Random Thoughts 10/29/13

1.  I avoid the nightly local news at all costs.  It’s awful and is filled with only negative, depressing stories.  I also try to avoid previews of the news.  Even that is enough to keep me awake at night.

2.  Went on a 1 mile walk at lunch today as a memorial to a friend we lost a couple of weeks ago.  *THAT* should have been on the news.

3.  I suffer from what I refer to as “pedestrian rage.”  It’s just like road rage, but it’s while I am walking instead of driving.  I almost threw my shoe at a car today.  They deserved it.

4.  My 7-year-old daughter decided to dress as Darth Vader for Halloween.  She wore her costume and mask with a ponytail and high heeled ankle boots.  Looked like a tiny Sith Supermodel.

5.  I believe I am a good candidate to allow into a doomsday shelter if/when the zombie apocalypse occurs.  Oh yes, I’ve got skills.  (Details coming soon in new post)

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, y’all!

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Leaves of Three

… for the love of Pete, LET IT BE!

I took a week off work in mid-June and had a “stay-cation” so I could work on some things at home.  There’s a flower bed on the corner of our property that appears to have had some kind of perennials in it, but it hasn’t been touched since we moved in (7 years ago) so it was a hot mess of overgrown weeds.  There were even little trees growing in it!  I decided that I was going to tackle it while I was home.  Oh yes!  This is happening!!!

So I grabbed my earbuds and dragged 3 shovels and 2 rakes out to the yard.  I was out there digging and hacking and pulling for 3 straight days.  I even dug out and moved rocks (more like boulders!) to put them in a circle so I could make this eyesore into a lovely flower bed.  And I yanked out all of these viney roots that sprawled out into the yard.  I was pretty impressed with myself (see finished product below).  My neighbor even came over and mentioned that he saw me working my butt off out there.  It never occurred to me that I was in grave, grave danger.

By the weekend, I noticed little spots on my arms.  No biggie, I thought.  Just some stupid rash from playing in the dirt all week.  By Tuesday the spots were pretty itchy and were looking pretty bad.  I went to the doctor the next morning and wasn’t terribly surprised to hear I had poison ivy.  Funny though, I never saw any leaves to make me think there was poison ivy in that bed.  Anyway, I got a steroid shot and a script for prednisone and went home to start recovering.

At 3am Wednesday morning, I woke up with the most unbelievable itching across my stomach.  I had broken out in what looked like hives all across my abdomen, across my chest (you know, just in the places where my bra rubs of course) and up my neck.  I also noticed spots on my legs like the ones on my arms.  So off to the ER I went!  I found out that I not only developed contact dermatitis from poison ivy, I have a straight up severe allergic reaction to it… and it had entered my bloodstream.  Oh goodie.  Another steroid shot later (that was the WORST shot I have EVER had – I could have sworn it would cause permanent paralysis in my arm by the pain I felt) and directions to take darn near lethal dosages of Benadryl and Pepcid – oh yes, Pepcid helps – I was on my way back home.

By Saturday morning, the hives had turned into what looked like a HUGE birthmark across my abdomen and onto my hips and back.  So off to the doctor AGAIN!  This time they told me that there was no way this was poison ivy but was actually a bad case of tinea (that’s RINGWORM people!) and that we had to start treating the FUNGAL INFECTION.  EEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!  So they took me OFF of the prednisone and allergy meds and put me ON some antifungal cream.

By Monday, I was trying every remedy I could Google:  oatmeal paste, apple cider vinegar, super-hot water every few hours, and praying for death.  So back to the doctor AGAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNN!!!  At this visit, I just started taking off my clothes as soon as they came through the door.  “LOOK AT THIS!”  The first doctor looked me over and said “Is it OK if I bring someone else in?”  Hell, I couldn’t care less if you bring half the freaking city in here at this point.  JUST FIX IT!  So the second doctor came in and looked all over me and talked about what they saw and they said “Can you give us a minute?”  And out they went.  Now I am thinking that maybe I have something like leprosy.  They came back in and told me “We think we’ve exhausted everything that general medicine can do for you.  We’re sending you to a specialist.”  Awesome.  It’s about time.  But wait a minute… this is July 2nd so I got teary-eyed thinking ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to have to deal with this through the holiday and the weekend.’  Then the doctor went into the hall and I heard her raise her voice while she was talking to someone else.  She said “I’ll get on the phone at 8am myself if it helps her get in there!”  Then she came back in and said that she was going to prescribe me something to sleep tonight.  Oh thank God.  Someone is finally going to help me.

I got a call at 8:30am the next morning informing me of my appointment at the dermatologist at 11:30am.  I threw on some yoga pants and a hoodie and headed to my appointment looking like a diseased zombie.  I took my whole bag of meds with me (9 different pills and ointments).  Since I am a new patient, I have TONS of paperwork to do and I have to give them my license and insurance cards.  Unfortunately, I am a neurological disaster by this point and I can’t make my hands work enough to get them out of my wallet.  So I just threw it at the receptionist and told her where they were and that she needed to get them out herself.

When the dermatologist came in, I immediately started disrobing.  He looked at me for literally 4 seconds and said “Oh that’s definitely poison ivy.  See this mark here (on my arm), there are only 2 things that make a mark like this… poison ivy and a Portuguese man-of-war.  Have you been in the ocean recently?”  OK… In hindsight, I probably should have appreciated his sense of humor.  But at the time, I was not in the mood and had to stifle “Very funny, A-hole” from coming out of my mouth.

He told me to keep taking the stuff to help me sleep, the prednisone, and the “shouldn’t-be-legal” doses of allergy pills, but he also told me to take a bleach bath 2-3 times a day.  Wait… WHAT?!?!?  Bleach baths?  Oh yes, it’s exactly what you are thinking.  A bath.  In bleach.  Honestly, it was the most relief I had in over a week.

Apparently, the viney roots I was yanking out of that bed (like a boss I might add) were from poison ivy.  There were no leaves at all.  So the moral of my story is this:  Even if there are no leaves of three, learn about poison ivy and how to recognize it so you can LET THAT SH*T BE!!!  Or you can call in sick to work for a week and a half and spend $335 in doctor visit copays like me.

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2013 Garden

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This year’s garden had the best yield yet.  After 5 years of building and tweaking, we have several raised beds that are full of organic compost.  There were times that it looked like a scene from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” out there (take a look at those zucchini plants – over 4′ tall with leaves that were nearly 2′ across).

Here’s how the harvest broke down for the year:

  • Crap tons of zucchini – 8 plants = over 50 cups of shredded and around 20 packages of chopped and sliced in my freezer
  • Tomatoes – 19 plants = 3 batches of roasted veggie marinara, 3 quart bags of sun-dried, 8 jars of roasted, 12 gallon freezer bags that I need to do something with (they’ll probably end up as sauce), and 2 Horrock’s bags near my back door that are still ripening
  • Pea pods and green beans – 8 plants each = ~20 bags in the freezer (SQUIRREL – my pole beans were obnoxious… I completely understand the setting for Jack and the Beanstalk now)
  • Eggplant – 14 plants = so much eggplant that I have no idea WTH to do with
  • Herbs – frozen and dried oregano, tarragon, chives, parsley, and basil (including 19 quarter-pint jars of pesto)
  • Winter squash – Total of 16 or so plants of acorn, spaghetti, delicata, and butternut = ~40 squashes.  I also grew pie pumpkins but only got 3 of those.  (SQUIRREL – I had a bit of a powdery mildew problem that hurt my squash.  I’ll write about that another day.  😉  )

I also had some “first-timers” that I enjoyed:

  • Beets – I harvested these pretty early and used their greens too
  • Parsnips – I’ve become a fan of these over the last year because they are a good addition to my mashed faux-tatoes (Paleo subsitute for potatoes using cauliflower)
  • Fennel – This was the coolest thing I grew this year.  I didn’t get much of a harvest, but I really enjoyed what I did get.
  • Sunflowers – Not sure if I did these right or not, but the kids loved that they got almost 10′ tall.
  • Corn – I suck at growing corn.  I never get a good yield and the ears seem tough when we eat them.  Bleck.  I might give up on this.

Our garden is a family project.  Although I spend the most time out there (my garden is my summer sanctuary), my DH and brother made all of the raised beds.  My daughters helped dig, plant, and water.  But my youngest wins the harvesting MVP for this year.  I’m so glad she has taken an interest in the garden.  HUGE MOM WIN!!!

Welcome to “The Squirrel Chronicles”

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Well, well, well…….

I’ve finally found an outlet where I can get all of that random crap that comes into my head into print so all of you can read it.

I look forward to sharing whatever silly thing pops into my head about parenting, gardening, cooking and eating paleo, TV, hobbies, and whatever I come across on Pinterest.

So if you like random crap and if you like squirrels (Get it?  SQUIRREL!), then this is the place for you!!!

I hope you enjoy my rantings and musings.  Thanks for stopping by.