Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Sunday WrapUp . . .

Been awhile since I've done a Field Report, and I kinda miss them  :-)

So - here's the catch up from the week . . .

My Run (Walk!) the Year Mileage.  What was I thinking that I could catch up 100+ miles by the end of the month?!  Seriously.  I'm about 73 miles behind the pack now, which sounds like I really caught up a lot.  But my math was WRONG (no surprise  ;-D) at my last update.  I was really only about 75 miles behind.  So, I've caught up 2 miles, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye, but not good enough.  I'm shooting for catching up between 30 - 50 miles in August.  These are catch-up miles in addition to my regular miles, and I'm also looking to make sure that I get my 3 miles/day in every weekday in August - more, really, to account for the weekends when I don't seem to get as many in.

I've got some tools that will help me with this - I've chosen to consciously get more active on the weekends.  I made it to the club on Saturday for a really good workout - it's been months since I've chosen to make the time for that, and boy am I paying for it today  ;-D  Just a good reminder that, as my trainer always says, "if you 're not building muscle, you're losing muscle."  Very, very true.

Salt.  I continue to do well with limiting my sodium intake.  I think I mentioned this once before, but the problem has gotten worse:  foot and leg cramps that have been waking me up multiple times a night.  This is not good, you guys, and I know that when I have more salt, I don't have them.  However, I really have to watch the salt.  I think there could be magnesium and potassium issues at play here, too - so, once again, it's a balancing act.  In the meantime, I decided to try my late mom's tried and true remedy for foot/leg cramps:  a bar of soap under the bottom sheet.  She swore by it.

O. M. G.

It works.

I don't know why.  Maybe it's massive placebo affect.  I just know it worked for my mom and it seems to be working for me.  She preferred small, flat bars of travel soap and asked me to pick them up for her whenever I traveled.  I had one from a recent trip and decided to try it.  Really happy it works for me because when my sleep is disrupted everything goes sideways.

A Look at What's On the Stands!

These are all the newbie plants you saw at the last look, plus some restart in the green tray.  All is going quite well here and I'm very pleased.  I feel, however, that I do need to get the minis closer to the lights - and, frankly, they might be happier a little warmer.  But, all in all, I'm happy about what's happening here!

Tray 1, upstairs in the sunroom - can you see the first baby popping up?   Yay!!!

Tray 2, upstairs in the Sunroom.  Not every leaf makes it - and I have found that if I'm going to have an issue, it's nearly always with variegated leaves of all types.  That's a leaf of Champagne Pink there are the bottom left, quietly rotting.  It's going to it's Great Reward shortly.  No babies in this tray yet.

Tray 3, in the basement.  Again, you can see some "spots" on heavily variegated leaves.  You an also see a LOT of condensation in this tray.  I've opened the vents at the top of this one and hopefully it should stop some of the rot.  Over on the left you can see the sucker I removed from my Jersey Snow Flakes.  It's straightened right up  :-)  No babies in this tray yet, either.

One last one to share - my thoughts that my large plant of Champagne Pink might have the variegation return (it's a crown variegated variety, which means the variegation is strong at the crown and fades as the leaves age) if I grew it a little cooler.

Oh yeah, baby!  I'm all happy!!   :-)  :-)

That's about it for the wrap up.  It's been one of those magnificent summer weekends here . . .

Again, no autotune, no flashy arrangements, no backing track, just a couple of guys making memorable acoustic music and singing.  It sounds like it's about to be a different tune, but it's not.  Enjoy . . .  :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Running Behind . . .

OK - not really running.  Just behind.  :-D

I thought it was time for an update on the 2017 in 2017 challenge that I'm working on with my trainer.

I figured out all my mileage this morning, and I'm about 127 miles behind where I should be at this point. That means I need to be my steps in more consistently throughout the week, and I need to spend some time on my recumbent bike to catch back up.  I think I can do this by the end of the month.

I'll let you know  :-D

And, as I head down to the basement where my bike awaits, here's what just rolled up on iTunes:

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1, 2, 3 . . .

My friend, Michelle, at Boulderneigh has been charged with taking care of a colleague's African violet while the friend is out on leave.

That's what goes through the heart of someone who thinks that African violets are the most difficult plants to care for.

Here's a little secret . . . they're not.  They are easy to grow and easy to care for once you know a few simple truths.  So, Michelle, here's what you need to know:
  1. AVs like bright, indirect light.  
  2. They like the same temps/climate conditions we do.
  3. They don't like to have their feet wet for any great length of time.
Easy as 1, 2, 3  ;-)

Here are the details:
  1. If it's growing well where it is, leave it there.  If your co-worker plopped it down on your desk, then, if you have a fluorescent light - like an under-ledge light where you can place it, that's great.  If you don't have that, an AV will be very happy in a northeastern exposure.  I used to grow what I called "The Big Box Violet" in an eastern window on the north side of my sunroom with no trouble at all.  
  2. Violets suffer above 85 degrees and below 65.  They also don't like to be in a draft.
  3. Overwatering is the most common cause of violet death, so don't let it sit in standing water.  Water it well, and then after about 20 minutes, toss any water left standing in the saucer.
Michelle, I think you're going to be great at this!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Kidney Stone Incident, Part 2 . . .

I saw the urologist on Monday for my follow up, and no - I don't have another stone  :-D  Well, I have what they think could be a precursor to another stone, but the changes I'm making should guard against anything every happening with it.  I also have what they call a peripelvic cyst - but, again, it's not bothering anything and they say it's fine.

The doc was quite impressed by my success with my sodium and fluid intake/output.  :-)  In fact, he said that he didn't expect me to do as well as I did, and that it's very rare that any of his patients do nearly as well over time as I did right out of the box.

They decided to do a quick ultrasound there in the exam room to make sure my bladder was emptying as it should.  The nurse came in, and I told her I'd like to empty my bladder before the scan.  She said. "Yes, absolutely.  You can go down the hall or use the toilet in here." 

Um . . .

I was thinking, "does she want me to use a bedpan???" when she walked past me, opened the cupboard doors under the sink, and swung out a toilet.

I'm not kidding - she swung out a full-size toilet, complete with toilet paper

I'd wondered before what that large black button was on the panel the last time I was there.  It's the flush.


My bladder is just fine.

Seriously.  A swing-away toilet.  Do you think they use these in tiny houses??


Anyway, I do have more work to do.  As mentioned before, my calcium, citrate, and pH are out of whack, and I know myself that I'm not getting enough vegetables in (the eternal struggle).  I coached again with Jill Harris yesterday.  Her help has been extremely valuable on this journey.  I would not have come this far without her help.

So what's Part 2?  Well, Part one was "drink more water/eat less salt."  Part 2 is "get more calcium/eat less sugar/eat more vegetables."

Onward  :-)

Oh, this is just in case you need an 80's flashback . . .

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Kidney Stone Update . . .

My follow up appointment with the urologist is next week, but yesterday, my 24-hour urine collection test results dropped in to my LapCorp portal.  Wahoo!!!

This report is pretty technical if you don't know what you're looking at.  So - you'll recall that my two main goals in the past three months were to (1) drink more water; and (2) eat less sodium.

See the upper circle for my success on getting more water in.  Yay!

See the lower circle for my success on lowering my sodium intake.  Yes, that really does say 77.  In fact, there is a little asterisk to the right of the number - this means that the lab checked my sample twice to be sure there was no mistake.  I find this pretty funny, but the number is pretty startling :-D  My sodium number at 77, is really, really good - I think.

The three arrows across the top are areas that still require some work.  Remember, I've mentioned before that this is a balancing act of large proportion.  So, I've fixed some things and aggravated others.  I think these things can be brought into line with more dietary changes, and I'm hopeful that when I meet with the doc that he will agree to let me try another 6 to 12 weeks on my own before he prescribes anything for me.  I'm hoping I've done well enough on the first two things he asked that he'll give me that chance.

The first arrow on the left is my calcium.  For women this number should be below 200.  I've substantially lessened the leaching of calcium from my bones.  My average of my first two tests was 464, and I've knocked it down to 263 (nearly by half) but I have more work to do here because if my kidneys continue to leach calcium from my bones, I will be at great risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.  I'm not interested in either of those.  Seriously.

The middle arrow is my citrate number - it, unfortunately, has gotten worse.  This is not really a surprise, since I believe it is connected to potassium, and this is an area where I have been struggling.  Many of the leafy greens (and potatoes) that I used to eat are very high in oxalate.  Since oxalate is not an issue for me (in fact it went even further down, to 20!), I'll be talking to the doctor and my health coach about the possibility of adding more potatoes and maybe something like Swiss Chard back in to my diet.  Another alternative might be to start drinking Crystal Lite Lemonade.  I won't know for sure until I see the doctor.

The left arrow is my pH.  Unfortunately it's a bit wonky at the moment.  Not sure what's up here, but it's possible that this could be caused by intestinal distress (ahem . . . ).  Upping my calcium has not been easy, if you get my drift, and if you have diarrhea a lot, it can mess up your pH.  I'm thinking that's probably at least some of what's going on here, but this will be discussed with my doctor and health coach next week.

So, the journey is well begun  :-)


Happy Fourth of July!


Monday, July 3, 2017

Murphy's Law Redux . . .

Alrighty then . . .

Yesterday, after I finished blogging, I toddled on out to the kitchen to get some more water.  I glanced at the bar, knowing it needed attention before it got completely out of hand (which it does with alarming regularity), and saw this:

Unless you've ordered from The Violet Barn before, you probably don't know what that is.  Well, it's how they wrap their minis for transport.  Yes.  I completely missed one of the plants yesterday.  this is probably not a surprise.  Here's what the bar looked like (photo take after the fact so the plantlet isn't there):

It's the catch-all of my house.  I come in and dump the mail.  And I dumped my backpack on Saturday.  And my lunchbag is there - and my book club book, and  - well, clearly there's a lot more there, as well.

I suppose I should be embarrassed, but really, this is my life.  If you were to show up at my house at any given time, you'd likely find it some state of disarray.  If you'd shown up yesterday, not only would have seen the bar like that, you'd have seen the sunroom like this:

It's Tour de Fleece - I'm spinning.  There's stuff everywhere  :-D

It's been some time since I've pulled out my wheel, and, much like my neglected instruments, it feels pretty great to have some fiber running through my fingers again.  This was Day 1's accomplishment.  It's going to be 2-ply worsted weight.  I think worsted weight.  Possibly Aran weight.  This is one ply.  I'll finish this bobbin today or tomorrow, and then start the second.

But for now, I'm happy to tell you (well, show, you, really, that the bar is back in some semblance of clear.  The sunroom, however, is going to remain a little wild for the duration of Tour.

And, in other news of the day, I put a call in to my appliance guy yesterday morning, because when I went back downstairs to pot up that remaining plant, I discovered that there's a leak coming from the kitchen and dripping down into the basement.  :-S  I'm pretty sure it's from the ice-maker in the freezer.  I think my appliance guy isn't working today because he hasn't called me back.  So, I'll have to call him on Wednesday after the holiday.  Thankfully it's not a bad leak.

Here is Day 2 of my Tour de Fleece progress:

On this holiday weekend, I thought you might enjoy this.  It starts with history - so if you want to jump right to the music, that begins at :44.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Murphy's Law . . .

The last of the new plantlets arrived on Friday and I got them all potted up yesterday.  Here's a look at all the babies (leaves/restarted crowns) and newbies.

First, the babies.  I have three very full trays of leaves and restarted crowns.  I have this many because I'm hoping to have some to share at the Illinois show in November.  Here's the first tray - this is upstairs in the sunroom.  Three crowns and the rest leaves.

This is Tray 2 - also upstairs. Half leaves and half starts of Streptocarpus Texas Hot Chili.  I deconstructed what I had and discovered that it was mostly new shoots anyway.  So they are here building roots.  Other leaves are in the back.

This is Tray 3.  It's downstairs on the basement stand.  Lots of leaves of Jersey Snowflakes and also some petrocosmea kerrii, as well as some leaves of the newbie plants put down for insurance:

No real work involved with these trays until the babies sprout  :-D

Next are the newbies.

First is Newbies 1, that you saw last month.  They've been under the dome for a week or so.  They were established plants, so it's time for them to get out into the air.  That's what the Sharpie is doing.  The humidity dome is still on, but the pen props it open.  It's the first stage of getting them out and going.   Minis and semis.

Here is Newbie 2.  On the basement stand. A trailer, two species and I think a semi.

And here is Newbie 3.  Also on the basement stand. Three species, a trailer, a mini and a standard.

I have two established plants on the basement stand - my Champagne Pink trailer, and a streptocarpus, Heartland's White Gold.  That stand is going to have to be the isolation stand.  All these plantlets came from reputable commercial members of the AVSA so I don't expect any issues and I did use some Marathon (a systemic that should kill anything that might have hitch-hiked along).  But still, these newbies that are established and have their own roots already need to be isolated from the rest of the collection until November.  One can only hope that they will grow well in the cooler basement conditions.  Cross your fingers.

I'm now at 36 varieties, which is more than I prefer, but it's possible that I will lose some of the minis.  I'm definitely not confident in my ability to grow them successfully.

Murphy's Law . . .  You know, if it's not one thing, it's another. 

When I went downstairs to take photos this morning, it's clear that something in the kitchen is leaking into the basement. . .  I think it's probably the ice-maker in the freezer.  I don't think it's a leaky pipe.  I'll put a call in later this morning to the appliance guy I use and leave a message.  I'm home on Monday so maybe he can fit me in then and tell me what's going on.  That side-by-side came with the house and I'm sure it's from about 1985 when the previous owner redid the kitchen.  I've replaced everything in the kitchen except it (and the washer and dryer).  The leak isn't bad, and it wasn't there yesterday when I was working on the plants, so hopefully I'm catching it in time.

Just in case it's time for a new unit, I took a look online.  JesusMaryandJoseph.  Who knew you would have to spend close to a grand to get a nice new one?!  Crossing my fingers that whatever is leaking it easily repaired.