Tuesday, February 27, 2018

That little bit

I feel a bit more energy from the keto diet.  I'm not doing it to lose tons of weight - but to reduce sugar cravings and eat better in the long run.   I was beginning to rely on sugar things again as 'food' and as the weather warmed up and I wasn't spending half of my calories JUST to stay warm.. that just didn't sit right with me... I wanted to get up energy to go out and do things, but the sugar is a bad thing for that - it gives you highs and lows.

 I decided to start the keto thing again, at a 50 gram high and allow myself carbs, but not SUGAR carbs specifically.  I have a tortilla each day, a few tasty-spiced corn chips, a cracker under some peanut butter.  A piece of dried pineapple or a thumbnail size of dark chocolate are the most 'sugary' things I allow.  I can have a tablespoon of berries or a grape, without needing to go grab a handful of M&Ms or a Little Debbie cake after that.  Sugar has done that to me in the past - give it an inch and it screams for a mile - and that catches up to you if you don't kick it in the tail once in a while.

 And I have gotten the energy spike, and the thirst for real clear water again, and the 'I'd just rather not' looking at a donut instead of the 'I wish I could have two of those right now'.  I find myself craving green tea or an almond, olive, or a piece of fish, instead of thinking about a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich dripping with jelly.  So, I will keep on with this until I feel something click again.. my body usually tells me what I need to know, and I'm trying to listen to it. 

I knit three rows on my huge blanket I have been making for years again.... and my arm yelled at me.  Each row takes about 10-15 minutes to work through if I'm going at a normal pace.  This is why I hardly ever work on it.. but I am getting to a stopping point finally.  It is large enough to stretch out over my feet and pull up to my neck and tuck the ends under me reading a book.  That is good.  I can bind it off in a few more rows and then work for a few days to a week tying in all the ends.  It is a multi-striped blanket, with LOTS of colors.  The yarn is washable acrylic Red Heart, which I've used for all my blankets in the past years.

And I want to use some fabric and make some half-towels again, like the burp rags from when Esme was small but a bit bigger to use as dish towels and the like.  I have two fabrics that will do well as front and back.  Just have to sit down and cut the pieces all to size and sew them together and topstitch them.

read 'Uprooted' by Naomi Novik, and 'The Flaw in All Magic' by Ben Dobson.  Both were incredibly good books.  I'm on 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss which has been on my wait list for a bit.  It was recc. in the same list as Uprooted.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Garden Project

The days are finally warming up, and we've started a garden project on Facebook called Shepard Lane Garden (because it was easier to spell than our full address...

I bought some little blue irises today and added them to the bulb garden.  The pink hyacinth are coming up, and the lemon balm is fragrant.  I love the way the green shines in the sunlight.

  blue irises

 pink hyacinth

 lemon balm

I also found the two varieties of morning glory I was looking for more seed of.
One is 'Flying Saucers' and the other is 'Blue Star'.

There are 'Alaska' peas germinating in a pot inside.  Once they poke their heads out and get a few sets of good leaves (and the last frost passes next week we hope) I can dig up a section of earth and put up a trellis and still have enough time to get a good harvest.

and top it off with one shameless garden cat begging for attention!

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Uprooted by Naomi Novik was a good book.  I really liked the original-to-the-magician magic types, where each had their own natural style of magic.  It was a really epic fantasy tale.

Winner of the Nebula Award, really worth the buy 

Thinking more about the garden.  Also had a friend out and she was considering coming to help us at times this year with the garden in exchange for some of the produce.  It would be a good learning experience for her, too.  She helped me clean a few things out of the garden in prep for work later.

Started my Alaskan peas germinating.  Hopefully by the end of the week I can dig a small area up and put them out there.  Looking into a mini cultivator tool to work on areas like that.

Found my morning glory and moonflower seeds, bought some zinnia and cosmo seeds.  The other day I went through the seeds and picked out a lot of things into the 'this year' bucket.

Tied up three washcloths and a sock the other day, so much yarn and I'm not really sure if there is anything I 'need' to do with it.. but those things worked.  There is a blanket I've been working on for years taking up much of my table.  I'm not sure if it is quite large enough to be useful yet.

Started the keto diet again on 2/20 and again I'm going with the 'high' version, of 50 carbs or less... and only testing my day's worth of food every other day or so (because the app annoys me not letting me put in half servings of things with the keyboard not having a decimal point).  Friend is going to try going for it too but I keep urging her to ease into it, don't just go all out and crash.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Yesterday Esme received a good note from her reading teacher that she has improved on reading chapter books and is really doing well in her class and assessments. 

We went to the library and we went through the non-fiction.  I showed her several sections I knew she would like - the earth/weather science and animals and machines sections mostly.  She said 'but none of these books are at my level!'... but I said that the only books in the library that were 'levelled' were the readers over in that one cabinet (for beginning readers), everything else you just look at the spine or title, pick it up and open it up to see if it is for you or not.  She took a moment to think that over.  Then she started going through books and found two she wanted to take home, both non-fiction, both about archaeology/paleobiology. 

I finished reading 'The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared', by Jonas Jonasson.  It was VERY funny, and well tied together.

I'm reading 'The Wizards of Once' by Cressida Cowell (How to Train your Dragon) now.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik is next on the list

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

50 grams of carbs nearly-ketogenic diet

I'm starting back on this.  I bought supplies at the store and am working on limiting the grains and carbs back down to 50 grams (real keto is 20 grams and under).  I lost a good amount of weight on this plan before November of last year.  Now that it is a little warmer I'm up to trying it again.  It was just too cold and with the holidays in the way it was tough to stay on track.  It also felt too cold for exercise during those long months.. but I started to feel a little more like getting into that when the temperatures got above 40 the other day, too.

Breakfast tomorrow : coconut milk in coffee with cinnamon and half of a chicken patty.  Maybe a few hazelnuts or brazil nuts.

Lunch tomorrow : sunbutter in a extra-fluffy tortilla (most of the carbs here), 2 fish fillets, slice of roast beef, egg, swiss cheese slice, pepperjack cheese cube, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, a few Wasabi flavor corn chips and green olives.  I've packed coffee with cinnamon and a jar of fresh well water to either drink straight or make tea.  //I went back and added a tablespoon of real mayo and a pickle.

Will have to figure out dinner when I get home.

I have seeds

I have lots of seeds.  It is a bit of a problem in that I know many of them are old and I will never use them all.  But it feels like having envelopes full of potential.. and sometimes boxes full.  I don't have the time now to be out in the garden - or maybe I just don't have the ambition I did when Esme was younger.  Maybe I'm not as hopeful and plant less each year.  But I dug through my boxes today (signs that it is finally getting warmer again) and made my 'this year' list (in my head) and decided what things I need to go acquire and what things are ready to be thrown out.  

I planted two tiny flats of tomatoes and peppers - six each, in the greenhouse corner and we'll just see if they make a go of it at all.  I'm showing restraint at the moment but I know I'll end up with the four or five flats of each and begin weeding them down to survivors.  The seeds I planted today were the last dregs from packages I just didn't want to throw away wholesale.

I'm setting my priorities.   I will be planting some beans this year,  several varieties.  I love having the sunflowers.  And there is so much corn still in the packages - but I won't plant the corn with as much hope of eating it but only for 'scientific' purposes.

So I want this year:
pole beans and Provider bush beans
some sort of corn?
cucumbers (I eat these)
a tomato and a pepper that produce (have to plant a few of each to make sure)
dill and basil
morning glories
And I might take a chance against the bugs again this year and plant a summer squash

I made a bag of 'free for all' bean varieties (and a few gourd seeds and peas in there) that I will just toss out around the garden and see what if anything they do.  They don't have any identification and are old.. so .. let nature do what it wants with them.

I remember that one year I planted butternut squashes down in the valley and they actually produced tiny little squashes but not really big enough to eat.  That was hope and optimism!  It was interesting seeing them clinging to life trying to grow amid the jungle of other plants.  There was this one that I planted partially in a hollow under the end of dead log and it was the best of them all - it had some shelter away from the mass of sun-loving weeds and lots of fertilizer from the decaying wood and I would go fill up the hollow with some water when I could from my watering can.

 Top : Bosnian beans which I have grown out every other year or so since I was sent nine of them in a package.  Middle Left: Good Mother Stallard beans.  They have never produced for me, but I've been stingy with them and only planted ten or so at a time..  I might just have to put the whole package in the ground and try to see what happens.  Middle Right : Hyacinth beans (with the white stripes) are the progeny of a plant a friend at work gave me years ago.  Bottom: 'Turkey Craw?' beans I've often just called white climbers.  They appeared out of nowhere (probably a stray bean in a package I was given) and have been prolific enough I have this many left over from several years.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I read Wolf Hollow, a Newberry award winner.  It was a good read, sad a bit, but a good read.  I'm on 'The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared' now.  It is a blast.  I am so glad I found it in the library reccs. 

After the hike today Esme and I painted a little - we each made a little thing, hers an 'environment' with a fish, and mine a boat.  Mark made spaghetti sauce and it was very good.  We all watched 'A Dog's Purpose' and cried.  It was a wonderful film even though it was so sad in many places.  We're truly dog lovers... (with seven, how can you not be?)

Did a little cleaning and put up a painting in the bathroom ('Wash your Hare') and reframed a card by NoosedKitty I had bought years ago of two little rabbits hiding in a teacup.  Both of those turned out good and I felt a little accomplished.  Started repairs on our bed quilt.  It needs so much.  I should probably find something I like at the upholstery shop (Robertsons) and just recover all of it... or finally use my nautical equations fabric to do so.  I had been saving that for a long time but it might be that time.

I have tomorrow off, too and we wanted to go to the library but not until after Esme is home from school.  Will see how that goes.  She is very interested in plants, earth science, environments, ecosystems and etc...  she wants to look through the non-fiction section and find books to read... she says!  She will probably just play the computer for 3/4 of the hour and scramble to find books again like usual?  We'll see.  I did the red hair dye again tonight and I think it evened out the purple/red from last time.  We'll see what it looks like in the actual light tomorrow.

In the woods

 Most of these pictures (except the obvious ones) were taken by Esme out in the forest today.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Esme was a bit upset this morning about how the other kids are at school - as in, they don't seem to care or try as much as she does on some things, and when she tries to help or point things out of course they don't appreciate it.  They gave her a nickname she doesn't like - it isn't terrible, but yes she doesn't like it.  I explained to her that both of her parents have been through this, it is part of our personalities that we really can't just 'blend in' and be like everyone else and we never really wanted to, either  - well, not really.. but I get where she is coming from that it hurts to not be like them but it would hurt to be LIKE them, too..

I get some of this pedanticness and process-following and overanalyzing from my dad.  I asked that question of my stepmom a few days ago and she told me that is his 'Modus Operandi'... he analyzes and decides the best way for him to do something (that sometimes is off the wall compared to the usual person's method) and then he does it that way even if it exasperates someone else.  But, he gets it done.  Like my stitching something by hand, or digging the garden with a hand trowel and watering with a bucket.  It might not be the most efficient 'normal' way to do something but it feels best to US so we do it the most 'comfortable' way for us, which has nothing to do sometimes with actual comfort - but with mental processes and 'fit'.

Esme and I did discuss some tactful ways to point out things to her classmates (like not setting your ipad on the floor in front of your locker where it could get stepped on in the meantime, which one girl does and it gives Esme anxiety but the girl does not appreciate being told so) or keeping some things to yourself because you know how you feel about it but maybe the other person just has to learn for themselves if they aren't the type to listen (oh, so often at work, this one).

Mark and I have this trait in common and in opposite - we point things out to each other and if we feel that the added clarity is helpful, we will do it that way, but if it still makes sense to do what we are doing the way we are doing it, we will continue on.  It is nice that we rarely actually argue about things unless they are huge, and that we also often see that 'clarity' in what the other person sees at the moment, and will be 'expanded' by their observations into doing something more accurately, efficiently or with less effort.  It is an amazing quality - kind of like my eating his green Skittles.  *heh* because otherwise he would just throw them out and I actually like lime flavored things where he would go out of his way to avoid them.  Like that 'Same' yet opposite, complementary colors.

I'm on to reading 'Spindlers' today. by Lauren Oliver.

 Just before she realized I had the camera.  Sweetie is consoling Lucy because Esme is at school and she is sad.  And, Sweetie kind of likes her anyway, its nice to have a puppy. (Actually Sweetie is Lucy's aunt)

And an attempt at dignity after I have the camera *heh*

Esme and I have been building this house in Minecraft - it is really fancy and tall :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

bits on Valentine's Day

Mark had bought a refurbished tablet and I spent part of the morning setting all of my programs and logins to it.  I like that the Kindle app picked up where I was in my actual Kindle in the book and moved me to that page as soon as I started to move it forward.  We took Esme out and bought a drone toy partly for Valentne's but also for her having all A's this report card.  She stuck her hand in the garage door trying to put her bike away but it is okay - just bruises by the fingernails.  We bought an evil complicated puzzle for Grandma and brought it to her.  Mark made excellent cheeseburgers for all of us for dinner.

I finished reading the book 'Everything Solid has a Shadow' by Michael Antman.  I was feeling at once that the subject matter was too harsh and depressing but the character's voice kept me going on it - like he needed to be evolved and wanted to do something to bring himself out of this lost state he was in.  I had opened another book a few days ago, spent about ten minutes reading it and then actually clicked back onto this one and just had to keep reading.  I'm glad I finished it.  It resolved in a completely unexpected way that made me feel hopeful - for the character - and maybe even for people in general.  Anyway, it is hard to explain it, but it really is an excellent book.

I've got two childrens' young adult books lined up now that were both award winners.  They are library, so I'll have to read them next.

Esme and I are building a complicated house in Minecraft, and we have a new mod that has new plants and wood types and landforms.  It is really interesting, especially mixed with the Harvest 'farming' mod we had already installed.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

In our forest

 We went out in the beautiful weather yesterday and took some pictures of Esme's favorite place in the forest.

Friday had been a very full day for us.  We made cupcakes Thursday night to bring to a retirement party on Friday.  Then Mark and I spent several hours preparing for and attending that party - I passed the card around.  The man has been a good friend for ten plus years and he lives not far from us.  We did groceries.  I went out in the forest with Esme, and then we played a new Minecraft that has more biomes (area types of trees and flowers etc.).

Saturday night I had a migraine when I got home, so I didn't do much except some laundry.
I have to do more laundry today (Sunday, actually).. but hopefully the aspirin medicine I took will keep the headache away for hte rest of today.  I have more if it doesn't.  My migraines are so strange.  I don't like light.  I adore heat on the area.  I like to listen to music because everything is so 'amplified' in a way that has nothing to do with the actual volume.  But it has to be dark... or mostly dark.  I braved using my tablet to get to the screens with the music (thankfully black background ones) and played some Seven Nations.  They have such complex instrumentals, it is something you can get lost in.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Great Snoring Rabbits

Great Snoring Rabbits in rowboats being rowed by robots.

Just a little joke I told Esme the other morning when she asked why I was 'happy' to be awake at five am.  I'm not happy to be awake so early, but its a little harder to go right back to sleep once you think of something silly :)

I've got to do my Welsh practice now and get some sleep!  It's been a long week already.  I have Friday off, and that is an anniversary I will light a candle for my Mom.

Bought some new elephant ears for the yard to plant when it warms up.  We've thought about taking the chicken house out of its yard and turning that yard into a garden this year, since the chickens are done... Gennet is running wild and eating out of the goat's food, and she doesn't lay eggs anymore... all of the rest of the chickens are gone but she is too wily so far and somehow has lived through the deep freezes we have had and whatever predators were out there that got Wicket and the others inside the yard.

Monday, February 05, 2018

memory bits

I just finished reading 'What Alice Forgot'.. and wow, deep read, lots of philosophical questions to be thought.  I have the opposite as a recurring nightmare.  It is well over ten years ago, I'm at the Deer River or the Fargo apartment.. alternating... and often, I have pneumonia.  I had it at both places, both nearly so bad I should have been in a hospital.  But the Fargo one - they gave me morphine cough syrup because I was coughing blood and hurting my rib cage on every cough.. and it was so strong it made me wake up sure I had just heard disembodied voices booming around me (yet it did nothing for the cough) and I watched the entire Dr.Zhivago miniseries on PBS (it must have been a rerun, as it was late 2002 or early 2003?) without ever catching the name of the story until the end of it.. and was so amazed I had just watched it as I always heard the name but never knew what it was about. 

Anyway.. that is my nightmare, that I'm that far in the past and everything is exactly as it was and all of what I remember - while in the dream - Esme, Mark, NOW, hasn't happened and I desperately want it to.  I don't want to have to get it all 'right' the second time.  I miss them.  I want to call Mark and I don't know how.  I teeter between a sense of hopelessness and feeling really angry.  I want to move heaven and earth to get to them, but Mark doesn't even know me yet, and Esme doesn't exist. 

Sometimes I feel very empowered in the dream and I have my phone from now, and I do call - or I just get out in my truck and say 'I'm going home - I don't care what happens until I get there.'  And I know it will all be alright.  I take myself out of the nightmare.  Which is amazing, because back then I had no control over anything, it always felt like that.  And in the pneumonia nightmares I had no control whatsoever even my body was my enemy. I was too tired to get in and out of the bath, too tired to hardly breathe, and all alone by myself at home for long hours at a time. 

So, reading this book had some deep impact for me on that Alice's situation was exactly the opposite - she has lost ten years when she apparently 'did it all right' and ended up with a perfect house, a swimming pool, lots of money, a thin supermodel body and three kids.  However, she realizes she has became a stranger to herself so that she looks at her life and says 'Who is this person?  Who is this angry, inconsiderate, controlling person?  I never wanted to be that person?'  And she tries to change, and she learns a lot as she remembers in bits and pieces until her memories come back.  And then she almost doesn't  change - but remembers the jarring disjointed feelings of waking up just after she had lost her memory and realizes there is a middle ground.

Anyway, very good book.
I hate those dreams.  I find the phone or the car keys almost every time now, though.  I hardly ever wake up feeling like I'm trapped and just can't breathe.

Sunday, February 04, 2018


Cleaned some of the house, we haven't seen the top of the pool table in years.  It was such a bright sunny day I could see so well downstairs  and there were a couple of things that were really needing a scrub.  I am wondering about a painting for a unused surface downstairs, something magnetic that we can change up when we want.  That would be cool.

The girls had a playdate, and even played outside some.  Took Grandma out to town for groceries.  Also finally printed the picture for Esme's fourth grade slot in her 'memories' book.  She had pointed out to me about a month ago that I hadn't done that this year yet.  I keep the book right out in the open on my dresser like a photo frame.

Got a clearance necklace chain that I intend to use on the little green elephant charm I've ordered.

The Jade Elephant
I'm unclear when my grandmother gave this necklace to me, as she had passed away by the time I was five or so.  However, I distinctly remember the little jade elephant, and the knowledge it was mine from her.  It was smaller than the Mercury Dime necklace (another I had from her, but no longer do, either) and the stone was smooth and polished.  The elephant had its little trunk up, round lumps for ears and tiny little tusks, but the rest of it was all smooth and only vaguely animal shaped. It hung by a little gold ring on a thin gold chain.  I was told it was for good luck, and that I should always keep it.

Of course, over the years between childhood and now, it isn't with me anymore.  But the other night I had a dream of standing in a Hall of Wonders full of so many miraculous and rich and obscure things.  There was even a tiny county fair model with a Ferris Wheel and a merry-go-round all made in bright shiny copper and wire, that moved when wound with a music box key.  I could take one item out with me but it was all so extravagant I just couldn't choose and didn't feel it was really 'valid' that I take anything at all.

I was mulling this over and then I saw a little display of green elephant charms and necklaces and I suddenly remembered the elephant necklace my grandmother had given me and all the times as a child holding on to the charm and stroking the little figure and stowing it carefully away.  And I didn't know where it was at all anymore.  And I was just a little sad, because of the memories of holding it up and letting it dance along the chain and the feel of it like yesterday in my fingertips.  I took that memory out of the dream.

I told Mark and Esme about the dream, and then went looking for a charm like that to order, not too expensive, not needing to be real jade - just green and looking like the figure of that elephant.  I found one and it will be here sometime this month...

-other bits-
Almost everything I make for myself lately is hot or spicy.  Jalapeno burritos, wasabi, cayenne pepper in my guacamole, hot jalapeno corn chips, sriracha tuna salad... I really enjoy the spicy food although I know no one else does!  I don't really like the tabasco sauce, though... it tastes like someone did something very bad to a good green olive.

I'm reading a book 'What Alice Forgot', about a lady in Australia who falls and hits her head and wakes up having forgotten the last ten years, but the world has changed and she has three children she doesn't remember and a stressful soccer mom life - the kind of person she always dreaded ever becoming.. I'm about a third of the way through.

This Friday is the time to light a candle for my mom - lilac scented, as that reminds me of her and what she liked.  It will have been five years?  I think so.  I usually tell Esme and Mark before I light it and then let it stay lit for an hour.