still. This is NOT NORMAL.

And speaking of not normal... well, I'm still having a bit of a hard time adjusting to the new political reality here. My 77 year old stepmother has become a protesting & rallying queen - seriously, she's attending several per week. She's quite an inspiration to me, but for some reason I haven't been able to get up the gumption to join in. I've been more focused on my own survival...

Which has meant that I'm trying to bump up my income in case my health care costs skyrocket (which seems inevitable.) It hasn't exactly been going smoothly - I've destroyed 4 virtual servers in my efforts to cut my business costs... I really HATE Linux.

But I think I'm finally... almost... maybe there... this time for reals. Just a few more tests before I can switch the DNS and move to a server that will cost $10/month rather than $110.

In other news, I've gone completely off the deep end.

I know this all is gonna sound absolutely, totally, 100 percent nuts, but I really feel like with the political situation here, anything could happen. I'm not entirely sure what "anything" would look like - war? revolution? death camps? Russian invasion? totalitarian rule? Honestly, every day you turn on the news and it's sorta like getting hit in the face with a bunch of barbed wire.

So I decided that instead of just worrying myself into oblivion I'd try to at least get a few ducks in a row.

So I am now the proud owner of a new passport, and I've pretty much memorized which countries you can travel to without a visa and how long you can stay.

And I've also decided that it would be prudent to have some emergency food on hand just in case. In case of what, I don't really know - but with both the climate and the country in crisis it doesn't seem beyond the scope of possibility that we could see disruptions in the food supply sometime in the next who knows how many years.

But since I've been down this road before with spectacularly horrible results, I decided that I needed to do it in a more organized fashion this time. So I've basically re-organized (and expanded) my entire pantry - creating a system to more effectively rotate my stock. I've also bought some "long-term" stuff that's designed to be stored for 20-30 years. CatMan thinks we should have enough food for a year... which is a LOT of food! I'm not anywhere close yet, but I'm working up to it and have spent lots of free time researching shelf lives of various products. Perhaps I'm just channeling my Mormon ancestors.

And... I've also decided to try some new things gardening-wise. I've pretty much given up on growing greens because they always just get hopelessly infested with bugs, so I'm trying something new and I'm gonna see if I can grow them indoors. I bought some really cheap LED grow lights that only use about 12 watts, and I'm giving it a go. We shall see...

OK! So that's about all of the news from the funny farm. If you didn't think I was crazy before, you surely do now!

But hey, you should always go with your strengths, right?

So there you have it... long, rambling, incoherent and... well, at least you know I'm not dead!

So how are things in your neck of the woods?


  1. That was not rambling or incoherent. It was informative. I am very glad to hear that you are fine, but it sounds like you've got a major case of anxiety going on (heartburn probably related to this). That is not to say that there are not reasons to be anxious. However, it's not good for any of us. Instead of thinking about what is the worst thing that can happen, have you thought about what's the best thing that can happen or what is actually happening in daily life that is good/okay? Like health insurance laws may change, but today I have health insurance. And it's possible tomorrow, I may have better health insurance. I play these games myself when trying to calm the negative thoughts and live in the present. And the one I need to use the most is, "Does going over the same thing again and again in my head, do anything to help the situation?" That helps my very logical mind.

    I know you are a news junkie, but have you had any success in just turning it off? And in my opinion, while protests get attention, I think more may be accomplished by writing and calling your representatives. I have heard multiple times, that they really pay attention to their voters. So you might try that instead of joining the big groups. It takes all kinds of actions to be heard.

    Interesting comment about Linux. My husband is very pro Linux. I don't know because I don't use it. However, he says that it's more logical, simpler, less prone to vulnerabilities than Windows. In fact the only time I hear him curse is when he's working with Windows. He works with much more complex systems than home computer use, so maybe that's some of the difference. I just know what I hear when he works from home.

    Anyway, you sound like a good planner. So use your passport and plan a trip. With some lead time you can figure out the allergy issues. And if you want to, pick one of the countries you are considering fleeing to if the need arises. You can see what you think about the place. And a vacation might just be what the doctor ordered to break the worry.

    Also, I'm very sorry to hear about your college friend. I hope the good memories will soon outshadow the shock of losing him.

    Anyway, thanks for checking in. Check in again and let us know how your indoor greens are doing, show us a few pictures from your bike rides, and let us know about some more home remedies that are working for you.

    And I'll give you the advice my son gave me one day when I was worrying and lamenting about a lot of things. He said, "Mama, stop now and go find a cat." He was right, there's nothing calmer than a relaxing cat. :)

    1. Awww... thanks so much for such a sweet and thorough comment.

      Moi? Anxious? Not Moi? Well, obviously that's true, but more than simple anxiety, I think the whole political situation is bringing up a lot of childhood "stuff" for me as well - issues about personal safety, anger about not being treated fairly, and fear of having the rug pulled out from under me - all part of my daily experience growing up.

      I was chatting with a childhood friend a few weeks back and she kept saying that she hadn't felt like this since we were kids - back when we were all sure that the nuclear holocaust would wipe us out before we ever got the chance to grow up. I dunno... perhaps there's something about the psychology of the latchkey generation that's making us feel particularly vulnerable right now.

      And I'm totally laughing about your husband's comments on Linux. Simple?!? Ha! Simple for whom?!? Seriously, I think it sorta comes down to a question of control vs convenience. Linux is a very basic operating system, without many of the features that Windows users take for granted as being built in. So it's great for people who like to get in there and fiddle, and want control over the nitty gritty. But if you just want something that will work "out of the box" - fugghitaboutit!

      The best analogy I can come up with is the spaghetti dinner.

      - With IOS (Apple) you basically get a microwave and a boxed dinner - it's simple & foolproof, but you just get what you get, and that's it.

      - With Windows, you get a stove and then you can choose your pasta, cook it how you like, and choose from a variety of pre-made sauces. It's a good mix of flexibility & control.

      - With Linux, you basically get the components to assemble a kitchen and that's it. You have to assemble the stove from parts and figure out how to light it. Then you have to go get the tomatoes, the onions, the olive oil, the basil & oregano & put your sauce together from scratch. Then you have to go grind up the wheat and make the pasta... yadda, yadda, yadda. So you've got infinite flexibility and control, but there's a pretty big trade off in terms of the work involved to get it all to work properly.

      So it's sorta hard to say which is "better" - it really depends on your priorities as well as your skill set and tolerance for tinkering. I also think that using Linux on a desktop where you have a graphic user interface is probably much easier than using it as a webserver where all you get is a command line. It's sorta like taking a trip back in time to the lovely era of DOS. Ug!

      Anyhow, thanks again for your kind words of encouragement. I'm sure I'll feel much more settled once I get the new server up and running and can cross that off of my list.

  2. When you freak out, just do what I do and repeat "Malevolence tempered by incompetence." And maybe "ending with impeachment" if you feel like that's a possibility. A month in, and these buffoons haven't done anything of substance except screw up implementing an immigration law that was immediately overturned. And I'll be shocked if Republicans make any huge changes to the ACA. They are not on the same page about anything, and their constituents will not stop yelling at them.

    1. I like your mantra. It's similar to CatMan's, which goes: "Time Wounds All Heels!"

  3. I'm really sorry to hear about your college friend's passing. I'm sure the loss has been painful and very upsetting. I lost a college friend this past fall and it really shook me.

    About the apple cider vinegar -- about 20 years ago, I remember reading some research about heartburn. While mainstream nutrition was still saying eat a bland diet, I remember reading one study about adding acid to your gut, in the form of ACV. Sometimes, heartburn is due to too little acid, not the other way around, if I remember this all correctly. Anyway, I'm glad you tried it and it worked for you. I'll keep that in mind, myself.

    I love your comments to live and learn about Linux. My son, a software engineer, loves Linux. I think it is a control thing, and also, I think Linux is open source, which my son really, really loves.

    Sorry the anxiety stuff is getting to you. I hope the lovely weather has been a pleasant diversion. My daughter has been in Denver all week and said it felt like spring.
    Have a good week, Cat!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words.

      The ACV stuff is really fascinating. One theory I read was that if your stomach didn't have enough acid it just kept churning and churning trying to digest food ineffectively. Another theory was that a low acid environment allowed the so-called "bad bacteria" to thrive, which in turn, caused the heartburn. It's really hard to know which things to believe because most of what I read was heavy on anecdote, light on actual research.

      But the "gut flora" thing made some sense because about a week into the ACV treatment I started to experience problems with terrible gas... we're not talking "oops, I farted" level of gas, we're talking doubled over in pain hoping I live to tell about it. At first I didn't even connect it to the ACV but then I did some Googling and found other people having the same reaction. The theory was that the vinegar caused a die-off of yeast and other bad stuff, which, in turn, caused the gas. Anyhow, it lasted a few weeks, but I seem to be over it now, thankfully! :-)

      At any rate, the weather has been a lovely distraction, although winter returned today and at the moment it's snowing. Sigh... but I did get in about 110 miles on the bike in the past week, so hopefully that will tide me over until the warm weather returns!

      Thanks again for your words of encouragement.

  4. Oh, thanks for the update! I always enjoy hearing from you!

    Other people said a lot of what I want to say--but I've still got more in me!

    I am a huge, huge fan of the placebo effect, if you can get it. I've heard that it still works even after you find you were in the control group--but I think that's because you can convince yourself that for some reason, the sugar pill worked on you anyway. Weird, eh?

    But it sounds like the vinegar actually works, too, which is cool!

    I wish I could say I think you're crazy for all your doomsday thoughts, but plenty of democracies have turned fascist, and the beginning looks a lot like this.

    I have been saddened that even his good ideas are not working out. He seems to think that pretending he has powers with specific companies means he's creating more jobs. And instead of draining the swamp, he seems to be filling it with swamp monsters. And our Congress is just rubber stamping it (with only one single exception--with inexplicable reasoning).

    My response has been to continue signing petitions and to also make some phone calls (ugh). I have not yet made it to any protests, but I'm not much of a fan. I know my reps do not care what I think, but I make them (their staff) have to deal with me anyway. I've heard that if nothing else, our protests show people in other countries that we are not all like this.

    My passport is also up-to-date, and now I'm curious about your country list. I am slowly, informally research countries. It feels a lot like when I was figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up--I am eliminating every idea I think of!

    On the Linux debate, I've heard there are versions where people have already done some of the work like Debian or Red Hat or Ubuntu, or Robin says we're using Mate (pronounced MAH-tay), which is a version of Debian. "Ubuntu comes with Gnome III, which I hate and despise, but Mate [is a version of Ubuntu that] comes with Gnome II." It's all Greek (and African and Spanish) to me! Hang in there and show that system who is the alpha cat!

    1. I agree that things do not look good for the future of our democracy. I wrote one letter to Cory Gardner (Colorado's Republican Senator) regarding the ACA and its impact on the self-employed. I got back a somewhat snarky automated response which basically discounted all of my concerns. But Gardner has been pretty open about the fact that he doesn't think he needs to respond to constituents who disagree with him because he views them all as "paid protesters" whose opinions are irrelevant. Too bad he's not up for reelection until 2020.

      But hey, look on the bright side. There's always the possibility that the Arctic will start belching methane, and our goose will be cooked long before fascism has a chance to take a firm grip. (She says without the slightest hint of sarcasm.)

      Anyhow, if you're curious about the Visa rules for various countries, this page has an interactive map where you can click on a country and see their rules. Basically you don't need a visa for Canada, New Zealand or Western Europe (at least all of the countries I checked) as long as your stay is less than 90-180 days depending on the country. The big exception is Australia where you must apply for a visa in advance - but once you're approved the visa is good for a year.

      And I haven't the faintest idea what Gnome is. The new server I'm working on has Ubuntu - after hopeless efforts to set one up from scratch, I finally went with a provider that offers servers with Plesk (a web management tool) for an extra $5/month - and they installed and set up most of it for me. It sets things up differently from my old server though (which was CentOS using DirectAdmin) so mostly I'm just dealing with the learning curve there, as well as making some changes to the software I use to manage my sites to handle the differences.

      Anyhow, thanks for your words of encouragement!

  5. Interesting about the apple cider vinegar. How is the taste? I've been afraid to try it because it just sounds sooooo nasty. Maybe I'm just paranoid. I've started elevating the head of the bed, just a tiny bit, and that seems to make a huge difference. I used to take Nexium when it got really bad, but I read that might be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's, so I'm terrified of it now.

    I'm really sorry about your friend. It's nice that you're catching up with other friends, though.

    Will your cats let you grow things inside? Or have you rigged up some brilliant way to keep them out of plants? I'm always so jealous of the people who can start their plants inside. I've tried, but the cats just won't allow it.

    1. I actually sorta like the taste of the vinegar/water drink. Of course, I am a tangy food nut, as well as a so-called "non-taster" (a person with fewer taste buds than most people have) so it's pretty hard to find something that's too sour for my taste. But when you mix a spoonful of vinegar in a glass of water it's pretty diluted - sorta tastes like lemon water.

      But I'm not necessarily advocating the whole ACV thing. I mean, there's not exactly a lot science behind it, and it does sound like it has the potential to make things worse rather than better. So if you decide to give it a try, I'd say proceed with caution.

      I've heard good things about elevating the head of the bed, but alas, I sleep on a water bed so that's a no-go! I have tried putting a very thin pillow under my shoulders, with my regular pillow on top of that, and on the waterbed that has the effect of putting the entire top half of my body at an angle. It works OK, but I've had to adjust my sleeping position a bit because I normally sleep half on my stomach, and it was causing my back to arch in an uncomfortable way. But it seems to be working OK.

      And in terms of the indoor plants... well, it remains to be seen how this will go. Smoky the Destroyer generally makes quick work of plants - but it's unclear whether it's the plant he's interested in or the fact that it's occupying "his territory" - aka the window sill! So that's why I'm using grow lights. I'll probably end up constructing some sort of chicken wire contraption to keep him out of it, but since they still haven't sprouted yet I haven't gotten that far. But I'll let you know how it goes!

  6. Sorry to hear about the loss of your college friend.

    I have tried some of the ACV tonics as I have read articles that tout their various health benefits. I have never had a problem with acid reflux but some of the other purported benefits such as immunity boosting and weight management seemed to be worth the try. The "health" tonic on the Braggs ACV adds locally produced honey to the vinegar water making it quite palatable even for those that don't like the sour taste of just vinegar and water. Supposedly the enzymes in locally grown (to one's geographical location) helps diminish allergies. I have numerous allergies so I don't know if the tonic was the help or if my seasonal allergies eased by the natural flow of "what's in the air". Either way, my allergy symptoms diminished during my experiment.

    I loved your explanation of Apple, Windows and Linux. I have never gotten very far with Linux. I just plain don't understand it. Windows and Apple seems far easier so I don't tend to stray.

    I am trying to limit my exposure to the news because it just irritates me but the flip side to that is being somewhat under-informed. I am still hanging on the the thin thread of optimism that at least some of the fractures in our government will start mending. Although...most days it feels like everyone involved is intent on stirring up chaos.

    1. That's very interesting about all of the other health benefits of ACV - I hadn't heard of those. I have heard about local honey and allergies though - although somehow I thought it was because there were trace amounts of local pollen from the bees, but enzymes seems just as plausible.

      Anyhow, if Linux wasn't the standard for web servers, I wouldn't be going anywhere near it. Well... that probably isn't exactly true, because I have an Android phone and Andriod is actually a Linux-based operating system.

      Anyhow, I've tried to go on a news fast, but honestly, it just makes me more anxious because I just wonder what's happening that I don't know about! But I admire you for your restraint in that department!

  7. You have such thoughtful and smart commenters...I feel like they have said all and more than I would have thought to say (I shouldn't have come late to the party!)

    Except to add that I am really sorry about your college friend. One more unsettling thing on top of the rest. And I hope you get your servers sorted soon and can cross that off the list. The ACV thing really is intriguing. I guess it is good to consider if symptoms might be psychosomatic...but there's at least a good possibility that all the stress and hard-work is throwing your entire system out. I'm really intrigued that something like ACV could maybe adjust that.

    With politics, I am now tipping over the edge into thinking he'll actually be impeached at some point and the car-wreck in progress will stop there.

    If New Zealand is VISA-free it's a good jumping off point for Australia. Seriously...we have a spare room here if the apocalypse arrives! I have a really weird thing about always wanting to have a spare room in my house...a line running through my head that it's important to always be able to 'welcome strangers'. I'm hoping we'll have some French visitors to start with in June (if I can get my act together to furnish the empty spare room.)

    1. Awww... thanks for such a sweet comment. I actually have another good friend from college who now lives in Melbourne - and she keeps begging me to come to the land of OZ. So we'll see, perhaps some day I'll pay you a visit!

      I don't really know what to believe about the ACV. I tend to be very skeptical of these miracle cure folk remedies, but the results are sorta hard to quibble with. I did read a fascinating study today linking autism, of all things, with gut bacteria. So if the ACV really does help the gut stuff I suppose it could explain why it seems to help so many seemingly unrelated problems. And I am a prime candidate for having my gut all out of whack since I spent an entire year of my childhood on antibiotics - I just kept getting strep throat over and over and over. Turned out my best friend was a carrier.

      Well anyhow, I don't know what to think about the political situation. Even if "Cheetolini" (as a friend of mine has been calling our illustrious leader) were to be impeached, we'd still be left with the rest of his party, which honestly seems just as frightening these days. So perhaps I'll look into that visa after all... :-)

  8. First I want to say I am very sorry for your loss.

    I am glad to hear you are doing okay. We've had beautiful weather here too (76 yesterday) and I was worried you had been in an accident on your bike and was in traction or something horrible.

    On the ACV, I don't know how it works but I've heard it works. My daughter-in-law suffered with heartburn with her second pregnancy and for some inexplicable reason decided to eat a spoonful of mustard and called me to say it worked like a charm. She didn't want to take any medication for the heartburn so kept a full bottle of mustard in the cupboard throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

    On Trump, I was horribly overwhelmed at first. It seemed he was signing something every day. Then one day it dawned on me that he hadn't actually done anything. Yes, he is deporting illegals but his "Muslim" ban was halted. So on all his promises he's only accomplished one.

    I can't even consider leaving the country if things go bad because it's too difficult to find travel and lodging that fit my physical needs so I will have to stick it out here. On the positive, I have two bedrooms here that if things got bad I could have family move in with me.

    As for putting up food, I have never bought into the prepper mentality although I normally have a good six months of food on hand throughout the winter months so I don't have to rely on others to shop for me when I can't get out. I'm seriously thinking of increasing that now so one day you may hear I've become a prepper, ugh.

    After Brexit, and hearing Scotland talk about breaking away from the UK then the election of Trump I realized that our country is as splintered as the UK. I honestly see a possibility that our country may break up into several smaller countries at some point. In some ways that might seem like a relief as the liberal leaning states could group together and conservative ones could go their way but then I worry that even that solution to our problems could be worse and lead to war between the new divisions. All I know is the election of Trump showed that we are more divided than I ever believed before and this will lead to a change, whether that change is going to be good or bad is up for debate.

    1. Ha! I keep looking at the map and trying to sort out which states Colorado could get together with. Nevada, New Mexico and the rest of the west coast seem like good candidates, but we've got darned Arizona and Utah in the way!

      I'm really impressed that you have 6 months of food on hand. That's a LOT of food. Or at least I think it is. Honestly, part of what I'm trying to do is to get a sense of how much food one needs for a given period of time. I don't tend to shop on a schedule, so it's not something I keep good track of. But some of the Mormon and the prepper websites list what seems like just incredible amounts of food to me. Seriously, one site had a calculator that said one adult needed 8 pounds of grains (dry), and 1.25 pounds of sugar (among other things) per week. That's like eating over a pound of rice or oatmeal or whatever per day, plus a whole lot of other things. Maybe I'm being unrealistic, but that seems crazy to me.

      Anyhow, I guess we'll have to wait and see how the political situation turns out. One thing's for sure, people seem to have awakened from their previously comatose state!

  9. Just found your blog and really enjoyed your post. That's interesting about the ACV, may give that a try. I go through spells of acid reflux and it's awful.
    I've decided to ignore the whole political situation. We live in a swamp down here in Georgia and like Pogo we have met the enemy.

    1. First of all, I'm so sorry that this bit of blather was your introduction to my blog! I usually have something much more interesting to say, really, I do!

      Anyhow, I've never really been to the south, but I can't help but think that there must be some sort of invisible population down there because I keep running into people online who live below the Mason-Dixon but seem to be normal, intelligent adults.

      And you're gonna have to help me out with the Pogo reference. I fear I live under a bit of a cabbage leaf where popular culture is concerned. Google says it's an online gaming system? Maybe the Project on Government Oversight? Or an Australian techno-pop musician? Help me out here...

    2. RE: Pogo - it was a long-running popular satirical comic strip. This link explains more -

    3. Thanks for the link! One mystery of popular culture explained. :-)

  10. Nice to hear from you. I'm with you on pretty much all of this, apart from the unexpected death - that sucks, I'm really sorry to hear that - and that you're doing better than me at actually getting a blog post out ;-) I might pop back in a while and say something more coherent, but right now I'm kinda with the baby in the first picture. That is a great pic!

    1. Well I'm glad to hear from you, even if it's just to say that you don't have anything to say other than FbblBurblllweFbt! And yes, the sudden death of a friend totally sucks. It does help to put things into perspective though. Be well, my friend!

  11. Oh, wow, you've posted! I just checked in on you after seeing your comment on Liveandlearn. I'm glad your tummy issues are resolving--I think we've talked before about how uncomfortable that can be.

    So sorry about your friend's death. I'm sure it was a huge shock.

    Live and Learn has such great comments for you. I agree with her about writing and calling your representatives with your concerns.

    Keep us updated on your life!

    1. Thanks Kris. As I wrote this post I was thinking "Kris is gonna think I'm totally nuts with the ACV stuff" - and I'm still pretty sure that you do, so you are very kind for not mentioning it! :-)

    2. Nope, don't think you are nuts at all. Find what works for you. That, to me, is one of the benefits of blogs like this--we can share info on what has been helpful (or not helpful). I think you and I have different reasons for our tummy troubles and so our solutions are different--but that doesn't mean each solution doesn't have some validity! And I know the feeling of "what the heck, I'm so miserable I'm willing to try anything!".

  12. I also suffer from Tums overdose at bedtime. I definitely will try your ACV remedy. At least its natural. Weather in Ontario has been crazy. The robins never migrated south, but stayed all winter. Semi-hibernating animals like raccoons were very active. We've gotten tons of snow, and also at the other extreme, have had temperatures at 15C (59F), in February. All the snow is melting. I've been feeding the birds because I don't think any wild life knows whats happening. Yes, climate change is here to stay. As for gardening this summer, I was thinking I better start building mini plastic domes to go over the rows just in case a snowstorm hits in July.

    1. I know what you mean - weather is becoming such a crap shoot anymore! I'm hoping that the combination of my "hail house" and home made irrigation system will help my garden to make it through... but honestly, if it's this hot in February and March, I'm imagining that it will be downright sweltering come July!

  13. So sorry to hear about your friend, and about your stomach.

    We bought our first bottle of apple cider vinegar recently to make some brussel slaw & apple puree to go w/porkchops. It's awesome stuff.

    I hear what you're saying about the political climate. I'm strangely optimistic since I haven't seen this enthusiasm on the left in my lifetime, not even during the George W Bush years (after another popular vote/electoral college split).

    All in all, I think this will be a good thing for progressives: we have someone in power who can bind the wings of the party again.

    1. Ooooo, Brussels Slaw sounds delicious! Did you know that it's "Brussels" as in the city? I once spent an entire afternoon trying to figure out why spell check was telling me that there was no such thing as a "brussle" - who knew?!

      Anyhow, the new administration certainly is galvanizing the public into a level of action that I have not previously witnessed in my lifetime. CatMan always says that in politics people have to really suffer from bad policies before they are willing to abandon them - so I suppose there is room for hope, but honestly watching the news leaves me with my chin on the ground most days!

  14. Hi Cat
    I'm glad to see you posting again. Sounds like you have had a rough start to 2017.
    Condolences on the loss of your friend. We lost a family member a few weeks ago and our recovery is ongoing, but I know time is a great healer.
    I don't have experience with ACV but I am deep into placebo time.
    I am currently having laser treatment for sinus headaches that have been plaguing me for over 10 years....and it's working. My son says it's just a placebo but I don't really care, all I know is I'm not having headaches twice a week.
    I am with you on the general anxiety this year but not from the same source as you. On your politicians, as an outsider (Canadian) I don't think your current one is any worse that your previous least this one opted out of the TPP and hopefully starts a dialogue about NAFTA.
    I do feel for you about the healthcare but I really think all the protests should be about a single payer system or Medicare for all.....not identity politics

    I think climate change is moving on us quicker than we thought.
    Last summer was our dryest than I've seen in a few year.September we had a record rainfall which flooded our town and hundreds of basements, including ours.
    December brought record snowfalls, then we had one of the rainiest Januarys. February we had days of high didn't just break records it smashed them....think 3-4 times the normal temps. Now they are talking about one of the earliest springs.
    I also think this may be the year that the financial system blows up.
    So our house is the one with a good supply of food and other sundries.

    So apart from that I pet my cats and sew doll clothes and keep up being a non-consumer
    ...because really there is nothing else I can do.


    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I too am a big fan of the placebo effect. I mean if it works, who really cares why!

      I hope that you are correct in that this current administration is no worse than some of the previous horrors this country has endured - but honestly, this feels much more sinister. I mean, every day we find out that yet another person connected to the administration has odd ties to the Kremlin, which they've lied about. I guess time will tell...

      And oh, how I wish that single payer would come back into the health care discussion. It's really the only thing that makes any sense. Of course at the moment, the Republicans are busy trying to dismantle Medicare. But who knows, perhaps they'll make such a mess of things that people will actually be willing to consider single payer once they're dying on the streets for lack of care.

      Anyhow, I tend to agree that climate change is outpacing even the most aggressive models, and I honestly don't know what will become of us. But I agree that now, more than ever, it's important to enjoy every last minute that we can, because who knows how many more our species will have. So keep up with the sewing, and give your cats a big smooch from me!

  15. Dear Cat,

    You write with such wonderful transparency. I'm sorry it's been a difficult season, and especially sorry about the unexpected death of your friend. I can so relate to many of the emotions you expressed about the current political climate.

    I, too, am in the process of updating our passports and thinking about worst case scenarios. Thinking about how frightening it would be to have a civil war and how hard it would be to leave our home has given me new empathy for the Syrian refugees and immigrants our administration is trying to keep out. It's a surreal time.

    But I also believe good can come from this difficult time. I personally want to walk the walk and do better at being generous and accepting. If enough of us spread love and goodwill and hospitality and kindness. we can overcome bad politics.... It may take time and persistence, but I really do believe that.

    Good for you for taking time to be kind and gentle to yourself. You give so much, and I was touched by reading all of the comments from this community who cares for you. Thanks again for writing this post, and I'm sending you positive thoughts and peaceful vibes from Centennial. I can't count the number of times your thoughts and comments have lifted my spirits. xoxo

    1. Ha! And you, my friend, are really good at spinning things in a positive way! What some might call "transparency" others would definitely call "whining" - but I'll take whatever positivity I can get.

      I totally applaud you for your commitment to being generous and accepting. I really hope that understanding and kindness can help to heal the divide in this country, but honestly, I have my doubts. I just can't figure out how to get my brain around this new reality where there is no longer any consensus about what is and isn't true. I dunno, maybe it's less important for us to agree about what the facts are, than it is to simply treat each other better, but I can't help but feel that the two are connected.

      Anyhow, thank you so much for your support - whatever else may be going on in this crazy world of ours, the blogging community is definitely one very big bright spot.

  16. So sorry about your friend. :(

    It totally makes sense to me that focusing on your gut health, yogurt, applec cider vinegar etc has improved your acid reflux and helped clear up your sinuses.

    About the prepping, hey, if it feels right for you and doesn't take over your life, why not. Sounds like a reasonable thing to do, really.


    1. I think I'm sort of obsessed with gut health these days! There's actually some surprising research out there showing that it has an impact on everything from immunity to depression. Anyhow, my latest adventure is pre-biotics. Bring on the jicama! :-)

  17. I am going to give ACV a try as I am always struggling with acid reflux and heartburn. I also worry about our political climate -- too much hate being stirred up, xenophobia, etc. I sit next to a conservative who tells me all these rally make him sick. What makes me sick is thinking people in the US shouldn't have the right to rally and that if the president doesn't agree with the Courts, they should be disbanded. Sounds like a totalitarian view to me and it's disturbing.

    The people who voted for this madman will suffer the most and that's twisted justice that I don't want to think about!

    I hope you find a way to have it all make sense for you. I know it doesn't make sense to me!

    1. I hope the ACV works for you - it's been a lifesaver for me!

      And I too am quite disturbed by the hate. I can't say I'm surprised though. I mean, the right wing media has been stoking this stuff for decades. The sad irony of it all is, as you point out, that the people most hurt by conservative policies are the people who have voted them into power. Sigh.

      I am breathing a sigh of relief over the demise of the Republican health care bill though. I'm sure the fight is not over, but it does feel like a bit of a reprieve!


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