Thinking Woman’s Weblog

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Natural Conrol for Fleas, Again June 10, 2009

Filed under: environment,health — Thinking Woman @ 2:06 am

Last year, I wrote up all the information I had learned about natural control of fleas. I thought I knew a thing or two. Some of what we did worked a bit, some didn’t do anything at all

Unfortunately, this spring, the fleas came back with a vengeance. They laughed at everything we tried, and I tried much harder than last year. I spent hours working diatamaceous earth into the carpets with a broom. Do not do this; it jammed up my vacuum cleaner, which I’ll be picking up from the repair shop Thursday, and caused us all to walk around with dusty feet, but it didn’t do a darned thing for the fleas. I did that right before we went away for a week and really expected to come home to a flea free zone. Wrong! They were worse than I’ve ever seen them. It is difficult to believe we have indoor cats!

Okay, so what worked? I just started, out of desperation, spraying the (freshly vacuumed and teeming with fleas) carpets with a spray that has something from orange peels. It is called Orange Guard Water Based Indoor/Outdoor Home Pest Control and I just ordered the gallon size to refill out container. I spray the couches too and this stuff really does the trick!

We still have lights with low soapy water and those do help. Many fleas volunteer themselves.

The cats still have fleas. We bought these cloth flea collars that you put a drop of an oil mix on daily. I am sure cats hate them and not at all sure they are helping. Poor cats. We were combing daily and that helps. We even resorted to bathing them, which affords them about 20 minutes of relief before the fleas all jump back aboard.

I am having trouble seeing the purpose of fleas in the greater scheme of things.


We got Chickens!!!! March 11, 2009

Filed under: environment,health,organic food — Thinking Woman @ 5:11 pm

I forgot to tell you! We got chickens a few weeks ago. Well, chicks, to be more precise.

I never really saw the point of having chickens before it was an option so I tuned it out when other people went on about it, thinking them a bit eccentric. Now I’ve joined the ranks!

My mom, who has lived in the city, asked why on earth anyone would want chickens? Like I’d gone nuts on her. I had to laugh; how insulting and we normally get each other on issues of health and environment.

There are so many reasons to get chickens! Here’s my list:

  • we will have access to organic eggs (more on this later)
  • they are inexpensive
  • they will help with the garden (by producing compost)
  • they are inexpensive
  • they are entertaining
  • they don’t take up much room
  • they are a great beginner “farm animal”
  • the girls love them and it’s a great experience for them
  • I needed to overcome a life-long fear of birds
  • they will reduce pests
  • they will scratch up the whole front yard so there will be no need to fuss with mowing
  • we already have a fenced in front yard

So, are the eggs organic? I have been supporting local egg suppliers because their chickens free range, which is awesome. But it turns out, most people are feeding their chickens some kind of dried pellets from the local feed and seed plus any kind of table scraps, perhaps even including chickens and lots of cooked meat, and giving them free access to bugs and plants. The latter part is cool with me, but I just don’t agree with whatever is in that bag from the feed and seed nor feeding cooked meat to any animal and especially I am weirded out about chickens eating chickens. I am sure they probably are meant to as they are not the brightest animal, but it should be raw, and well, raw poultry is a no-no so it’s just off the list for us.

I will be ordering organic feed once mine are off the chick food.

So far, the girls have been very easy. There was all this fuss about keeping them at such a high temperature when they were tiny but to be honest, they were not actually kept that warm and they are just fine. I put them in the coop way too early but they were just too big for the plastic bin and it was time to get them out of the house. They seem to like their coop and are starting to understand to go back in there for food and water, which makes it easier to lock them back up. For now, we only let them out if we are around as they draw hawks and we even saw a barred owl lurking about right in the middle of the day! This was when they were still in the house! The owl must have been seeing them through the window!


So-called “Health” food March 9, 2009

Filed under: health,organic food — Thinking Woman @ 2:54 pm

Lots of people, single income families especially, do whatever they can to save extreme amounts of money on their grocery bill.
Little wonder; other than real estate, in a frugal family, this is generally the highest expense and it’s wise to chip away at it where possible.

One such friend proudly posted a photo just now on FaceBook showing her latest shopping trip all proudly laid out on the counter.

I. Am. Stunned.

Well, no, I’m not, really. I’ve seen her post before what she’s spent on grocery trips and how much she saved by using shrewd tricks to get double coupons and BOGOs.

I ignore coupons because, by and large, they are not for anything I’d want to actually use! Here is what she proudly took home, and my opinion of each item:

  • 2 plastic enclosed cases of small bottled water (buy a filter; stop filling environment with plastic!)
  • Multi Grain Cheerios – many boxes (wheat is not healthy but we’ve been brainwashed it is, especially if it says Multi Grain)
  • Honey Bran Cheerios (more processed wheat crap)
  • Ocean Spray juice (full of sugar; we should never drink juice unless it’s freshly juiced. Devoid of nutrients)
  • Pillsbury flour or pancake mix (more wheat)
  • Lots and lots of cheese (way too much – must be having it for lunch and dinner daily)
  • Hellman’s Mayonnaise (sure full of preservatives and other nasties as is everything above – pesticides, antibiotics,  hormones, super processed)
  • Tropicana Orange Juice (again, no juice unless you juice it fresh plus this has additives and extra sugar added even if it says it doesn’t)
  • Gallon of milk (hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, pasteurized and homogenized so dead and not digestible)
  • Chocolate pudding (sugar and chemicals – ick!)
  • 1 pint strawberries (yahoo for something fresh. But oops – this is in the top 10 for Must Have Organic so still very bad)
  • 3 packs frozen spinach (Horrah for a green vegetable! But one that has been blanched and frozen and this in a country with easy access to fresh vegetables in abundance this time of year)
  • 4 pack yogurt (no live probiotics in this non-organic brand)

Okay, I had to get that off my chest since I can’t comment on FaceBook for obvious reasons. There she is, so proud to have come home with $200 worth of groceries for $70. I am sure she would be fine with paying $600/month for health insurance if the plan her husband has isn’t good enough, but groceries are not worth spending any extra on. Or rather, she believes she is feeding her family a healthy, balanced diet. I so wish more people understood what is really healthy food.


Metabolism increase! Finally! February 24, 2009

Filed under: health — Thinking Woman @ 2:37 pm

When I was in my 20s, I got fit for the first time in my life. I’d never done any exercise as a child, owing to the unfortunate circumstances of being severely anemic (undiagnosed), not a visual learner so it didn’t come naturally, and not coming from a family where physical ability was valued or promoted in any way. Luckily, I actually became fit quite easily as I did not have stick-to-it-ive-ness and would easily have given up if results were not quick.

I am glad I had the opportunity to see and feel the process of going from sluggishness to total fitness so I could really notice the changes to my body. That is helping guide me this time around.

One thing I am still waiting for is more energy. I already have a lot more energy than I did before I started applying myself, but I still feel like I’d rather lie around and read a book instead of getting off my butt and getting important things accomplished. Once I get moving, it’s now not a big deal to keep moving, unless I’m sick. Perhaps it’s a motivation issue. Perhaps it’s a thyroid issue. I don’t know. I’ll be addressing both my motiviation and any possibility of underlying health causes.

Anyway, today, I woke up hungry! My last two workouts, I continued my new trend of pushing harder and expanding the envelope. Sunday night, I incorporated a lot of new techniques from the podcast I blogged about. I hope I can continue to find the space in the gym to work out like that. I went from one station to the next and focused on holding at the heavy point and on slow negatives. I also focused a lot on legs and butt as they are the largest muscles so will increase metabolism when stimulated. I didn’t do anything all that long as I feel pretty foolish lunging around the gym or doing a zillion step-ups. I kept my heart rate bouncing – extremely high so I was sweating and panting and then just enough rest to catch my breath and on to more of the same or the next thing.

None of the new machines do butt for me so I sought out an ancient machine I remember already being dusty and rusty when I worked out in my 20s. It has some steps and you can put a padded waist belt on and do squats (or dips or whatever, but I can’t do those with just my own weight so I certainly can’t be adding more!) I don’t recall it being so difficult to get up with the waist belt on but I managed it. Maybe I was doing it wrong? I really had to crouch to get it up over my hips. I like doing squats that way as it doesn’t compress the spine. I really do not think it’s wise to put a heavy barbell across your shoulders. That’s not a good kind of pain. After the squats, I climbed up to the top step and jumped into the top of a pull-up and held it, then lowered myself down slowly until the point of dropping. That’s a bit scary as it’s impossible to know where the step is but I did find it every time.

Last night, I did the escalator. I don’t know what it’s really called but that’s what I like to call it. I set it to intervals and managed to get through a boring 15 minutes. My test of working hard enough is that I’m not feeling faint but I couldn’t easily manage a drink of water until about 20 seconds into my recovery interval. So one minute where I’m breathing very hard by the end and then, in that case, 1 minute of recovery. I would prefer more like 30 seconds to recover but that’s not how the program worked. I am learning to drink less water – just a tiny sip here and there so it’s not sloshing in my stomach. After that, I did this new (to my gym) arm pedaling machine that my husband thinks is a joke because you only see, um, rather large people on it. Yeah, sure, it can be nothing if you make it nothing, but if you set the level and pedal quickly, it gets the heart rate right up there. I know from years of aerobics classes that incorperating arms increases heart rate but sometimes, I just like to do arms so I can really focus on them instead of flail them around randomly. And do weight bearing heart rate increasing work. I felt like I could really get my back and abs into this and I am focusing more on doing that as much as I can think of it. I have finally learned that there are no abs exercise; the core is not meant to be worked separately but rather as part of whole body movements.

And today? I’m hungry! I woke up around 6:30 am and could not sleep any more. The bad news is I was stressed. I need to get my life to where I wake up calm and peaceful. The good news is I was rested and ready to get up instead of wanting to lounge for hours. After waiting a bit to be certain, I did get up and had a light breakfast. Two hours later, I was starving again. That’s the way to eat, anyway; so much better to split one large meal into two smaller meals. I know this but I haven’t been doing it. Actually, I was out of big bowls and that’s the main reason I had a small first breakfast. Whatever it takes! Now I know to just eat in a smaller bowl or plate to have a smaller meal and be hungry again two hours later. But that’s not all of it; I feel the way I felt in my 20s when my appetite was revved and I needed to eat all the time, and I do mean all the time! I have been researching like mad and, I thought, working out hard. But perhaps it was only hard for where I was then and now I am getting to what only took 2-3 months last time. I guess, now that I think about it, if it took 2-3 months and now it took 8 months, that is not horrible. I’m still getting there! I am starting to actually believe in the possibility of light at the end of the tunnel!!!


Bidet adjustments February 23, 2009

Filed under: environment,health — Thinking Woman @ 4:25 pm

I bought an inexpensive bidet on Ebay a few months ago and my husband finally got around to installing it a few weeks ago. It only does cold water, which takes getting used to, but not as much as you’d think.

The problem right now is it’s not entirely accurate. I just asked him about this and he thinks he can tweak the aim a bit. Just now it’s mostly shooting up my back. Nice.

He’s going to pull the nozzle forward a bit or move the whole contraption and here’s hoping it’s on target!

It did not solve the issue of needing toilet paper as it is such a directed spray as to only be useful for cleaning the tush. Oh well. I had hoped it would have more coverage and perhaps a pat dry with a wash cloth would do the trick. I guess I could still switch to using wash cloths once we’ve got it aiming correctly. We shall see! At least this is way more sanitary than just smearing! Ick!


Quick Fat Burning Workout Tips February 18, 2009

Filed under: health — Thinking Woman @ 7:43 pm

Stimulate greatest muscle mass and muscles greatest range of motion. Resistance training. To increase these use “intensity techniques”.

Ex: Squat (legs, butt, hips) – burn a lot of calories after workout over, much more than cardio does

Intensify by working different levels of strength during the movement. Pushing up is not the only important part. The lowering and static at top also can provide opportunity for intensity and stimulating more muscles. So try just negatives (using partner or machine). Choose higher resistance than you’d use. Move slowly and controlled. Start at bottom and ask help to get to top. Do none or little of pushing. 30% heavier than normal. Lower it yourself slowly for 7-8 seconds. Do that until you can’t.

Another tip is static level of exercise. Limited on exercises because not a lot of resistance on top of something like squat. But chinup – hold at top which uses a lot of muscles instead of just letting yourself drop. Static level of strength is strongest level, even greater than lowering. So have someone assist to top. Then just hold for as long as possible. This can last for a minute (not likely but possible). Maybe 10-15 seconds. You will be able to add 5-10 seconds per workout if you do these ever workout or every 2nd workout.

These are muscles you are not normally using. Also requires more rest. And shorter workouts. Reduces time spent exercises and perhaps get even better workout – in terms of strength building and calorie burning.


Burn Belly Fat Tips February 4, 2009

Filed under: health — Thinking Woman @ 7:29 pm

1. Cut artificial sweeteners (duh, did this 20 years ago)

2. Quit Sodium Benzoate (I don’t eat processed foods so I don’t even know what that is)

3. Exercise largest muscles (quads/glutes) – squat is good

Here’s a link –

Okay, I am long successful with steps 1 and 2 so it looks like I am not hitting step 3 hard enough. Yes, I’ve been working out hard for about 8 months. And I’ve been super fit before. But either results can’t come as quickly as I’d like due to my age or I am just not working hard enough/doing the right things/enough of the right things.