Hermiting

So grateful for the job that affords me the flexibility to hermit. I’ve left the house twice since the 15th. Once to get some zoomies out. I was going bonkers. And once to grab some fresh produce. Which was about a week ago and I’m mostly out of again. I am eating an inordinate amount of food. Mentally, I’m doing okay? The biggest challenge is probably feeling trapped in a tiny place where I don’t have room to walk without pacing. Because of that, I usually try to do something active daily to help me sleep. Otherwise, I take 5 steps to the kitchen and 5 to the bathroom and that’s about the extent of it. What I would give for a backyard right now! At least then I could go roll around in the yard or something.

Our incompetent administration that has painfully botched the handling of this pandemic has just decided to extend this physical distancing mission another month (4/30). Obviously too late. Frankly, I don’t think things will improve by then. Telling people who get sick to stay in their homes isn’t effective. They will infect their families. They or their family members will go out to get supplies and will infect others. Not testing more people regardless of symptoms is also a failure. Lying about the efficacy of masks rather than admitting the truth of an insufficient supply of them was a failure.

So about that prediction

I love finding out the end fast. I skip to the last episode of soaps or dramas. I’ll watch the end of a movie first before deciding if I’m going to commit the next hour or two. So it’s nice to find out, almost right away, that I was entirely wrong about almost everything. The economy is most decidedly not fine and toilet paper is the new currency. Although, I still might be right about the negative interest rates.

Be well. May the odds be ever in your favor.

2020 Prediction

This isn’t a prediction for 2020, but it’s a prediction made in 2020. It has nothing to do with what I wish. Otherwise, I’d put in winning the lottery on this list. It’s what I think is likely to happen.

  • The Republicans will win the Executive Branch for a second term. This will lose the Dems another Supreme Court seat.
  • The economy will be fine until late 2024.
  • The US Federal Reserve will have to dip into negative interest rates just like in Scandinavia and Japan.
  • Don’t buy coastal property or get any coastal timeshares. Actually, avoid timeshares in general. This isn’t a prediction so much as common sense.

Covid19

I went to the Asian grocery store to get my pantry staple hulking bag of rice. I ran out late last year and have gone without rice for too long. While at the Asian market, Mom got me so spun up about this virus, we quickly grabbed random greens, some noods, miso paste. While debating over the choices of miso, an old Asian gramps standing by the miso paste let out a big cough and it concluded our miso debate. We were in such a frenzy to get out that halfway to the car, I realized we didn’t get the hulking bag of rice. I went back in for round two. I’ve had rice daily since. Glorious.

Moral of the story – Eat rice, not animals.

Curing UTIs without Antibiotics

Go see a doctor if your pee-hole burns. There. Now that that’s out of the way, on with the quack show!

Don’t get me wrong, I love antibiotics. I’d be dead by now without them more than likely. But they’re my solution of last resort because microbiome – good. Scorched earth on microbiome – not so good. It’s the body’s personal pharmacy. Unfortunately I get UTIs sometimes 2 or 3 times a year. For a few years, they went away and I thought I was so superstar! And while I still am so superstar, they’re back. In the past, I’ve always taken antibiotics to clear them up because I thought that was how it was done. And every doctor I’ve asked has told me antibiotics are the solution for UTIs. So that’s why I put that out there first. If you listen to a doctor, they will advise you not to listen to any of this horseshit I’m about to share. And that is fine. For me, this worked. I’m here to share my experiences. Learn from my n=1 experiment so to speak.

Experiment 1:

  • Duration – 1 day.
  • Symptoms – Interrupted sleep – woke early; mild discomfort (pressure) in the area; burning sensation when peeing.
  • Solution –
    • Drank a lot of garlic-ginger tea (hot water over smashed garlic cloves and ginger slices). Drink constantly.
    • Rinse with warm salt water after every pee. Mix salt in warm/hot tap water in a big vessel and pour it over that area to clean it.
  • Result – I felt better that day, and it was gone the next day.

Experiment 2:

  • Duration – UTI discovered day 2. How do I know it was day 2? Well, I remembered which day sex happened – yes sex ->UTI. No secret there. Also I vaguely recalled the prior day having cloudy funky pee, and that can be an early sign as well – I just didn’t realize it at the time since I wasn’t uncomfortable.
  • Symptoms – Since it was day 2, things were already feeling more burny. Also a little blood in the pee. It was Sunday though so the local urgent care center was closed and Monday was a holiday so I was just going to have to tough it out.
  • Trial and Errors –
    • Sunday (day 2): Garlic does not work. I repeat, garlic can ward off vampires only, not UTIs. I ate probably a bulb of raw garlic. Nothing.
    • Monday (day 3): Still burning and pink pee. I kept downing garlic. Garlic and I had a bit of a falling out that day.
    • Tuesday (day 4): I finally got antibiotics because the urgent care was opened. Yay! I didn’t take them though. I just wanted them in case I couldn’t shake it myself. Still bloody pee. I got a bag of frozen cranberries, and blended them with some hot water, a piece of ginger, and some apple cider vinegar. This stuff works.
    • I drank it throughout the day (sometimes in super tart strong smoothies and sometimes super watered down to give my stomach a break. Do this for two weeks to make sure everything is truly cleared.
      After the first smoothie, the relief was immediately noticeable. That kind of instant “feel better” felt almost antibiotic-like.
      • The immediate relief can be misleading. I thought I cleared the infection. But turns out I hadn’t fully cleared it. (I actually switched to bear berry after a day of cranberry smoothie and my UTI returned after a week. Bloody pee. I then did this cranberry smoothie for two weeks and it finally cleared.)

TL;DR – Try drinking blended up whole cranberries with some ACV throughout the day for two weeks. I added ginger but I don’t think the ginger is the magic. It’s the whole blended cranberries.

I cleared this UTI without antibiotics.

Also something I learned from my coworker: after sex, pee, then drink, then pee again. I think for those of us prone to it, it’s important to do that because by my experience, peeing just the once clearly doesn’t work!!

Also I plan to have frozen cranberries in my freezer at all times. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to periodically have a cranberry smoothie.

Things I’ve tried that did not work:

  • Parsley tea (boil a bunch of parsley and drink it down. (I ate all the boiled parsley too.)
  • Baking soda water – I drank a lot. It did nothing and tasted not so good.
  • Cranberry juice – This did not work for me. Blended whole fresh or frozen cranberries worked for me.
  • Garlic/Ginger – Make great stir-fry! Nothing for UTIs.
  • Uvi Ursa (Bear Berry) – I drank lots of it for three days. Maybe I didn’t take it long enough. At any rate, it didn’t clear up bloody pee right away like the cranberry smoothie does.

Micro Plastics

While I’m on the topic of plastic clothing, I wanted to share something new I learned this weekend. And that is that every time we wash plastic clothing, some of the fibers slough off and end up in our oceans. So cold wash, gentle cycle helps minimize that as does washing the clothes less frequently (makes them last longer too). There’s also a product called GuppyFriend that Patagonia sells ($30) that supposedly catches 99% of the fibers. I don’t have one yet. At any rate, that bit of news killed my activewear shopping rampage. What a bummer.

Before this whole social-media-induced-fitspo-athleisure-wear-that-resurrected-polyester-from-the-80s thing took off, cotton was my workout fabric preference anyway. Who cares if it showed sweat. I’m exercising!! That’s what happens. But then everything became leggings and sweat wicking technology and dri-whatever, which does feel nice. On the other hand, I had always had this thought that plastic on my skin mixed with heat, sweat, and open pores seemed like a bit of a toxic bath. So all this is to say I’m not tossing any of my leggings that I just bought these past few months, but I’m hopping off this bandwagon for now. It was a fun ride. I’ll give the GuppyFriend a try and reassess.

For all those still on board (I don’t blame you! Leggin’s for miles!), I found this company that makes high quality leggings using recycled plastic bottles. Girlfriend Collective. Actually, their site is where I learned about microfiber plastics. Otherwise I was about ready to buy another last pair of leggings!

Happy Earth Day!

A report came out about a month ago saying the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere is measuring at 405 parts per million – a record high. Since scientists have been tracking it at Mauna Loa in 1958, increases in carbon dioxide levels have averaged about 2 parts per million each year. These past two years (2015 & 2016), it’s been increasing at 3 ppm each year. It’s accelerating and compounding.

During the Paris Climate talks, we kept hearing about this magical two degrees figure. The message being we need to keep the planet from warming an additional two degrees Celcius, since we’ve been measuring (in the 1800s). To give you an idea, for the past 10,000 years, Earth’s temperature has been fluctuating by around one degree. It wasn’t until recently when we started using fossil fuels that the temperatures have undergone this steady increase.

So why two degrees? It’s just a goal so that maybe countries can try to do their part to curb carbon emissions. And maybe it’s scientists’ guesstimate of the level that humans can tolerate. Because CO2 is a major contributor to global warming and it appears to be increasing at an accelerating rate, I think two degrees is an optimistic target. Realistically, we’re on our way to exceeding that.

There are currently about 7 billion people on the planet. Even with decreasing global birthrates since the 1950s, the population is projected to exceed 10 billion in less than 100 years due to longer lifespans. No matter how conservatively we live, even if we were all in developing nations and didn’t drive cars, energy requirements alone for 3 billion more will probably push us over the 2 degrees. Scientists are predicting 2 to 4 feet sea level rise this century, and more if the Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets collapse. Speaking of, a few days ago, scientists observed a new crack in one of Greenland’s glaciers. It’s not really new, just newly noticed. It appeared last summer. As these glaciers break off into the ocean, or calve, the melting of the land ice will accelerate and so will sea level rise.

Global temperatures rising aside, at what point of CO2 levels in the atmosphere does it affect people? Some studies show that at 1,000 ppm, we start showing cognitive decline. But what about long term effects of exposure at lower levels?

Now here I’ve been living my life trying to be more informed of my contribution to the carbon footprint. I’ve been of the belief, maybe naively, that I can do my part to live more gently and leave as small a mark as I can. I wonder though, if it’s too late anyway, maybe we should just party like it’s 1999 and let the consequences play out as they will regardless. Is this what climate change deniers think? That this is the last hurrah, and the every-man-for-himself moment? I flit between these two thoughts. That maybe dash it all, we should live it up, screw the pooch. Or there’s still hope if we all do our part. Try as I do to remind myself that it’s probably futile, the optimist in me won’t give up.

Gym Classes and Noise Level

I’ve been going to gym classes for the past six months or so and I’m fighting a losing battle when it comes to ear protection.  They blast the music to the point where the ground is rumbling and then to make sure we can hear the instruction, they then turn their microphones even louder.  I’ve tried every corner of the class, asking instructors to turn it down, speaking with management, and even wearing ear plugs. As much as they have helped to make it less painful on my ears, the classes are still deafeningly loud, even with earplugs.  I’m considering cancelling my membership to save my ears.

I read a Reddit thread not too long ago about the one thing people would tell their younger selves.  An inordinate amount of responses had to do with not being stupid in their young age about their hearing.  We’re already surrounded by a constant barrage of noise pollution all around us.  Traffic, sirens, television, the hum of fluorescent lights.  I want to be physically fit and strong, but I want that without sacrificing my hearing.

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

After my uninformed purchase of the Bourjois foundation which turned out to test on animals (and isn’t very good anyway), I started looking up more information on cruelty free beauty products. It turns out that a lot of cosmetics that carry that label aren’t necessarily so. If a company sells to the Chinese market, they’re required to test on animals. A brand that’s technically cruelty free could be owned by a parent company that tests on animals. So the list of truly cruelty free brands is actually pretty short. Which in a way simplifies things for me. Fewer options makes for easier decision-making.

Based on what I’ve found these are the ones I use or have used that I think are still truly cruelty free:

  • 100% Pure (they sell to China but explain on their website how they do it without testing on animals).  I like their products but they’re expensive.
  • Rejuva Minerals – I like their loose powder foundation, which I use as a finishing powder or just by itself as a lighter foundation.
  • Mineral Fusion – Only tried the lip tint and 3-in-1 Color Stick and like them both.  The Color Stick is a natural looking blush for everyday.
  • Andalou Naturals – Excellent BB and CC creams for everyday use.  I love their 1000 Roses line.
  • Pacifica – My only gripe about their stuff is the perfumes.  It’s on the stronger side.
  • Juice Beauty – Good but expensive.

In threes

First, it was the cellphone. Not my pink phone, of course. That phone is indestructible. It was the smart phone. The battery swelled up and became unusable. The guy at the phone store was even afraid it would explode. Geez.

Second, the Internet. The magic box that grants Internet to our place stopped working.

Third, the TV. We turn it on and the picture comes out blurry on one side, with double horizontal pictures. It eventually cleans up on its own but this is the beginning of the end for that television.

So yeah. Hopefully, that’s done.