Tag Archives: health

Smash Fear, Learn Anything

November 3, 2012


Have you ever heard of the four-hour work week? I have not until this morning… but I think I’ve been living it for the past 10 years! The four-hour work week is a book, and a blog, run by “productivity guru” Tim Ferriss. Both his books (“The Four-Hour Work Week” and “The Four-Hour Body”) made The New York Times Best Seller List. I’ve also seen his “Smash Fear, Learn Anything” presentation on TED.com in which he relates his childhood fears and inhibitions, and how he learned to overcome them. The “Four-Hour Body” book doesn’t interest me much how to get muscles and etc, dull stuff to most women), but the “Four-Hour Work Week” sounds fascinating! According to Wikipedia: “The book warns against information overload, recommends what Ferriss calls “selective ignorance” and uses the phrase “lifestyle design.”

Oh my word, I think I have been living this way forever now! LOL. Those of you who have followed our blog here and seen how we have built back so much of this house with our own hands have commented on how you can’t believe we have this energy and gumption to do all this. But you know what– we simply do it. And it’s not because we are so special, it’s because we BELIEVE we can do it. We believe we can just learn how and go ahead and do it. I’ve been living my life more and more like this, and it’s very productive and rewarding.

I love how Ferriss warns against “information overload” and “lifestyle design.” That’s excellent advice. One very good example of information overload and crappy lifestyle choices is with the television. I know, I know, I’ve harped on this before… but the TV is so toxic. It does almost nothing to educate but rather forces us to conform — to be “dumbed down” to the lowest level. Public schooling is like that. Public schooling tries to make every child uniform, it’s a cookie-cutter system that makes a kid a jack of a trades but master of none. Human beings tend to “specialize.” Some specialize in many things, but it’s against the human psyche to know EVERYTHING. Children have certain “bents” and it’s up to the parents to know those bents and direct the child to the trade that will make him happy. And make him well-fed, that’s kinda important, too. But this is why, traditionally, children were out of school after 8th grade. By that time, they had learned the basics and could go on to higher education — as learned adults — to learn brain surgery or rocket science or whatever. Back then, the education was far superior because it didn’t need to be watered down and extended an extra 10 years. Kids don’t NEED to be in public schools forever. But the system makes a lot of money for some people and it’s become a “utility” now. Which is why we all love and admire the amazingly educated and socially graceful kids graduating from the schools every year, right? It’s “for the kids,” right?

Anyway, I’ve been called an over-achiever JUST BECAUSE I am so productive. I can’t believe people think I am an over-achiever — I’m not! It’s just that so many people are under-achievers. I don’t mean to be rude or offensive, but it’s the truth. I look back at our forefathers and see ALL the amazing things they did way back when, and I’m a slacker! And my gumption is not a personality trait, either. As a kid, I was horribly shy, miserable and depressed under an abusive and dark childhood. When I was a teenager, I realized that Jesus died to give me peace with God and with myself. I started to read the New Testament and decided to simply believe that I CAN DO ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

I don’t know much more about Tim Ferriss, but I agree with his findings. Surround yourself with only relevant, healthful, strengthening sources and YOU will become relevant, healthful and strong.

His findings aren’t some radical new idea, they’re actually Biblical, they’ve been around for as long as humans have been around. And God isn’t a crutch as non-thinking people say. God is GOD and He is powerful and He gives us the power to overcome our problems and difficulties instead of seeking drugs, TV, therapy and Oprah to soothe our fears.

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Vinegar For Sunburns? My Conclusion

August 4, 2011

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I’ve heard vinegar touted as the miracle product for everything: bad breath cure, tonic for long life, fabric softener for washing machines, rinse aid for dishwashers, and sunburn soother. Sure, vinegar cuts grease and is useful for many things, but I’ve been discovering that vinegar is no miracle cure for everything. It has its pros and cons just like everything else.

For one, while vinegar makes a good rinse aid for dishwashers and a cheap (but mediocre) fabric softener replacement for the wash load, vinegar does corrode some plastics– including some of the plastic seal parts that line our appliances. I recently did a little research into the effects of vinegar on rubber seals and my article was published on eHow. See my article at ehow.com/facts_10006845_vinegar-ruin-rubber-seals-appliances.html Will Vinegar Ruin the Rubber Seals on Appliances?

So vinegar is cool, it’s great for a lot of things. But it certainly isn’t the miracle cure for all the stuff I’ve heard about.

My curiosity was piqued this time when I heard about Rose Vinegar for Sunburns. I wrote the post too late in the rose blooming season to make rose vinegar, but I read that others tout plain, diluted vinegar as a superb homeopathic method for soothing sunburns. Some folks left comments that their very severe burns cleared up in HOURS, that the pain subsided instantly and that there was no peeling at all! The new miracle cure!

After reading all this, I thought, Gee, I’ll have to go get a sunburn and test this out!

Hoh boy, I got a sunburn. A bad one. It’s a surprise, because my skin has an olive complexion and I rarely, rarely burn. But I’ve been helping fix a flat roof and it’s been super-hot here in New York… and I got me a lobster-like shine, I do. Well, at least now I could try out the vinegar thing.

I poured a small amount in a bowl and diluted it with an equal amount of water. I’m not 100% sure if I was supposed to dilute it, but my burn is pretty bad and I didn’t want to put full-strength acetic acid on it! So I dabbed a cotton cloth in the solution and patted it onto my arms.

The vinegar cooled the burn. Or maybe it was the cool water. While it hurt to place anything on my arms, the coolness was refreshing. I did the vinegar thing for two days, until I got bored from lack of spectacular results.

My burn is still bad and it still hurts. No miracles here, no instant tan. The burn is peeling, and the skin is still very warm (after five days now). The vinegar did very little for the burn, except make the skin a little softer which provided some instant comfort.

My conclusion: vinegar does next to nothing for sunburn. It’d be easier to smear raw aloe vera on the skin, since the aloe is creamier and will stay on the skin to be absorbed. If you have a sunburn, save the vinegar for the salad.

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Rose Vinegar for Soothing Sunburns?

June 23, 2011

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I’m not going to wait until somebody gets sunburn to try this out, so I’m mentioning it here now in case any of you have heard of such a thing: rose vinegar for sunburns. Some gals in the natural herbal section of the blogosphere are praising it’s benefits. I am definitely going to try it. I’m curious like that.

Here’s how you make rose vinegar:

  • Fill a glass jar with fresh rose petals and leaves.
  • Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar.
  • Cap the jar with a PLASTIC lid! Vinegar will eat through a metal one and discolor your vinegar solution.
  • Allow the glass jar to sit for 3 to 6 weeks.

To treat a sunburn, pour 1/4 of a cup of rose vinegar into a bowl. Mix in a few cups of fresh, cool water. Dip a clean, cotton cloth into the rose vinegar and wring lightly. Dab the sunburned skin with the rose vinegar. Apply as needed. Rose vinegar also helps cool insect bites and stings and heat rash.

I am definitely going to make it! I’ll have my scientific results for you in a few weeks. šŸ™‚


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Renovation Tips for the Older Folks: Safety First

June 17, 2011



Get help from the young folks.

I’m only in my early 40’s, but I’m starting to feel the effects of getting older. Maybe it’s not age as much as very hard work. I’ve always worked rough, tough physical labor all my life. When I was a kid, my body seemed invincible. Now, however, I hear it complain from time to time. It’s not very loud complaining, but my body is hinting to me that it’s not as supple as it used to be. So I’m starting to pay attention more often.

Renovation is hard work. That’s why I love my power tools so much. šŸ˜€ It’s great to build muscles the size of cantaloupes, but it’s harmful to abuse your body for the sake of a renovation. Here are a few tips for taking care of your body– no matter what your age– that I have learned along the way.

1. Don’t forget to eat. And eat healthy foods!

I’m a tad obsessive when it comes to big projects. I tend to focus very narrowly on that one goal, even to the point where I skip meals or eat “fast foods” so I can get back to work. When I was younger, my body could cope with such abuse. But not anymore. With our living room renovation in 2007, I stuck to a rather rigid schedule of working on the house for 6 hours a day, then cooking dinner for the family. And I rested every night.

When we were working on the kitchen, it was a much larger project with many more things involved (wiring the entire house, replacing the plumbing system, etc). And I was on a time schedule. I HAD to finish the kitchen before the kids began school in the autumn.

I felt rushed and figured I could work and work and work. I skipped meals and lost sleep and also was working my writing jobs at the same time. It was really too much for my body. I lost some hair (it’s growing back as white), I gained weight (I never lose weight, ever), I was exhausted. Looking back now, I could kick myself. I just didn’t take care of myself like I should have.


We filled this dumpster. THREE TIMES.

So if you have a very physical job ahead of you: eat regular meals (no heavy meals); take your whole-food vitamins, as your body absorbs them better; eat healthy foods like fresh vegetables. Increase your protein intake, too. Nuts are good. Fish is good. Red meat and chicken are good, but I didn’t like to eat heavy meats every night, as they are more difficult to digest.

It really will make a difference!

2. Use safety equipment, when it’s safe to wear them.

This is another area where I tend to fail miserably. I wear glasses, and I just can’t stand the safety goggles! When it’s a hot summer day and I’m at the power tools, the goggles fog up. The plastic lenses are cloudy and blurry and I can never see clearly with them. How can it possibly be safer to wear those things?? My opinion is that it is not. I don’t wear safety goggles unless I’m working with caustic liquids.

I do use ear plugs, now. I didn’t during most of the renovation, but the piercing screams of the circular saw really started to bother me. Ear protection is important, use it.

Dust masks are indispensable. I forced the kids to use them at all times. They were a real pain, especially when it was very hot and humid, but they are necessary. Unfortunately, most of the dust masks available are for men– that is, they fit large faces. I am thinking of petitioning companies to consider women and teens when they make masks– we work, too!

DR Ceiling Down

Another little-mentioned safety tip is to use braces. Boy, these came in handy! Going up and down stairs, carrying buckets of bricks and plaster and stone… crawling around in crevices trying to wire the boxes…. my son developed a knee injury from all the activity, so we got him a knee brace. It worked wonders and he wears it whenever we do heavy physical work.

3. Create a quitting time and relax in the evening.

As mentioned earlier, I tended to want to work obsessively until the job was done. It was like my mind was on overdrive but my body was in neutral (and in reverse, sometimes!). I am aware that this is an area with which I’d still struggle if I was still renovating.. and I’m going to have to really force myself to cool my jets when we gut the upstairs of the house. But I do realize how important it is to rest after a hard day. Not only is it good for the body, but it helps your mind to recuperate, too.


Take a clue from the cat: REEEELAAAAX.


4. Keep the worksite clean.

I learned this from walking into my son’s room while he slept at night. When he was younger, he used to leave his Lego pieces all over the floor. Oh, those things are nasty when your foot finds them at 2am!

So when we created a few workbenches and brought in all the tools from the garage, we HAD to clean up everything before bed. No tools left around! If something like a Lego feels so awful, I could only imagine what it would be like to slam a toe into a pipe basin wrench! Oooo! >.<


Having a place for the tools also makes it easier to find what you need during the job!

5. Get someone else to do the gardening. :-p

Don’t overwhelm yourself with a zillion other projects during this time. I did the spring planting before we started the renovation, and had the kids manage the garden during the renovation. Toward the end of the season, the garden was filled with weeds, but I didn’t care. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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December 1, 2010

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It’s always so thrilling to see the first snow. šŸ™‚

We got our heaters installed– hallelujah!!! They are terrific, they keep the house INCREDIBLY warm and they will cost half of what it cost us to run that forced-air furnace (and keep us warmer, to boot). The Hubs did all the plumbing for the lines– he did a remarkable job. Hallelujah, hallelujah! I feel like Aesop’s ant, finally ready for the winter. What a relief.

I’m also starting to conscientiously improve my health. It came crashing down during the renovation. I am on a high-nutrient diet, and am taking probiotics and iron and flax seed and all sorts of wonky pills. Today was the first day I started to feel a little energy creep back in. It didn’t last terribly long, but for a while there I actually felt almost healthy! šŸ˜€ It’s a big start. The renovation took an awful lot of out me. I wasn’t eating right or sleeping much, and besides the renovation I was also working my job part-time and managing the kids’ school work. But the hard part is over. The house is entirely wired with updated electrical. The water supply is new. The old furnace and toxic ducting system is out. We have heaters, we have a kitchen that works— ALL is WELL. It was so worth it.

Anyway, let it snow! Let the cold come! My house is insulated and has heaters! WHAT a great feeling.

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