Lynn's blog

I've written here before about how inspirational I have found the Dervaes family of Pasadena, CA, which homesteads on a large city lot. Well, meet a new inspiration, No Impact Man, who is trying to live in extreme simplicity in New York City:

My wife Michelle and I decided, before jumping in at the deep end of this year-long project, to try no impact living as an experiment for a week. No garbage. No greenhouse gasses. No toxins. No water pollution. No air pollution. No electricity. No produce shipped from distant lands. No impact. Or so we naively hoped. ...

The fact is that if city dwellers can’t learn to live without reducing their ecological footprint then we’re in deep trouble because most of the world’s population now lives in cities. Saving the world can’t be left to the country bumpkins. It’s an urban problem. ...

In specific terms, the challenge is to take a year to develop and live a no impact lifestyle. Our approach will be to research our ecological options and run down our damage in one area at a time—solid waste, transportation, energy, for example. Our aim, over the course of the year, is to do no net harm to the environment. We’ll wind down in stages.

A brave experiment and engagingly written. I'll be watching them to see how they do.

what's in your animal's food?Buried at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, says a new article in today's SF Chronicle, is this import alert, dated April 27th (emphasis added):

As of April 26, 2007, FDA had received over 17,000 consumer complaints relating to this outbreak, and those complaints included reports of approximately 1950 deaths of cats and 2200 deaths of dogs. [The FDA is still telling reporters the number is closer to 16-18 animal deaths, despite these reports.] The Agency is working with federal, state, and local governments, academia, and industry to assess the extent of the outbreak, better understand how melamine and melamine related compounds contributed to the pet deaths and illnesses, and to determine the underlying cause of the contamination.

As of April 26, 2007, FDA had collected approximately 750 samples of wheat gluten and products made with wheat gluten and, of those tested thus far, 330 were positive for melamine and/or melamine related compounds. FDA had also collected approximately 85 samples of rice protein concentrate and products made with rice protein concentrate and, of those tested thus far, 27 were positive for melamine and/or melamine related compounds. FDA's investigation has traced all of the positive samples as having been imported from China.

The FDA is now holding all imported vegetable proteins from China, "without inspection"--meaning they're not looking to see if they're contaminated, they're just assuming they are if they're from China. That's how bad the contamination is. And we still don't know how much of it has made its way into the human food chain.

So how's globalization of trade without environmental and labor protections working out for us so far?

Update: The FDA is now reporting it's in chicken feed. Currently it's known to be in feed given to chickens at 38 Indiana poultry farms; affected birds are known to have gotten into the human food supply and have probably already been eaten. Check this out:

"Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed," Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine, told the Times. "I don't know if there's a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says 'don't do it,' so everyone's doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren't they? If there's no accident, there won't be any regulation."

I'm feeling the free trade love, aren't you?


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I'm back live-blogging Dancing with the Stars, after taking last week off; the return of "Heroes" was more excitement than I could stand. And I'm going to miss the last 30 minutes of DwtS tonight too! Life! It is so unfair!

Laila looks good tonight with her best non-Latin dance so far. And she gets two tens!

Apolo and Julianne bring the major cuteness! And so does John Ratzenberger, though he's headed for the bottom two again and is my bet to get voted off tomorrow night, even though Billy Ray dances worse (and I think Ratzenberger wants off--this has got to be exhausting for a guy his age). Apolo gets lower than usual and John higher than usual scores.

Ian did better tonight--I loved the bit with Billy Ray--but he's not going to make the top three. He's just not getting it.

Billy Ray, I've fallen in love with him to my great surprise. The poor guy can't dance, but there's something very sweet about him.

And here comes Joey as the band does a Michael Jackson song as a standard--and it kinda works! Joey can pull off a top hat and cane better than anyone on the show. He's lost weight doing this, you can see it in his face. He's my current pick for winner.

And I'm going to miss the rest! Damn you, network counter-programmers and broken VCR!

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Lou eating cakeLouLou was successfully feted on Sunday afternoon, with her friends and their families in attendance. A good time appeared to have been had by all, though I had to take a two-hour nap afterwards. I still can't believe she's six, though she's gotten so tall it really isn't too hard to believe.

I made a white spelt flour cake that turned out astonishingly well. Though it wasn't as poofy as a wheat cake, it wasn't at all gummy or thick. I altered a recipe from Joy of Cooking and I'm going to post it here in a sec and will come back and put the link in this entry. Basically it's a yellow cake I doctored up a little with some spices, orange rind and molasses. We frosted it with whipped cream and it really was pretty tasty. White spelt flour is the deal, I tell you. (Update: Here's the cake recipe.)

Lou cleaned up in the present department, as usual, the big hit being a musical jewelry box. There's always one present that makes you go "eeek!" and this year it was a pogo stick. Oh well, she has a bike helmet and we're insured...

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I cannot believe it, but my little stinker is six years old today. She is tall and gorgeous and funny and frustrating and altogether a gift. I'll try to put a picture up when I can get her to hold still long enough.

We're having the big hoohah party on Sunday. Today is knitting circle day, and we're having a small hoohah. Tonight we'll get Lou's favorite dinner--Buh-guh-ville. :)

Six years. wow.

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"Who cares? I don't have pet pigs." Yeah, but I bet you've been known to eat pigs:

Pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical made its way to large hog farms in six states across the country and has been detected in the animals' urine, the Food and Drug Administration said today.

Hogs in three states -- North Carolina, South Carolina and California -- tested positive for melamine in their urine, said David Elder, the FDA's chief enforcement officer. The FDA does not know whether the chemical ended up in the urine of the hogs in the other states -- New York, Utah and Ohio.

Contaminated pet food also made its way to a poultry farm in Missouri, the FDA said in a telephone news conference.

And yes, pork from those contaminated pigs was sold in California. No word yet on whether the meat had melamine in it or not. Moral of the story: Know your farmer. Don't have a farmer? Get one.

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Today was the second annual Dandelion Wine Day here at TNH Central. Anhata, Laura and I and the kids went out and picked all the remaining dandelions in the yard. We got exactly two quarts, which is what we needed for our favorite recipe, which is #2 of the 42 recipes on that page. Unlike the recipe, though, we keep the sepals--the green part at the bottom of the flower--on. We like the slightly bitter taste it gives the finished product. Hata has the pictures and we're going to document the making this time for the site. Last year's batch turned out great; we still have most of a bottle left here and Hata has some left too.

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I've got a new eBook in the Shop. It's called Budget Decorating Tips, and you can read a sample chapter: Seven Ways to Decorate a Child's Bedroom. Remember that subscribers get 75% off store prices every day.

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Please welcome actyd, who won a free one-year ads-free subscription to TNH, which also comes with 75% off all TNH ebooks and software! Every 500 users I'll be giving away a subscription, so if you've been thinking of becoming a member, sign up!

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Continuing with yesterday's theme: It's the DwtS Results Show! Apolo and Julianne danced even better tonight than they did yesterday. Macy Gray was weird. What's up with the golfing gloves? And America showed taste and kept John Ratzenberger! yay!

I was as surprised as the man himself when Billy Ray stayed out of the bottom two, and very surprised that Heather Mills didn't. But I wasn't at all surprised--I was relieved--that Clyde got voted off. He was awful, and he clearly wanted to go home. He's been phoning it in the last two weeks.

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I'll keep saying this until people start believing me! And citing evidence that keeps coming in inexorably, like the tide. For instance, this: Fatty acid tied to depression and inflammation:

The imbalance of fatty acids in the typical American diet could be associated with the sharp increase in heart disease and depression seen over the past century, a new study suggests.

Specifically, the more omega-6 fatty acids people had in their blood compared with omega-3 fatty acid levels, the more likely they were to suffer from symptoms of depression and have higher blood levels of inflammation-promoting compounds, report Dr. Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser and her colleagues from Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus.

These compounds, which include tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6, are "all-purpose 'nasties' for aging," and have been tied to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and other ailments, Kiecolt-Glaser told Reuters Health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as fish, flax seed oil and walnuts, while omega-6 fatty acids are found in refined vegetable oils used to make everything from margarine to baked goods and snack foods. The amount of omega-6 fatty acids in the Western diet increased sharply once refined vegetable oils became part of the average diet in the early 20th century.

Vegetable oils are for fueling your car or oiling your furniture. They are not for eating. What is? How about butter? Or homemade lard? If you must use vegetable oils, use olive, coconut or palm.

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This is a tough thing for me to come out with. I mean, it runs so counter to what some of you might expect from me. But it's true, and I really need to come clean.

You see, I...I...boy this is hard...I love Dancing with the Stars. There. I said it. Oh that's a weight off my chest.

Now that I'm out, I'm going to start live-blogging it. After all it could be worse; I could have confessed to loving "The Bachelor." Follow me:

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I just haven't wanted to write lately, I'm sorry. I feel cramped in the brain, cramped in the fingers, but not cramped where I should be cramped. I blame menopause. I'm in the "pause" part of it, if you know what I mean, and it makes me antsy. One gets used to a monthly rhythm, and when it breaks off, one starts eyeing the pg tests. One of which, in fact, I took, and no fears; I'm just having an extra-extra-extra long "pause."

Leaving cardiac rehab has thrown me for a loop. I no longer have that three-times-a-week external structure and I am notoriously, chronically bad at structuring my life myself. The first week after, I walked on the treadmill religiously. The second week, I was sporadic; I didn't feel well and I was just wanting to curl up in bed or in a chair and not do anything or go anywhere or move, really. Not because I physically felt bad, I just didn't wanna. But I have a treadmill, and we got a resistance band set and a set of hand weights. I'm outfitted but was having a hard time getting past some psychic inertia.

I haven't talked about it yet, but I've hired a professional organizer, someone who's good at working with chronically disorganized people with ADD/ADHD (all four of us) and who's worked with homeschoolers to boot. It's already helping, though it's tough sledding. I wrote her for help and she came up with the following solution:

Make my treadmill workout part of Josie's school time.

Josie brings whatever we're wanting to work on upstairs and sits on the edge of the bathtub while I walk. She reads aloud to me and we talk about what we're studying. At first it was Greek mythology; Jo is a fan of the Trojan War, as it happens. Today it was Egyptian and Sumerian history (from "Story of the World"). I'm able to help her with her pronunciation, of both weird proper nouns like Telemachus and Euphrates and more commonplace English words, and our discussions always end up ranging far afield of the topic, because it's me, and I can't help getting from A to B via Z and Josie takes after me, the poor thing. For instance, today's discussion of the Great Pyramid of Cheops and the Sphinx led to the Napoleonic Wars, since his men blew the nose off of it in cannon practice.

We've both come to look forward to this time; she enjoys the attention, the workout goes quickly for me, we are guaranteed at least some formal school time, and Jo is there if I have a problem--even though I don't think I will have a problem. I know not to exercise when I don't feel well, and my heart troubles don't just turn up out of the blue. Just so no one thinks I'm putting a big burden on poor Josie, she doesn't know I'm reassured having her there.

Last week I managed maybe one day on the treadmill; this week I did Monday, Thursday and Friday, and I know I'll be on it tomorrow as well. I only missed Tuesday because we spent the afternoon in the ER after a heavy mirror fell off the wall onto Josie's foot (contusions only), and Wednesday I was just pooped. So, on the whole, it works!

It's a gorgeous day here in Portland, and I'm thinking about gardens and plants and such. My lilacs are blooming, a big springtime treat for me, and I just finished weaving in all the willow branches budding out of the living archway. So I loved finding Victory Gardens 2007+ via the really great new blog Sew Green.

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You will note a new link on the top menu: Shop. I'm making ebooks and certain software packages available for download. Right now I have a nifty "subliminal" program that flashes your affirmations up on your screen at regular intervals (Windows only, sorry--I can't use it either!) and two ebooks.

The first ebook is "The American Frugal Housewife," a great book from 1832 that contains advice and lessons we can still use today as well as some interesting recipes (note to self: Try carrot pie). I've written a new introduction and illustrated it as well.

The second is a book of domestic poetry: "The Verse-Book of a Homely Woman," by Fay Inchfawn. Written mostly in the early 20th century, it's the first time I've run into decent poetry about the spirituality of doing dishes. I've written an introduction and illustrated it as well.

If you're a subscriber you get a 75% discount on already-low prices.

I'm hoping to write more here tomorrow. I have so much to tell you, and I've just been too busy/tired to write in the last week.

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Lookit the cuteness! Congratulations, Becky, he's adorable! Click through for pictures.

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Hey kids! It's another blog tour!

This time around it's "A Running Start: How Play, Physical Activity and Free Time Create a Successful Child" by Rae Pica. She's the founder of Moving and Learning, and an advocate for children's physical activity for its own sake--not for the sake of awards.

My own relationship with exercise and movement has been long and problematic. I've been sharing with you my struggles with cardiac rehab these last months (by the way, I graduate next Wednesday), and if I've gotten anything out of it, it's in a much greater awareness of my body and what it needs and wants. I wish I'd gotten that from physical education in my girlhood, and I hope Josie and Lou learn it now instead of when they're old and gray like me.

And that's why I'm happy they sent me this book on the blog tour! Because I know zip about this stuff--or I think I do. I'm finding out that I know more than I thought I did.

For instance, one of the reasons we homeschool is that school culture today over-emphasize early academics and doesn't give kids enough downtime--time to just stare at the ceiling--or time to run and play. Guess what! Rae agrees, and while she doesn't endorse homeschooling, she's got plenty of criticism for the way we have schools set up:

[W]ith the implementation of No Child Left Behind, seatwork and high-stakes testing became the norm. As a result, recess and physical education--play and physical activity in the schools--are in danger of disappearing.

At the same time...[c]hildren were being enrolled in more and more organized activities, and childhood itself became an exercise in goal attainment. Achievement came to supersede play...

My hope is that "A Running Start" will prompt a shift back in the other direction toward play and the recognition that:

  • especially in childhood, the process is more important than the product
  • having fun is more beneficial to a child than winning
  • trying one's best *because* it's fun prompts children to stick with it and motivates them to improve their skills
  • enjoying learning is more important than learning to regurgitate what a teacher feeds in.

I think I love you, Rae Pica.

This is a book for anyone who wants to give their children a real head start on a healthy life--not to create superkids, but happy and healthy kids. She gives advice on picking team sports and reassurance that letting a kid "do nothing" is just as important if not more important than running them back and forth to endless activities. I'm so happy to see this message out there.

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My beloved old doggie KailaI put down our dog Kaila today. She was somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 to 18 years old, which is extremely old for a dog of her size. She was part Akita, part who knows what, a suspicious, conservative dog who wasn't much for public displays of affection: No licking the face, no excited dance when we came home, no head in my lap. She showed her love of her family by guarding us.

Kaila patrolled the yard, proudly, wearing a track along the fence where she'd march up and down guarding against possibly dangerous dogs, joggers and squirrels. She knew I was pregnant before I did; each time she'd suddenly glue herself to my side, sitting next to me the entire time and giving "strangers" (anyone who wasn't John) the fish eye. While she wasn't overly fond of the kids, she watched them like a hawk, and God help you if she didn't know you and you came near the yard when they were out there. When I became ill with fibromyalgia, and her own arthritis set in, she'd lie next to my chair and we'd both sigh and creak together when the weather would change.

No, Kaila wasn't demonstrative. I knew she was getting really old when she started letting me rub her tummy. And I knew it was time for her to go when she stopped patrolling, stopped eating and stopped barking at the Evil Mail Carrier, which was the highlight of her day. She couldn't hear, her eyesight was going, she was down to just bones, and she was having trouble making it outside before her bowels moved. It was time.

So today a vet came out to the house, we said goodbye, and she died.

I was not the best "boss" for Kaila, and she wasn't the best dog for me. But she was a good, good dog, and she loved us in her suspicious, conservative way, and we loved her in our disorganized, chaotic way. And I will miss her in every way.

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Some of you may know that Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is a sometime member of the TNH community. She's also, as you may know, a breast cancer survivor. Tomorrow the Edwardses are holding a press conference at noon. The word on CNN is that the news isn't good. I hope they're wrong. Think good thoughts.

Update: It's true; Elizabeth's cancer is back, and John is dropping out is NOT dropping out of the campaign to deal with it. I'm heartbroken, first and foremost because Elizabeth is such a wonderful woman, and secondly because John was my guy this presidential cycle. I was on the phone for a good chunk of the press conference and missed that he would be remaining in the campaign--yay! at least for me.

Elizabeth, on the very off chance you see this, I will be praying for a quick and easy recovery. Bless you.

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...or if you don't know anyone who's been deployed to Iraq, you should read Jennmommy5's latest comment. Her husband is being deployed for the third time:

One day I found myself standing in an on-post post office cuddled up in my arms like a lover was a priority mail box covered in priority mail tape. I looked down and up the line and I saw myself repeated. Over a half dozen other women of various shapes and sizes and colours all standing in line cuddling thier boxes as if it were the man they were sending it too. Box sizes were different, we were different and yet we were the same. The woman beside me had completely wrapped her box in tape. She told me the last package hadn't faired well. I almost burst into tears at that moment. I could see it in all thier eyes. All these strangers and yet here we were all feeling just the same thing in our hearts. All of us trying to transfer the last bit of love we could into those boxes before we handed the to the postal clerks to be weighed and charges outrageous amounts of shipping. It was a longing we shared. This was how we felt close to the men we loved. This was our intamacy, our contact. We were touching the box and at some point not to be predicted he would touch the box. It was a solemn unity that held more sadness and yet more strength than I think I had ever felt in my life.

This war is costing military members and their families so much. And the rest of us? What is it costing us? Anything, other than tax dollars?

There was a spirit in this country after 9/11. We would have gladly given up anything to help--all of us. What were we told? To go shopping.

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Tempus Foots It: Congress in its infinite wisdom has started daylight savings in the U.S. two weeks early. This annoys me to no end. I like the sun directly overhead at noon and I dislike people forcing me to fiddle with clocks. Extra hour of sunlight, blah blah blah--get up an hour earlier if it's so important. feh, harrumph.

In less humbuggy spring news, note the spring slipcover is back! Although the "Winter" logo won't go away until the spring equinox next week.

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Alan Titchmarsh explains it all for you in a 4-hour series from the Beeb, and by "explains it all" I mean just that: The how-to that is often missing in gardening programs. Who knows how long it'll be up at Google Video, so watch while you can. Titchmarsh, you will remember, was long a presenter on the British "Ground Force" garden make-over show.

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Mother TalkHey kids! It's a blog tour!

You've probably seen the RealAge quizzes on the Internet; you take the quiz and it tells you if you're older or younger than your actual age--whether you're aging yourself before your time. So what if you could start your children down the road to adulthood with habits that would make them less likely to age themselves too early? That's the premise of Good Kids, Bad Habits, a RealAge book from pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg.

It starts out with an extensive test to determine what your child's habits currently are, focusing on "only things you and your child can control" like eating habits, TV watching, exercise and the like. Once you've assessed the situation, Trachtenberg then details what habits your child should work on, focusing on eating, activity, hygiene, discipline, self-esteem, self-protection and general health habits.

The rest focuses on how to improve your child's, and by extension your family's, habits. Each chapter is stuffed with information, to the point that it's a little overwhelming. They're all structured similarly, with Identify, Inform, Instruct and Instill as the watchwords, with tips on how to change habits.

For instance, we all know that watching a lot of TV sets children up for a sedentary life. And yet it's so hard to ignore the allure of the set for both parents and children. Example: As I write this, Lou is in the TV room watching Cyberchase; she gets to zone out, I get some peace. But! before I feel too guilty, it's the first time she's turned on the TV all day, and Josie is outside on the swings.

Even so, it's as much a struggle at our house as it is in a lot of houses. We've developed our methods for handling it, which interestingly turn out to be Dr. Jen's methods as well: Planning ahead (we call it "appointment TV"); watching together; hiding the remote (not one we do on purpose); and minimizing the sets. That last one--the girls know that as long as they live in this house they will never have a set in their room. Period. There's the big set in the TV room, a (rarely watched but useful) set in John's and my room and one in the basement that's not hooked up to cable and can be used when there's a big noisy crowd of kids over to watch a movie or something. In the house I grew up in, we had a set in practically every room in the house, and it took away from our family life as I got older--not that I would have ever expressed that at the time!

Much of what Dr. Jen talks about is common sense stuff. Get outside. Flossing is good. Wash your hands a lot. Sneeze in your elbow. Don't go boating without a life jacket. But sometimes it's good to have a check-in. Assessing where your family is in its habits and learning more about where you can improve, well, that's only to the good.

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This happens every March 1st: I completely forget the site's birthday! On March 1st, 1999, TNH first hit the Internet. Thank you, readers, for making this one of the top homemaking sites on the web. smoochies. :)

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John worked very late into last night, because that's how he rolls (paint). And we got a not-too-late start today, so we finished up enough to put the room back together mid-Oscars. And by "we" I mean John, though he says I helped. :)

There are still some things to do. The windows are not entirely painted; the interior frames need finishing. The picture rails need painting. The door needs taken down, the hardware removed, and the whole thing and its frame painted. I'm sure when my dad comes, there will be all kinds of little touch-ups on it he'll want to do, because that's my dad. [Edited to say: Understand that my dad is not nit-picky. He notices things but would never say anything unless asked.]

The room feels foreign. The valances don't look right--the windows need entirely new treatments, like they've ever actually had a real treatment to begin with--and the walls are too bare.

But for now, this'll do. We don't have the time or the money for fancy around here; we're settling for neat, clean and fresh, such as we can.

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"We" painted the TV room this weekend, a project that's been hanging fire for a loooong time now. The "before" picture, to the left, shows the pink walls and stripped woodwork from the last time we painted it--close to 15 years ago! eeeek!

You can see some strange dark green squares on the walls; these were the colors we were considering before we went with my original thought, which is the green we already have in our downstairs hallway and the inside of the arch between the living and dining rooms. It's a dusty sage called "Herbivore" from Miller Paint, and the trim is a creamy white called "Lemonade," which really isn't all that lemony. It's the trim color through the whole downstairs.

You can see the paint tests better here. Pretty bad, huh? In the years since we painted it last, this room has been a roommate's bedroom, an office, a playroom and, quite frankly, a dump. Moving the TV in here out of the living room was the smartest thing we ever did, but now that we were spending time in there the walls were making us crazy. The kids' drawing on the walls when they were little didn't add to the ambiance.

My entire family--mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and baby nephew--are coming in late March, so we decided to at least get this one project done. The guest room is similarly haphazard; John got a hair up his nose when Lou was a baby to take the wallpaper in there down, and we discovered very quickly that the wallpaper was basically holding the wall up. So, one plastering job later, it's a mess in there and likely to remain so for a while. I haven't even picked out a color for in there yet.

Oh--you're wondering where the "after" pics are? Not yet, my chickens! We were hoping that we--and by "we" I mean John--would be done in time to watch the Oscars, but it's looking like it's not to be. It'll be done tonight, but not in time for popcorn and carpet walks. ah well.

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I've been struggling this week with two things, one of which I have control over and one of which I really don't: The server, and my heart.

The server, I think I've got it more or less in shape now. It was a hard struggle, and it kept me from blogging here much, but I've stopped things from constantly crashing and I think we're now in pretty good shape.

My heart? It's not so much that I've had heart trouble as I've had heart control trouble. I know that makes no sense. Bear with me. I've had a tough week--not enough sleep, PMS and stress over the server (the downtime has cost us a lot of ad $$). I've been having really bad PVCs lately, to the point of being in pain. I'm not entirely sure I can explain my thought processes on this, but the more I try to keep myself from having heart trouble the more discomfort and anxiety I experience. My long-suffering uncle the doctor finally told me a few days ago, "Lynner, if you're really going to get sick you can't stop it. There's nothing you can do about it."

Last night talking with my therapist it's as if I finally found the boundary between what I can control--basically, whether I'm hungry, angry, lonely, tired, cold or dehydrated--and what I can't control--whether my heart is really going to go into spasm. Weeks ago, working with her, I discovered that I had tightness in my chest from literally trying to "hold myself together"; I was tensing up in an attempt to physically keep myself from having a spasm or even showing discomfort, which of course was causing me great discomfort. So this isn't an entirely new discovery. It's just like layers of an onion, peeling away.

It makes me wonder about how much I can apply this to other areas of my life--I mean, you'd think I hadn't been in recovery for 20 years, for crying out loud.

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Oh sure, there's all kinds of things I SHOULD do with it, and I hope to do some of it, but whenever John and the girls are off doing something (in this case helping a friend with a major garden project) I feel so much at loose ends. What to do, what to do.

I've spent the last few days dealing with the server troubles here, which also affected our friends at hipMama since we share the box, so the last thing I want to do is be online today. It's sunny out so I'll probably take a walk or do a bit in the yard. And I'm PMSing and haven't been sleeping well, so a nap is definitely in my future. Maybe more spinning (and writing about spinning--I have a lot to show you). Also this is a great opportunity to muck out the girls' things with no wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mostly it's just so eerily quiet. Martin Mull is right, having a family IS like having a bowling alley in your head, or at least in your living room.

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The web server keeps getting overwhelmed, and I'm danged if I can figure out why. I've got some analytical tools running now and I am digging through the manuals to see where I can improve performance.

This is extremely frustrating for me; I worry about losing what readers I have. Please bear with me.

Update: I am really hesitant to say it, but I think I found the problem. I've been working on this all day!

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TNH's provider is going to be doing some work behind the scenes tonight from 9 to 10 pm. Things should be down no more than a few minutes, but here's hoping everything goes according to plan. Just FYI.

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