Spoonie Retirement — Life, Love, and Covid Vaccine

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. — Robert Burns

So have gone the past two weeks here at Chez Spoons, awry. If I were to describe my life in six words, they would be “it did not go as planned.” It all started with a minor back injury, just a strain really, but OMW I did not realize how much lower back pain affects day to day life. Ouch! A series of prolotherapy injections over a 4 day period combined with some muscle relaxers, took care of that problem. Then, there was the skin cancer. A biopsy came back positive for cancer cells, requiring a bit more excising and freeze therapy to remove the rest of the onerous cells. OK, I got this! THEN, there was the medical shrug about the dyshidrotic eczema, we have run out of ideas and I decline more steroid therapy, so back to my standard “ignore it until it goes away” treatment plan. I wrap my toes in wool roving for padding before going on walks, soak my feet daily, use a good moisturizer and a non-steroidal ointment if necessary. THEN, guess what …. no go ahead, guess. I’ll give you a hint, I’ve been on a waiting list for the Covid vaccine for a few weeks now and, yep, you guessed it, my turn came up in the middle of all this. So, I got the pfizer vaccine, 1st injection. Not as bad as I expected but let me tell you, my immune system went to town. Sore arm, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, mild fever and chills subsided after day 2 and were completely gone by day 3. Not too bad but I lost a couple more days to aches and utter exhaustion. plllttttt! ;-p

Anyway … the worst is over and my routine is slowly returning to “normal” and I must say, thank goodness. Chronic illness is like a marauding dragon that shows up at the least appropriate time, wreaks havoc on carefully laid plans and demands a virgin sacrifice. But for now, it is appeased, the sub-zero temps have gone, the sun is shining, the snow is mostly gone and the weather is just lovely. Temps will be dropping again in the near future and that’s fine, but for today, My Dragon is safely slumbering and I think I’ll go have a bit of a walk about.

Til next time ~Stay wild moon child ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, love and immunity in the time of Covid – part 2

For our JusJoJan and SoCS prompt: Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “close eyes and point.” When you’re ready to write your post, open a book, a newspaper, or whatever is handy and close your eyes and point. Whatever word or picture your finger lands on, make that the basis of your SoCS/JusJoJan post. Enjoy! “Advantages”

One of the advantages of retirement is the extra time you have to invest in those projects you’ve been putting off. Of course, that’s also the greatest disadvantage of spoonie retirement, all that time stretching out before you, time to study subjects long ago forsaken in the name of “making a living.” Time to tackle the lifestyle changes and projects you have planned to do for years but hadn’t the time. And, naturally it also gives you lots of time to lament that spoonie reality of now having time but lacking energy, strength and resources to perform those studies, projects, and lifestyle changes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining (well maybe a little *sniffle, sniffle*) I’m happy with my lot in life, although not particularly energetic.

I took some time measurements this week and found out that it takes me every bit of 1.25 hours every morning just to deal with basic medical treatments of a variety of the manifestations of my disease(s), all of which are repeated again at the end of the day. So that’s 2.5 hours out of my day right there. Needless to say anything that can save me a few steps (or a few bucks) or increase my energy level even a bit, I’m game for a try.

Last week I mixed up a batch of immunity tea blend and this week I brewed up a pot, added a touch of manuka honey and used it for an immunity boosting tonic. I cannot really say as to the effectiveness of it but I haven’t gotten sick but I do seem to be recovering from multiple minor injuries better than I expected and hey it tastes good, has no known side effects what’s not to like right? I say bring back the hippy dippy teas of my childhood! Now for those of you who lack the energy or resources to make your own tea blend, there are lots of immunity boosting teas on the market. I don’t generally use them because many include echinacea which I don’t use (autoimmune diseases …. duh). Whether using this blend or a store purchased one, always make sure there are no contraindicated ingredients based on your particular spoonieness. With that said, here is Farren’s “Immunity Tisane” recipe. Yes … Farren is a dear and yes it’s a tisane since it doesn’t actually contain leaves of the Camellia Sinensis (tea plant).

Farren’s Magic Immunity Tisane

1/4 Cup dried hibiscus flower
1/4 Cup dried elderberries
1/4 Cup rose hips (I buy whole and crush them with the flat of a knife)
1/4 Cup dried apple bits (very small)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystalized ginger (is what I had on hand but unsweetened dried will work fine)
2 Tablespoons dried orange peel
2 Tablespoons dried cornflowers

Place all ingredients in a 2 Cup glass jar (I use a wide mouth canning jar), replace the lid and shake until ingredients are well disbursed.

To brew: use 1 Tablespoon of tea per 12-16 oz boiling water, steep for about 5 minutes. Use more or less tea, and/or add sweetener to taste.

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Spoonie Saturday – The Sky’s the Limit

Well it’s been a week here at Chez Spoons. I’ve just finished off two weeks of steroid therapy to treat my dyshidrotic eczema. Pllffttt ;-p have I ever mentioned how much I dislike steroids? Make me slightly psychotic they do. But I’m done for now and I have to say that my feet do feel much better. Then, in what shall henceforth be known as the “great chinese cabbage incident” I managed to slice off a significant portion of the finger pad on my middle finger, requiring several stitches and bandages, making me look like I’m giving the whole world the bird. I wonder what kind of fingerprint I’ll be left with. On second thought, maybe that’s not such a bad thing buahaha. Perhaps I should now reveal my evil plans for world domination, the sky’s the limit! Oh wait, wait, that’s just the steroids talking, haha (don’t worry that’s not what they really said.)

OK, ok back to Retired Spoonie life. The weather here north of the 45th parallel has finally turned more wintery. Little spits an spurts of snow and cold weather mingled 30-40 degree temperature shifts have my poor spoonie metabolism all out of whack. We moved here because we LIKE the cold. It’s the back and forth that fluster me so. I’m hyper-sensitive to temperature changes right now so we’re implementing cold weather spoon conservation techniques. Why? Well, it’s 69f in my snuggly little home right now, and I’m shivering. Shivering depletes my spoons (energy reserves) very quickly. So, long story short, we implement several strategies to keep warm when we feel the cold.

  • Hot water bottles – Superhubs currently has his wool sock bedecked feet resting on a hot water bottle to keep his feet warm

  • I am currently wearing an extra sweater and an over wrap to keep my core warm and prevent shivers

  • We keep a heated mattress pad and flannel sheets on our bed. The mattress pad is a new addition to our winter regimen and I must say … total score!

  • I am drinking hot water. I drink a lot of water and right now I’m heating it to warm me from the inside out

I’m experimenting with more kitchen based home remedies. This week’s experiment has been an alternative to antacids. I did some research and found a lot of information on fennel. Thus far it’s working really well. When I feel excess acid, instead of reaching for the bottle of antacid, I chew 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds. It works just as well or better than the antacids. I’m going to try a fennel tea and see how that works. I’ll be making a “winter blend” tea this week as well, with dried rose hips from my local coop, for added vitamin C.

linked to JusJoJan # 9

 

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Spoonie Saturday – JusJoJan – In the Corner

In the corner of a dusty shelf there sat a tiny book, “Kitchen Mystic Spiritual Lessons Hidden in Everyday Life.” A pocket sized paperback filled with everyday insights. I remember the first time I picked it up and knew that this tiny treasure was meant for me. It is battered and wrinkled, with dog-eared pages. I take it down every few years and re-read it, I handle it carefully. You see, I’m a kitchen mystic myself, I see the Divine in a thin slice of red onion shimmering like stained glass. I get the magic in a well brewed cup of tea and the twinkling eye of the Great Mother winking at me from the chips of white quartz along the road. Oh yes, I get it. I am a Mystic Hippie Spoonie, living proof that if you can actually remember the 70’s you didn’t really LIVE them.

This year I’m getting back to my Mystic Hippie roots. I want to live in tune with the rhythms of sun and moon, seasons and stars instead of clocks and calendars. More in kairos, less in chronos. This is my first full year of real retirement and I intend to live it well. Among my goals and intentions for this year is to reduce my use of OTC meds. To that end, this week I made up a batch of “cough tonic.” I’m a life long asthmatic, my first hospitalization came at 6 months of age and I have not had a significant remission since that time (we’re not going to discuss exactly HOW LONG that is). I cough, a lot, all the time, for various reasons most of which medical science has no treatment to offer. So, back to Mother Nature we go.

My paternal grandmother had a recipe for a cough medicine she used and passed along to me, although it is effective, I no longer use it due to the alcohol content. In case you’re interested it was simply:
1 part lemon juice
1 part honey
1 part whiskey
shake well and take 1 teaspoon as required (yeah that’s gonna happen *cough cough*)

That was pretty much par for the course in the 1930’s but I felt it needed an update, a non-alcoholic update, ’cause ya know. After much on-line research and reading up on different folk remedies I was panic stricken intimidated by the boiling and extracting, straining, reducing and … cooking. Did I mention that although I am a mystic witch in the kitchen, I’m like a lazy totally laid back and easy going Spoonie. So, lazy witch creative genius that I am, I concocted a lemon ginger honey peppermint tonic that works pretty well. It’s a little more acidic than I’d prefer but it works. Here’s what I did:

From the Lazy Mystic Kitchen Spoonie:

I heated 6 oz water to a boil, dropped in two Yogi Teas Lemon Ginger teabags, cover and let it steep for about an hour. Remove the teabags, reheat the tea to hot (not boiling). Stir in 1-2 Tablespoon of honey (local raw) and 1 Tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, about 30 drops of peppermint extract and a dab of ginger (the kind in the tube). I immulsified with an immersion blender, let cool and poured into a labeled jar. Take 1-2 Tablespoons as needed for cough. So far so good, I’m off the multi-symptom flu medicine that I’ve used for years for coughs. Please remember that most reliable sources do not recommend using essential oils internally. I used GAIA herbs liquid extract which is MUCH less potent than an essential oil but is pure peppermint leaf extract. There, butt covered.

Well, I’m off to make a hot toddy, errr,, ahhh I mean a cough and cold tonic.

Linked to JusJoJan

 

Til next time ~Stay trippy fellow hippies ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, love, and flu shots in the time of Covid

It’s been a busy week here at Chez Spoons. I had and actual visit (in person) with my Primary Care Dr. got my annual blood work, script refills, and a flu shot. I suffer from a mild allergy to raw eggs and so haven’t taken a flu shot in many a year. Back in the day when I was younger and healthier, my allergist would give me half dose, have me wait an hour, come back a week later and repeat with the second half of the dose. Who needs that pain in the … arm? Anyway, I read a CDC article on how a flu shot is potentially more important this year since a combined run of Round 2 Covid AND a nasty influenza could overwhelm the hospitals. Keeping in mind that my home state has experienced a scary high increase in Covid cases and related deaths I decided to check into it. Low and behold, they have an eggless vaccine … who knew. So I am all vacced up and ready to roll.

Grocery shopping has been kind of minimal this week. My Community Based Agriculture box included:

Fresh Produce
* 2 turnips
* 1 small bunch of kale
* 1 beautiful bunch of celery – both this and the kale came from a “Hoop House” farm.
Grains/dried/other
* 8 oz organic red quinoa
* 4 oz english breakfast tea
* 6 oz dehydrated tomato powder

As you can see, produce is getting kind of scarce this time of year. I’m beginning to fall back on my old stand-bys, whole grains (well pseudo grains), nuts and dehydrated fruits and vegetables as well as canned and frozen. We’ve loosened up Superhubs’ carb count just a wee bit since he started back on insulin. LADA diabetes is not well understood but he seems to be doing much better on the low dosage of insulin and upping his “slow carbs”. I’m using a little more beans, sweet potato and quinoa, bringing his total daily net carb count back to 80-100. We’ll visit with the endocrinologist next week but I am hopeful that this diagnosis may well improve his quality of care.

How’s your week been? Did you get a flu shot this year?

Til next time ~Peace ~JPP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, love and Autoimmune Diabetes in the time of Covid

Last week I kind of got off the Seasonal Eating Theme due to a holiday-stress-induced philosophizing tangent. *snap out of it JP, Winter is Coming* (pun intended). We got word this past week that Superhubs does indeed have LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) or type 1.5 diabetes. What the heck is that? Good question and not a lot of answers. Type 2 diabetes is more of a metabolic disorder where the body cannot properly utilize the insulin that is produced. Type 1.5 is an autoimmune disease where the immune system kills off the beta cells that produce insulin. Both types develop in adulthood and are slower onset than type 1 diabetes. We meet with the endocrinologist next week and will find out then how or if this affects our dietary plan. Superhubs’ primary care doctor has already started him back on insulin and the results are pretty encouraging.

Anywho, back to seasonal/local eating. Last week’s CBA box (Community Based Agriculture) included a local pasture raised chicken which we roasted up for our Thanksgiving feast. It being just the two of us the bird has fed us for a couple of days with plenty of good broth and bits left over for salads and soups this week. Our CBA box this week included:

*Fresh Produce:
1 head of butter lettuce from a local hydroponic garden
1 small head of green cabbage from local farm
*Meat/dairy/eggs
1 Yak sirloin steak (yes you read that right Yak like the big hairy cow)
1 dozen extra large eggs from a local farm mixed brown and white
6 oz local dairy cheddar cheese curds
*dried goods/spices/teas
1 bag dried apple slices from local farms

The uses are pretty obvious this week. The lettuce goes for salads and taco cups, the cabbage will get fried for a side dish and used in soup. Those beautiful eggs will make wonderful breakfasts and some egg salad for lunch. The cheese curds will adorn my luncheon salads (Superhubs is dairy free). The dried apple slices will be used for snacks and some cooked up with left over raisins from the pantry for a yummy pancake topping.

What I’m watching right now:

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Spoonie Retirement — life, love and groceries in the time of COVID

Spoonie living is a series of complications and considerations. Things like grocery shopping for spoonies in the time of covid are even more complex than before. Now every meal must take into consideration, availability of ingredients, nutritional analysis, ease of preparation, and cost of said meal. Grocery shopping used to be a recreational activity for Superhubs and I. Now, it’s a chore.

When I was younger (OK a LOT younger), I was an earth child. I lived off the land for a few years and loved the experience. I have some seriously mad skills that need dusting off. In my post earth child years when I could no longer grow/raise/hunt my own food, I enjoyed CSA boxes. Community Supported Agriculture brings a portion of a local farm’s harvest to you in a cardboard box. When we first moved to South Dakota where CSA’s a few and far between, we simply bought a box from the Farmer’s Market in town. Pretty cool seeing what’s in season, what’s growing and what’s not and whipping up meals based on that. Of course, winter comes early here with a first frost date in September and a last frost date in late May; we have a really short growing season. What’s a “farm girl at heart” to do?

Fortunately, our local farmer’s market runs all year with on-line ordering. I build my own CSA box from the market’s offerings and my local health food coop. Fun huh?!? Then, I base my menus on what’s available. Right now, fresh produce is limited to “storage” crops. We still have offerings of dried items, some greenhouse growth, meats, cheeses, nuts, spices, honey, teas and lots of preserved and baked goods. Yummmmm!

Oh yeah, back to the whole “grocery shopping” theme of this post. So, that’s my “recreational” shopping these days. The bulk of our grocery shopping is done on-line. We order from Costco, Amazon, Nuts.com, and our local Safeway, farmers market, coop and health food stores. It works but it’s not as much fun. I’m striving to keep our eating seasonal this year as I firmly believe that seasonal eating is healthier both for us and the planet. One caveat here, Superhubs and I both follow a low carb diet, he is diabetic and I’m just fat, er, ah … fluffy. A lot of the currently available storage crops are out of our carb allowances; onions, potatoes and several of the winter squashes fall into this category. Boxes average $25/week.

My CBAB (Community Based Agriculture Box)

*Fresh Produce
8 oz. cranberries
1 medium spaghetti squash
*dried goods/spices/teas
1 oz freeze dried maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms
4 oz dried apricots
3 oz chili powder
2 oz cinnamon black tea
*meat/dairy/eggs
8 oz local sharp cheddar cheese

Here’s how we used them:
winter fruit compote – cranberries & apricots (raisins from pantry)
low carb spaghetti marinara – spaghetti squash & some mushrooms
bok choy & mushrooms – dried maitake
low carb turkey chili – chili powder
various lunch plates & cheese omelettes – cheddar cheese
various lovely afternoon teas – cinnamon black tea

Do you eat seasonally? What are some of your favorite fall meals?

Til next time ~Peace ~JP