The Neighbor

image

The last time Pat saw her neighbor, they argued. That was almost a year ago. The last time they spoke, they discussed, but it was a really an argument. Even a veiled threat from him.

Then, there was an emergency. A little boy was lost in their farming neighborhood.  Everyone pitched in to help look for the little boy. He helped too. His children were with him. Pat assured him she would watch them. She had always loved them.

He walked over and hugged her. Pat still doesn’t understand. He didn’t like her anymore.

They found the little boy in the field behind the old scarecrow. Hiding. Pat considered hiding from the neighbor.

FFfaw Challenge

*Photo compliments of Louise at The Storyteller’s Abode

 

 

 

 

Traveling with Insulin-Dependent Diabetes: Your Insulin Supplies

image

Can you travel, comfortably, when you have diabetes and have to take insulin? That was a question I had many years ago when I first had to start taking insulin for diabetes. I wrote about my diabetes odyssey in My Life with Diabetes, but I did not address the issue of traveling. There are two major issues associated with traveling with insulin-dependent diabetes: how to carry your insulin supplies and how to eat while you are traveling. This blog post addresses how to carry your insulin supplies.

For those of you who are diabetic and take insulin, you already know you have to plan ahead to travel with your insulin supplies. You may be wondering how you’re ever going to do it. For others, you may have figured out your plan. I like things simple. I like to be a normal person. I want to walk through the world and not think about diabetes. I also like to travel. So, I’m going to share my plan with you. Traveling with insulin-dependent diabetes does require a plan. But, it doesn’t have to be daunting.

I use insulin pens to take my insulin. They make taking insulin simple. You dial up your dose, screw on a pen needle, and stab yourself. Doesn’t hurt. Over and done with. You can take your insulin virtually anywhere. I take two types of insulin, so I carry two pens with me and enough pen needles to last several days. If I am going to be gone longer than that, more needles go in my luggage. The insulin pens will last 30 days without refrigeration.

You also have to carry your blood sugar meter, the lancet holder you use to prick your finger to test your blood sugar, and enough test strips to test your blood sugar the required number of times per day. You also may want to keep a few extra lancets with you to use to prick your finger.

We’re not finished yet! Always have something with you to eat, discreetly, if you feel your blood sugar dropping. If you’re engaging in more physical activity than usual, such as walking around and being a tourist, you may have instances where your blood sugar drops. Being out in the heat also causes many diabetics to have blood sugar lows. Keep a few lifesavers in your pocket or purse. They will get you by until you can have a meal. If it is going to be awhile before you have a meal, keep something like Nabs or some kind of cracker with you.

If you take insulin using a vial of the drug and a needle (syringe), then put those in your kit instead of the insulin pens and pen needles. They take up a little more space, but just keep your extra needles in your luggage. Most vials of insulin also last 30 days without refrigeration. If you are staying in a hotel, you can always ask for a room with a mini-refrigerator.

Now, we’re ready to put all this together. I have a very nondescript little black pouch that I use for my insulin supplies and I fill it up and stick it in my purse. Here are the contents of my insulin supply kit:

2 insulin pens, enough pen needles for three shots per day, blood glucose meter, bottle of test strips, lancet holder, a few extra lancets, a number of lifesavers

Make sure you have enough insulin to meet your needs in your insulin pens or vial and that you have enough pens or vials with you in your luggage, along with extra supplies, if you are going to be gone very long. Due to today’s travel restrictions, if I am going to be flying to my destination, I also carry a letter from my doctor explaining that I am diabetic and require insulin (and needles) for the condition. You never know what you will be asked for at airport security though I have never been questioned and no one has ever asked to see my letter.

Traveling with insulin does not have to be difficult with a little planning, but you do have to think ahead.

Stay tuned for a blog post on eating when traveling, which also can be daunting! #writing #amwriting #blogging #DiabeticConnect #dailyprompt

The Solace of Water

Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.

— John Muir

image

There is nothing that soothes me like the sound of water. A babbling brook, crashing ocean waves, a trickling stream, waves sloshing against the sand at low tide, the rain on the roof. Those water-related sounds of nature. I think they are built into our DNA. They were there in the beginning .They still soothe me like nothing else.

There are many scientific studies that have researched the effect of water on our brains. Some scientists believe that our brains are hardwired to react positively to being around water, that it calms us and even makes us more creative, and puts us in a mild meditative state. One scientist, Walter Nichols, wrote a book entitled, “The Blue Mind,” which discussed how being around water may even be able to heal what is broken in our brains and increase our happiness and satisfaction with life. He says that water gives our brains some downtime, a rest, which most of us need.

When we hear water or are around water, our “blue” mind takes over and puts us in a state of “we” versus “me.” We can stand at the edge of a large lake or look across the ocean and get a sense of vastness and that there is something larger than ourselves. That helps us put life into perspective.

There are physical health benefits from water as well. The more seafood we eat, the better off we are. Most seafood is full of omega-3’s which increase brain growth. The more we eat, the bigger our brains get. Scientists have also discovered that the more fish you eat, the happier you are.

Then there is our body composition. The human body is about 60% water. The brain and heart are around 73% water and the lungs are 83% water. We, as human beings, feel comfortable being around water. A normal sized male needs a little more than a gallon per day of water to survive. A normal sized female needs about one-half gallon. Water has vital functions in our body. It regulates our temperature. It helps metabolize our food in order to move the nutrients into our cells. It lubricants our joints. It flushes out toxins from our bodies. It helps produce saliva. And much more.

No wonder we like to be around water and that water soothes us! It’s part of us.

I crave being near the ocean and, unfortunately, I live in a land-locked state. I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel and spend considerable amounts of time near the ocean. The only ocean I haven’t seen is the Indian Ocean. The wildest ocean I’ve ever experienced is the part of the North Atlantic called the North Sea. The calmest ocean is part of the Atlantic as well – the Gulf of Mexico. No matter which ocean  I’ve been to, those swooshing sounds of the waves relax my brain and body and let me leave myself for just a little while. That’s all I need. #blogging #writing #amwriting #environment #dailyprompt

 

 

 

Clutter and Stuff

image

Clutter. You know. The stuff you have lying around that you think you might need. That you’re sure you will need……some time, some day. Won’t you? What exactly is clutter? Clutter can be defined as anything we don’t need, want, use or anything that takes up space we need, or our time, our energy, or that destroys our serenity. Do you know where I got that definition? From an organization called Clutterers Anonymous! Yes, there is such an organization. I couldn’t believe it either.

I hate clutter and have been systematically going through my life trying to eliminate clutter. Clutter is, of course, items like clothes you can’t wear anymore, gifts you have received and can’t use, things you have bought and don’t like, books and papers you think you might need but don’t, and unnecessary items stuffed in storage bins and facilities. But, that isn’t all clutter is. It is also unfulfilling relationships, activities we don’t enjoy, and other psychological “junk” that we hold on to because we always have. Our minds can become cluttered just like our surroundings. Clutter seems to multiply of its own accord.

Where did this clutter problem start for so many of us? Many say it comes from fear. Instead of buying one of something, we buy two. We think if we need one, we might need two because that one might wear out, break, become unusable. Maybe we were taught in our childhood to fix things that break instead of throwing them away or to save things we buy because someone might need them. Those broken things and possible gifts pile up. If our clutter problem is bad enough, we feel hopeless. We feel we can never get rid of all the clutter. We have forgotten how to organize. Finally, clutter spills out of our drawers and our closets. It becomes embarrassing and overwhelming. Our hopelessness and helplessness over the clutter becomes worse. Clutterers realize they have a problem with their excess possessions.

Not only have I grown to hate clutter in my own life, I am growing to dislike “stuff.” The trappings of life that we feel we have to have in order to live. What “stuff” is differs for all of us though I think it may have similarities within social classes. We, in the U.S., don’t freely admit that we have a social class structure but we do. In Great Britain, they have always had a relatively well-defined social class system, more so in the past than now, but it still exists. They admit it.

The U.S. middle class, at least in my age group, still wants a nice home. Nothing wrong with that. It is the “stuff” that goes into those nice homes that gets out of hand. I’m as guilty of this “stuff” issue as anyone reading this blog post. Most of us want the good furniture, reasonably nice art on the walls, the latest appliances, the most up-to-date everything, as well as the accessories to pull it all together and make it into our idea of home. Outside of our homes, there are two or three cars, maybe a boat or RV. Nice lawns and landscaping. Individually, we want clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewelry for every occasion. I’m particularly guilty of this clothes issue! Everyone is different regarding how much stuff they like and can live with.

Last year, about this time, my house flooded and I lost a great deal of what I had. My stuff. See my Time to Rebuild blog post. It was devastating. I was most devastated by the loss of the interior of my house but the loss of my stuff was almost as bad. Until I started to move back into my house and started going through all the stuff. I realized how much of it I really did not want or need. How much was unnecessary to my life as it was in the present. How much was just old stuff stored in closets in boxes and was meaningless at this point in my life. So I started sorting. Soon, I stopped sorting and started pitching and throwing. It felt liberating. We moved much less back in than we moved out.

Now, I’m careful what I bring back into my home. I’ve found, once again, that I enjoy people more than stuff. I’ve renewed old friendships, old relationships, and those people are so much more valuable to me and enjoyable than “stuff.” My possessions were not giving me joy. The people in my life do, indeed, give me joy. I’m as careful about new relationships as I am about new stuff. New relationships have to be really worth it to be brought into my life. Otherwise, they are just so much stuff.

Our society has become so fractured and many of us have become so fearful that we surround ourselves with stuff instead of people. A problem we need to try to fix if we are to regain our American optimism and happiness.

 

*Image by Jonathan Billinger at SO3951

#weekendcoffeeshare 6/25/2016

image

If you stopped by for coffee, I would tell you about the apple orchard that is near my home. “Oh, hello Jenn.There you are. I didn’t know if you were stopping by today or not,” I said. My friend, Jenn, just came through my side door. “I’m sorry I’m late, Rosemary. It’s been a crazy, busy week and I’m running behind.” “No problem,” I said. “Would you like a cup of coffee? You can grab the pot off the counter.”

Jenn grabbed the coffee pot and we took our drinks out to the front porch. It was gearing up to be a hot day. “Jenn,” I said, “Do you ever can or freeze food?” “Yes, I do,” Jenn replied. “What have you got in mind?”

So I told Jenn about the apple orchard near my house. I can remember my grandmother and my aunt freezing a little yellow apple that they called June apples. They were a little tart and required some sugar to bring out their flavor. Here, on the fringes of Appalachia, you can still find them if you look really hard. Some farmer’s markets have them, but only for a short period of time. They are ready to pick in late June and early July; thus, their name of June apples. June apples are also delicious when you use them to make fried apples which people in this part of the world love, especially for breakfast.

I went ahead to tell Jenn that the apple orchard near me was a June apple orchard and you could go there and pick all you want. I’m going to do that on Monday. Jenn decided she wanted to go with me and then we will freeze a batch of apples for the winter. June apples are easy to freeze. Here is how you do it:

Freezing June Apples

1. Wash the apples under cold, running water.

2. Peel and core apples. Some people find it easiest to use an apple peeler.

3. Cut the apples into slices. You have to decide what size slice suits your purpose.

4. Get out a cookie sheet and cover it in parchment paper.

5. Brush each apple slice with lemon juice to prevent browning. You can use reconstituted lemon juice or diluted juice from lemons.

6. Place the apple slices on the cookie sheet. Be sure they don’t touch each other so each slice freezes individually.

7. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Do this for all the apple slices you have.

8. After all the apple slices are frozen individually, remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in separate freezer containers. I recommend freezer-safe plastic bags. Just press all the air out of the bags. This way, you can remove any amount of apple slices you want  to use in a variety of dishes. Fried apples, apple pies, and more.

9. Now you have a supply of apples to last you all winter! Wasn’t that easy?

Jenn was thrilled with her new recipe and now we have plans to visit the apple orchard on Monday. We have really enjoyed our #weekendcoffeeshare this week!

*weekendcoffeeshare is sponsored by parttimemonsterblog.com

 

 

The Brexit Vote: Does it Foretell the American Election

image

Great Britain’s Brexit vote refers to the decision by the populace of Great Britain this week to leave the European Union (EU). A decision with wide-reaching implications not only for Great Britain but for the rest of the 28-nation EU, the United States and perhaps the rest of the world. One of the most important issues of the Brexit referendum was immigration into Great Britain. The U.S., of course, has the same issue that is a hot button for the 2016 Presidential election.

At the risk of over-simplification, the EU stressed freedom of movement among its member states. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, he embraced the British integration into the EU. When eastern European countries joined the EU, many other European countries put immigration limits in place. Great Britain did not. Since then, three-fourths of the immigrants into Great Britain have not been European at all but of other nationalities. The immigration wave has been massive with the new arrivals stressing Britain’s welfare system, environment, and almost every other resource available to the British people. It should not be lost, however, that not an inconsiderable amount of the hatred of new immigrants had more than a little to do with racism and bigotry.

This begs the question of why wasn’t, under Prime Minister David Cameron, some sort of immigration reform put into place? Was taking the step of withdrawing from the EU actually necessary? It seems like a case of closing the barn door after the horses got out.

Of course, many draw the parallel between the immigration problem in Great Britain and that in the United States. I see a real difference. The United States has immigration laws already on the books. Enforcing them would go a long way toward solving the problem of illegal immigrants in the U.S. just like enacting immigration reform would have done much to help Great Britain.

Along with immigration, Brexit was also a response to globalization. It can be argued that it is a step toward de-globalization or nationalism. Globalization has been a movement in countries like Great Britain and the U.S. since World War II. Globalization involves free trade of goods and services across borders. In the case of Great Britain, that means that trade is tariff-free within the EU. Will the EU still allow tariff-free trade when Great Britain withdraws? We will see. Perhaps not.

Many countries have literally stopped producing many items needed by their people due to globalization. They rely on trade agreements with other nations to provide what their population needs. The United States has such trade agreements with a number of nations. For example, the U.S. no longer has a manufacturing economy. If there is a nationalist President, like Donald Trump, elected that tears down the trade agreements in the U.S., one has to wonder where the manufacturing plants and skilled labor will suddenly come from to produce what the U.S. citizenry need. The same questions can be asked about Great Britain. Will they suddenly be importing everything they need and paying tariffs? One can sense economic disaster.

So what happens now due to Brexit? In the short-run, the world financial markets reacted drastically negative. Manufacturers and financial institutions are threatening to pull out of Great Britain. Scotland will probably have a referendum on freedom from Great Britain and succeed. Other short-term effects are bound to be felt. The world as Europe knows it will change. We have no way to know what the long-term effects will be yet. The same may happen in the United States if Donald Trump, the GOP presumptive nominee, wins the 2016 Presidential election. #Brexit #realDonaldTrump #writing #amwriting #blogging

My Daydream Voyage

image

I take a voyage almost every day. Sometimes several times a day. I’ll drift off from my work or whatever else I’m doing and go somewhere I’ve been before…….or somewhere I’ve never been, but only in my mind. I recall my favorite places and people. Don’t we all do this? Some of my voyages are very private and I won’t recount them here. Others are not as private and I can share them with you. I will tell you a little about one of my favorite places to voyage…….

There is a small island off the coast of Florida. It is not one of those touristy, popular islands like Sanibel Island, for example, although it is near Sanibel. It is not as well-known or as well-traveled. It is a barrier island in the Gulf off the coast of Ft. Myers. At one end of the island is a wonderful Greek community. At the other end, there is a small town made up of island folks and people who live there largely in the winter. There is quite a population that lives there year round in between. Hurricanes seldom plague this part of Florida.

Because this island does not have a large population of tourists, you feel like one of the community when you’re there. I like that feeling when I travel. There is an art gallery, library, grocery, drug store, a couple of cool bars with the best grouper you’ve ever eaten, a great restaurant or two…really all you need. Most people get around on bicycles and there are wide sidewalks just for that purpose. I live on great seafood when I’m there. I’ve even considered moving there, but there is never any real estate for sale. The real estate isn’t as expensive as you might think but it just never goes up for sale. That probably says something about the desirability of living on the island.

I feel safe there. I can walk and bike around and never worry. I can walk my dog. The island has a large population of wood storks, a species a little different from the traditional stork we are all familiar with. They beg for hot dogs, which I do not feed them. Everyone smiles and laughs. It’s a happy place. Sometimes, when I drift off, I think of this island and what a happy place it is and I take a brief,mental voyage there. Suddenly, I’m happy too, just thinking of that jewel of an island sparkling in the Florida sunshine against the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. How I wish I could be there!  But, I’ve enjoyed the mental voyage I have just taken with you! #blogging #amwriting #writing

Bluegrass Musician, Ralph Stanley, Dies

image

Ralph Stanley, one of the earliest pioneers of traditional bluegrass music, died June 23, 2016 at the age of 89. Dr. Stanley, who received an honorary doctorate of music from Lincoln Memorial University, died of complications from skin cancer.

Stanley, along with his brother, Carter, teamed up with their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946 and began to develop what is now known as bluegrass music through the adaptation of Appalachian folk music. Ralph Stanley played banjo; Carter Stanley, who passed away at a young age in 1966, played guitar. Stanley continued as a solo artist. He and the Clinch Mountain Boys played for most of the next 50 years. He and his band served as a mentor for such bluegrass artists as Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs.

Stanley was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Living Legends award. A coup in his career occurred when he appeared on two movie soundtracks, “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” and “Lawless.” He continued touring into his 80s.

Stanley is survived by his wife, three children, and many grandchildren and great grand-children. #RalphStanley #writing #amwriting #blogging

*Image by armadilo60 at Flickr.com 2009

Appalachia and Food: Potato Pancakes

image

Friday Fare to Appalachia

The Appalachian culture is all about food. Appalachian farmers and truck gardeners worked the land to grow the basics for their family. They had a hard-scrabble existence. Some of the basics among the vegetables were corn, squash, and potatoes. Not much rice was eaten in Central Appalachia even though rice was a daily dish in the south. In the mountain territory, the land was not suitable to grow rice. The people substituted potatoes for rice.

A dish I learned to fix from my mother, and one that everyone loved, is the potato dish featured today. We called them Potato Cakes. Some called them Potato Pancakes. My mother sometimes fixed them for breakfast, sometimes for dinner. They were a favorite. Very filling and somewhat nutritious for people working hard physical labor later in the day. This is a very plain dish enjoyed by plain people. One thing you will notice about many of the Appalachian recipes is that measurements are often either non-existent or approximate. You have to experiment until it tastes the way you want. It isn’t hard, I promise!

Potato Cakes

Leftover Mashed Potatoes – as many as you have!

1 -2 eggs depending on how many potatoes you are using

Skim milk – enough to just wet the potatoes and allow you to stir them

Stir together the first three ingredients. Make sure the consistency is medium thick but stirable.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Regular Flour – Add enough regular flour, a tbsp at a time, to make the potato mixture stick together and to enable you to pat it into cakes.

Pat the mixture into pancake-size cakes.

Prepare a skillet by melting several tbsps of butter (or margarine) in it. Melt it slowly and don’t let it burn.

When the butter/margarine is melted, add as many potato cakes as the skillet will hold. Fry them until they bubble on top. Then turn them with a spatula. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Remove and place on paper towel-covered plate.

Serve and enjoy!

Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2016

Image by sylvar Flickr 2016

 

 

 

 

 

The Second Amendment, State Militias, and Paramilitary Groups

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The above is the text of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. One of the hot button issues of our time. It is interesting to read the Second Amendment. It sounds so simple. The effects have been so wide-ranging in the times in which we find ourselves. I contend that one of the problems with the interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it has two parts. I only want to address the first part of the Second Amendment.

The first part addresses a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State. Militia does not mean the National Guard although some interpret it in this way. Militia means a policing body in each of the 50 states. The Founding Fathers wrote this into the Constitution in order that the states would have the means to protect themselves in the case of a federal government gone wild. They are under the control of the governor of each state.

image

According to sources, all 50 states do not have active militias. The state militias that are active seem to be a fluid thing so it is difficult to find an accurate list of those that are active at any given point in time. Some define the membership of the state militias as the police forces in the states. That may be true for some states but it is not true for all states. Some states’ militias are composed of general citizenry with police perhaps being a part of the militia. Perhaps not. The members of some state militias are known to the general citizenry. Others prefer not to be known.

Still other state militias have devolved into paramilitary anti-government groups rather than militias that protect the citizenry in times of crisis. The question is do these anti-government paramilitary groups that call themselves state militias have as their purpose the protection of all the citizenry of their state against the tyranny of the federal government? Do they have another purpose? If they are protecting the citizenry of their state against tyranny, how do they define tyranny? The definition of tyranny according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is two-fold. First, it is defined as the cruel and unfair treatment by people with power over others and second, as a government in which all power belongs to one person, the rule or authority of a tyrant. I contend that some of the paramilitary groups practice tyranny themselves.

State militias that are truly state militias and that intend to protect each and every citizen against tyranny should stand up and be counted. They should certainly be well-armed. I do not agree that they no longer have a purpose. I think they will always have a purpose.

But there is another issue. What about the anti-government paramilitary groups that exist that are too cowardly to stand up and be counted and would rather operate in secret and in the dark? Many pretend they are state militias but we all know what they really are and they are not state militias. They are nothing more or less than terrorist groups right here on our own soil. Their purpose is to terrorize at least a group of our citizens. They are a scourge. I have no hope that they can be rooted out. I do have hope that fewer and fewer American citizens will allow themselves to be recruited by such organizations and that more will actively campaign against them. They think they can quietly and secretly take over our country while we aren’t paying attention. I hope they are wrong. #blogging #amwriting #writing