We’re about halfway through winter now – six weeks away from garden season (for us).
So, how am I doing on that Winter To Do List I published last fall? Not so bad, I guess. But it’s been amended quite a bit.
* First, I can say that tobacco is gone from this house. No snuff for Frank, no cigarettes for me. We have our eGo nicotine vaporizers, and we make our own juice, and the conversion from smoke to vapor is complete. Some people argue that we’re still addicted to nicotine, and I would agree. But this switch has still been a big step that has made noticeable differences in our lives.
(See previous post to get the basics on our vapes & where to get them locally here.)
It’s been about 3 months now since I quit smoking. Within a week, coughing and phlegm levels decreased. Over time, my senses of smell and taste really tuned back in. There aren’t ash trays and spit cups all around the house. It’s been a real improvement in our lives.
* I have also been working yoga back into my life pretty well. It’s not that hard, since my body almost screams for it after several days without these stretches.I’m in my forties now, and stiffness, kinks and little glitches are all part of the game at this point. Sciatica is a big one, arthritis in the left middle finger is a new frustration. There are stretches that can almost eliminate the symptoms of both of these ailments. And I can tell if I go too long without doing them.
I’ve tried several different routes for learning, memorizing and maintaining the practice of yoga – VHS tapes, mobile apps, different books. What I found that has helped me the most was a simple sample routine of stretches found in the appendix of the book, “New Choices in Natural Healing.”
I really love this book. One of a dozen books in my library on natural and holistic remedies, this one is like an Encyclopedia of ailments and different remedies. It includes directions for light therapy, hydrotherapy, sound therapy – and all the more ‘common’ holistic practices. New copies of this book are available on Amazon for ONE DOLLAR, and used copies are as low as A PENNY A PIECE! Worth the price in my opinion! Here’s your link to get yours:
Yoga is about stretching and breathing. Sounds fairly simple, and actually it is. People imagine body contortions with chants and humming. It doesn’t have to be that way.
When I started the yoga stretches this past fall, I was really surprised in the limited range I had. A month or two without the sunny month gardening tasks, I could not believe how rigid my muscles had become. But now, after about nine weeks of stretching just twice a week in the evenings, I can reach my toes, get my head to my knees, etc. Balance is improved, as is my sleep and my stress level. You could benefit from just sitting and deep breathing for just a few minutes each morning and evening.
On the music front, it’s down to baby steps. I was determined to learn guitar. Then the arthritis thing came on, and I decided I’d relearn the piano keyboard. Then, I realized I’d forgotten how to read music, and I had to relearn that. So now, I’m reading the instruction book for a keyboard, and I’m using a mobile app on my tablet to refresh my music reading skills.
I did manage to get about a third of the album collection converted to Mp3 before the holidays arrived, and the turntable and albums were hidden behind the presents under the Christmas tree when company arrived. I’ve been eying that project pile thinking it’s time to get back to that.
I have been singing more. Frank got a roll of speaker wire for Christmas, and reworked some of the lines running throughout the house. Now, we have Pandora all over. I can sing in the bathtub again – where I do my best performances, of course. I also copied all my new Mp3′s I made from my albums to a jump drive I have plugged into the Pioneer stereo in our little holler hopper. All those songs I forgot I knew all the words to. It’s amazing how after 15-20 years (or more) I can still automatically sing along. If only reading music had stuck as well as the lyrics of the 70′s.
I do have to say that the sewing bug has NOT kicked in this winter at all. I had in mind to make three quilts – none of which I have started. I did finish the denim quilt I started last winter and never finished, but I’ve not moved on to any new there since then. I may or may not before the garden calls me back. We’ll see.
I’ve experienced a few bursts from my Creative Writing Muse. She only visits rarely, that retched girl. But she’s popped in three times so far this winter. I’ve started a short story, a long story, and popped out a pretty good haiku the other day:
Spring is the football
Mother Nature is Lucy
And we’re Charlie Brown
The Research Writing Muse has been around quite a bit in recent weeks. I’m planning to start a medicinal herb bed this spring, dividing the perennials I have, investing in more – and incorporating an area for garlic, asparagus, and horseradish. So my mind has brought me back around to my holistic and herbal treatment books, where I often find simple, effective relief for ailments people suffer needlessly with. Alternative options that can be more affordable, more reliable, more accessible than through “American Medicine.” Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed to share the information I find.
I’m thinking, actually, of writing a series of columns. One on herbal remedies for moods and mental issues. I’m reluctant to start the print series though. I am not sure I’m up to the task of a monthly series. My column is the last thing written for each issue every month, most often shot from the hip the night before our press deadline. And, I may need more space for these installments that print will allow. They may need to be published online instead – then perhaps compiled into ebooklets….
I’m also planning some “educational posts” for this blog. One on healing with water; another on healing with sound. Ways to heal your mind, and heal your own spirit – with holistic practices.
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in holistic treatments for some all-too-common ailments? Want to learn about some interesting and under-recognized methods of healing?
“Get Organized” is always on my To Do List. I had hoped to get the craft area organized this winter – I haven’t even gone near it. I did however, reorganize my desk area, and much of my clothes closet. Frank and I have gotten much better tag-teaming the dishes, but laundry still lags far too long at the clean-but-needs-folded-and-put-away stage.
All the recent hub bub about guns brought me to clean out the gun cabinet and take inventory. At the time, I thought I’d clean everything, so I ordered a cleaning kit from an Amazon.com seller. That was a month ago – we’re still working out what has happened to it during shipping.
I suppose ordering checks and office supplies is part of organizing, but I can’t do those things yet because of a proposed E911 Address change for us. Facebook followers know much of our saga – this would be our 4th change since the whole E911 thing started. I’ll be appearing before the county commission this Tuesday to get it settled and speak my piece. (Oy.) Once that’s settled I can finish that tidbit on the to do list.
I have managed to switch the twolanelivin.com theme to a responsive design that will automatically “flex” to fit smaller screens readers may be using. The switchover was not without its glitches, nor is the site currently glitch free. The new theme mandated an upgrade to the program I use – so everything is just a littttle different than before. It will take me a while to adjust. I’m still adjusting to the new keyboard I have, after I choked on my coffee and fried the one I’ve been using for seven years…
Of course, it’s also tax time. Of course, some might say “It’s only February.” But it takes me a good bit to get all of our receipts in order. I have my own process of sorting and recording – I think to make sure I understand fully and don’t make any mistakes. I’m not the best of friends with numbers, so I have to push my connection to really process it all. I have an annual routine that helps me grasp it, understand what it all means, and then plan accordingly.
Once the taxes are done, I’m going to start work on the mobile app I originally thought we’d have launched last fall. All the planning is done, and general concepts defined — it’s just getting it all in place in the actual app, and getting it rolling. I’m super excited about this app and for what it will be for our region, but I’m also intimidated by my total lack of familiarity with apps, and my basic knowledge of coding. I’m realllllly hoping to have it test running by May. (Knock on wood.)
This year is really looking up for the magazine. We have several corporate clients interested in working with and supporting us this year, and we’re set to ride the mobile wave as it builds in West Virginia. If I can find a WordPress-knowledgeable freelancer, we may be able to take our online level even further. But, I don’t want to get too far ahead of reality here.
It’s February. What could be happening with the garden?
Well, I have several things rolling already. We have sweet potatoes in mason jars in the windows downstairs, growing sprouts already. Looks like the potato patch will be a good size this year. I also had to do a seed inventory check when the seed catalogs started to arrive. I had to assess what we need. Then, I studied three independent, organic seed catalogs – all new to me because I discovered that our typical seed source had been bought out by corporate agribusiness. I had to find new sources.
The temptation to try new things overwhelms me when I go through seed catalogs. And while I may stick to my tried and true favorites of tomato, beans, peas, cabbage and lettuces – I am prone to wander when it comes to corn, squash, and carrots. I also want to grow more things to be mixed in with the chicken feed, like Sorghum, Amaranth, and a wider variety of sunflower seed. I have ordered a seed collection of flowers just for the bees as well.
It won’t be long before we can sow lettuces and peas outside….
I haven’t wasted the winter so far, but I have not come anywhere near my high hopes for the season’s projects. Still, I can see progress never the less. But health and business seem to have overwhelmed the creative efforts at this point.
I’ll have to “work” on that.
As web publishing possibilities grow, I become more and more overwhelmed. It seems impossible to keep up, and I admit — I sometimes I use that as an excuse not to. The rest of the time, I just muddle through the best I can to keep our web sites up to date, functioning, and performing to their best ability, which is directly limited to my abilities.
Several years ago, I used to obsess over my web sites and blogs, learning and experimenting and playing with what’s out there. That’s how we ended up with our Cafe Press store at www.twolaneshoppin.com, and sites like the one I created after the 2003 flood.
But while I worked as a newspaper reporter, my knowledge of web publishing stagnated while I focused on writing. When we launched Two-Lane Livin’, I realized my web design knowledge (and web design program) were severely out-of-date.
When we became involved with WV Uncovered, I decided to use WordPress as our publishing platform, and began to learn and play with it. That was a year and a half ago, and I just now am feeling somewhat comfortable with it. I don’t try to push my boundaries too much, and I admit — I’ve spent time I used to spend on web work and play now on learning to garden, can, make rugs, relax.
However, our continued involvement with WV Uncovered, and the appearance of a new “web savvy” friend in my life, I realize that I have been neglecting the web sites of our lives. When you have multiple web sites in multiple levels of completion, with multiple purposes, it seems that everyone of them has loose ends. On top of that, I don’t even know off the top of my head how many different domain names we own. I’d have to look them up. Some are parked, some are forwards, some are hosted — I have a hard time keeping track.
The two main domains I work with are twolanelivin.com and wvcottages.com. The first, of course, hosts the magazine online. The second is a domain name I’ve had since 1997, and I just have never let it go. It hosts this blog, even though the blog’s “domain” is twolanebloggin.com. Then, there’s our youtube page (twolanevideo.info), our scribed page, our payloadz page (twolanepubs.com), our etsy page (fralimi.com), and others long forgotten or yet to come.
Our web sites are full of “we could possiblies” and “yet to comes”.
Web design work is a time sponge, much like the internet that hosts it. I start tweaking one of our sites at 4 pm, and with a break for dinner, could still be tweaking at 2 am. That’s what happened the other night, and my sleep schedule is still out of whack.
The main page at wvcottages.com was completely outdated and served no purpose, so I created a new entry for that. I found a new Worpress PlugIn for twolanelivin.com that provided better meta tags and descriptions. This blog’s version of WordPress was outdated, so I thought I’d upgrade that too — and that’s where it all went down hill. The upgrade crashed the site, and at 2 a.m. I sent a frantic e-mail to the server technician. He replied within minutes.
See? Web work seems to draw (or create) night owls.
I think about our hopes to create audio and video features for our web sites, our dreams of having our own internet tv channel, of the interactive possibilities of the future.
And I think, “then I’ll never get any sleep.”