Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How To Count Your Period Cycle Length or "Am I normal?"

"DoctorDiva, I think there's something wrong with me. I've been getting my period twice a month some months."

"What was the first day of your last two menstrual cycles?"
"Well, DoctorDiva, I came on in the beginning of the month, went off a week later and came on again at the end of the month! There must be something wrong!"

"How many days do you bleed?"

"Well, I bled heavily for two or three days, then I spotted for another five days. Then I got my period again two and half weeks after that! What's wrong with me?"

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are completely and totally normal. Do you know how to count your cycle length?"
"Well, no. I mean, you should only get your period once a month, right?"
"Well, do you keep track of the first day of your period?" 
"I thought you counted from the END of your period."

I have this conversation more than twice a week.


WHO should CARE?

Well, if you want to know when you're going to ovulate, (when the egg pops out of the ovary and is ready for Mr. Sperm to sweep in and fertilize it), or don't want to get pregnant, or want to know if you ARE pregnant, you need to know when your period started.

See the picture up there. Yeah, I know. Ugh. Science. Right?

Look at the uterus picture. There's blood in there, and all the hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are low. That's your period. The blood comes out and the uterus is empty.

Then the estrogen goes up and then LH and FSH from the brain tell the ovary to pop out an egg. POP!! Out comes the egg, and it moves into the fallopian tube.

The blood starts to build up again and forms a really cushy nutrient rich lining inside the uterus where  the fertilized egg can set up house.

 If no sperm succeeds in it's quest to fertilize the egg, the progesterone levels and estrogen levels drop and BAM! Your period. Again.

If you know how long the time is from the first day of your period, to the next first day, you have your "cycle length."

Again, Who Cares?

YOU DO.  If you know that your period cycles are pretty regular, like 28 days or 32 days or similar, You can predict when your next period is going to be by counting forward from the first day of your period by your cycle length.

Also, if you want to know when you're ovulating, you count backwards by fourteen days from when your NEXT EXPECTED PERIOD is due and Bam!

Knowing the first day of your period is also how we figure out your due date for pregnancy.

 Now with so many people having smart phones with calendar apps, it should be fairly easy to keep track of your menstrual cycles.There are APPS for that!.

In general, that we talk about a 28 day cycle being "normal" but in reality,
"Normal" is a range.
 "Normal" is different for different people.

 Some people bleed every 21 days, some every 35 days, and some vary all over the place from 28 to 21 to 35 days or even skipping. That's not normal, and might be caused by a medical condition.

So, Are you normal?
Ask your Doctor.

July 22, 2014


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This is An Important Camping/Hiking with Children Post

 ThrillWriting: Hug-a-Tree: Keeping Our Youngest Characters (and our real-life kiddos) Alive in the Woods with Jacquie Beveridge

I am following an amazing writer, Fiona Quinn, on Twitter.
She writes a blog on how to write. She researches specific situations and becomes an expert. Then she educates writers so they write more accurately. 

Many of you know I am involved in Boy Scouts and LOVE to camp. 
I have never run across this technique of pre-hike preparation. 
This is simply brilliant and will save lives. I thought it was too important not to share.
Please click on the link below:

ThrillWriting: Hug-a-Tree: Keeping Our Youngest Characters (and our real-life kiddos) Alive in the Woods with Jacquie Beveridge

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Grief Pickles

I'm on another culinary bender.

I cook and craft when I'm stressed. It's safer and healthier than drinking.

My Father passed away July 1st, exactly 14 weeks after my mother died. My sister was the main caregiver and is an amazing person. I live half way across the country, and last saw them right before my mother died. 

My kids were off at camp when he died. While picking them up I stopped at a roadside farm market and bought 5 lbs of blueberries and several pounds of pickling cucumbers. I needed to cook.

Cooking to Cope. Should be a separate blog, eh?

 I've made about 10 pints of blueberry preserves since that first disastrous episode of  "scalding while sterilizing." I'm big on alliteration today.
(see previous blog post on Blueberry preserves)

Since then, I've learned a few things: 

1.) The canning rack will sit up on it's handles on the sides of the canning pot and so I don't need to reach deep into the pot to take out my sterile jars. There is less risk of dropping them and splashing myself with boiling water.

2.)  I have two different types of jar tongs. I can grab a jar sitting on its side easily without dropping it. 

3.) I use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature of the jam

4.) I use a very tall pot to cook the jam so it doesn't foam up and boil over the top

But now: 


I've always wanted to make pickles. As a child, one of my favorite memories was going to Ernie's deli in Rutherford, New Jersey. He had a barrel of sour dill pickles behind the counter. My sister, friends, and I would save up to buy a pickle (25 cents each pickle) and have Ernie slice it up into the requisite number of slices. We amused him to no end. Most kids bought chips, cookies, gum, and candy. 

We bought pickles. 

I miss them. I can't get really good sour dill pickles in a barrel easily here in Chicago. 
Yes, I miss my parents too, even with all the baggage, and this is a way to remember my childhood and cope. A weird substitute?---- Yes. I'm not apologizing or explaining.

SO, I purchased perfect pickle cucumbers at the grocery store and decided I was going to try my hand at making CANNED pickles. I read a bunch of recipes and made a batch of bread-and-butter pickles and a batch of garlic dill pickles. 

Bread and butter pickles

The bread and butter pickles were AWESOME. 
The dill pickles were good but they were soft, and not exactly what I was looking for.

 Next, I made refrigerator garlic dill pickles with other vegetables as well as cucumbers.  My favorite pickled vegetable turned out to be the carrots. They were similar to Lalo's Mexican Restaurant's pickled veggies. I've also tried pickled cauliflower and I'd like to try pickled peppers.

The refrigerator pickles were close to what I was jonesing for, but no cigar. They were crisp and garlicky, but not the same as the sour dill pickles in the barrel from Ernie's Deli.

 So I've taken a plunge and have purchased a fermenting jar.

I've been reading all about making fermented sour dill pickles and since the weather's going to be cool next week, (Thank you Polar Vortex-the weather pattern that just keeps on giving)  I think this is as good a time as any to make them. If the weather gets too warm, pickles ferment too quickly and go bad.

 Wish me luck.

I hope I don't give myself Ptomaine poisoning.