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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hiding Under the Covers

Did your mom ever tell you 'if you don't have anything good to say...'? Well I've been pretty quiet lately for that very reason. Last week was one of those black times for me. It seems every few months around my period I have a few days where I just want to crawl under the covers, curl up and cry-for no particular reason. Or get under those covers with a big piece of chocolate and a book. I've been exercising regularly and not eating much sugar so I know those are NOT contributing factors. I think narcissism and depression are on opposite ends of a spectrum which is too self-involved. Both personalities focus inwardly-thinking only of themselves, but where the narcissist has these grandiose ideas and inflated self-worth, the depressed person is focused inwardly on their own misery and anxiety. Take these ideas for what they are worth, just some random thoughts.
I was on medication for post-partum depression 10+ years ago and hated the zombie deadness. No pain, but no joy either. I am generally a pretty buoyant person, I will take the few days of chocolate under the covers over steady state zombie any day.
I am coming back to myself now, hormones are normalizing and I was kicked out of my little cocoon of self-involvement to be an vendor at an Alternative Holiday Market. More on that later-i am still sorting through some ideas which have been planted in this fertile ground between my ears. (fertile or just full of shit-time will tell)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

MOSES Conference

Are any of you Midwestern readers going to the MOSES (midwest organic and sustainable education service) Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, WI this Febuary?? I just learned of this organization and (if we actually have a place to farm next year)DH and I would like to attend. They have a wonderful mentoring program for new organic farmers! I was just wondering if any of you Midwestern folks are going, it would be fun to meet you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Specialist or Generalist?

So I'm a bit of a doomer. These days if you haven't had an uneasy feeling about the future you must be completely sleepwalking through life-eyes wide shut. I have been waking up to the fact that the status-quo will change, has to change as we run out of cheap energy, as sea levels rise and human migration occurs. I have no idea when any of this will happen or how; will it be slow and orderly or an apocalyptic four horsemen type ordeal? I have written before about adapting being the key to making the best of changes/surviving an apocalypse. This is the background coloring my general take on the future -yeah, cheery.
I am approaching a crossroad in my career where I need to decide -specialist or generalist. Our clinic has been changing alot over the past year, the level of care has gone up, we are providing really quality medicine and looking to push our selves further-with the purchase of an ultrasound-Doppler flow so our ACVIM DVM can start doing cardiology consults along with standard abdominal US. I have to admit to coasting a bit in the last two years- I have not been burned out and not very focused on my career. If I wish to perform at MY self-expected level within this practice I have some work to do, focused continuing education, a big backlog of journals to digest- I have NO wish to be the practice owner who is years behind, medically speaking. Part of me is excited by this prospect-we have a great group of veterinarians and clients who would appreciate this level of care for their beloved babies. This is the route the industry tells us a 'healthy practice' should strive for; specialization and a high standard of care (along with a healthy bottom line).

But the flip side is that I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable about where we are headed. We can do X for your dog, it but should we? Human health care costs have spiraled so high, and I can see similar things happening to veterinary care (but minus the insurance issues!). I am legally obligated to inform a client about the 'standard of care' for a particular issue. With the advent of the Internet the standard of care for Smallsville Wisconsin is the same as that in the most affluent Manhattan neighborhood. I can't bear to see my clients wrestle with the idea that the best option for their pet's condition is a procedure or medication which is so far out of their reach financially, I can't bear to see them feel like a failure because they cannot afford the best care or even the second best care. But it has to be offered. Period. Even to little old ladies with rusted out barely running cars, who are already supporting their unemployed daughter in FL and has a diabetic 14 yr old cat who really needs a dental (sorry, she is one of my clients!)

With our (planned) move to our (planned) homestead next summer, I have the opportunity to re-think my career. Perhaps I should become a generalist. Instead of investing my time into brushing up on cutting edge small animal medicine, I should learn (or should I say re-learn) about beef cows, small ruminants, and chickens. Will the need shift away from animals as surrogate children and back to animals as tools for survival with-in my working lifetime? Will pharmaceuticals be available at a reasonable price for animals? Should I concentrate on husbandry -not letting them get sick in the first place-will people be willing to pay $ (or firewood) for that? Should I learn to be a veterinary herbalist and grow my own medicine. This is where I am leaning, it scares the crap out of me, honestly.

Thanks for reading my rambling-I need to put thoughts into words and paragraphs to see how they hit my 'gut'. In writing this out I can see where my heart is taking me. Now to figure out how to make it work and still pay the bills.

PS-Mr Nice Farmer is interested in pursuing the land contract (maybe he needs the money just a little bit more than he let on). We would buy outright the easement and the building site (maybe 4 acres?) and write a contract for the rest. That will make the bank happy, and me too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Setbacks-plural-as in more than one!

Setback number one: call from nice bank lady, the appraised value of the 20 acres is $40,000. Nice farmer wants no less than $3,000 per acre. If we want to proceed we will have to come up with the difference. Instead of the $7,500 down payment we were anticipating, we would have to cough up $27,500. Yikes. We have it, but it would not leave us much for a house. I am fairly certain nice farmer will not bring his price down, he has said this before. I am fairly certain we will not spend the lion's share of our hoarded savings on land down payment. Delaying the move into a more sustainable home/lifestyle is not something I am willing to do. I am anxious enough as it is about waiting until spring to build/sell our house. I continue to wonder when this house of cards we call an economy will come down around us. I worry about inflation and interest rates. I just plain worry. Time to think outside the box.

Setback number two: actually not a setback but a not moving forward. Less than 1 lb loss last week. I swam 4 times last week, but didn't keep track of food intake. My little shortcut was not helpful and I have learned a lesson. Write it ALL down and have a plan the night before. I was/am pissed for faltering but in a good-strengthening resolve kind of way. Lifting weights yesterday helped alot. I forgot how much I loved lifting, not I just need to find my old Powerman5000 and Metallica cassettes to put in my Walkman- ha, ha.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A New Week

What a great morning! I am feeling very energized and optimistic. I just retruned from the YMCA -I swam for 30 minutes. I used their 'swim flippers' and felt like I got a much better work-out-more resistance for my leg muscles (plus going fast is much more fun). Once my endurance is better I will look into adult swimming lessons so I can be a 'real' swimmer :)

I have found myself sort of 'wandering' on my days off. When I am not working I don't really know what to do with myself. Garden is done, food storage is done, there are no 'fires' to put out. Not that my checkbook is balanced and the house is clean, etc but there is no emergency demanding my attention so I sort mess around here and fool around with that, not really accomplishing anything.

My solution is the start my FlyLady routines again. It you are a hopelessly disorganized, easily sidetracked kind of person (like me) adding these little routines to your days/weeks will help! I need to know what I have scheduled myself to do so I don't spend half the morning making lists and priorizing , etc, etc instead of just doing them (15 minutes at a time -you can do anything for 15 minutes !)

Another postive note. I have found my brain again! It has been at least 3 weeks since I have 'lost' my wallet (or keys, or fill-in-the-blank-here). This is a good thing I was worrying that I was an early Alzheimers candidate, but it was really just too much stress.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Head Gaskets and Commitment

I took my 2002 Saturn in for routine maintenance last week. It has had a slow oil leak for months ( I add a quart every 3-5 weeks ). Turns out it is need of a new head gasket to the tune of $1000. I am tempted to just let it be but at some point coolant will get into the oil and that would spell the end of the engine.

My knee jerk reaction was 'Oh well-time to get a new car'. On further reflection I think it will be worth while to fix it. The car is paid for, still gets 32-35mpg (when I drive the speed limit!), has pretty new tires, recently replaced brakes, and has a history of being an easy keeper aside from normal wear and tear. I suffer from car envy frequently and we could easily afford to buy a new car, but just because we CAN afford a new car does not mean we SHOULD buy a new car.

I will continue to practice my Buddhist 'not wanting' and delayed gratification.
DH thinks he can fix it with the help of a friend who has more tools (and a heated garage).

On another note relating to long term commitments-I joined our YMCA yesterday and went swimming. Maybe swimming is to strong of a word! I dog paddled with a kickboard, practicing rotary breathing then backstroking when I realised kicking and breathing at the same time was too complicated for me! Today I went back for recumbant bike and weights. My feet are still too sore to do more than 10 minutes walking without complaint-even with good shoes. Sigh.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lovelock and The Vanishing Face of Gaia

I just listened to an interview of James Lovelock on NPR. I have been an admirer of his work since my 3rd year of college when I took a course built around his first Gaia book -yes this was 1991 and UW-Madison, the liberal center of the Midwest -an entire 3 credit course! Coolest class I ever took. My take-away points were 1) the earth system is incredibly more complex and subtle than even our smartest think-tanks can imagine, 2) Gaia (with or without us) will survive, even if we as a species completely foul our nest.
Love lock's message seems very much the same, but with a less rosy outlook on the human species. He contends that global warming is with us for thousands of years, even if we could turn off CO2 production NOW. Warming, flooding, migration, wars, and starvation will happen no matter what. Through our actions we may be able to change the degree somewhat. His hope is that after our world-wide visit from the four horsemen we will emerge as a species more enlightened, climate change having driven us to evolve once again through genetic selection
The radio personality laughed nervously through-out the segment, as she tried to get him to lighten-up and say well of course we can turn things around, of course everything will be okay. He steadfastly refused to give in to her need for reassurance. His best advice to the future generation of humanity was to learn how to adapt to a changing world. Learn how to survive, and be ready to move to a location less affected with drought, flood, pestilence or famine. Heavy stuff.
Dr Lovelock is a serious scientist, respected as a forward thinker but also more than 90 years old. Old men are wise but often fatalistic. Worth considering, but not driving yourself crazy over.
How can you adapt? How do you prepare your children to survive. More crazy dreams for me tonight I'll bet.

Wild Dreams

I have a post today at Homemakers Who Work about my fun with sourdough starter!

My first week of WW was pretty good, lost 2 lbs though I was hoping for something more dramatic. I got a little depressed about the reality of this weight loss goal... 50lbs divided by 2 lbs per week equals flipping forever. But the journey starts with a single step and all that. I can choose to give up and feel bad or I can plug along 2 pounds at a time. I have the opportunity to choose where I want to be in 25 weeks. I can see myself getting really bored with the point counting though. I will work on standardizing my meals a little so I don't have to think too much about what I should eat for lunch, etc. I will also start the Y.

I had the craziest dream. I walked out of my business without locking the door, when I returned later that night the cash drawer was empty-I was so mad! The dream then switched to me finding a rave going on, all these sophisticated, beautiful people having a great time in my office. In the dream I was very short, wearing dumpy clothes and felt very insignificant. It doesn't take a therapy session to figure this one out. I have been wrestling with what to do career-wise. I am not really comfortable about being the boss, I am not business/accounting/inventory/human resources savvy-nor particularly motivated to become so. So sell the beast-my partner is willing to buy my % back. But it is profitable, there is job security which goes along with being an owner, as well as a certain prestige which goes along with ownership. My dream was obviously the result of my subconscious wrestling match. Should I continue to party with the beautiful people or walk out and let the money be stolen from the cash drawer?? Time will tell.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Signed, Sealed...

The Offer to Purchase has been accepted, and I take it to the bank tomorrow!! I am beyond happy. I feel as if I am finally at a place in my life where I am doing and not just flapping my lips. Very empowering and it is spilling over into other parts of my life-taking the reins so to speak.
According to the loan officer it should take 2-3 weeks until we can close. I have already been sketching floor plans-we are planning an approx 1100 square foot house for the 4 of us. I am looking forward to building a house which really fits our family's needs now and with an eye to the future. Passive solar design with a very open design. We really like the idea of very small bedrooms and a larger central space that can be used for multiple activities.
Redundancy is big for me-if no power is available via the grid, whether peak oil or just an ice storm; how will we heat, cook, pump water, etc? We will certainly take advantage of the great incentives for installing PV and solar hot water. There is some uncertainty about whether we will try for off grid or net metering-it all comes down to $ though-many of the incentives are offered by the utility provider. No provider=significantly lower incentive. Fun times!
We had a good visit with my sister's family this weekend. It was decided that our Christmas exchange would be different this year. We will each bring a wrapped homemade gift, draw numbers and either select a present or 'steal' someones gift. It should be fun, with less stress and less cost. Now if only I could convince my DH's family to do the same. Sigh.
Putting the pumpkin whole into the oven working very well. I will certainly do that again. I didn't puree it however and it had the consistancy of snot. Lesson learned! I had 4 quart bags of the cooked pumpkin/squash in the fridge and my seven year old came to me wondering why I was thawing out so many eggs? I think she was hoping for many quiches. It is true that our pasture raised eggs were the same color as the deep orange squash-the things kids notice!

This is two 'homemade' eggs compared to a store bought. The color is poor in the shot, and these were January eggs-no pasture, no bugs, and they are still kicking butt!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Tired girl here-just a quick ramble...
Joined WW yesterday and my new motto is 'Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail'
Did you know that 3 slices of frozen pepperoni pizza is equal the number of 'points' I should be eating in an entire day? Wow-no wonder I am fat!
I am focused and excited about this change.
Good shoes make a huge difference!
As soon as we loose the nice weather I will join the YMCA, but for right now I will keep plugging away at the fall pick up. I am reconsidering the advantages of a 1 acre lawn and many mature trees. I love being out there working, but it's just a pointless task-except to keep the green lawn looking nice so we can sell this sucker next year!
I had rotten winter squash (really rotten-in a puddle-ick!) so I cleaned that up and threw a questionable pumpkin and one squash into the oven today.
We will give the bank our signed Offer to Purchase next week and we should be able to close in 2-3 weeks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

First Things First

Before heading to work today I stopped to get some new athletic shoes. I have been walking more and my old shoes... are pretty old. My feet had been getting progressively more painful, to the point where I don't go stocking-footed anymore. I spend most of my day on my feet and the work shoes weren't helping much either, those chunky soled leather shoes are completely flat inside-no support to be found. The new shoes are New Balance (made in the USA) and pretty utilitarian- but function above form any day! I also threw away all the extra Halloween candy. This was hard- I am having extreme sugar craving. But I wanted to start off on an honest and accurate accounting so there was no 'just one taste'. It all got dumped.
Tomorrow AM I will walk. Wednesday AM is a WW meeting. Baby steps.

I almost forgot-Saturday we butchered our buns- they were 14 weeks old. It was much smoother this time. DH used his 22 and I did the rest. I now have three beautiful very thick fur pelts to tan. I believe I will try to make myself a Christmas present (instead of giving my best stuff away!) I am picturing rabbit fur lined mitts. We'll see.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Six Bag Limit

Apparently I have a six bag limit, bags of leaves that is. We missed our village's curb-side leaf pick up last week. That's okay because I would rather see those leaves improving that clay garden soil, but we still have to bag them up and drive them out. Today the weather was cooperative and I set out with alot of enthusiasm. Running the mower with bag attached and dumping the shredded green and brown into large plastic bags. A neighbor works at KRAFT and gets us these ?60- 90? gallon clear plastic bags, which would otherwise be waste.

I could only fill up 6 of these bags before I was pooped. My feet hurt and I was just tired. This is a problem. I have never really felt limited by my physical strength or endurance. Perhaps this is because I have realistic expectations of what my 39 year old body could do. But today I couldn't even fulfill my reasonable expectations. By spring I will need so much more out of my body; it's time for a change.

I am 40 - 50 lbs overweight, have crunchy knees(not painful but loud!), carpal tunnel, and now I think plantar fasciitis. What am I waiting for -diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease? It stops now. I don't have the work excuse -I'm only at 25-30 hours per week. The girls are old enough to be very independent. I am in charge of most of the food coming out of the kitchen as well as the grocery shopping. My excuses are running out.

My subconscious is afraid-what if I try-really try and I can't do it? I've turned over a new leaf :) more times than I can count. How will this be different? I have some ideas. First, my goals will not be scale related but behavior related, as in meeting my goals of veggies, fruit and whole grains and number of minutes of physical activity rather than 2 lbs a week. I can control my behavior and the behavior will affect the scale. Second, I am going to re-join the YMCA- I need to get back to swimming to take things easy on my joints until my weight gets to a healthier place. Third, I am going to develop a kick-ass support network by blogging about my goals and progress along with joining Weight Watchers.

The tone of the posts will change somewhat -but it's my blog, so there!! All you lurkers out there-speak up! I'd love to know you are out there keeping me honest.


I had a post at Homemakers Who Work Yesterday. Talking about turning your hobby into a small business. Why not?