Monday, May 7, 2012

Dang It, I *Hate* Being Responsible!

Some character trait (read: "flaw") of mine means that I get really, deeply cross when anyone suggests that I "have"/"should"/"ought to" do something. Those words just make my back teeth tingle. I immediately do not WANT to do whatever it is I have/should/ought to do.

I feel especially this way about health things. Do NOT mention to me the things I have/should/ought to be doing regarding nutrition, weight, etc., etc. I don't want to cast any stones here, but I understand some people inherit this trait from their fathers. MY father, certainly, has none of this tendency. I'm just saying.

The upshot of this in my life is that I am *ahem* rather more on the plump side than I was, say, 20 years ago (I know, I KNOW -- none of you noticed, huh??). I also am not exactly an exercising maven (those of you who know me well know my running mantra: "There is no need to run unless you are being actively chased by a large, carnivorous mammal"). My doctor, bless her dear heart, never actually harasses me about things, although I think she might be muttering "BMI" as she leaves the room. However, she finally put her foot down and said that I had to start taking blood pressure medication. WHAT?!? Apparently, my blood pressure, while not sky-high or anything, is getting up there.

Gray clouds of gloom. I finally decided perhaps I might have to get more serious, and get over my character flaw. I refuse to take blood pressure medication; that's just silly. On the other hand, I also refuse to have a stroke, as that's even sillier. Logic (not that I'm proficient at that) seems to indicate that my other option is to improve my health -- particularly weight and cardiovascular strength. Ick. Just typing that is causing that tooth-tingling problem.

My brother-in-law, Sven-the-Personal-Trainer (I know, I know -- yes, that's his real name and profession), recommended this YouTube video to me for inspiration:

It actually IS rather inspiring, as well as interesting -- particularly on the side of "small changes make for big results." I also found a nice place to walk -- my doctor lives on a one-mile residential loop, so after dropping off my progeny at school, I go park my van at the end of her driveway, greet her gigantic German Shepherd (who makes me nervous, although Tika is always very well-mannered), and hike around a couple of times.

There. I'm being responsible. I hope you're happy.

And now, an honest moment in my day. Observe the following: Mara dancing to the Eurythmics (in a special dancing costume picked by herself; cowboy hat NOT optional), various animals cluttering up the rug, and folded laundry decorating the back of the couch. I'd like to say this is an anomalous picture, but that would just be a lie. It's pretty much like this here everyday!

Love, kristin

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Catching Up

As usual, I'm behind. On the blog and on everything else, if that makes anyone feel better!

Last week, Scott, myself, and our friend (and vet!) Andrea Adams drove down to Rogue River (in southern Oregon, near Medford) for a cheesemaking class. I will now quote an email I wrote to a friend about driving from here to there and back again (dear J.R.R.!):

"Can I just say that I am not the spring chicken I once was? Before I was, say, 25 Scott and I drove, at various times, from WW to San Francisco (straight thru) and then four days later San Francisco to Seattle (straight thru), eastern Montana to WW (straight thru), and Loma Linda to WW (straight thru). (That sentence had enough commas to qualify for the Charles Dickens Comma Award.) It seemed an absolute breeze. Sure, one got tired of sitting on one's bum, and sleepy. But now, driving (riding) 8-9 hours from Medford to WW makes me long for a traveling epidural just so I can't feel my lower back anymore! Danged aging process."

And boy was I right when I wrote that! Who knew that one actually would get older and one's body wouldn't just spring happily along like when it was 23?

Anyway, philosophical musings aside, we spent three days at Pholia Farms, which is a goat dairy and creamery, and produces award-winning raw-goat's-milk cheeses. I learned SO much. Gianaclis Caldwell, the owner/cheesemaker, is really serious about proving that small and raw-milk cheesemakers can produce high-quality and safe cheeses. So we learned all about testing the pH of milk and cheese (unusually high acid contents can indicate high bacterial content), doing bacteriological tests, etc., besides actually making cheese. In a perfect world, you see, we would have a nice little side-business as artisanal cheesemakers. What I did learn at this class, though, was that it's pretty impossible to have a "side" cheesemaking business without have a random couple of highly-trained and at-least-fulltime workers to run it. This will be a bit of a facer, as the British say. I'm trying to imagine where I'm going to put this in my current schedule. Perhaps between teaching and the laundry? Skip making any meals? Cancel piano lessons and basketball camp and require the children to stay home and clean out the barn? (On the other hand, I guess that's what Almazo Wilder did for his childhood, and he seems to have turned out well ...)

Anyway. At least I know how to make cheese now! I'm fairly sure no one will ever end up mistaking me for Almanzo Wilder's mother ... or, for that matter, Ma Ingalls. And now I will leave you with some very. cute. goats. (and yes, the baby goats do have little todder-sized slide/climb units to play on -- they work great!):