Avoiding Traffic… For Your Health

Our usual (and usually traffic-jammed) route home from school was crippled by road work. Again. Only one more month of this drive for the sake of school, then I can freely visit this lovely beach town as 75% of the other cars on the road with me every day- as a tourist! 

We decided to take a different way home today, climbing up through streets wide enough for only one car. A dozen other drivers and I were mighty glad we didn’t meet anyone traveling the opposite direction. We really enjoyed our drive. One of the breaks between houses hugging the side of the hill opened up to the most SPECTACULAR view of this part of So. Cal. that I have ever been treated to. Even The Boy remarked how glad he was that we discovered this detour, though by the time we hooked back up to a more familiar (traffic free!) artery, he was declaring that only nut-jobs could live in such precariously perched houses. It was a beautiful detour.

This week I overheard a news clip about the effects of traffic on the frail, human carcass.  A little on-line research uncovered a couple of the lengthier articles that the talking heads on the news were sound-bite summarizing: one from WomensHealth.com (where I found and borrowed the only photo in the post), and another, more in-depth spread over at The Wall Street Journal.

Some of the effects include, but are not limited to the following:

From Women’s Health Magazine-

  • Your blood sugar rises
  • Your cholesterol is higher
  • Your depression rist rises
  • Your anxiety increases
  • Your happiness and life satisfaction decline
  • Your blood pressure temporarily spikes
  • Your blood pressure rises over time, as well
  • Your cardiovascular fitness drops
  • Your sleep suffers
  • Your back aches

These info bits come from a slew of studies, not just one, spread out over the course of several years, and for me, are a generous serving of Food for Thought.

Photo from The Women's Health online article "Ten Things Your Commute Does to Your Body"
Photo from The Women’s Health online article “Ten Things Your Commute Does to Your Body”

APRIL Project Part Five- Sidewalk Prettifying and Yard Beautification… because the neighbors deserve it.

Almost finished… I’m just waiting for the Arctotis to be delivered from the nursery. Poop. I wanted this to be a finished project, but we will just have to use our imagination on this.

Plot #1 before
Plot #1 after

We have two small spots in our yard that are difficult to keep nice. Here’s the before and after of my Sidewalk Beauty Pagent, Contestant #1:

And Contestant #2, mid weeding, old mulch raked off, waiting to be planted and remulched. Some nice, big rocks would look right at home there, too:

Plot #2
Plot #2 before
Plot #2 after

Here is the same type of plant I ordered, a red arctotis. I’ve seen this plant at one house in our neighborhood for about two years now. Arctotis blooms year round with these big red flowers that look like gerbera daisies. Low water needs, long lasting color- I’ll take two, please! I snapped this second pic in Balboa Park showing the rocks that I want to place next to the arctotis plants… got to wait to place the rocks, also. Need my muscle riding shotgun, so the rocks will have to wait until the weekend when I can conscript The Husband!

Red Arctotis
Red Arctotis
Balboa Park
Balboa Park Gerberas

APRIL Yard Clean-Up Part Four: Orange Blossom Special… and Limes- think of the Gimlets!

Have you ever smelled a fresh orange? I mean really fresh- right off of the tree. It smells like California, the fresh outdoors, even the remnants of the orange blossom. If you want to taste something that comes close to how an orange blossom smells, find a jasmine tea (one of the green teas) and brew a cup. I had a small orange tree in a pot as a houseplant when I lived in Seattle. One whiff of that tree in bloom and in my mind I was back at my parents’ home, which was surrounded by citrus groves back in the day.

So pretty!
18 months ago. So pretty!
I should be stopped. Rally.
Today :o(

Now, with my struggling trees in my own yard, when the onshore breeze blows just right, I recognize not only my parents’ but grandparents’ home, too. For most of my youth they lived in either Ventura or Saticoy, California, with grove after grove of the most fragrant trees.

Voilà- future Gimlet
Voilà- future Gimlet
A few holes...
A few holes…
pot, soil, drill and tree- check
pot, soil, drill and tree- check

Today I planted a small lime tree- Costco is selling citrus trees and pots at great prices. After buying citrus/palm/cactus potting soil the grand total was under $45 and with a few holes in the pot, I had a new patio gem to join my potted Meyer Lemon… the only way I am keeping citrus alive, ugh. Usually, The Husband will do my potting and planting for me, especially if digging holes is involved, but I did all of this myself. Not a grand feat, except for lugging the 50b bag of citrus soil.

I’m about ready to rip out the last ornamental vegetation around my home and replant nothing but edibles- with citrus in pots, strictly. Maybe throw in some avocado and banana trees?

APRIL- Project of the Month, Yard Clean-Up Prickly Part 3

Today I planted  some starts for Prickly Pear Cactus. If you like any Mexican dishes made with Nopales, this is the cactus that it comes from. Oops… did you not know that you were eating cactus? Well, now you do.

I’ve always wanted to grow one of my own, and The Brother-In-Law had paddles falling off his big ol’ cactus in his back yard that were already starting to set down roots. The last time we came up to visit family he went out and shoved at least ten starts into a paper bag for me to tackle eventually… three weeks later I am finally setting them in the ground. I think I transplanted some of the ants from his back yard, too.

Side yard where the cactus will go...
Side yard where the cactus will go…
Bag o' Cactus Starts
Bag o’ Cactus Starts

All I did to prepare the ground was to dig out a few invasive ice plants and loosen the dirt where the paddles would sit. They break off the main plant, fall to the ground and take root all on their own, so this is a pretty easy project, really. My Fine Cactus Benefactor said to just keep the ground watered until they take root, and I will water them every few days for about a week.

Prickly Pear Starts
Prickly Pear Starts
...another patch of starts...
…another patch of starts…
...and the third patch of starts.
…and the third patch of starts.

Half an hour later I had three patches of cactus! I wonder how long it will take before I’m slicing off my own new paddles, cursing the spines I missed, and preparing my own Nopales Con Chile Colorado? Nopales, when simply cooked, taste like a mild green vegetable- I’ve always thought of it as a cross between asparagus and a green bean. They are quite mucilaginous, like okra, and I was taught to parboil them once or twice to get rid of this sliminess. Works like a charm. They can also be frozen after this parboiling. Remember the Mom-In-Law and her recipe for Enchiladas from an earlier post? Well, she also taught me how to make Nopales with Chile Colorado, and I’ll share that recipe… eventually. Maybe when I pick my own!

Last Call for “The Discovery of King Tut” Exhibit at San Diego’s Natural History Museum

“Everything old is new again.” Several tours of The Boy King have made the U.S. and international circuits many times over the last eight or nine decades. I’d never seen the recreations of Howard Carter and his teams’ discovery of the nearly untouched tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen until this weekend.

March, 1977 National Geographic
March, 1977 National Geographic

If you are a child of the 70s and 80s as I am, you remember the variety of hype surrounding the world tour of some of these treasures. We had the incredible National Geographic spread, the cover that we still all think of when the subject of Egyptology is mentioned. In fact, I found this image of that March 1977 National Geographic cover on an Etsy.com site, so if you want it, click on the photo for the link to purchase… We also had Steve Martin’s fabulous parody with the excitement surrounding 1970’s revival tour. Lol.

This exhibition focuses on the discovery and care taken in recording the splendid artifacts uncovered, and though none of the items on exhibits are the original objects, the fascination remained intact. The actual treasures stay in Egypt now and tour no more.

If at any age you had ever watched the television specials, read magazine articles or pored through books, you were probably fascinated with the detail of this lost king’s rediscovery. The really interesting aspect of this tour is how with much care, the size and placement of the tomb’s rooms and objects are shown exactly as they were found. I was surprised by the size of the sarcophagi and coffins, and astonished to see the amount of objects catalogued- even though this was a small number of reproductions! After seeing photos and drawing and television specials since my childhood, it really was exciting to view in person the scale and placement of all the relics and the chambers in which they were uncovered.

Carter's Illustrations
Carter’s Illustrations
Collar from Carter's illustrations
Collar from Carter’s illustrations
Tour description of famous gold collar
Tour description of famous gold collar

The tour displayed reproductions of Carter’s drawings of what he found and descriptions of their placement. One of the biggest finds was the largest amount of period textiles ever to be discovered but unfortunately not cataloged as well as the traditional treasures of gold and precious stones.

Three strand necklace
Description of necklace

I’m trying to find where this tour is headed next, but the information is proving difficult to unearth… lol… apropos for this post, no? The company putting on the tour is Premier Exhibitions, Inc., and are also behind other mega-popular tours such as “Bodies, The Exhibition,” and “Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition.”

Since Premier Exhibitions is being so stingy with next tour dates info, I’ll leave everyone with the one clip that we all remember whenever The Boy King, King Tut is talked about: