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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Something quick for you to "chew" on - ha...

 Hello, my above average, well educated peeps!  I just read this and thought you'd get a kick out of it.


Comes from the PPNF (Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation) Health Journal.

"Scientist at the Agriculture Department's U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, have been studying a substance called conjugated linoleic acid or CLA that occurs in butterfat.  Many studies over the past 12 years have established that, at least in laboratory animals, CLA offers some protection against breast cancer and other malignancies, apparently through its role as a potent antioxidant.  In addition to anticancer benefits, CLA also seems to dramatically reduce the deposition of fat.  Livestock eating feed supplemented with CLA tend to lay down more lean tissue and dairy cattle ingesting CLA-enriched diets have greater milk productivity.  'Much to their big surprise,' scientist found that the highest level of CLA in milk was obtained with cows just eating pasture - nothing else, according to Larry D. Satter, director of the forage center.  Satter finds the notion of pasture feeding 'a far-out idea'.  Those familiar with the work of Weston Price know that pasture feeding is the only way to provide healthful, nonallergenic, nutrient-dense dairy products to the populace.  Could it be that CLA in America's pasture-fed cows at the turn of the century not only protected against cancer but overweight as well and allowed mothers to nurse successfully because they had plenty of milk?  Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin scientists are trying to figure out ways to mass produce CLA as a food additive."

So much slapping my head going on.  What a miracle!  Cows that eat what they are intended to are healthier and make you healthier!  We can only hope that someone spent about a billion dollars to figure this out.  

And mass producing CLA - this makes me die.  Please, let's not just eat grass-fed products, no, of course not.  Let's try to make a food additive instead.  

We do want to go for the least amount of making sense possible, OBVIOUSLY.

Just another reason for you to encourage and support farmers who have a brain.

And a great reason to eat your Kerrygold butter straight up off the knife!  (Right, D?  Stop gagging!  It's DELICIOUS!)

Buy grass-fed milk, meat and dairy, lovies!  

Peace, love and head slapping,
Ms. Daisy

Monday, July 29, 2013

A walk through the urban garden

Do you know Sheri Salatin?  Maybe?  Well, do you know Polyface Farm?  If not, do you know Joel Salatin?  He's an author and he was the farmer on Food Inc. from Virginia.  Sheri is his daughter-in-law.  Now you've got it.

She contributes to a blog called Polyface's Hen House Blog.  It is awesomesauce.  (She has her own personal blog, too, if you are into reading about cool people.)

On her blog last week she shared some pictures of her garden.  She is growing some fun things to make salsa (she is from Texas).  At the end of her blog, she encouraged others to give a tour of their own garden.

Here I am!  Are you ready for your tour?

Well, let's start out by realizing that Sheri's garden is going to look A LOT different than mine.  Her background is beautiful Virginia countryside and mountains.  My background is my neighbor's garage.  We's goin' urban farming, babies.  So grab your .40, some pepper spray (for the pit bulls and the rottweilers) and some pink glitter (that's just for my backyard, other people don't have such stringent dress codes) and let's go.

First stop: The rose garden.  I planted a wild flower mix to attract hummingbirds and bees.
 I haven't seen any yet.  Sigh.  Total bummer.  In the picture below you can catch a glimpse (sort of) of the hummingbird feeder with homemade organic sugar liquid.  They're not impressed.  Maybe the dog scares them off or maybe we never catch them.  Either way, I got nothing.
 The rose bush has been here since we moved in.  I believe the roses are called the "Tropicana" variety.  They are my grandma's favorite roses and she used to have them at her house.  These roses are pretty crazysauce and they will not hesitate to poke your eyeball out.  Watch it! 

 Okay, c'mon around to the other side so you can see where the veggies and raspberries are taking over the world.

These are the raspberry bushes that have Pinkie and The Brain syndrome and want to take over the world.  Originally I had some strawberries in this area (and when we first moved in, this space was the only space I gardened in), but the strawberries are long gone and the raspberries are planning on taking over everything in the Midwest.  Beware.  They're trying to reach you from here.  They've just stopped giving raspberries about four or five days ago and before that they were giving me bowls of deliciousness everyday.  Perhaps next year they'll take over the entire yard and I can either have people pay to come and be eaten by them, er, I mean, to come pick raspberries from them - or, I can start a raspberry preserve making factory in my basement.  Either way.

This is the mamba-jamba (technical jargon, I'm sure) garden of veg (and neighbor's house and driveway).  As you can see, all of my fruit and veg are in a competition to see who can climb out of their fencing the quickest and wildest.  The pumpkins are tied with the raspberries and the tomatoes are not far behind them.  The rats ignore all of them and throw wild parties in the compost bin.

This is the front view of the wilderness.  My hubby HATES it when I plant more than two tomato plants because he thinks I'm choking them out and yada yada yada.  I have to make sure they don't die though, right?  I start everything from seed in a teensy pot on my windowsill and you just have to be careful when you're transporting them outside.  You never know if a German Shepherd dog will eat them or a rat or the robins and sparrows will do wild things to them, so you've got to have one on backup.
This wildness here is a variety of things.  I don't know if you can tell, but on the left we've got some potatoes growing.  The lower right of the picture shows some of the leaves from the pumpkins.  The back along the fence has my dying cucumber plant crawling up the arborvitae plant and JOY OF ALL JOYS - in the middleish of the picture is the result of what happens when you use compost in your garden - ANOTHER TOMATO PLANT that I didn't even try to have has popped up as a result of last year's tomatoes being in the compost bin.

I can't even tell you how much my husband loved this.

But look!  Tomatoes!  I hope they'll turn red before September.  We'll see.  I usually get them all in a ten day period at the very end of August/beginning of September.

Over here we've got some lettuce growing (on the left - the lighter green) and next to them is a row of celery.  You probably already know this, but do you know how I do celery?  If you ever buy celery from the store (the celery hearts), you chop that bottom off and stick it in a bowl of water for a couple days on your windowsill.  In about 3 days you will have new celery growing out of the middle.  You can take that and plant it in the ground.  I do it every summer now.

The right of that (the duller green) is the potato plants.  I found an organic Trader Joe potato that had a sprouty eyeball sticking out of it and I threw it in the ground to see if it would work.  It looks like it's working so far.  Just hoping not to have an Irish potato famine and black potatoes when I pull them up in the fall.  I'll let you know.

This is the dog.  Yes, the dog that jumps in my garden and kills it; the dog who hunts rats; the dog who made all of those brown spots on the grass.  She's keeping watch, ready to bark at whatever may cross our path.  

As you can see, all of my fencing attempts are doing splendidly.

Well, that's the tour.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  Watch out for the pit bulls and the high fruc truck (I can hear it going by at present - oh, that's the "ice cream truck" for the rest of you).  

What's in your garden?

Peace, love and maybe just a few more tomatoes,
Ms. Daisy

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hey! Do you know about my reading blog?

Hey peeps!

I know some of you get my blog emailed to you and so you don't often visit my actual webpage.  That's all good.  Thanks for reading.

But because you get me delivered to your inbox (wow, it's nice in here!  I like what you've done with the place!), you may not be aware that I've got some tabs up on top that you may like to peruse.

For example.

I have an "About Ms. Daisy" page that I just KNOW you'll be dying to read.  Obvs.

But the other thing is that I've got another page that I update every once in a while - it's my book club.  I like reading crazy things and I let you know what I'm reading (because HELLO, I'm sure you want to do it, too.  Well, or no.  But I pretend.).

So if you like to read, c'mon over and let me know what you're up to.  Or you can just be amused at what strange things I'm reading and shake your head in yet even more wonder at my outlandishness.

Here it is, so you don't have to click all over the place and figure out where it is: Ms. Daisy's Reading Blog

That's it.  Just thought you may want to know!

Peace, love and happy Sunday,
Ms. Daisy

Friday, July 26, 2013

On Aging: Everyone's Doing It

As you know, our society does not highly favor old-ness.  If you're oldsauce, you're put up on the shelf like an outdated 8-track player.  People with grey hair should be well taken care of, even ancient writings of Proverbs (of the Bible) refer to grey hair as being a "crown of the aged".  (Better than the alternative, right?  Dead or bald?  Exactly.  Although based on the Hair Club for Men commercials, maybe some people would prefer dead to bald, but I digress.)

I consider myself to be 1/3 of the way through my life, so I'm old to teenagers, but beyond that I'm young-ish.  (Young-ish gets older with each passing year, doesn't it?)

Our society is pretty stupid.  Here's the thing.  Everyone is going to get old sometime. (Unless they die first, of course.) They should totally make it IN STYLE!  This is especially true for women.  Men already figured this out.  You see old dudes (like Bob Barker!) and people love him.  You see old ladies and you're like, "Aww, what are you doing today, knitting an afghan while sitting at your lace tablecloth covered table?"

In Hollywood, females are old when they're like 28.5.  Men are old when they're 68.5.  

I say we mess with this.

So here's what I do.  It kind of freaks out my hubby, but even more the better!  Sometimes I go out in the sun and get freckles.  At some point someone told me what I thought was a freckle on my hand was an age spot.  So after my initial reaction of, "Could this be?!  Is it possible!?", I began celebrating it.

I would proudly say to hubby,  "Look at my age spots!  Woo!"

He would say, "Stop it!"

"Age spots, age spots, age spots!!  HA HA HA!!!"

Now I just make it up anywhere and say "ooh la la" when people talk about me one day getting grey hair.

I'm still working on liking anything that may be wrinkly or saggy, but it's coming around.

I think you should just be happy with where you're at.  My offspring asked me if I wished I were their age.  HECK NO!  I have gotten this far in life, I do not want to have to to ANY of it over again.  

Just think of those pathetic ladies who dress like they're 25 and they're 70.  You see them from behind with long hair and spandex and then they turn sideways and you're shocked, horrified and repulsed.  Don't be an old lady who wishes she weren't.  It's so unattractive.  It's like you're saying, "I'm fighting for youth!  I'm losing!"

Now you don't have to go all homemade plaid jumper on me, but unless you're a 70 year old woman in a triathlon, you keep your spandex at home.

And anyway, I think it is much more impressive to be awesome when you're older.  When you're young, it's easy to run a 6:00 minute mile.  When you're old and you do it, you are pretty much a rockstar.  If you slalom water ski when you're young, whoop-tee-do.  When you're my 66 year-old Dad and you can slalom ski from a jumping shallow water start, rockstar.  When you're young and you run past me in a triathlon, go ahead you stupid jerk, fine.  But if you're old, I'm first going to slap myself and then cheer for you.

It's all perspective, I guess.  Wear it proudly.  After all, hopefully you are a lot less stupider than you were when you were 19.

Don't fight it.  Go boldly where you've never gone before.  Be a rockstar.  

Peace, love and age spots,
Ms. Daisy

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Diseased EPI dog + my carpet = frenetic mad scientist

Repeat after me:  I promise I will NEVER EVER GET A DOG.


Why the angst?  Let's begin with the stench that is permeating my bedroom at present. I'd say it smells something like a bath of cat urine combined with sour diseased feet.  Yumsters.  That, my friends, is the smell of a dog with EPI (a dog who has a disease wherein they don't have any pancreatic acids and you have to digest their food for them).

The dog isn't even IN THE ROOM.  She's put the stench into the carpet.

For the last four hours I have been on my hands and knees forcefully scrubbing and convulsing over the carpet trying to get it out.  I have tried many things.  Many, many things.

Do you know what my husband says?  He says HE CAN'T EVEN SMELL IT.

I couldn't fall asleep a few days ago because it was so bad.  Dude.  He's like a mosquito that got used to jungle DEET or something.

It is not humanly possibly NOT to smell it.  I HATE bad smells.  More than most people, even.  It is some kind of whimpery torture for me to go through.  

As you know, I can't just go and burn filthy candles or spray essential oils all over the world to try to cover it up.  (I tried.  Not the candle thing.  I'm tired of painting.)  That just makes essential oil flavored diseased feet cat urine smell fill the room.  And that, if you can believe it, is worse than the original putrid vomiticious odor.

I began by pouring vinegar all over the place.  That works at about 90%.  Basically, you trade in the scent of barftastic for vinegar.  Yes, vinegar is sour, but I would stick my nose over a vinegar bottle all day long rather than get a whiff of that dog odor.  So I tried to scrub it out with some vinegar.  The stench returned.

Then I tried various essential oils.  This was the point that I realized that even though essential oils are great, they do not smell great when combined with vinegar and dog stench.  In fact, it is pretty much guaranteed an instant gag reflex.  Lemon, rosemary, mint, even grapefruit filled the air.  For ten seconds.  Then the stench returned to tango with the essential oils.

Then I poured rubbing alcohol all over the carpet.  This did work well.  It pretty much just burned out my sense of smell for an hour or two.

I found a Crunchy Betty recipe for a carpet cleaner that I thought I would try for the heck of it since I was scrubbing away with so many things on the carpet anyway.  Her carpet cleaning recipe is this: 1/4 cup vinegar (hello again), 1/4 cup borax, 1/4 cup coarse salt.  Mix together, dump on carpet, scrub like a maniac.  Let dry, vacuum up, wash carpet with towels.

It actually works really well.  Except now I was even more disturbed because my black dog has left many dog oil marks everywhere she has laid and I decided to go all neurotic on it and scrub the bedroom frenetically.

In my cleaning tornado I decided it would be a great idea to get nearly boiling water and mix it with Trader Joe's lavender dish soap on top of the Crunchy Betty carpet cleaner idea.

I have no more clean towels in the house but I do have a neck cramp.  And a bit cleaner of a carpet.

But if I suck in really hard and sniff, I can still smell the lingering stench of diseased feet cat pee.

I'm still waiting for you to come pick her up.

I'll pay you.

Peace, love and I wonder if I should have just went with a hardwood floor in here...
Ms. Daisy


Monday, July 22, 2013

But I Like The Poison Drink of Death! It's fun!

Hi dears.  Do you know the Adam Sandler skit about Fatty McGhee taking the stairs?  Fatty is obese and has a serious wheezing problem when he walks up flights of stairs.  He begins wheezing so loudly that he even makes firemen think that the fire alarm is going off from his near hysterical noises and when they ask him (since he does this all the time) why he takes the stairs (knowing this problem is going to happen to him), he responds with, "But I like the stairs!"

They ask why.  He responds, "They're fun!"

Idiotic, isn't it?

(I know, but Adam Sandler is kind of totally hilarious.)

You ain't gonna like it, but I'm about to talk about (dum da dummmm)...the poison drink of death, a.k.a. pop/soda (or whatever else you call it - Coke?).  (Sorry, J.D.  You know I just gotta do it.)

Let me tell you what encouraged me to stop drinking pop almost ten years ago (next month is my 10 year anniversary of quitting).  It is vain and pathetic.  I was basically told about the amount of sugar (in teaspoons) in an average can of pop and how fat I would get from continuing to drink it.  So for the sake of vanity, I stopped.  Here's the deal - a gram is 1/4 teaspoon.  Go grab a pop.  How many grams of sugar are there in your pop?  Divide that number by 4.  Now, go humor me.  Grab a glass.  Get out your sugar bowl and a teaspoon.  Put that amount of sugar into an empty glass to see what that looks like.

It looks absurd.

I looked up Coke and it says it's got 44 grams of sugar.  That is ELEVEN TEASPOONS OF SUGAR.  Seriously.  If you make some lemonade for yourself at home, you would have to be out of your freakin' mind to put eleven teaspoons of sugar in your glass.  I know because I used to do things like that (See: encouragement through horrifying you).

This is not even the worst of it.  Recently, since the California state legislature decided to label caramel coloring a carcinogen, Pepsi decided that they would change their manufacturing process.  But obviously, just in California.  OBVIOUSLY.  So smart.  The rest of us clearly want caramel color carcinogen in our drinks.

Yes.  Caramel color is also known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI).  Oh, sounds like something in the cupboard behind the baking soda.  Er, not.  At all.  So here’s what you always wanted to know!  (I’m so glad I get to be the one to tell you.)  Do you know how caramel color is made?  Oh, you’re going to be so excited to go out and try this!  Okay, okay.  Go get some sugar.  Now get some ammonia.  Now get some sulfites.  Ready?  Mix them together at high temperatures and drink away!  Sounds delish.

One more bummer about caramel coloring – it accumulates in your body and compounds to have a cumulative effect on you.  Well, I mean, it’s just a carcinogen, so probs not a big deal.  Obvs.

Let’s look at the other healthy and nutritious ingredients in pop instead.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:  What’s the big deal?  Hasn’t the corn industry convinced us that it’s just perfectly natural?  And we should just have some in moderation?  How could it hurt, anyway?  (Have you seen the movie King Corn?  You should.)

Oh.  Diabetes.  It also increases strain on your pancreas and according to research, leads to pancreatic cancer (good thing that’s not on the rise, eh?).  That won’t happen to me, no, no.  I’m going to ignore this.  Is that all there is?  Actually, no.  You also get the extra bonus of an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome – that’s where you get extra fat around your stomach and double bonus: on your organs too!  It also increases your blood pressure, lowers your “good cholesterol”, and throws you into the delightful category of obese.  Metabolic syndrome leads to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Great.

What else is there?

Sodium Benzoate, of course!  Mix this puppy with citric acid and you’ve got yourself a known carcinogen cocktail: benzene.  Benzene increases your risk of leukemia and other cancers.  (More details here: delicious benzene)

Then we’ve got phosphoric acid.  Now here’s some good news – we need phosphorus in our bodies.  Here’s some bad news – when you drink phosphoric acid, you get an imbalance of phosphorus.  This eats your liver and stomach lining (but seriously, who needs those) and bonks the pH of your kidneys off the charts.  An increase in phosphorus in your body means calcium can’t be absorbed and starts getting sucked out of your bones and teeth.  Let’s add osteoporosis to the pile now.  But wait, there’s more!  If you act now, you can also get kidney stones at no extra charge!  That’s because as we age, kidneys are less able to flush extra phosphorus out of our bodies.  The overall imbalance of phosphorus and calcium in your body increases the risk of hypertension and colon cancer.

Are we done yet?  Heck no!

Let’s talk about those artificial sweeteners.  Saccharin is in there.  You know how to make that, right?  Go on, open your cupboard and get out the petroleum.  Yep.  F’real.  That should be delicious when we mix it up with the ammonia from the caramel coloring.  Can’t wait.  Saccharin has been fairly well studied and we’ve seen the carcinogenic effects on the bladder and female reproductive organs for quite some time.

And don’t forget aspartame.  (See more here: why aspartame is murdering your face off)  That one can help you get some leukemia, lymphoma and some brain tumors.

So let’s review.  Ingredients in pop have ZERO health positives, but here is what you can get:
-         Carcinogenic caramel color made with ammonia (liver, lung and thyroid cancer, specifically)
-         Pancreatic cancer
-         Metabolic syndrome – leads to heart disease, stroke and diabetes
-         Higher blood pressure
-         Lower good cholesterol
-         General fatness through beloved obesity
-         Leukemia
-         An eaten away liver and stomach lining
-         Bone loss, osteoporosis
-         Rotted teeth
-         Kidney stones
-         Hypertension
-         Colon cancer
-         Bladder cancer
-         Female reproductive organ cancer
-         Leukemia (twice, in case you tried to get around it the first time)
-         Lymphoma
-         Brain tumors

I heard the poison drink of death tastes great with pizza.  It’s totally worth it.  In fact, perhaps you can even feed it to your children whom you love so much and would do anything to protect.

Awww!  Sounds so good!

Let me ask the million dollar question.  Why do you drink pop?  Ever?  (Yeah, I don’t care if it’s twice a year.  Why?)

Say it.  Say, “Cuz I like it!”  (Yummy!)

No?  How about, “Because it’s fun!”

Sounds fun!  Hey McGhee, go climb the stairs again.

I tried.  (If I didn’t love ya, I wouldn’t tell ya.  Live, dang it, LIVE!)

Peace, love and pass me the kombucha,
Ms. Daisy

Friday, July 19, 2013

What the offspring doesn't break, the dog will destroy

I just wrote a post this week about how children and animals make your house dirty (and thus, my solution: paint over everything), but I left out another vital part of what happens when you live with children and animals - what your children don't destroy will be obliterated by the dog.


My husband used to say that his Dad used to say, "You kids destroy everything!"  

Apparently I am getting his "what goes around comes around" karma.  Thanks, honey.

(I don't even believe in karma but I'll blame it on anything that will make me feel better right now.)

Last night, child 1 (you know, like Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss?) was all about watching a video and asked permission to do so.  We agreed that child 1 could watch for about 30 minutes.  What happens?  Child 1 sticks the DVD in the player wrong, the thing starts blinking error messages and I spend 45 minutes after the offsprings have gone to bed taking the DVD apart and rescuing the DVD.  Oh JOY OF ALL JOYS!  Do you know what I found in there?  ANOTHER DVD!  Sideways!  I feel like a freakin' leprechaun finding gold at the end of a rainbow.

This is why I keep a small book that I've titled The Broken Record in the kitchen.  In it, I jot down everytime something is broken, who broke it and when.  I should have started a few years ago, but it is a rather new invention so it only contains entries since November 2012.  I don't know exactly why I have this besides it makes me feel better to document such madness (case in point: this blog in general).  In it, I have some items like: mortar and pestle, miniblinds, scratches (and footprints) on minivan, lawn rake, stapler, van Gogh picture frame glass, fruit bowl, keyboard drawer on desk, mason jar, desk chair, letter tray, glass pyrex, lightsaber, whistle, glass plate, cars, window cranks, etc.

Perhaps you have no children.  Perhaps you have children and they are of the female sort.  If so, you probably think I am raising wild apes.  I can assure you that I am the most rule-following and rule-encouraging person and a 9/10 on the strict scale.  The fact is, they're something like wild beasts!  

Early this morning I came home from the pool and walked over to visit my garden upon arriving home.  I noticed that HALF of the back of my garden was newly and utterly destroyed.  The gloriously growing zucchini, cucumber and pumpkin plants were trampled to death, broken and flattened to the dirt.  

Look, dog prints.

Look, I'm duct taping knives onto poles and sticking them into the garden aimed at a 45 degree angle for anything that might decide to jump in.

No, I guess that was just the daydream I had after seeing my hard work obliterated.

Once more?  DO NOT GET A DOG.

And if you're all hating on me for saying such, I gladly offer my diseased dog to you.  I will give you a free cage, leash, dog food, dog pills, mortar and pestle (for crushing said pills) and whatever other accoutrements you desire for the care of the four-legged wrecking ball.  You can even have the special dog pooper scooper since her puddles can either be hosed into a deluge or scraped onto a flat surface for removal.  In the meantime, I will think of you and wish you'd hurry as I scoop the dung that the flies have so graciously and wisely decided would be a great starter home for their little maggot babies.

God help us all.

Peace, love and we're the only ones I know who RUN OUT of Gorilla glue before it dries up,
Ms. Daisy

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What The Heck Have I Been Doing?!

Have you ever done something wrong for twenty-five years and then suddenly found out the right way to do it?  Hello and welcome to my life, I'm Ms. Daisy and I'll be your host.  Thank you for joining another adventure of What The Heck Was I Doing.

Today's episode deals with swimming technique.   If you hadn't noticed, I LOVE SWIMMING.  There's nothing quite so calming as repeatedly going over the same tiles again, back and forth, back and forth in the water, staring at that exciting pool bottom, hoping that maybe something exciting will come up - a ponytail holder perhaps, someone's spit out piece of gum (no gum in the pool!), a diamond earring (What?  I would turn it in to lost-and-found.).  It's like a never ending watery treadmill thrill.

I swim with a swim team.  Some of these peeps are freakishly fast.  FREAKISHLY.  There are four of them who still hold records from their university swimming days and they are total beasts.  Others are triathletes - one dude has 6-8 tris this season (that would be summer up here in the frigid tundra) and yesterday's was a half-ironman.  His wife does the same ones, but she did Olympic distance yesterday instead of half-insanity.  I mean half-ironman.  (Same thing.)

Those super dooper fasty sharks are strong, but what they have more than anything is perfect technique.  It is what shaves off seconds here and there to boost them above the rest.  Their flip turns look like textbook wonders and they can repeat it a thousand times a morning.

So the deal with swimming is that it is really easy, when you get very tired, to become sort of a sloppy floppy.  Not quite to the stage of taking a two year-old (or husband) to the mall floppy feet kind of floppy, but walking toward that order.  You get the idea.  I have this lazy sort of stroke that comes out when this happens.  It still looks like a real swimmer, but it feels like a pathetic blob.

(I'm not the old lady at the hotel doing sidestroke, okay?  I'm not that bad.  I did hold that illustrious title of swim capitan in high school, so I have to be clear so I don't shame myself in front of you other swimmers now.  Oh, the shame!  Actually, it is.  If you're a swimmer, the last thing on earth you want in your whole life is for someone NOT to know that you are a real swimmer.  That would be pretty much like someone not knowing your gender.  It's this weird thing swimmers have.  Add it to my weird pile.)

I try to sneakily spy on the super fast swimmers while they're swimming to see if I can pick up some technique that they're doing that I'm not.  But this is slightly difficult as they are passing me by in the other lane at such ridiculous speeds that you better pay close attention because you've got a three second chance to figure it out.  But don't worry, in eleven laps or so they'll be back again passing you up, so you'll have another chance. 

Last Friday I pretty much struck gold.  It was a very un-busy day at the pool and one of those super freaks was going to give some lessons to a few members of the high school boys swim team in the area of their turns and stroke technique in general.  I don't even have to sneakily spy today?  I'm IN!  

Well, ow.  How could there BE so many things I was doing wrong?  For crying out loud!    I am glad for the direct educational points, but I am a bit bewildered at my lack of knowing this in the first place.  The detail level is Michael Phelps-ish, to be sure, but every eensy bit counts.  

For you swimmers, here's what I got:
1.  Longer reach.  No, longer.  Like you're going to pull a muscle out in your lats.  Like a tyranosaurus rex is pulling on your arm kind of long.  Keep reaching.  (So THAAAT's the purpose of that drill Buns and Rolls!)
2.  When you get there, after you've got your freestyle reach beyond ape-like length, start a bend at your wrist.  I always kept the wrist straight and did the S-pull with the elbow.  WRONG-O.  This was demonstrated by the power you can have from boosting yourself up from the pool in those two reaches on the top of the starting blocks.  If you're fingertipping it out at an angle, you can't pull yourself up.  But if you've got your wrist bent and your hand on it, you've got a strong pull.  Transfer to water.  Go.
3.  Flip turns - always have your palms facing the pool bottom.  Yeah.  I did not do that.
4.  Flip turns - do not crunch your legs up past a seated chair position.  It's a half-second every turn - a full second every fifty.  You don't get boost from your legs until you're at that chair position anyway, so anything beyond that knee bend is a waste of time.
5.  Strong force (using tris) after the S-pull (freestyle) past your hips - almost so strong that you can make a splash out onto your rear end.  This was my laziest part.  After my S-pull, I was in recovery mode and the tris were not in full force.

For the entire weekend I was sore from using proper technique - we didn't even do that long of distance or that short of intervals.  It was all just doing it right.  And holy cowzers, it hurt.

It also hurt my brain from having to think about body position instead of resorting to the 25 years of stored muscle memory.  Never too old to learn, though, eh?

Until next time - 

Peace, love and get chlorinated,
Ms. Daisy

Monday, July 15, 2013

When it gets dirty, paint!

Holy cow.  I just figured it out.  This is so disturbing.

Okay, so for all of you out there who have small little-ins offsprings and a/some possible four-legged creature(s) running around your abode, there is a chance that there has come a time in your life that you looked around your house and said, “Why is everything so DIRTY in here?!” 

That is because you were remembering the times of old, those good old times, when things stayed clean.  For five minutes or more!  Sorry sucka, those days are long gone.  That is because those little-ins and that creature (or more) are bound and determined upon penalty of death that they are going to do their darnedest to wreck everything you have in the shortest amount of time possible like they’re going for the Guinness Book in some kind of mad wild eyeball panic streak. 

Awww, little-ins and creatures are so darling.

Yes, they are.  The little-ins, I mean.  I’ve told you about the creatures before.  Them, not so much.  For crying out sideways, DO NOT GET A DOG.  Just in case you missed it the first fifty times.  If you were looking for a sign from heaven to confirm, there it was.


So I pride myself on being ultra-tidy and minimalistic (sorta – not 100% like, but on the spectrum reaching toward him).  I love things in their place.  I love 90 degree angles and when there are lines on the carpets and lines in the grass (and obviously lines along the cement from edging).  I throw stuff out like I’m in a race to do so. 

But for the last year or so, I’ve been cleaning my heart out and my head off and every time I look around, I say, “But something is wrong! It’s just not the same!  What the heck is it?”  Then I would lament the sadness of it all and go get a piece of Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate (organic, of course) and sigh whilst eating it.

Today I found out what the thing was.

This is some kind of horror to admit.  I am a professional organizer.  I go in peeps houses and tear it up.  I clean like Martha Stewart is a slacker.  But no.  This has escaped me – until now.

The tops of the walls.

They’re all disgusting!  How did they get so gross?!  They’re like this grey, dirt, hazy, yuck sauce.  I am guessing it may have been from the eight years straight of burning candles, but that is just a guess.  I think I burned them for about 16 hours a day.  Yes.  Don’t do that.

I HATE candles now – with a passion!  Those rotten, stupid, disgusting horrors!  If I could, I’d…well…I’d, I’d BURN THEM!  No.  No, I wouldn’t.  Because that would just make them happy and cause more of the problem.

So I got up and started scrubbing.  Wild scrubbing.  Magic Eraser scrubbing.  Bleach scrubbing.  Trader Joe Lavender dish soap scrubbing.  All of the above scrubbing.  TO NO AVAIL.

This, quite frankly, makes me die.  A teensy bit, in my heart and in every way.  What to do.

Especially because my house looks like some weird smeary tragedy.

Gotta solve it. 


Lots of paint.  That glorious horror!  The time-consuming, messy, falling-apartness of it all that results in something lovely that you want to stare blankly at for minutes at a time.

You haven’t seen me on here in the last few days because I have been in the midst of such a painting tornado.  Ultra bright white paint that makes it seem like I have installed different lighting in the house.  It is amazing.

But you know how it is when you paint, right?  You start on the trim around the doorway and it connects to the top trim and then the trim on the other side of the door, then that connects to trim on the ground…which connects to trim around a closet door.   Well, it’s sick. You just can’t stop.  I started off in the hallway and it ended up as me tearing up the offspring’s room completely and painting around every window, the closet trim, the baseboards and then quite considering if I ought to go out and buy some more paint and change the color of the room altogether.  (I haven’t.  Yet.)

My house is new.  (Mostly.  I’m still painting.)  I am covered in paint. But there is something wonderful about the result of the chaos: for five minutes (maybe more if I get lucky), I will return to the look of clean.

Back to it.

Peace, love and pass me that roller,
Ms. Daisy