Friday, July 31, 2015

Rooster Update

So I have heard through the grapevine that there are those who want to know what's up with the roosters.  Having paid the neighbor to get rid of the worst two roosters (who started crowing loudly each morning at 3:30 a.m.--prompting me to drag a mattress into the bathroom to escape them some mornings), supposedly along with all future roosters, we waited to see if they would actually disappear.  They were still pretty much there by the time we left for the summer, so Owen asked him to get rid of them before we got back from visiting the U.S.

Imagine our surprise when we returned from our summer trip and found our neighbor moved out of the house--having left the chickens behind.  The owner is fixing it up (it needs a lot of work, I think the fowls did nothing for the yard and the house was in some state of disrepair) and plans to rent it out again soon.  But the now wild chickens have kept to their familiar residence, and though they get around during the day, early early morning finds them in their former yard outside our window, greeting the dawn.

So we went to the Ministerio de Ambiente (Ministry of Environment) to report the rogue chickens and we shall see if this government branch is willing and/or able to do something about the chicken situation.  Our most recent morning wake-up was before 5:00 a.m.

I'll keep you posted.

Only here . . .

Only in the D.R. can you randomly pass a dead hedgehog in the road while jogging--not because they're native to the country, they're not, but because you just never know . . . anything is possible here.  I passed one while jogging and could not believe it--and yet was not surprised at all.  I'm putting a picture of it at the very end of the post because my husband and good friend assure me that it's in bad taste to paste a picture of a dead animal, even if it's cute, and so you can skip the picture if youwant.

On my hedgehog-spotting jog I brought hot pepper spray with me for the first time.  It really isn't the safest place to jog, mostly because there are dogs in the street a lot of the time, and since the loss of my jogging partner (Grenade) I have felt nervous.  People have told me that you're fine as long as you're not afraid of the dogs--they can tell if you're afraid.  They say that about horses, too.  Here's the problem.  I am afraid.  It probably doesn't help that we used to have a nasty pit bull next door in Philly that snarled at me when I picked veggies from my garden.  Either way, I am, and they know.

I realized I was at least as likely to spray myself with the pepper spray as I was to get bitten by a dog, especially because I have trouble picturing myself calmly aiming and spraying while getting rushed by a dog.  I decided I needed to at least test the spray once and see how it worked.  It was breezy, I thought I could risk it if I pointed downwind.  But I could not get the "liquid fire" to spray no matter what I did and ended up going home for a stick.

So it's a good thing I didn't encounter a rabid dog, because really, what the world will I do with my stick?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Black Eye, Better Sleep, and Dairy-Caused Fatigue

We have been having so much fun with family!  Seeing the grandparents and cousins is a highlight of our year every year--along with all of these lovely days off school!

Two interesting discoveries this summer I thought I'd share:

Micah got a shiner the other day on the Slip n Slide when he collided with Jesse.  He started with a huge lump over his eye (which we did ice, to no great effect) and then yesterday morning when he woke up his eye was swollen shut.  (He reminded me of how my cousin, Devin, looked as a child when--if I remember correctly--he slipped in ice and fell against the trailer hook or something metal on the truck in his driveway.)  Micah was miserable--there's not a whole lot you can do in that state, he found.  And we were trying to get him to ice or put other things on his eye, which meant he was one-armed and one-eyed and bored sick.

Eventually we hit on a solution that worked like magic, that I thought I'd share in case anyone else has a shiner to deal with.  We took a handkerchief and tied a cucumber to his eye (to free up his hands), switching to new refrigerated slices every 20 minutes or so.  Within a few hours ALL of the swelling was gone and we were left with just a dark stripe above his eye.  It was amazing, so extreme of a reaction in a relatively short period of time.

This is what he looked like after the swelling went down--now it just looks like some dark purple eye shadow.

The other discovery I had was a breakthrough on my sleep issues.  I started taking Oona (an herbal supplement) for hormonal balance (since hormone changes are what mess up my sleep) and it's really helping.  I'm also jogging every day when I wake up.  I've had much better sleep than I've had in ages since I've started taking it.  

The surprising thing was that I still have been feeling tired all day, and I had to make one more change.  What I realized with the help of a friend (thank you, Sarah) is that milk is affecting my energy levels.  

A lot of the time I get what I call foggy brain, I just feel exhausted and like I can't think straight.  And I thought it was related to not sleeping well.  But I spent a day at Sarah's on a dairy-free diet and she mentioned that I should be avoiding dairy if I'm having hormonal issues, which served to bring dairy to the forefront of my mind.  And after 24 hours off of dairy I realized I felt way more awake than normal (3:00 in the afternoon driving I felt great, and I never feel great while driving in the late afternoon, especially after sleeping badly the night before).

I really like cheese and ice cream, so I wasn't motivated to stay off of dairy for long, but as I added more and more back into my diet I realized I was feeling worse and worse.  And after a seriously tired and foggy day I decided to try cutting all of it again.  And it really does make a huge difference!  I've heard a rumor about some home-churned ice cream being at our picnic tonight, so I may just be groggy tomorrow, but in general I think I'll have to cut out some of my favorite foods because I feel so much better without them!

I will say this, if chocolate is ever to blame for any health issues I rather just not know . . .