Saturday, July 2, 2011


Just when I thought I might have been a little harsh on the rodent IQ remarks I made yesterday I now have NO doubt whatsoever it's one and only brain cell had already been used up for the year.  This is the squirrel's third attempt at trying to bury a peanut in the bathmat-sized piece of lawn we have the back of the apartment.
Let me give you a little background noise on the ongoing squirrel wars around here.  For the past three years the resident squirrels and I have been have a running battle about where they should or should not hide their peanuts which SOME of my kindly neighbors insist on buying for them.
The first year I was tolerant of the cute little things furtively stashing their winter supplies even if it was in my pots and planters....... awwwwwwww isn't that sweet?
Year two and the battle heats up when the little rats with furry tails started tossing dirt and pansies right out of the pots on their pretty little heads.  Well that was enough for me!!! I thought I'd get creative 'naturally' and started sprinkling some pepper into the pots.  Didn't work.  So I mixed the pepper with cayenne.  Didn't work.  Mixed pepper, cayenne and paprika...........DIDN'T WORK.
Year three (which we will forever affectionately call The Year Of The Flood), had such a late start that some were asking me if I was going to plant anything this year.......Jokingly I said, "yes onions and garlic".  Well that idea must have rattled around in my considerably larger than a squirrel's brain long enough to actually sprouted into an idea........ freeze dried garlic!  From the very first application the little rats now only come for a sniff once in awhile.
I have emerged VICTORIOUS over....ummm......rodents!!!!  Okay so it's not Nobel Prize territory but it's MY territory now..............garlic anyone?

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE IQ OF A Rodent

I've never had to contemplate the smarts of a rodent, ever, that is until today.  I was walking along the above well packed trail that has been awaiting pavement for some time and smack dab in the middle of it are two gopher holes.  Now you can see very clearly on both sides dirt with grass on it a mere 4 feet to either side.  Maybe it needed a challenge, drew the short matchstick, or it had to get rid of all that pent up energy after being stranded on high ground for the entire month of June, who knows these things?  I can see maybe taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque once but twice??  Or maybe I'm not smart enough to see that the second is the emergency escape silly of me it's all very clear now.

What isn't clear to me is why this line keeps following me despite repeated attempts to stop it.......rats!!

Wait.....I'm getting a tweet from Gainer The Gopher, the official mascot of the Saskatchewan Roughrider football team.........he says he is NOT related to these tiny versions of himself and wants that to be very clear.  It is.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Why is she showing me a picture in her bathroom you might be thinking?  I'll tell you why she is.....because it fell straight down, hit the metal cover on the electric heating unit and SCARED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUTTA ME!!!!  After my heart restarted itself I was able to be thankful that I didn't have a great mess to clean up, and yes I would have replaced the glass for one of my favorite pictures.
*Note to self:  talk to landlord about installing defibrillator in the building.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The prairies are large producers of ethanol in Canada and as a direct result we make a lot of vinegar. It's history goes a long way back and has both Muslim and Christian roots.

Vinegar has been made and used for thousands of years. According to Shennong's Herb Classic, vinegar was invented in China during the Xia Dynasty, around 2000 BC. Though, traces of it have been found in Egyptian urns dating from around 3000 BC.
In the Tanakh and the Old Testament of the Bible, it is mentioned as unpleasant to drink (Ps. 69:21) and foolish to combine with nether (most likely soda ash, although possibly potash, natron, or niter) (Prov. 25:20), but more favorably as a condiment when Boaz allows Ruth to "dip her piece of bread in the vinegar" (Ruth 2:14). Jesus was offered vinegar or sour wine while on the cross (Matthew 27:48; Mark 15:36). In Islamic traditions, vinegar is one of the four favored condiments of the Prophet Muhammad, who called it a "Blessed seasoning".[5]
In 1864, Louis Pasteur showed that vinegar results from a natural fermentation process.

Production and microbiology

Vinegar is made from the fermentation of a variety of sources mainly containing carbohydrates and sugars. Ethanol is first produced as a result of fermentation of sugars, ethanol is then oxidized to acetic acid by the acetic acid bacteria (AAB). The ethanol may be derived from many different sources, including wine, cider, beer, or fermented fruit juice, or it may be made synthetically from natural gas and petroleum derivatives.[6]
Aeration is a crucial step in the fermentation process. Excess air can ruin the product by complete oxidation of carbohydrates to CO2 by yeast and other aerobic bacteria, while on the other hand, too little air will lead to high concentrations of alcohol resulting in the death of the acetic acid bacteria.
Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional vinegars, and fermentation proceeds slowly over the course of weeks or months. The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a nontoxic slime composed of acetic acid bacteria and soluble cellulose, known as mother of vinegar.
Fast methods add mother of vinegar (i.e., bacterial culture) to the source liquid before adding air using a venturi pump system or a turbine to promote oxygenation to obtain the fastest fermentation. In fast production processes, vinegar may be produced in a period ranging from 20 hours to three days.


A bottle of malt vinegar


Malt vinegar is made by malting barley, causing the starch in the grain to turn to maltose. Then an ale is brewed from the maltose and allowed to turn into vinegar, which is then aged. It is typically light brown in color.
In the United Kingdom, salt and malt vinegar is a traditional seasoning for chips and crisps.


Wine vinegar is made from red or white wine, and is the most commonly used vinegar in Mediterranean countries and Central Europe. As with wine, there is a considerable range in quality. Better quality wine vinegars are matured in wood for up to two years, and exhibit a complex, mellow flavor. Wine vinegar tends to have a lower acidity than that of white or cider vinegars. More expensive wine vinegars are made from individual varieties of wine, such as Champagne, sherry, or pinot grigio.

Apple cider

Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known simply as cider vinegar or ACV, is made from cider or apple must, and has a brownish-yellow color. It often is sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with the mother of vinegar present, as a natural product. It is very popular, partly because of beneficial health and beauty properties[7] and possible weight-loss properties. Because of its acidity, apple cider vinegar may be very harsh, even burning, to the throat. If taken straight, (as opposed to used in cooking), it can be diluted (e.g., with fruit juice or water) before drinking.[8] It is also sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey.[9] There have been reports of acid chemical burns of the throat from apple cider vinegar tablets, but "doubt remains as to whether apple cider vinegar was in fact an ingredient in the evaluated products."[10]


Persimmon vinegar produced in South Korea
Fruit vinegars are made from fruit wines, usually without any additional flavoring. Common flavors of fruit vinegar include apple, black currant, raspberry, quince, and tomato. Typically, the flavors of the original fruits remain in the final product.
Most fruit vinegars are produced in Europe, where there is a growing market for high-priced vinegars made solely from specific fruits (as opposed to nonfruit vinegars which are infused with fruits or fruit flavors).[11] Several varieties, however, also are produced in Asia. Persimmon vinegar, called gam sikcho (감식초), is popular in South Korea. Jujube vinegar photo (called or 红枣 in Chinese) and wolfberry vinegar photo (called 枸杞 in Chinese) are produced in China.
Umezu (; often translated as umeboshi vinegar or ume vinegar), a salty, sour liquid that is a byproduct of umeboshi (pickled ume) production, is produced in Japan, but technically is not a true vinegar.
Jamun sirka (Hindi: जामुन सिरका), a vinegar produced from the jamun (or rose apple) fruit in India, is considered to be medicinally valuable for stomach, spleen and diabetic ailments.[12]


Balsamic vinegar is an aromatic, aged type of vinegar traditionally crafted in the Modena and Reggio Emilia provinces of Italy from the concentrated juice, or must, of white grapes (typically of the Trebbiano variety). It is very dark brown in color, and its flavor is rich, sweet, and complex, with the finest grades being the product of years of aging in a successive number of casks made of various types of wood (including oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash, and acacia). Originally a product available only to the Italian upper classes, a cheaper form of balsamic vinegar became widely known and available around the world in the late 20th century. True balsamic vinegar (which has Protected Designation of Origin status) is aged for 12 to 25 years. Balsamic vinegars that have been aged for up to 100 years are available, though they are usually very expensive. The commercial balsamic sold in supermarkets is typically made with concentrated grape juice mixed with a strong vinegar, which is laced with caramel and sugar. Regardless of how it is produced, balsamic vinegar must be made from a grape product.
Balsamic vinegar has a high acidity level, but the tart flavor is usually hidden by the sweetness of the other ingredients, making it very mellow.


A bottle of rice vinegar produced in Guangdong, China
Rice vinegar is most popular in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. It is available in "white" (light yellow), red, and black varieties. The Japanese prefer a light rice vinegar for the preparation of sushi rice and salad dressings. Red rice vinegar traditionally is colored with red yeast rice. Black rice vinegar (made with black glutinous rice) is most popular in China, and it is also widely used in other East Asian countries.
White rice vinegar has a mild acidity and a somewhat "flat", uncomplex flavor. Some varieties of rice vinegar are sweetened or otherwise seasoned with spices or other added flavorings.


Coconut vinegar, made from fermented coconut water, is used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisine (particularly in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, major producers, where it is called suka ng niyog or vinakiri), as well as in some cuisines of India. A cloudy white liquid, it has a particularly sharp, acidic taste with a slightly yeasty note.


Palm vinegar (sukang paombong)
Palm vinegar, made from the fermented sap from flower clusters of the nipa palm (also called attap palm), is used most often in the Philippines, where it is produced, and where it is called sukang paombong. Its pH is between five and six.


Cane vinegar, made from sugar cane juice, is most popular in the Philippines, in particular, the Ilocos Region of the northern Philippines (where it is called sukang iloko), although it also is produced in France and the United States. It ranges from dark yellow to golden brown in color, and has a mellow flavor, similar in some respects, to rice vinegar, though with a somewhat "fresher" taste. Contrary to expectation, containing no residual sugar, it is not sweeter than other vinegars. In the Philippines, it often is labeled as sukang maasim, although this is simply a generic term meaning "sour vinegar".
Cane vinegars from Ilocos also varies in two different types: basi (sweet) and suka (sour). The sweet vinegar is used as a wine in Ilokanos, while the other type of vinegar is used as a seasoning and preservative.
A white variation has become quite popular in Brazil in recent years, where it is the cheapest type of vinegar sold. It is now common for other types of vinegar (made from wine, rice and apple cider) to be sold mixed with cane vinegar to lower the costs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Things are really 
blooming here now.  This was from my gadding about yesterday.  Today was a different kind of day for me.  I couldn't seem to get into any of my routines and felt restless and fidgety all day long perhaps because next door for the last 3 days they have been ripping out their basement walls etc and today started lifting the cinder slab sidewalks on both sides. likely where most of the water leaked in...too much activity for me.  I ended up going to the library and spent a lovely 1 1/2 hours in quiet solitude, renewed my library card and brought home three books to read.  
One title in particular caught my eye " CARROT CAKE MURDER" by Joanne Fluke.  As a great connoisseur of carrot cake myself I felt it my duty to check it out.  Later I find out that all her books have a food-related murder theme such as 
BLUEBERRY MUFFIN MURDER and SUGAR COOKIE MURDER.  But the quirkiness doesn't stop there--the book's heroine Hannah runs a bakery called the COOKIE JAR and any recipe mentioned in the story is printed in the same chapter.  I might add that the recipes are good but I'm thinking the books would look really odd in with the cookbooks on the shelf .......
I'm a hundred pages into the book and it's funny and entertaining and plan to enlarge my recipe collection over the lazy hazy days of summer by doing a lot of reading. I think I'll skip the FUNERAL HOTDISH though, it serves 75!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cardiovascular Effects of Fibromyalgia

I have waited a long time to read the highlighted words below.  Doctors would always say there are only two reasons for low blood blood pressure: [1] hemorrhage and [2] dehydration, end of story, goodbye, see you next time. 
There is a connection to Fibromyalgia which certainly explains a lot of things for those who suffer from it and also a sense of justification as well, a real reason in the cloud of mystery that surrounds this disease.

When you have fibromyalgia, your cardiovascular system can be significantly impacted. Everything from your breathing and blood pressure levels to blood flow and energy levels can get out of whack if your cardiovascular system isn’t working properly. While in some cases, your cardiovascular problems could be caused by your fibromyalgia, in other instances, you may suffer from a disorder known as orthostatic intolerance. Regardless of the cause of your problems, there are steps that you can take to improve your cardiovascular health. 

However, you do not have to have orthostatic intolerance to experience these problems. Fibromyalgia itself interferes with the regulation of the autonomic nervous system that controls heart rate. As a result, fibromyalgia patients suffer from low heart rate and hypotension (low blood pressure) and often have reduced blood flow in the thalamus and caudate nucleus areas of the brain.

What is Orthostatic Intolerance?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you are likely used to experiencing waves of dizziness and nausea upon standing up from a chair or getting out of bed. Recent research has revealed that people suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are prone to a disorder called orthostatic intolerance, which can significantly affect your cardiovascular system.
Orthostatic intolerance is a drastic drop in blood pressure upon standing up. This disorder is directly related to reduced blood flow, low blood pressure and lowered heart rate. Reduced or limited blood flow has long been known as a significant contributor to fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Orthostatic Intolerance and Reduced Blood Flow

Many of the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance are similar to fibromyalgia symptoms and can include:
Decreased concentration
Blurring of vision
Rapid breathing
Tiring easily with exercise

Improving Your Cardiovascular System
It can be frustrating to receive the advice to exercise on a daily basis when you have considerable difficulty performing daily activities and getting work done around the house. It has been well documented, however, that daily exercise can relieve many of the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia while strengthen your cardiovascular system at the same time. If you find that many types of exercise are painful, put too much stress on your joints and leave you feeling exhausted, what other aerobic activity can you do?

What is the Right Kind of Exercise?
Doctors treating fibromyalgia patients have found aquatic exercise to be beneficial to their patients. Water therapy as a form of rehabilitation is well established for those who suffer from chronic arthritis, spinal injuries and sports injuries. It is a low-impact, relaxing activity that offers many of the same benefits of land-based exercise.

Advantages of Water Therapy
Here are some of the major advantages to water therapy:
Enhances your range of motion
Builds flexibility
Increases circulation of the blood
Helps with balance
Provides resistance to build muscle
Stimulates muscle blood vessels to remove lactic acid and waste

Fight Fibromyalgia with Water Therapy!
Water therapy is a great type of cardiovascular fitness that can significantly eliminate blood circulation problems for fibromyalgia patients. Aerobic exercise helps your body to pump blood faster and distribute more blood throughout your body. During exercise, your breathing increases and you breathe more deeply. This increases the oxygen levels in your blood stream. Regular exercise contributes to the release of endorphins that combat the chronic pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia.

Lifestyle Changes for Fibromyalgia Relief
Here are some other lifestyle changes you can incorporate to fight fibromyalgia:
Drink plenty of water: During exercise and throughout the day your body needs water to function properly. Water actively fights dehydration and increases the volume of your blood.
Maintain a healthy diet: Your body needs plenty of nutrients and vitamins to maintain blood pressure, blood circulation and to fight fibromyalgia. Choose from all food groups with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean cuts of chicken and fish.

Look into acupuncture and massage therapy to supplement your exercise. Studies have shown that acupuncture and massage therapy increase blood flow in the skin and muscles.
Keep a regular sleep schedule: Try to get to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. Doctors have found that maintenance of sleep rituals improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia patients. If you are unable to sleep, speak to your doctor about sleep medications. Make sure you are informed of all the side effects of the medication you are taking.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Two fish swim into a concrete wall.  The one turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

My walk this evening was lovely, very quiet, cool and mosquito free.