Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Let's Review The Best Proven Seed Saving Practices

Summer is coming to an end and already we (gardeners) are looking forward to next year's gardens. Let's Review what happened in the garden this year and the best way to keep seeds for next years masterpiece.   Looking at what we have  growing now , gives us the opportunity to analyse what worked in the garden and what didn't.



Every gardener I know has some complaints about the plants or vegetables that have made their garden home for the last few months.  We are never completely satisfied with our results!  I think the gardener's motto must be something like:  Next Year The Garden will be Perfect!

Alas, that year has never happened for me and if I know most (humble) gardeners would say the same thing. Even the most perfect garden seems to fall short, somewhere.  Let's not dwell on that, let's look for ways that we can improve what we have.

Garden Journal

Hopefully you have been keeping a "Garden Journal".   What's a Gardening Journal?   Simply put, this is a book of your choice, where you note how your plants are growing, flowering, and going to seed.  You can also add information like what kind of pest problems they have encountered or how much watering they require.  Where they were planted, ie:  Full Sun, Partial Sun, Afternoon sun etc.  If you want to be really technical, you can also take note of other garden issues.  What plants go well together and which combinations were not as effective as you would have liked.  How well they flowered and so on.  The details of each plant and how it fared in your garden, are completely up to you. The garden journal I have shown you in the Amazon listing is great for filling in all kinds of details.  But, you can also do this with a simple plain lined notebook.

Finding the Seeds

If you go out in your garden you have to find the seeds.  If you are saving flower seeds, you will have to look where the flowers are and look at the base.  It helps if you have a little knowledge of plant biology.  You don't have to be a scientist, but it will make finding the seeds easier if you know where to look.


A Beginner's Guide to Flower Structure  


Every flower has the same "basic" structure in that there is the flower, inside is the pistil and stamens (these are the important parts when it comes to seed production) and underneath there is the sepals/calyx to hold the flower all together.  Let's see if a picture can make it easier to understand. The first picture is a jasmine blossom.  The petals of the flower are white.  Internally you can see the stamens and pistil.  If you look at the flower facing away from the camera, you will see the sepals/calyx.  Bees or other insects come and rub against the stamens to collect the pollen that they produce.  When the insect is leaving the flower, it may rub against the pistil and that will trigger seed production.  This is the basic way seeds are produced and if you'd like a little more in depth breakdown of the Parts of a Flower you can watch this short but precise You Tube Video: Parts of a Flower
Jasmine Flowers showing Basic Flower Parts


Poppy Flower Pods Center one is ripe and the two on either side are not quite ready yet.
In this picture you see the seed pods of a poppy flower.  The tallest one is ripe, you can see that there are little holes under the "cap". Tilting this stem will make the poppy seeds pour out.  The other two pods in this picture still need to mature a little longer.  Once they show signs of the little holes, they too will pour out their seeds easily. Poppy seeds are small round and black or dark brown.  Each seed pod has thousands of poppy seeds within.  It is one of the most prolific seed producers.


Storing the Seeds

So now that you know where to look for your seeds, we need to store them until spring.  This is an important part of the whole exercise.  If you don't store the seeds properly, they may turn moldy and rot.  Then when spring comes you will be left with buying seeds again.  So let's not do that.  Let's store our seeds so that when spring arrives, we will have plenty of seeds for our wonderful garden of 2018.

Seeds can be stored in a variety of ways.  I personally like envelopes that are opaque.  They let you see the seeds within the packets so that you know right away that they are not rotting.  If you place your seeds in plastic bags, any moisture will remain contained and could adversely affect the seeds within.  Some of my gardening friends keep their seeds in old pill bottles.  That works too, so long as the seeds are really dry when they are placed inside.  Always use clean containers that will be labelled with the name of the plant on the outside.  Again I like to use envelopes because I place them into my Garden Journal along with the notes about that particular plant. Make sure you label your envelopes with the flower's name, color, and any other information you might want to keep.

If you are using a different method of storage, whether old pill containers or small jars, again, make sure you label them.  Keep all your seed filled containers in a nice box for easy storage.   You think you will remember what seeds  you put into each jar or pill bottle, trust me, you will not remember. It's much easier to do it NOW! 


Cool and Dark and Dry

Now that you have all your seeds nicely categorized and labelled clear out a nice dark and cool space to keep your journal or container of seeds.  Make sure it's a nice dry spot too.  We don't want to disturb our seeds during the months that they will be sleeping.  We just want to ensure that when the right time comes (spring of 2018) they will be more than ready to do their magic.  


Seed Collecting is Fun

Seed collection is fun, but it is also a great way to educate your children and grandchildren.  With all the talk about Genetically modified seeds and plants, you know that you can have your own supply of seed that is not modified and will grow.  Heirloom seeds are making the news all the time.  You can start your own heirloom seeds if you follow the instructions you find here.  This Review is about flower seeds mostly, but the same principles can apply to vegetables too.  That is why I included some books for your reading pleasure. Vegetable seeds need a little more attention when it comes to collecting, preparing and storing them.  Please do yourself a favor and do some reading, I don't want you to be disappointed with your results.  

Beginners will want to start with seeds that are easy to find.  Here's a whole bunch that will start you off on the right foot!

  • poppies
  • Four O'Clocks
  • snapdragons
  • moss roses or portulaca
  • marigolds
  • cosmos
  • morning glories
  • bleeding hearts

Please let me know in your comments if you are planning to do some seed collecting and what types of seeds you will be adding to your "stash".  I'm always interested in knowing more about other people's gardens.  




**all pictures are from Pixabay.com 










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mary's Message To The World Reviewed

Spiritual Messages For All

mary mother of jesus
Mother Mary image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I'll be reviewing an older book today, Mary's Message To The World. Originally published in 1991 the content isn't as outdated as one might think. This book and the messages within will not appeal to everyone, I'll just say that right up front. I know in my heart that some will read it and scoff just as I am sure they have since it was first published. Still, others who will read it for the first time will be moved and I believe will grow spiritually. Read it with an open mind and open heart, is all I'm asking.

One might assume that since this book is about the Mother Mary that it was written for the Catholic faith due to the strong devotion to her. That is not the case, Mary chose Annie Kirkwood (of no particular denomination) to visit and urge to spread her message to the world. In the beginning of the book, it tells of Annie's struggle with the visits from Mary. She kept telling the Holy Mother that she was not a Catholic and that Mary should visit her friend who was of that faith. At one point, she reiterates that she is not a Catholic and Mary says, "I'm not, either." Needless to say, Mary did not give up on Annie and visited her many times from 1987 to 1988 and in later years, too.


I'm not one who caters to the idea of coincidences in our lives. Since a very young age, I have believed that all things happen for a reason. We may not understand them for a while but eventually the lesson we were to learn is revealed. We might see them as blessings, some will see them as a punishment of some sort and even more will ignore the lesson or message altogether. It is human nature.

I bring up the idea of a coincidence because of the way that this book literally fell into my hands. My husband was helping a lady that we know sort through her household belongings for a long distance move that she was about to make. She had several books that she no longer wanted and told him that if he saw any that interested him; he could take them. He saw this book and knew that I have a special connection to the Holy Mother and brought it home to me. Coincidence? My heart says, "No." My soul tells me that I was supposed to read this book and reconnect with the Mother Mary.

Reconnect?  You are probably wondering why I would say that. At the age of 12, I was visited by the Mother Mary. I did not understand at the time who she was. I was a young Protestant girl who knew that Mary was the mother of Jesus but we didn't have statues of her in our church so her image was not familiar to me. I somehow knew that she was a holy woman and that this visit was a special one but received no guidance from the adults around me. In fact, they called me a liar and ordered me to stop talking about it. My imagination was a little out of line, I was told often. I can't help but believe that the adults knew exactly who I was describing and closed their minds to the possibility of her coming to me, a child of 12 and a Protestant to boot. About 30 years later, I would see her again in a Catholic church holding her arms out to me with that loving look of peace on her face. She looked the same as she did 30 years before and my life was forever changed.

I bring this up because it helps me explain that I do believe that Mary came to Annie Kirkwood and gave her the messages in this book. The Mother Mary has come to many people for hundreds of years. Some of her apparitions have been confirmed by the church while many others have been dismissed. Mary tells Annie that the men of the church often times dismissed her visits and messages because they didn't want the people to hear what she had said, warned of, or predicted. They had their own agenda and her visits didn't fit. This is one of the reasons that Mary chose Annie, she was not a Catholic; not affiliated with any particular denomination. She had a faithful heart and a good prayer life. She might be able to reach people of all cultures, all races, and all religions.

In the book, Mary makes predictions and warns of changes in the earth. She tells of the increase in earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes. She warns of the climate changes with droughts and floods. Weather that is unusual and unpredictable. She describes much of what we have and are witnessing right now and in the recent past.

Now, I should explain that in the book that was published in 1991 the predictions were all to come to pass by the end of that century. This is where people will begin to scoff; but hold on! Not so fast! Mary also explains that the "end" can be postponed if people heed her warnings and begin to prepare. Mary explains that we all need to connect with God, we need to pray, communicate and love ourselves and the rest of the world. It is a simple message but not one many people will pay attention to.

Mary has told Annie since the first publication of the book that the "end" has been postponed due to the prayers and connection of so many people. When I use the term "end"; I'm not saying that the earth will end. No, it will change dramatically, though. Life as we know it will change drastically but that is actually a good thing. This goes along with the predictions of the Native Americans who have been saying for a few decades now that we will be entering into the next world soon. It also goes along with the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Mary even mentions John's writing to Annie.

As I said in the beginning of this review, the book will not appeal to everyone. However, if you are open to spiritual growth and want to grow in your faith; I recommend that you read this book. I believe it will touch your heart, sooth your fears, and help you become the person that you were meant to be.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

Half Broke Horses; A True-Life Novel
Welcome to the book review of Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls. The thing is, I haven't completed the book, so can I really consider this a review?  I'm not sure. What I am sure about, this is one of those stories that is painted so vividly that you don't want to put the book down. It is one of those stories that as soon as you begin, you want to start asking folks if they've read this book. And if they say no, you want to tell them to start. That's what this book review is about. To encourage you to sit down and meet Lily Casey Smith.


Why I Chose Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel 


I have a long list of books that are yet unread in my Kindle. There are so many books and so little free time. So why would I add yet another book to that list?  What would cause me to start a book that I hadn't even considered previously?

I was in the process of packing for my most recent camping trip and there was a commercial on the television about a soon-to-be-released movie titled The Glass Castle. The commercial went on describing the movie that is based on the best selling book by Jeannette Walls and so on and so forth.  So I stopped what I was doing an did a quick internet search to find out what all the hub-bub was about.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir is written by Jeannette Walls and has been "more than seven years on the New York Times Best Seller list". Some of my favorite books have never been, to my knowledge, on the New York Times best seller list. So that information does not guarantee that I'll purchase the book. I read the Amazon reviews and considered. Unfortunately, I really don't care for spending over $10 for a digital copy of a book so I did not click the "buy now" button.

However, I went on to look at the other books Ms. Walls had written. Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel is advertised as "Laura Ingalls for adults" and that appealed to me. I read the "look inside" excerpt and was hooked. 

This story is about Ms. Walls' grandmother's life. The life of Lily Casey Smith. Ms. Lily began in Texas. Helping to break horses and raise her siblings. Flash floods, broken bones, and tornadoes were not unexpected parts of her children. Her father, gimpy, with a speech impediment, and a quick temper depended on her to help on the ranch. Her mother, a delicate and proper woman who was prone to fainting spells. Likely due to the tightness of her corset.  As Lily became older (a whopping 15 years old), she left the nest by teaching in frontier towns over 500 miles away from home. She filled the teacher vacancies the war created at these small town schools. However, the war ended and the teachers returned. Ms. Lily was forced to return home. 

As I said, I'm only halfway through the book and after her teaching stint, I've accompanied Ms. Lily to Chicago, have witnessed the impact of the growing ownership of cars by the public, and have seen her struggle with her mother's constant warnings of becoming a spinster. However, I believe that particular disaster is about to be avoided. Honestly this time. And just as she seems to be falling in love with a decent man, I understand that the Great Depression is looming on the horizon. I am anxious to witness how Ms. Lily navigates this true disaster.

I am glad to be reading the story of Lily Casey Smith before considering reading the memoir of Ms. Walls' life. I am also very glad to be reading this before watching the movie. If you think you'd enjoy a not-so-sweet adult version of Little House on the Prairie, you ought to take a peek at Half-Broke Horses. Not that I'm speaking poorly of the Little House series. I was a huge fan. But where Nellie was the anomaly, it seems the Nellie-like characters are the norm in Ms. Lily's life. 


selections available on Amazon

Related Book Review Links:


The contributors on Review This! love to read. We enjoy a wide variety of genres. For the complete list of our book reviews click the site directory here.

The last book (series) I read that grabbed my attention and imagination like this was the Refined By Love series by Judith Miller. I could not put those books down! Rather than doze off after a chapter or two, I stayed awake, neglect housework, and devoured the three books in the series. For more details, see the review of The Brickmaker's Bride which is the first in that series.



I seem to currently be in the mood for stories of a certain time period in the earlier history of the United States. If you prefer more current memoirs and/or heartfelt stories involving dogs, check out Renaissance Woman's book review of Will's Red Coat. This is definitely one of those books on my to-read list, as soon as I come out of this historical mode. 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How to Decorate a Long Narrow Living Room

Photo via Pixabay
We see photos online of beautifully decorated long narrow living rooms and think, 'oh that's easy to do', until we're actually face to face with our own blank space to fill.

Long narrow living rooms provide a number of challenges.

Here's a list of the Do's and Don'ts when it comes to planning the furniture layout for your skinny space:

DON'T:  Don't jam all the furniture against the walls.

You're not alone in thinking that placing furniture up against a wall will make a room seem larger, however it's the opposite ... furniture jammed against the wall all around a long narrow space will merely add to the 'bowling ball feel'.

DO: Pull furniture away from the wall on at least one side. As an example, do you have a love seat or couch that can be pulled away from the wall?

If your room's shape permits it, pull the sofa away from the wall by about a foot (or whatever distance your room permits) and place a long narrow table behind it featuring tall lamps and a photo collage that goes to the ceiling. By pulling the furniture away from the wall and adding the decorative table, you're able to create a cozier, inviting sitting area.

If the room doesn't allow for any furniture to be pulled away from the wall, then place a rug in front of the couch and position the complimentary chairs perpendicular to the couch. That way you still get the effect of a cozy sitting area.
Convenience Concepts Northfield Hall Console Table, EspressoConvenience Concepts Northfield Hall Console Table, EspressoPut this behind a couch ******

DON'T: Don't fill the room without thinking about the walkway through the space.

How will people get from one area to another. If there isn't a clear flow, the room will appear unbalanced and confusing.

DO: No matter how you position the furniture in your space, keep a clear path for people to walk from one part of the space to the other.

If you're wondering what a clear path means, it means design your layout so people don't have to zig and zag around things to get through the space.
******

DON'T: Don't restrict yourself to using long regular sofas.

It's harder to create cozy seating arrangements when you do this. Not impossible, just harder as the sofa will take up more of the room.

DO: Perpendicular designs are a practical layout for long narrow living rooms, so try two love seats facing each other.

Again, use an area rug as their foundation and create a cozy seating area - if you can add a wall unit or cabinet to the wall that's perpendicular to the sofas, you'll achieve a tighter cozier feel.

Another tip, in very small spaces use smaller sized furniture with legs. The open bottoms help the room to feel that much more open.
******

DON'T: Don't use just square boxy furniture and tables. This makes the space too linear.

DO: Add some round or oval accessories.

A round ottoman coffee table, or round wooden table will help to break up that back alley look. Try using round and oval shapes in other accessories such as lamp shades and vases.
******

DON'T: Don't just think of space usage horizontally.

Keeping everything normal height on the walls can make a long narrow living room feel closed in.

DO: Go vertical with your design.

What does that mean? Position draperies where the wall meets the ceiling and have them drape down to the floor.

Or add a tall wall unit that reaches the ceiling, or gets close to it.

Or try a lovely wall photo collage that goes all the way up to the ceiling.

A narrow room always looks best when the person entering has their eyes drawn upward. So don't be afraid of patterned, vertically striped drapes.
******


Most Important Tip:
Jennifer Taylor Home Lewis Collection Modern Bolster Hand Tufted Upholstered Accent Entryway Bench With 2 Detachable Bolster Pillows, NavyJennifer Taylor Home Lewis Collection Modern Bolster Hand Tufted Upholstered Accent Entryway Bench With 2 Detachable Bolster Pillows, Navy

Divide the space up into two or three areas. Think about what your home needs and design your divided areas accordingly.

Do you need an office area? If so put the seating area at one end and the office area at the other. You can create the division between the space a number of ways; using area rugs or a small open-two-sided bookcase (that isn't imposing).

If an office or a dining area isn't in the cards, go ahead and create two sitting areas using area rugs to define them.

If there aren't a lot of windows or natural light in the room, it's best to keep the two rugs the same, or very close to the same ... or in the same color family, or complimentary.

One very cool trick when you're creating two sitting areas in an open space is to position a chaise or bench chaise so that it's accessible to both sides. Because the piece opens on both sides, it allows for people sitting on the bench to face either seating area.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Below You'll find a Growing Collection of Pins that Feature Long Narrow Living Room Designs, as well as Long Narrow Designs for Other Rooms in the Home:





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Saturday, August 19, 2017

One Last Strike - Baseball Book Review

Available on Amazon
The Remarkable Story of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals

I was living in St. Louis in 2011 watching my favorite baseball team, the Cardinals, on TV every day. As the season dwindled down, I watched and worried and agonized with the rest of the city with 'fingers crossed' while our team fell further behind, ending up more than 10 games out with less than a month left in the season. As we went through September, the Cardinals came close to catching up, but every one of the last 5 games of the regular season was an elimination game.

In "One Last Strike", Tony La Russa, the third winningest manager in baseball history, takes us through his Cardinals' 2011 season, which was also his last season as a baseball manager. He describes how the team came from ten and a half games back to make the playoffs on the night of the final game of the season and how they went on to win the World Series despite being down to their last strike 'twice' in a comeback like no other! At the beginning of September 2011, not even Tony could have foreseen the magical and memorable ride the Cardinals were about to take.
 

Manager Tony La Russa and his St. Louis Cardinals Team


You don't need to be a St. Louis Cardinals fan to enjoy this book. Any baseball fan will love the 'behind-the-scenes' look into how a manager makes game by game and inning by inning decisions to bring his team to a win. The Cardinals had to have those 'wins' over and over to first make it to the playoffs, and then to the World Series in this hard-fought 2011 baseball season.


 

Busch Stadium - Home of the St. Louis Cardinals

In his book "One Last Strike", Tony writes,

 “all the cliches we (the Cardinals) used about never giving up on yourself, believing in yourself, bouncing back from adversity – they're all true!”

Tony La Russa describes how he used his 33 years experience managing baseball teams from the Chicago White Sox to the Oakland A's to being the St. Louis Cardinals' longest serving manager to bring the Cardinals to their final game of the World Series .. and win. He gives great credit to team unity and determination.



 
Tony La Russa (Source: Wikimedia)


Tony La Russa's Rules as a Baseball Manager


La Russa had simple rules as manager.

  • Don't do something to lose the game when on defense.
  • Do something to win the game on offense.
  • Be good enough and tough enough... and keep believing.

In a team meeting prior to the beginning of the 2011 MLB Baseball Playoffs, La Russa tells his players that sports are unpredictable. The best team or player can have an off day. Just come in as prepared as you can be and play the best of your ability.

He summed it up with “Play as if each game is the 7th game of the World Series --- or the last (baseball) game of your life, and play only one game at a time.”
 

Tony La Russa talks about his book "One Last Strike"

 


More Baseball Books...

 

Available on Amazon

Additional stories about manager Tony La Russa and his analytical manager mind applied to a game.


Written by Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager is about a three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in 2003. It describes manager Tony La Russa's decisions for each batter and each inning of this 3-game series, based somewhat on computer data, but more importantly his experiences managing nearly 4,000 games. 


My 'Salute' to some special St. Louis Cardinals




If I were to create my perfect 'Dream Team' for the St. Louis Cardinals, using players from the past to the present at each position, this is what it would look like.

Your Review This Baseball Contributor and Article Writer, Wednesday Elf, is a Big Baseball Fan!


When I'm not 'watching' baseball... or 'talking' about baseball, I love reading books about baseball. It was great fun to relive the St. Louis Cardinals' magical 2011 season through the eyes (and words) of manager Tony La Russa. What a wild ride he had in his final managerial season!

"One Last Strike" is their story. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed being part of the St. Louis Cardinals 2011 season while living in the team city!



Article Originally Written © 2014 Wednesday-Elf.  Updated for Review This! Blog on 8/19/2017.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel, and Tales

Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel & Tales
In a world of structure that yells "niche, niche" all day, every day, I personally find it extremely refreshing to read a blog written in the old style, from the heart.  Of course niche blogs can be from the heart too, please don't misunderstand me.   But, I love having blogs to visit where I feel like I really get to know the author, not just a niche.  A place where the author tells me about the things she enjoys in life, from the best movie to her favorite soap, or breakfast.  

Who am I specially talking about, you ask?  Well, honestly there are several that I could name, but today I want to tell you about Dawn and her blog "Treasures, Travel, and Tales".  

The blog is exactly what the name implies.  Dawn shares with her readers about the treasures that she has found in life.  Her posts might be about her discovery of figs, roasted beets or pawpaws.  The next week, she might share about traveling to her "shack" in the woods where she plans to retire and how she cooks without a stove or oven in the place.  I frequently find myself laughing with the visual images she creates for her readers while reading her tales.

Treasures, Travel, and Tales is a journal of Dawn's life experiences and every article is an adventure for the reader to share.  Her site is definitely "blogging from the heart" and her heart speaks to mine.


Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel, and Tales
This is Willy and his Chew Treats for Finicky Dogs


What to Expect from Treasures, Travel, and Tales


Review of the Website "Treasures, Travel, and Tales". The author, Dawn, shares with her readers about the treasures that she has found in life.
Keystone Kabins Park Model - Tiny Home Option
If an SEO (search engine optimization) expert stopped by Treasures, Travel, and Tales, they would be critical.  However, that same SEO expert would rip the heart right out of the site and that would be more than a crime.  

Treasures, Travel, and Tales isn't about ranking with Google.  It is about sharing with real people, not bots.  It is what writing online should be about.  It is what writing anywhere should be about.

Visiting Dawn's site is like walking beside a best friend as they experience things in life for the first time.  It's like sharing a musical with someone who has never seen Les Miserables before.  Or listening to a song with sentimental words that speak directly to a feeling we would never be able to express ourselves.

It is not just about the words in her posts either.  Dawn shares the photos she has personally taken.  Her love of nature shows in so many of her images.  She has a bee photo that makes you feel like you could just reach out and touch that little bumble bee.  (Yes, I am going to make you click that link to see the bumble bee yourself!)

Oh, and I don't want to forget to tell you that there is something there for everyone.  Even a crocheter will find a pattern to a crochet beanie hat.



Some of My Favorite Articles on Treasures, Travel, and Tales


Every article on Treasure, Travel, and Tales is a delight to read.  I do have some favorites that I have featured above and listed below, but they are just a place to get started.  I would love for you to visit the entire site to discover your own favorites.  I know you will find her honesty and wide-eyed exuberance refreshing and fun.

 



Read More Site Reviews on
ReviewThis




All Photos in this Review are Used with Permission from Dawn at Treasures, Travel, and Tales
Cynthia



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book Review

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book ReviewIt’s been literally decades since I read a Stephen King novel. I believe that the last one that I read was Misery in 1987, before my grown up children were born. That book was simply too horrible for me. Later, for whatever reason, I watched or tried to watch the movie version of that story and that cinched the deal for me. I have not read a Stephen King book since then and not seen many of his movies either.

That is, until the 2014 book Mr. Mercedes was chosen this year as one of the reads for our book club. Now I am wondering what I have missed in all of the books since 1987 as I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Mercedes. It was not too horror-ible at all though horrible things do happen in the book. However, it is a fast paced crime or detective story rather than a horror story. It is riveting; another book that I could not put down. A race-against-time thriller.

It is very well written with well-developed characters that include a retired police detective and a psychopath.

The police detective is not enjoying his retirement and is pulled back into one of his last, unsolved cases, that of the Mercedes killer.

The psychopath is, as The Globe and Mail says, “one of King’s great creations, twisted and deranged, but cringingly human.” On the outside, he is ordinary and could be one of your neighbours. However, on the inside he has many issues.

What results when the detective and the psychopath collide is a riveting story with two men ‘fighting’ to the end.

Mr. Mercedes is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me and by the Globe and Mail, too, LOL.

It is exciting that I just discovered that Mr. Mercedes is a trilogy so I (we) have two more books to read in the series, including Finders Keepers and End of Watch. I only hope that they live up to Mr. Mercedes.

There is also an AT&T Original mini series that has just started as I write this in August, 2017. I watched the trailer just now on Youtube and cannot decide if I will be watching the program or not. I have prematurely made up my mind that it cannot live up to the excellent book but I will be waiting to see what people think of the mini-series. As always, I recommend reading the book first.

You can learn more about Mr. Mercedes or order your copy of the book from Amazon by clicking here.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Mercedes is King’s 62nd novel, though only 44 feature his name. He says that this book is based on a real incident in which a woman drove her car into a McDonald’s restaurant.

Will you be reading Mr. Mercedes?

See you at
the book store!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes from Amazon.







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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Medmassager Foot Massager Review: Therapy for Feet and Legs

Why We Bought the Medmassager Foot Massager

My husband suffers from numbness in his feet. I often have restless legs and muscle spasms in my feet. Last time we shopped at Costco, they were demonstrating the Medmassager Foot Massager. My husband sat down to try it out while I finished shopping. By the time I returned, his feet felt so much better he was sold. So we brought it home.

Medmassager Foot Massager Review: Therapy for Feet and Legs
Using the Medmassager Foot Massager

Using the Medmassager Foot Massager

The foot massager is very easy to use. Just plug it in, put your feet on it, and set the speed. The cord is long enough (8 ft.) to plug into a power strip beside my chair and still stretch as far as Hubby's chair with no problem. Makes it easy to share. He uses it twice a day or more. I use it when I feel I need to. 

One can massage one's feet with or without shoes or stockings. We feel most comfortable using it with shoes on. That seems to work best if one has sensitive feet. You can feel the vibration all the way to your knee. Technically, it isn't vibration. It oscillates rather than vibrates, making the massage more effective. I'm afraid I forgot the distinction when we made the video below.  

The massager has eleven speeds. Most people start at the lowest speed and work up until they find the speed that suits them best. Hubby prefers "3." Depending on how you move the massager around and where you position your feet or calves you may ease many different kinds of pain.

  • Calf pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Tired feet and ankles
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heal and Bone Spurs
  • Neuropathy
  • Tense toes
Many of the above conditions may be associated with serious medical conditions, such as diabetes. These conditions may require medical treatment, and the massager was not intended to treat these conditions. 

Here's What Hubby Has to Say about the Foot Massager

I asked Hubby to offer his opinion while he was massaging his feet tonight. Here's what he had to say. 


I realize the bar is hard to see because it's black like the rest of the massager, but it helps one position one's feet to massage the heel. One can also wrap one's toes around it. One can also move one's arch over the bar slowly to relax the area. The oscillation has really helped restore Hubby's circulation to alleviate the numbness in his toes.  



Our Recommendation 

If you suffer from sore feet, toes, or legs, this massager will probably offer you some relief. It does seem to help circulation in the leg and foot. When we first got to Costco that day we bought it, Hubby could barely walk. After sitting trying the massager in the store for a few minutes he was walking with much less pain. He didn't want to leave without taking it home. 

I don't have exactly the same kind of pain. I find the massage does help my feet relax, but even the lowest speed is fairly strong for me and also it feels good, I want to see my neurologist before using it too often. I have had neck surgery and was recently rear-ended, and I want to wait until I'm sure the oscillation is safe for me. Different conditions require different treatments. If the doctor gives his OK, I'll be using it more often. If you have reason to believe you have deteriorating disks in your spinal column, I'd consult a physician before using this. If you don't, I'd highly recommend it. 

The foot massager comes with a thorough instruction manual with hints on how to help different foot and leg problems and cautions where necessary for specific medical conditions. Read it thoroughly before using the unit for the first time. 

Also be aware that the unit is heavy when you put it on the floor and pick it up again. If you are unable to pick up things easily from the floor, you may need help using this. I  had to help my husband, who has had both hips replaced, at first, but he has since learned to use the machine by himself if I'm not around. He does have some trouble reaching the adjustment knob, and I turn off the machine for him if I'm in the room. 

You should not use the massager for periods of longer than 15 minutes at a time, so you also may want to pick up a Time Timer that shows you exactly how much time you left until the end of your massage. 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Snug Denture Cushion Reviewed

When a simple adhesive isn't enough

upper denture
Denture image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The Snug denture cushion may be the answer to a fit that is no longer working for you. Let me review what I am now using to help you determine whether it might work for you or not.

Most people find that using a simple adhesive like Sea Bond will take care of dentures that slip. It was certainly the answer for me for several months. I really liked the simpleness of applying the wafer and it kept my denture in place all day. 

Over the course of time my gums changed enough that an adhesive just was not enough. It is a normal process for the swelling from teeth removal to go down and that will invariably change the fit of your denture. So, what does a person do?

The dentist who removed my teeth and made my denture was not willing to fix what I consider his mistake (which is a whole different story!). He would add a liner which was an additional expense that I honestly didn't feel that I should have to incur. Especially not when I have only had the denture for a little over a year. Needless to say, I won't be returning to his office for any kind of dental work. So, what is my solution?


I looked at my options and finally found a solution that is working for me. Snug denture cushion has been a wonderful product and finally my dentures fit like they should have from the beginning.

In each box there are two rectangle pieces of pliable material. You will have to trim them to fit your denture but that was not difficult to do at all. The instructions in the box are very good in explaining the process. Take your time and fit the cushion around the surface and then slip your dentures in. You will be amazed at how easy it really is!The fit, for me, is perfect!

The cushion is soft and it does not irritate my gums. There is no noticeable taste to get used to, either. Another bonus is that each night, I can remove my denture and place it in a effervescent solution to clean. I then rinse it off in the morning and I'm good to go. The cushion lasts for about two weeks which is really nice. Once the fit starts to deteriorate a little, you just peel off the used one and apply a new one.

So, if you have been struggling like I have and your dentist will not cooperate in helping you without doing a process that will cost you even more money; I recommend trying the Snug Denture Cushion.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reviewing Gentle Yoga Accessories

Gentle Yoga with help from Yoga Accessories
I have recently joined a weekly Restorative Yoga class (also called gentle yoga). The yoga has been so beneficial to my physical and mental health that I wish I had the time to attend the class several times a week. Sadly, I do not. But I do have an internet connection and access to gentle yoga "classes" in the comfort of my own home. Whether in a class or at home, there are several items that make this Yoga more effective; mat, blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. I want to share a quick overview of these items and the supplier I've found.

If you are familiar with the benefits of yoga and yoga accessories, please feel free to jump ahead to the Yoga Accessories store. I have found that they offer high quality items, affordable prices, and fast delivery.


The Benefits of Gentle Yoga


I have always enjoyed yoga. And up until a few years ago, I really enjoyed the Yoga Burn type of yoga. The type where I felt as though I was working out and working up a sweat doing it. But as the years have gone by, I have gained weight, lost muscle, lost flexibility, and my lack of range of motion is embarrassing.  I have allowed a stressful job to negatively impact my health.

I needed something, some form of exercise, that suits my current physical and mental state. This gentle yoga class is good for my body as well as my mind. I am increasing flexibility and range of motion. I am also finding that the meditative style of this yoga is helping me to release stress. I am more calm and sleep much better after the yoga class. I can feel my stress level lowered.


Gentle Yoga Accessories


In this yoga class, I have been introduced to several helpful accessories; blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. As I have begun to do yoga at home, I have found a reliable supplier for these items.  I highly recommend Yoga Accessories for your yoga supplies.

Mat - Yoga mats are familiar things to most folks. They provide a bit of padding as well as a no-slip surface.  I love that Yoga Accessories offers mats in many different colors. They also offer mats in different thicknesses. My preference is the very thin mat that provides no-slip and a sort of hygienic barrier between me and the floor. But there are also thicker mats of you are looking for more padding.


1/8" Lightweight Classic Yoga Mat

Bolster - Bolsters come in several sizes and either a round shape or a more flattened-oval shape. I am getting a lot of use from my new round bolster. It is used to prop up the knees, to assist while laying in the child pose, and my favorite pose - laying on it along my spine. This pose seems to release tension in my back and shoulders.


small junior sized round bolster (22" x 7")

Blanket - A blanket does what a bolster does, but on a thinner scale. You can also use the blanket to sit on, adding padding between your bottom and the floor. I also often use it under my head and under my neck for padding and support. 


Yoga Accessories Traditional Mexican Yoga Blanket

Blocks - Blocks are used as props for stability and/or for comfort. For example, while in certain poses that are meant to be restful, if you aren't quite flexible enough you aren't able to relax. The blocks can be placed to help you relax.


High Density and Lightweight Foam Yoga Blocks


Strap - As I mentioned, I have lost flexibility and range of motion. A few years ago, I could grasp my hands behind my back, lean over, and raise them above my head. Now I can barely clasp my hands behind my back.  A strap can be used to help with that move until you become able to perform the move without the extra assistance.  In only 4-5 weeks time, I am noticing improvement in my flexibility and will soon be working without the strap.


8' Cinch Buckle Cotton Yoga Strap



An Amazon Prime Free Gentle Yoga Video


I love this gentle yoga so much and am realizing so many benefits from it in just a few weeks that I've begun to practice at home. I was thrilled to find a free video, that is included with my Amazon Prime membership, that is very similar to the class I attend. If you have a Prime membership, you can take a peek at Easy - Gentle Yoga with Michele Fife to see what I am trying to describe.


A relaxing and helpful pose with the help of a bolster
photo: Yoga Accessories

*photo credits: all photos from Yoga Accessories 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.