Thursday, July 24, 2014

25 reasons why humans shouldn't populate the state of Arizona

Get out while you can (and yes, these are all personal experiences).

1) When it's 114 degrees outside, it doesn't matter if it's a dry heat

2) There is no such thing as scorpion bug spray, they love to come inside your home, at night,

3) and they run faster than Forrest Gump

4) A popular landscape rock color is beige and is used all over in front and read yards, which matches the exact color of baby rattlesnakes

5) Beige carpet is a popular color in homes, which exactly matches the color of scorpions

6) Spend enough time in the desert running your dogs, and you might be stalked/chased by an irritated coyote,

7) twice.

8) It is the number one retirement state in the U.S., so if you want to drive anywhere, you should plan on taking valium and an extra 10 minutes, because you are going to get stuck behind someone that can not see over the steering wheel, and there are no highways or freeways that run through town

9) The water in your hose is scalding hot, and burns everything for about the first minute it is on, there is never an appropriate time to check if it has cooled down

10) There are earthquakes

11) When you "kill" scorpions, and leave them in a bag, they play dead and can live for up to a week without oxygen. So you shouldn't keep the bag to teach your dogs (scent training) and children to stay away from scorpions. Because when you shake the bag, it's a really exciting time for everyone involved.

12) When you walk outside at night during monsoon season, you may find a tarantula at eye level under the front porch catching bugs

13) And along with beige carpet, beige tile is popular, which also camouflages scorpions

14) There are cactus that jump, called jumping cholla, and it lodges itself into your skin with a barbed hook at the front,

15) and because that isn't scary enough, the barbs are poisonous

16) If you forget anything in your car, it melts

17) If you have nail polish in your car, it swells open and could spill on your upholstery

18) iPhones screens overheat if left in the sun for five minutes in summer

19) During the rainy season, tarantulas live in your front and backyard, and are bold

20) Trees have thorns instead of flowers

21) Worms, lizards, and frogs are deadly poisonous (centipede, millipede, gila monster, colorado river toad)

22) Wild pigs chase you (javelina)

23) There are no amusement parks or large awesome water parks

24) Dairy Queen is a necessity, not a luxury

25) The lakes are not really lakes at all, and not fit for swimming, they are manmade are filled with chemicals, but people still fish in them

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And through all that, my eyelashes stayed glued on.

A case of the Mondays.

My 15 year old daughter had her wisdom teeth removed on Friday, the same day I take my 12 year old to the doctor, because she is on day 4 of sore throat and on-and-off fever (which was diagnosed on Monday as strep). The weekend was filled with back and forth trips from the kitchen (and store) to the couch. Ice pack, warm compress, ibuprofen, narcotics, soup, smoothies and eegee's.  My girls take it like a woman. Our new saying in the house, because if they "Take it like a man," there would have been more whining. Let's face it, women handle sickness and pain better than men. Silently suffering.

My hubby has found, in the last two days, four scorpions in the house. In between caring for the girls I buy and spray a deadly chemical at the permitter of the exterior of the house and yard, clean all of inside and our baseboards with orange oil. I also read lavender plants help, I buy a few and plant them by our doors.

By Sunday, probably due to the stress and exhaustion, I am feeling feverish and a sore throat coming on. I panic, because I cannot handle a week out of work. I am not able to sit still, and a week on the couch is like a week in prison to me. I am supposed to teach dog class, and do not feel I am well enough to go. I call my dog training mentor, and friend, to let her know I am not up to class. I explain my impending feeling of doom and that I'm certain I've gotten the plague. She recommends that I make a special tonic, to kick its butt before it takes me down.

I research the tonic and the necessary ingredients. Honestly, when I find it online, cannot believe it is safe for human consumption. 1 1/2 heads of garlic (not cloves, people. Heads.) onion, ginger, horseradish, peppers, and apple cider vinegar. Apparently this is the holistic approach to flu shots. The instructions says to blend everything together and let it steep for 4 weeks. My mentor mentioned ahead of time that I do not have the time to wait, she recommends that I blend it and chew it down.

I sit, restless, weighing the options of being sick for a week or consuming fire. I decide that braving the fire is a better option. I drive to the store and feel teeny panic attacks while I make my purchase.

I arrive back, and begin preparing for my own demise. I chop four serrano chiles, a full onion, about 15 cloves of garlic, ginger, horseradish and half a bottle of apple cider vinegar, and throw all the ingredients in the blender. And prepare to blend. As I stare down, psyching myself out, I begin to cry. It was the onion. I swear. I press the button, and everything mixes together. My head cannot even come within a few inches with the lid on without wanting to gag. The websites say to consume a few droplets to save yourself from flu, but if you are already sick, 6 tablespoons per day are recommended. I "chicken out" and commit to 3.

I stand for a solid minute, wondering how one goes about ingesting this concoction. It is too chunky for a shot glass and too runny for a bowl. I opt to load everything on a spoon and guzzle it down. I hold the spoon and muster up the guts (pun intended). Once it enters my mouth, I chew lightly and immediately swallow. I think that once it is past the lips that all will be right in my world. Wrong. My esophagus and stomach are now feeling exactly where the lump is traveling as it enters my unsuspecting body.

I do an amazing dance, surprising myself with new moves. Some sort of hopping and jiggling, to try and extinguish the fire. Half hour later my limbs are tingling and I can feel blood rushing around in my head. I begin sweating.

After all the excitement, I am tired but I wrestle with sleep.

The next day, I awake late. Now, I don't have a specific start time at work, but I try to be punctual. I rush around the house, shower, put my eyelashes on, and prepare my kale smoothie and lunch, and talk myself into consuming one tablespoon of the fire. Which has now begun fermenting overnight, and is waaaay worse on the second day.

As I am in process of feeding the dogs, before I go, I become aware that the two younger dogs, who happen to be litter mates, are in a mood. I have skipped our normal weekend outings because my girls are ill. My Catholic guilt takes over and I feel leaving the girls, who are mostly improved, but not 100%, all day with two rambunctious dogs, is unfair.  I decide to take them outside for a quick game of flirt pole. This game is a gift. I stand still while using a horse whip with a dog toy tied to the end of it to make my dogs chase. Imagine, large cat toy. As the game progresses, Ava and Roo become more and more frantic, I see them becoming crazed instead of calm. Right as I am about to quit the game, Ava captures the toy and Roo lunges. I catch them both mid air, teeth bared, and haul Ava in the house, to sucessfuly prevent the dog fight. I am now quickly realizing they are really pent up, and I will need to take them out. I change into my jogging clothes, throw my hair up, and take them for a run.

At least, that is my intention. It is 8:00 a.m., and thus rapidly approaching 90 degrees. I take my crew into the wide open desert behind my house, but I realize I am not up to running. I have taken my dogs off leash for years in this desert. My two "new" dogs are only 2, but my senior dog is 15, and we have gone almost daily for the better part of 10 years now. The last time I went far into the desert, Ava and Roo decided to rustle up a coyote and take chase. Predators turn into prey, and to make really long story short, I was stalked by a coyote within 10 feet, a little under a mile back to civilization. This coyote was baying and circling, trying to decide if Roo was going to be breakfast. Well, after years of dog training, I have learned enough about dog body language and behavior. I hope domestic dog behavior is similar enough to kept the wild dog at a safe distance. I walked--even though ever fiber of my being was screaming for me to run-- back to the house yelling, keeping a " I mean business" body posture, and throwing rocks near  him, when he got too close.

Since said nightmarish situation, I have decided that Ava and Roo cannot run free anymore, until they have a reliable recall, which means another round of training classes. But as I stand looking at the peaceful desert, I decide what are the odds, after 10 issue free years, that this is going to happen again? Slim to none. Since I am wicked close to the house, I unclip the leashes. With the speed and power of a greyhound, Ava takes off, and Roo, less muscular and agile, tries to keep up, lumbering behind her. I am standing still, and watch them, keep going. I frantically begin calling them back to me, while they dash back and forth, leaving only a dust trail in their wake. The pent up frustration is too much and distraction is too great, they are gone. Wild and free.

As I stand in the sun, leashes dangling, cursing myself for this stupid situation, I watched my two have the time of their life. I try to relax, until I hear a coyote to my left begin baying. I think that there is no way this is really happening, and I begin wildly laughing. Ava and Roo are somewhere that direction, and I cannot imagine they wouldn't have learned the lesson the first time.

After a few long seconds, I hear them pounding towards me, but I cannot see them. The last time this happened, and they ran back to me, the coyote was within feet of Roo, (Ava had a 5 foot lead) and she was wild eyed and running for all she was worth to hide behind me.

My dogs hit a clearing, and I brace myself for battle number two. But, there is no coyote. Maybe it's the intense smell of garlic pouring out of me? I will never know.

I leash my brats and head back toward the house, walking calmly with the coyote out of sight, but continuously calling. The sound is deafening at this close of a distance. Again. But my inability to see him this time spooks me worse than watching him stalk. At least I could watch his behavior and make corrections to my posture. This time, I a flying blind.

I reach the sidewalk after what seems like an hour, and am exhausted. I look down at Ava and Roo and they are more wound up now then when we left the house. Gah. So I run after all.

I get back to the house with sweat pouring down my face and chest. Garlic stinging my eyes. I shower, re-dress and spruce up my makeup before trying to start my Monday a second time. I am surprised to find, that through all that my eyelashes stayed glued on.

Them lashes though. Through flood, sweat and tears, making girls feel fancy for years. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chemical Free

In the process of becoming healthier, I have found chemicals around the house extremely harmful and a completely unnecessary expense. I am not one to turn my kitchen into a potion making scene, with mixing, stirring, and bubbling pots. My recipes are simple, and require a straight forward measure and mix together. I will share the recipe dry mix laundry soap and make a recommendation for a cheaper alternative to bleach cleaners below.

Just bleach alone is a danger to our homes and our earth. When we inhale the corrosive chemical, we cough and it burns. Exposure can lead to Reactive Airways Disfunction Syndrome (RADS). RADS is a chemically induced form of asthma that can last two to twelve years. That weird slippery feeling when it touches your skin? Unnatural! The lye is reacting with oils on our skin. And yet we soak our clothes, bed sheets, toilets, bathrooms and kitchens in it. Food we consume touches countertops we think are not clean and disinfected unless scrubbed with bleach.

Ever thought of cleaning a bathroom mirror with glass cleaner and using a cleaner with bleach on countertops? Ammonia and bleach were used in chemical warfare to poison people in World War I and by the Nazi's in World War II. The combination makes chlorine gas. When inhaled, the gas tears into your nasal passage, trachea, and lungs causing massive cellular damage. It can cause permanent lung damage and painful death. Bleach in the toilet is equally as harmful. Chlorine gas is made when the bleach mixes with ammonia in our urine. We are poisoning the air we breathe in our homes. Thus poisoning ourselves and our children, and paying out the nose to do it.

I have rid my home of all chemicals. I found once I educated myself and looked outside of what is considered the norm, I felt that spraying chemicals in the air (air freshener), sprinkling them on our carpets, washing our dishes (heating and cooling them in the microwave and dishwasher), and washing our laundry and sheets, and windows with them should not be normal.

One box of Borax, a bottle of vinegar, and baking soda have replaced everything in our home and we are breathing better for it. I have made the swap to Borax for cleaning. It is $3.50, and one box lasts me up to 4 months. I just sprinkle Borax around my sink and toilet and gently rub in with a wet sponge (toilet brush), let sit for 15 minutes and rinse! No scrubbing necessary. Borax is a mineral. It is listed as a health hazard 1 on the MSDS (material safety data sheet), but on the same level as salt and baking soda.

My clothes are softer and smell way better than ever. My laundry detergent recipe is as follows: 

One cup Borax
One cup Washing Soda
One ounce grated Castille soap. I like mine scented with lavender. 

Just use two tablespoons per load. I have found our detergent now costs $.50 per month. 

If you have any homemade recipes you wish to share, please do so!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Where it all began

I had a kid at 18 and decided I wasn't doing that again. Now, I love my daughter. But being a single teen mom was a challenge. I didn't need to make it twice as hard. So, I got on depo provera, the fool (which I was) proof birth control. It is a once every three month shot, and it worked great.

I was a happy teen mom, but life was difficult. Making $4.25 an hour and trying to have school, work, and being a mom all fit into a 24 hour day. Add in one verbal and emotionally abusive baby daddy, and I began to gain weight. The first few pounds didn't bother me, and then it slid slowly out of control. I was a body builder in high school and know how to rock it out at the gym. I reluctantly joined, even though I really couldn't afford the extra $15.00 a month.

After several months of going at it -- I'm just going to be honest, maybe half at it and half a slice of cake. Hey-compromise ;) -- I couldn't get any of the weight off, and I had gained 70 debilitating pounds.

Trying to muster up the energy to go to the gym when that overweight is a killer. Tediously staring at a blank wall, sweating, lifting, and climbing to no immediately obvious goal. I went alone and what made it worse was the gym atmosphere. I take the back row (like in school) only to watch healthy people's non-jiggly butts. Amazing women with thighs that don't touch, in front of me. They seamlessly run, each step seems so light and fun for them. I was always looking around for other people my size. I would have given anything for one person, sweating to the oldies with me.

The gym is exhausting mentally and physically to me. Every time I go, I get on the treadmill and stare at nothing, going nowhere (I hate treadmills, can you tell?). This horrible method of "weight loss" gave me nothing to do but think, analyze my life. Every time the thoughts turned to how I had let myself go. I became hyper conscious on the stair master, watching and feeling every slow step I took in my oversized shoe. My sweatpants tearing in the center from the friction of thigh rubbing. Gah. Just gah.

Still no weight loss. On the contrary, continued weight gain. Now tipping the scale at 210 pounds, a total of a 90 pound gain. I hired a personal trainer. The devil himself. I worked out five times a week on Satan's "10-10-10" plan. 10 reps - 10 second break - repeat 10 times. BRUTAL I tell you. He thought wrapping cardio in light weight training was the way to go to have me shed pounds and tone up. He was worried with typical weight lifting that I would gain muscle and bulk up. I agreed to his sinister workout plan.

Around month three he was starting to notice my weight loss was less than satisfactory. We decided to ramp up the plan. Sometimes I couldn't lift my arms to brush my hair because my muscles were torn so severely. But I loved it because he cheered me on because I was working so hard.

Five months went by. I lost a total of five depressing pounds.

My trainer thought I was a closet cake and McDonald's eater, and actually shouted at me for lying to him about what I was eating. He was spending all this time helping me, but outside of the gym I couldn't help myself?

Working out this hard and only losing five pounds? What gives? After I told him that although I didn't have the best eating habits, I wasn't scarfing behind his back, he sent me to a nutrition specialist. They both really tore into my life, which was embarrassing. As a fat girl, my self esteem was already down the tubes. Now two skinny people were inspecting me with a microscope, which made me notice every workout, every calorie, every bite, every decision, every minute of every day. And still no weight loss.

Although they meant well, and were there to help, the combination of me being hyper aware, having them quiz me, and working so hard I was sore every day (and throw in a crappy ex who called me fat) sent me into depression.

My hired team could not figure out why I couldn't loose weight, so they advised I go to a doctor for a slew of tests. Thyroid was the obvious potential issue. The tests all came back fine. I was sobbing in my doctor's office, at the end of this humiliating experience. He says, "Aren't you on the birth control shot?" I say, "Yes?" and finally the truth comes out.

Doc advises me that the main side effect of depo provera is weight gain. The drug is effective in preventing pregnancy because it makes the human body think it is pregnant, and stops a woman's period altogether. Which means the body starts reserving fat for the non-existent baby.

Digest this. What a unbelievably unnatural way to mess with a woman's body. And the worst news? The drug stays active in my system for a year to year and a half after discontinued use.

Meaning- I was destined to a life stuck in this fat suit for an entire year, regardless of what I did.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm baaaack (spooky voice inserted here)

Well, it's been awhile. Let's face it: working full time, training dogs part time, being a mom to three teenage daughters, and one hubby with chronic pain, can sometimes make a girl feel like throwing herself off a cliff. But alas, I have not enough time to find the mountain to climb to achieve such a feat. I haven't had the time to write, but have been encouraged to continue the laughs, so here I am.

I have done many radical things in the past few years. In the next few weeks I will touch on each topic, in hopes I will reach out to one person that needs the help and possibly save them the countless hours and endless amounts of research I have done. And hey, if I am lucky, maybe someone will post a comment or teach me something new.

I will open up about: battling severe anxiety, depression, cutting, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and chronic pain (not all from first person accounts, but as a supporting role which can be more daunting a task). I will write about my children turning: vegan (and my subsequent panic), vegetarian, pescetarian, gluten free, raw, and organic, and my harsh learning lessons on eating properly in each category. As a bonus (because me talking/writing more is a bonus?) maybe I'll throw in my secret on how to heal quickly from surgery.

(Before. Damn, is that really me? That's a big girl.)

But most of all I will write on my battle to keep my weight off. I have learned to loose weight easily--any ole diet pill, diet, and calorie counting trick/program works short term but isn't meant to keep you skinny. The company selling you these items stays profitable, and in business, by keeping you in or on their program. What is this I speak of?! Yes folks, they are meant to make you fail. I was a plus size girl at 210 pounds and a size 23. My first time I gruelingly lost 70 massive pounds. Only to gain most of it back. I realized at 190 I was almost pushing 200 pounds again, and ran (literally) scared. I hunkered down and lost the 40. Ballooned up, lost 30. Started to gain and checked myself in time to have to only loose 25.  This last time around, I like to believe I finally learned my lesson and lost 15. I have kept it off, but it is a struggle I face every day.

 (During, because when is it really "after?" The battle really never ends.)

I will write that the best way to diet, isn't to diet at all. There is no magic pill and calorie counting nonsense. It is simply a change to your lifestyle. And I will make it easy and just give you the recipe. It took me 10 years to discover the right combination, and hope it works for someone else. I wish I had future me to ask, 15 years ago when my self hating battle began.

But for tonight, I shall sign off. If there is something you wish for me to write or address first. Please comment! (Really, I'll just be excited to know I'm not talking to myself) :D