Sunday, October 24, 2010

Green Tomato Relish

Amounts are approximations. I suspect the tomatoes are acid enough that this can be safely canned in a boiling water bath, but don't count on that until I have done some research. I will test later and report back. (I am waiting for some pH test strips--if the pH is under 4.5 it is safe.)

5 lbs green tomatoes
2 lbs sweet onions
2 tblsp picking spice plus an additional 1/2 teasp cardomon seed in a mesh ball
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup cider vinegar plus perhaps another 1/4 cup to taste at the end
3/4 cup sugar

Coarsely chop the onions and tomatoes, add the other ingredients, and cook over low heat until they release liquid. Then cook at a simmer until very soft, a total of about 2 hours. I pureed about 4 cups of the mixture briefly in the blender to make the sauce thicker. Adjust seasonings--I added a little more vinegar and some salt. Pack in jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes or refrigerate. Makes 6 pints.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tri the Ridge

I signed up Thursday for today's Tri the Ridge triathlon put on by the Pickens YMCA. I didn't make time to go drive the bike course, so the whole thing was a bit of an unknown. I suspected it would be less professionally run than the Set-Up events I've mostly done in the past, but I was wrong about that. The race shirts were even navy blue technical shirts with mens and women's sizes available.

I was ill-trained but determined to have fun. I got there early, but didn't try to warm up. The swim was 300 yards in a 25 yard pool, so up one side of each lane and down the other side. Too crowded, and people seemed to expect that the person in front would stop if they wanted to pass. The swim ended with a long run down a hill to the transition area, so I don't know how accurate my 7.5 minute swim time prediction was.

The bike was rolling hills and some lovely rural roads. I didn't think the hills were terrible, but they did slow me down. My bike time wasn't the slowest, by 10 minutes or more, but I didn't pass anyone. Bike time for 12.4 miles about 55 minutes

By run time it was hot, but at least most of the run course was shaded. I started out walking, as I knew my legs wouldn't want to run off the bike. By the second mile I was running relatively freely, though I walked the hills and occasional rests. I felt slow, but given how little I have run it went fairly well. Run time for 5 k about 52 minutes.

Overall time 2:05:32. I waited around for the awards, because out of about 150 participants how many were there in the women 55-59 age group? But there were at least three, because they gave two awards to people ahead of me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Poem

By my cousin Patti Carey, struggling with cancer in her 30s:

Let It Go

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold;
The holding of plans or dreams or expectations –Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide.
The choice to fight what is here before you now.
Will only result in struggle, fear and desperate attempts to flee
From the very energy you long for. Let it go.

Let it all go and flow with the GRACE
that washed through your days
whether you receive it gently
or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith: The mind may never find the explanations that it seeks,
but you will move forward nonetheless.

Let go, and the wave’s crest
will carry you to unknown shores,beyond your wildest dreams or destinations.
Let it all go and find the place of rest
and peace, and certain

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two years

It is about two years now since we realized John had Parkinson's disease. He was diagnosed as soon as we saw his family practitioner and sent to a neurologist and then to the Movement Disorder Specialist who said Lewy Body Dementia.

John is doing better than I had expected. Our son, who isn't very observant, said he thought John hadn't changed significantly in those two years. The changes I see are that John is slower and gets confused more easily. But he is still taking care of himself except for wanting help putting on his socks and he still doesn't have hallucinations. He did a driving evaluation with the occupational therapist at the rehab hospital and passed. I think our new renovated house has improved our lives--he can deal with his sleep issues by watching tv or listening to books on tape in bed or sleep on his back and snore. We have a caregiver/cleaning person twice a week who does her best to keep his chaos under control. I'm happier anyway now that I have my own peaceful space.

He is in somewhat more denial about the cognitive issues, but he admitted recently he can't handle financial matters and the like when he asked for my help with a situation where he has been dropping the ball for years--serving as executor of the estate for some people who were important to him when he was young. I thought he had withdrawn a year or so ago but it turns out he didn't. I will play the illness card on that one--tell them he has early dementia and doesn't like to admit it. We also have arranged for an accountant to help aunt Florence with her finances so she doesn't keep asking John for help.

John and I talked a little about how he is doing better than I expected after two years. He wondered how much of it is due to his taking coconut oil and MCT oil? No way of knowing. He does have impaired glucose tolerance, so if some dementia is a kind of diabetes in the brain he is likely to be in that group. And that is what the oils are supposed to address by providing ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.

We saw John's neurologist yesterday and the doctor was pleased with John's muscle tone. John is working with a better physical therapist and she has even motivated him to do some exercising on his own. He has even gone out for a walk a couple of times in the last few weeks. I just wish he didn't have such a tendency to decide to go for a walk or to go see his aunt Florence at dinner time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

fairly stable

We are now pretty well settled in the renovated house. We have a woman who comes twice a week and cleans, does John's laundry, and straightens up his area. He doesn't like it when she tries to organize his things but he doesn't get around to doing it himself. I tried to suggest that when he can't do things himself he needs to accept someone else doing it not exactly his way, but he doesn't buy that.

He will let her help him with some things like putting on his socks. I tried to push him that he needs to shower more than once a week but his answer was that putting on his socks was too difficult. Sigh.

Today he went out for a walk for the first time in months and called me to come get him because he had been too ambitious (he went nearly two miles). It would be good new if he would get back to exercising. He has a physical therapist he likes and now goes there twice a week. Maybe she has finally found the trick to get him to make the effort to exercise.

He did a driving evaluation with an occupational therapist at the rehab hospital and he passed. It worries me that he came home exhausted by the effort because he had to change his usual habits for the evaluation (for example staying under the speed limit). But so long as he has no hallucinations and does this three hour driving evaluation once a year I won't fight it. Despite how slow he has become his reaction time tested as good.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Technology in Haiti

I'm going to use this post to accumulate links relating to the role of technology in doing things differently in Haiti:

Twitter in Haiti (thehaitian) on NBC

Help Haiti Heal: Instructions for volunteers:
home page:

Haiti volunteer network:


article on the role of texting

Crisis Camp:

a blog example of small scale aid:

problems with large-scale aid:

rebuilding differently (appropriate technology)

appropriate architecture:

what's wrong with news coverage:

I'm supporting Partners in Health because people in my church had a role in the origins of the organization and because they are putting the Haitians in the lead as much as possible, not coming in as cowboys to tell them what to do. My church is supporting in particular the rebuilding of the dam and water project in Cange that was their first project in 1984. The water supply is needed to support the hospital and expected long-term refugees.

Also make sure to sign the petition to drop Haiti's international debt:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mary Daly

I just learned that Mary Daly died ten days ago. It was reading her book Beyond God the Father that started me on the path to becoming a believer and a churchgoer. It was about 1976 and I was studying feminist analysis of science with Ruth Hubbard. I read Mary Daly because I thought Christianity was a similar kind of patriarchial system to science and so her analysis might be helpful in thinking about science. It was the first time I understood that the Christian church could be more than just a social institution. When I joined a church for the first time, about five years later, it was a Congregational Church, First Church Amherst, then pastored by Donna Schaper.

Friday, January 08, 2010

hoping for a better 2010

I haven't given up on blogging entirely, but the fall was overwhelming, with supervising home renovations, moving, moving my husband's 98 year old aunt first from an apartment into assisted living then into a nursing home, and my son flunking out of college.

We had a housewarming party Jan. 2 and I think we are finally pretty well settled. The house I would say is a success, though I haven't had much chance to enjoy it. Downsizing from about 4000 to about 3000 square feet was hard. A wonderful cousin I had hardly known before is helping us sell things we didn't want.

John's aunt is doing better now that she isn't trying to manage her own apartment.

Our son started Monday at Presbyterian College, much closer to home. He is optimistic that will work out better.

Am I really going to get to catch my breath?

When I don't have time to blog I have been posting on Twitter (set up to transfer to Facebook). You can find me on Twitter at