Tuesday, October 31

Hydration Challenge

Hydration has always been a struggle for me. Some people can down water like it's nothing or at least have no trouble consistently tipping back a glass of water until they've reached a daily goal... but not me. It was an absolute revelation during my NTP training to discover that my reluctance (and sometimes outright revulsion) to drink water was related to an ongoing mineral imbalance situation.

While I've made huge strides towards sorting that out, and drinking water has gotten somewhat easier, it's still a conscious daily effort to make sure I drink enough. I am aware every day of something else I learned in my classes: it can (and usually does) take at least six months to completely rehydrate a body after long-term dehydration.

Our bodies have a pretty strict hierarchy of critical vs. non-critical organs and systems. When we're missing something we need, they raid the bottom rungs of the totem pole and strip them of stored resources. It can take a long time to resupply those less-critical areas when if/when we finally start taking in what we need again.

Considering that water is absolutely essential to transport nutrients, flush toxins, deliver oxygen, regulate body temperature, cushion joints, keep the electrical functions of our cells in working order, and about a dozen other super-important tasks,  it's kind of scary to think what I'm doing to those less-than-uber-critical areas of my body in the meantime!

So I've set myself a challenge: drink the bare minimum amount of water my body needs (based on body weight) every day for six months straight. In keeping with best practices, I'm not waiting until New Year's to start - I'm starting tomorrow, November first!

I've got a solid tracking system worked out, as well as several different habits/systems/tricks established to help me reach my daily goal amount. Now I'm ready to escalate to making those daily goals happen consistently long term.

I'm very curious to see what changes I recognize in myself and how I feel by the end of this experiment. Even if I don't noticeably feel different, I consider it a worthwhile endeavor for my health. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 29

Global Entertainment

Saw this on tumblr and it was too funny not to share:

  But it gets better:

Tuesday, October 24

Finishing the Stairwell

Theoretically, this hasn't been a big year for house projects. We've focused our time and energy other places more in 2017 than we have since before we bought the house! That said, there have been a few projects and they've definitely made a difference. One of them was the stairwell we had put in out front.

Back in June, I posted about getting the stairs put in. They looked like this:

We knew at some point before winter they'd need to be stained, but they needed to settle in and fully dry out first. Then things got busy and there was traveling, and time lapsed. This past week, aware that the end of October approaches and time is short, we made time to finish them. My Prince did the hard stuff - the big, sweeping areas where it would be really noticeable if it were uneven, etc., as he's by far the more talented of the two of us when it comes to such things. The next day, I carved out time to do all the little spindles and other odd spots. Now, they look like this:

They pretty much perfectly match our front porch. Combined with the stone walkway we built to connect them, they give the front yard a coordinated, rusticly lovely look that is lightyears away from the haphazard weirdness that existed when we bought the place.

For all that we're prone to looking at things through the eyes of homeowners (always looking ahead to the next project, or aware of how much *could* be done), it is really nice to step back once in a while and genuinely appreciate the massive ways we've reshaped our property and give ourselves proper credit for work well done.

Wednesday, October 18

Parked, Plugged and Pickled

Despite the disgusting, erratic weather and uncooperative work/travel schedules, our beautiful Errant Venture served us admirably this year. When we could make the stars align, it took us on adventures to new places. Over the summer, when the weather was perpetually damp and too often cold, we moved out there full time (even when it was just in the driveway) and let it provide a much-needed modicum of sanity. (There's a tremendous amount to be said about and grateful for when your living space takes only moments to clean and almost nothing to run heat/energy-wise when seemingly everything else is trying to be as difficult as possible.)

Throughout the entire process - from buying it to bringing it home to adapting to and experimenting with it - the EV has taught us a lot. It challenged how we think about things, gave us a push to try new things (and to stick with figuring them out wherever initial attempts didn't go smoothly), and adjusted our perspectives and mindsets in valuable ways.

With the first frost upon us and most campgrounds in our neck of the woods closing down for the year, we bit the bullet and packed up our sweet EV, tucking her in next to the garage for the winter and making sure all the hatches were battened down for winter.

Now, I feel like one of those Master Gardeners who views Winter as the season of planning for the coming Spring. Instead of seed catalogues and gardening books, though, we'll be curled up with campground guides and travel guides, scouring the pages for places to go and things to see next year. In the meantime, we're finding ourselves grateful for space enough in the house to throw the Ball and let the babies careen after it for much needed exercise when it's too cold/gross to play outside.

Tuesday, October 17

Seaweed Salad

Baby Soup and napping kelp... not to
be confused with the type you eat.
Recently, while traveling, My Prince had occasion to try a seaweed salad. It was reportedly delectable and he returned home with a request that we attempt to find a recipe and give it a try at home.

I was a bit skeptical, seaweed being well outside my usual purview, but game to give it a try. We ended up using this recipe from Genius Kitchen.

Once you got beyond the small prep (dicing and toasting), the entire thing was stupidly quick and easy. We made double the recommended amount (to use up the whole package of wakame), and it held really well in the fridge for a couple days. (Yay!)

I was pleasantly surprised! It had a fresh, gingery taste and otherwise tasted just like a fairly dense green salad. It was a little chewy, which was a satisfying texture, and extremely filling. Nutritionally, as long as you're buying clean stuff, seaweed is also tremendously good for you, so it was a win-win all around! Considering that we can get dried wakame shipped to our door inexpensively and conveniently compliments of Amazon, this is definitely something we'll make again!

Sunday, October 15

I Need That Search Program They Have On Cop Shows

Not a wallet I will ever own.
Have you ever watched any of those cop shows (or almost any spy/government agency movie) where the heroes need to find one elusive thing, so they feed everything ever into the computer/connect to every corner of the interwebs, and then systematically narrow it down until *POOF*. Exactly what they wanted/needed was the only thing left, glowing miraculously back at them off their screen.

Yeah, I need a program like that.

I recently killed my wallet beyond the point of repair and was (extremely) reluctantly forced to go searching for a new one. I dislike shopping for wallets almost as much as I dislike shopping for purses. (Hence why my awsome husband actually *made* my current purse for me.) I feel like there's very few things I need a wallet to reliably do and yet none of those are things you can search by.

Why, I ask you, is there not a feature that allows you to require (in addition to RFID protectiveness, naturally) something as basic as ID slots that you can actually get your ID out of when you need it? Why is there not a feature that lets you require that you be able to fit your checkbook into it in order for it to show up on your hits list?

And why, in name of the Force, is there not an option to mass exclude things you will NEVER pay money for? Like hideous patterns in garish colors. Or wallets that have no place to put change. Or ones so bulky they weigh more than you do - before you put anything in them.

(Incidentally, I wished for something simliar last time I had to shop for shoes online. There are an obsene number of hideous red shoes in the world, and sifting through them all one google search at a time is slow and painful work.) 

Anyway, I finally found something and was delighted when it both shipped quickly and proved to be durable and just what I needed. But I'd still really like some of that magical search software...

Monday, October 9

DIY Dry Cleaning

On this date last year it was already snowing here. Cold, wet, unpleasant stuff that bore no resemblence to the light, fluffy, magical flakes that always seem to show up in movies and nostalgic memories. Though we didn't know it at the time, it was the advent of an exceptionally wet, weather-crazy year.

Dryel... just another thing you
can learn to make instead of buy!
As I have complained to my (exceptionally patient and understanding) husband repeatedly over the last couple months, I feel as if I have been running laundry and wiping things down with Lysol constantly for an entire year and not making any progress. Sure, it keeps things from getting moldy and nasty, but that's it. It's been so damp and either unseasonably cold or hot (depending on the time of year) that it feels like nothing ever dries out and stays clean.

In an effort to get ahead of this nonsense last Spring, Eric thoughtfully bought several really good garment bags for both our closets. We stashed anything we weren't actively and regularly wearing in them, zipped them up, and sighed with relief at the thought of one less thing to worry about and keep up with. For good measure, we mostly left our closet doors open, too, to encourage circulation.

It didn't work.

I said all kinds of bad words last week when I went to pull something out of one of the bags and discovered mold spots on it. My leather boots, my leather skirt, three of my nice dresses - I ended up taking everything out of the closet. A load of laundry took care of most of it, but all the leather had to be cleaned by hand. The dresses were all supposed to be dry cleaned, except that two of them had boning in them and dry cleaning isn't actually particularly good for them... to say nothing of the fact that it would be ungodly expensive.

So I did some research and discovered that the maker of at least one of the dresses strongly recommends using a DIY at-home dry cleaning process, using Dryel or one of the equivalents and your dryer. I ended up giving it a shot and was extremely relieved and impressed when it worked very well!

In case it's something everyone else doesn't already know and/or might be able to use someday, I thought I'd copy the recipe I used here.

DIY Dryel

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup (white) vinegar
1 tsp borax
1 tsp dry oxygen bleach
5-10 drops Essential Oil(s) of choice (optional)

Combine all in a bowl. Soak a clean wash cloth in the mixture, then squeeze it out. Place the wash cloth and the item to be cleaned in a clean zip-top pillow case or lingerie bag. Toss it in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes. Remove promptly and hang to finish drying.

Notes: I used baking soda instead of borax and it worked beautifully. I also used liquid Oxyclean stain remover instead of the dry oxygen bleach. If using essential oils, consider using lavender, Thieves Oil, or some other mix that will help maintain freshness (not just make it smell pretty).

I hope no one ever needs this, but I'm grateful it worked for me. We'll be running the dehumidifier from now until we start using the fireplace for the winter... I'm done with this craziness!