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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cool Blue



"Lady in Red Hydrangea"



"Niko Blue" Hydrangea







"Dracula" Celosia






I knitted the little hoodie sweater for my son's best friend's first baby - little "AJ". The shower was last Sunday. The pattern is "Hooded Cardigan 3898" by Sirdar Spinning using Sirdar Snuggly DK. It wasn't a difficult pattern but the instructions were written by a U.K. company for British knitters. I'm not an expert knitter but have enough experience to be able to get the gist of what the writer was talking about. For example, "commencing with the second row, work one inch of one by one ribbing". After picking up a couple hundred stitches around the fronts and hood, I figured out the direction I had to be going to get the button holes on the "boys side", as if that really matters....Patterns written in the US in 2017 would tell you to work one knit row, then start the ribbing. No matter, it came out fine, because I have many baby sweaters in my rear view mirror. I'm loving the cool blues right now because it's HOT HOT HOT here in Connecticut. It will be in the 90's again today. I'm only going outside the A/C to water, then back in for some chores. I've had MS long enough that I know not to "push it". It's a good day to work on my next knit. A simple cowl in a lovely, steely gray German bunny Angora/Merino blend. Brainless, soothing knitting for a summer day.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lavender Love



You can grow all the lavender you want if you remember a couple of things. First, lavender must have full sun to be happy. Second, it wants very little water and will die if its feet are wet all the time. Third, don't be generous with the soil. Lavender doesn't want rich, loamy soil and prefers sharp, sandy, well-drained soil. If your foundation is dry and hot, living against warm brick or cement will be the perfect home for lavender. And a warm microclimate will keep your lavender cozier during cold, winter weather. Give your lavender a haircut in the spring to cut off dead branches. I didn't cut mine very much this year so I'll give it a good trim after its finished its first bloom. If you want to dry your lavender for sachets or culinary use, it's best to dry the buds just as they're beginning to open. Fully open, lavender is actually many tiny flowers with petals that will fall off instead of drying nicely in one piece. This plant was labeled "dwarf lavender" so I'm not certain it it's Munstead or Hidcote or Sarah (a somewhat smaller English lavender variety) but it tolerates the cold well. Either way, it's the best English Lavender I've grown and its compact form is lovely. When I lifted some branches from the path in the Spring there were several baby plants growing in the gravel underneath. Now I have a lavender nursery and hope to spread the lavender love to family and friends next year.






Friday, June 2, 2017

Telomeres & Meditation



I'm still reading The Telomere Effect, by Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD. I'm very aware that the excessive inflammation in my body, evidenced by a high CRP, causes shortened telomeres. My cardiologist advised me that this is due to the Multiple Sclerosis I've had for over 30 years. She agreed with the information I'd received from my naturopathic physician that MS patients tend to have more cardiovascular events. Shortened telomeres has been proven to cause premature aging, basically by physically disrupting DNA replication. Age alone will cause this to happen but it can also be caused by environmental conditions we can manipulate.
One of causes of shortened telomeres is stress and anxiety. Some of us (I'm raising my hand but you can't see me) ruminate. Cows ruminate when they chew their cud. I ruminate over big things but even little problems get into my head where I go over and over them. Rumination can then be translated as WORRY. Which then folds into general anxiety. Go ahead and try not to think about something. That will then be the only thing you CAN think about. One method of letting go is to meditate. Before you reply that you can't stop thinking so meditation doesn't work, think about this. I discovered a long time ago that the only way I can meditate is through guided meditation. I need to plug in my earbuds and sit alone and listen to a calm voice telling me exactly what to do. Focusing on my breathing. Watching thoughts float by. According to Blackburn and Epel, thought awareness can reduce rumination and automatic negative thinking. They advise not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That shorter periods of mindfulness can help us develop thought awareness and reduce the power of negative thought patterns. Many years ago I found a company called "Health Journeys" who describe their company as providing "resources for mind, body and spirit". I've used two of their products and believe I benefit from guided imagery. If you'd like to begin to meditate and don't know where to start, I highly recommend you check out their website.
I do not receive any monetary benefit from mentioning this book or this company. I am not a health care provider and do not claim to give any advice on health or otherwise.
I'm linking back to Share Your Style blog party.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Potting Up 2

Things are getting settled outside, bit by bit. The fig tree is out of the garage and leafing out well.  I can't seem to get enough bright flowering plants in pots this year. Maybe its all the rain we've had. Almost every day brings a downpour. The lawn has never looked better. There's so much intense green this Spring, I seem to want to balance it out with bright colors and I can't wait for Mother Nature. I'm giving her a nudge with wild colors everywhere. The colors aren't planned. I'm just grabbing bright neon colored flowers and popping them in pots and enjoying them. And that's what it's all about, right?

My fig tree came out its winter quarters - our unheated garage. I'd like to try to plant it outside.






Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Telomere Effect & Healthy Aging




I've just started reading a new book I borrowed from my local library called The Telomere Effect by Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD. Pronounced tee-low-mere, these little end caps on our DNA are greatly responsible for the quality of the lives we lead. We, in effect, wear down these caps, however long or short there are to begin with, with each day we live. They are necessary for cell division as they kind of hold things together when the DNA replicates itself when the cell divides. Our old cells die and are replaced constantly by new cells. Telomeres also contribute small pieces of themselves in the process to keep our DNA from becoming damaged. There are many things about the length of our telomeres that we can control. Some we cannot. "Genetics loads the gun, environmental factors pull the trigger". Scientists have discovered that we have more control over the way we look and feel than we thought.
There are ways we keep our telomeres stable and possibly build them back up.  First on my personal list is exercise. I'm making an effort to participate in water aerobics classes. I'm starting with twice a week with the goal of three one hour work-outs per week. With MS it can be difficult to get to the gym. In my 30's I squeezed an exercise bike into the bedroom of my small apartment. In my 40's and 50's  I worked out at a Curves salon. I believe it's the way I've been able to stay on my feet this long. I also work outside in my garden and even push the lawnmower around. I do my grocery shopping and carry heavy bags every week. I don't have a housekeeper and so far, nobody has volunteered to clean the bathtub.
This book does not reveal an instant fountain of youth but the status of our telomeres helps explain why some of us stay healthy into old age and some of us age more rapidly. More to come.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

I have many things in my home that belonged to my grandmother. When I take them out of closets, cabinets or drawers to use them I think about her and how much I miss her. I had Gram in my life until I was 47 years old...I will not know the joy of watching my grandchildren pass into middle age...I had Gram past the time when she even knew who I was. This little vase has "made in Japan" printed on the bottom which, to me, indicates that it was from the 1950's. I remember that she stored it in the mudroom that opened to the backyard in a cupboard with other items of no importance. Will anyone care about my little "dime store" vase when I've gone on to the big garden in the sky? I hope so.