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Autumn Woods

Starting a Little Weekly Calendar of Areas to Disinfect

I’m basing the weekly tasks off of the list that I had posted before (link here), which I based on another article The Nine Dirtiest Spots in Your Home. This is as much for myself as for you reader, I’ll just try to post a weekly task to be disinfected around the home with the purpose of lessening the amount of germs hanging around the home so that hopefully all our families would in turn suffer from less sick days as a byproduct of the disinfecting routine. I know that the blogger Fly Lady does something similar but with weekly/daily cleaning tasks, mine will rather focus on keeping the most germy areas of the home a little less germy.

The purpose of it being weekly is because we all have different schedules and having a weekly schedule makes it easier to fit in a time for the task in a way that suits each of us.

Week 1:

Kitchen: Dish sponges/rags/bushes, cutting boards, and the kitchen sink

How I might go about this task: start with a general scrub/wipe-down/rinse of the kitchen sink, then boil up some hot water. Plug the sink with the stopper to hold the boiled water, pour a small amount of bleach for disinfecting, add the sponges, rags, and brushes to the water to allow them to be disinfected as well. After the water has had a moment to cool down, let the water empty back down the drain and do a second scrub/wipe-down/rinse of the sink with the use of the cleaned kitchen brushes, a little dish soap, and water. Last, plug and refill the sink once more with hot water, a little soap, and a small capful of bleach (alternatively can pour some lemon juice and/or vinegar if you want to go a more green/eco friendly route) then soak all the cutting boards in this mixture as long as desired, let the sink empty, rinse the boards and the disinfected area for the week is done.

 

I meant for the first week to be started on the Sunday that’s coming up, but I wanted to put this post up early for the purpose of being able to use it as a link when I post the rest of the disinfecting areas in the weeks to come.

Personal Nursing Work “Pen Pouch” Essentials

…Or the Restocking and Re-evaluating My Work “Pen Pouch” Post.

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As a nurse I always need to carry around something to write with and an array of other such supplies with me while I’m at work in order to maintain my basic level of functioning and it so happened that I kept putting off restocking this “pen pouch” that I keep with me up until now. I’ve stayed prepared with regard to keeping a stockpile of my necessities at home, but have failed to replace two of my used up items for the past three days until now, so I figured that I’d take this opportunity to share my “essentials” for my workplace “pen pouch”, much like the well remember pencil cases in school, I still carry a “grown-up” version of this now and I’ll share with you my present day arsenal of supplies.

  1. The handy-dandy drawstring pouch: this pouch keeps my whole arsenal of items together in one place, it started out as a little light blue Korean Air toiletries bag that I’d reused for the same purpose and used to the end of it’s tattered life till I needed to find a new bag to replace it with, which I ended up finding in the party favor bag section at Target (comes in a set of 3), not the best material, but serves its purpose. What makes the drawstring bag so nice to me is that it keeps every item facing up in my pocket, keeps it organized, and keeps it from falling out while I work.
  2. Body shop lotion (happens to be an almost empty British Rose this time): fits well in my pouch and isn’t a sticky sort of consistency for lotion. Originally I never carried lotion, I imagined it carried to many germs and often still do, but my parched, dry hands as a nurse always needing to constantly wash my hands doesn’t give me much choice since the alternative is to let my hands get dry, cracked, and bleed instead, so the choice is quite easy. Also this lotion doesn’t happen to be my favorite from that shop, that’s part of why I use it since I don’t want to run out of my favorites so quickly, but my coworkers love the smell, so all the same.
  3. Lip moisturizer: I keep this on hand in case my lips get too dry, as a nurse there are days that I get so busy that I hardly drink water or don’t drink at all (rare with this, but it has happened) and my lips feel the effect of this deprivation for sure and so this is yet another item that I imagine to be crawling with bacteria, but I use it in those moments of desperation when my lips feel too parched. It so happens to be Burt’s Bees this time, not my favorite, but I’m trying to use up my existing lip moisturizers in the meantime to avoid being wasteful.
  4. Dry erase marker: I like this one in particular because it’s clear and so I know exactly when it’s start to run low as a kind of warning “low battery” type of comparison except in pen form. I need this item for work to keep the patient’s boards updated (this is the first of the two replacement products that I mention).
  5. Permanent marker: this is a semi-multipurpose item used for a variety of labeling purposes at work (from dressings to IV bags, etc.) (which accounts for my second replacement item).
  6. Scissors: another basic necessity (from cutting gauze to various dressings, koban, medications such as Lidocaine patches, etc.).
  7. Pen: this one is from the Muji store and I believe has six colors (I’ve used up the black ink and have also broken its end piece at this point), but I still like this pen quite a bit in part for the colors/how it writes, but mainly because it’s permanent for official documents and has a large grip for my patients to hold since many of them are elderly or have suffered from strokes and so their dexterity is often poor and the larger size of the pen helps them to write/sign.
  8. Erasable frixion pen: this along with the pouch that holds my items is likely my favorite thing. It’s the best erasable pen I’ve ever tried, I’ve already run out of two and I’m on my third. It’s just so convenient for me. I don’t want to use pencil because I know I’ll make a mess of it and I feel a little less professional not using a pen of some form, also it erases a million times better than other “erasable” pens I’ve tried in the past and rarely smudges either. It allows me to make changes on my report sheet without making it look like a complete and total mess with scribbles and x’s left and right. It’s certainly raised many eyebrows among my coworkers and certainly did for me when I first saw someone using it.
  9. Highlighter: rarely used items, I could probably live without it, but is occasionally utilized for me to keep track of things, but I must say I’m using it even less now that I have my erasable pens.
  10. Pen light: absolute neuroscience nurse essential, my workplace even supplies us with extras in the med room because it’s so often used on our unit to assess patients. So always a pen light as well.

Two Eco Friendly Ways to Clean a Microwave

In this short post I’m just going to give two ways to clean a microwave:

The first is by using a solution of one part vinegar and one part water, 1-2 cups of the mixed solution should be adequate. After putting this solution into a microwave safe container (I almost always use a pyrex or a glass baking dish), the solution needs to be heated for a few minutes in the microwave. I see many sources on the internet suggesting 3 minutes, but I usually do at least 5 and will sometimes repeat heating the solution as I wish.

The second method is nearly identical to the first, but rather than vinegar it calls for water and one lemon. Whereby in this method the lemon juice is squeezed into the water and the lemon is left in the water/lemon juice mixture and heated in the exact same manner as mentioned above for the water and vinegar mixture.

The whole point of either of these two methods is to cause the steam from the given solution to soften any debris within the microwave to make it easier to clean and wipe down. The only thing left to do it the wiping and scrubbing in the microwave itself.

Of course also remember to be careful with the hot liquid while you clean.

A Farewell to Fairy Lights

I took down some white Christmas lights that I’d used to adorn my wardrobe for many years today, for so long I felt that the wardrobe didn’t quite feel right without it and I’d almost taken it down on one other occasion a couple of years back, but today it felt like it was finally time. I’ve enjoyed how it looked all this time, but I think it’s time for it to go and this is my farewell to my cozy fairy lights, I’m just ready for some change.

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Ways to Keep Our Brain Healthy as We Age (the Physical)

This is going to be a post on some notes I’ve taken from the book “60 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp” by Bonne Beth Sparrman, BSN. The book is divided into 4 sections of: physical activity and related preventative measures, nutrition, intellectual stimulation, and social and spiritual stimulation. This bog post will only be covering select parts from the first section of “Physical Activity and Related Preventative Measures”. In this post I’ll be emphasizing my favorite sections and tips and make short little notes on the remaining bits:

  1. Go Hiking. I love this one, because I too love hiking, I’ve only done it a couple of times, but I’ve loved going every single time. In Sparrman’s book she starts of writing about a Swedish man named Stig (pronounced Steeg and means “pathway or wanderer”). I loved Sparrman’s description of Stig’s childhood surroundings of “Rolling hills, plenty of water, and pine forests surrounded his home, beckoning him to wander wooded paths foraging for mushrooms and wild berries” (p. 16). Clearly hiking has physical benefits, but it does so much for mental health as well including boosting creativity and reducing depression.
  2. Go Swimming (or even better swim in a lake). According to Sparrman the benefits of swimming include: increased blood flow to the brain, decreases depression, improves memory, and is a physical activity that is safe for joints (p. 21-22).
  3. Garden. I’m an on-off gardener, at times I’m out toiling around in the dirt, while at other times I just spend the greater sum of my hours indoors. In spite of my fickleness regarding this activity, I really do enjoy it when I do it. As for what Sparrman writes about gardening, she says that working with the soil gives a boost of serotonin to our brains that improves mood (apparently through the aid of a good microbe called Mycobacterium vaccae). People who garden also have a lower risk of developing dementia than those who don’t and being out in the sunshine increases the production of vitamin D, which is yet another mood booster and even helps to improve our immune systems (p. 33-34).
  4.  Try Pilates. Apparently pilates works not only the body, but the mind as well and has an emphasis on deep breathing. Some of its benefits including healing sore muscles, helps prevent injuries (how I’m not sure), decreases stress, and calms the mind. I’ve never personally tried pilates, but I may try it now and after reading this section of the book I went on Youtube and checked to see if I could find any video that I might want to try and came across this one that I might try to give a go at some time soon (p. 36-37).
  5. Get a Massage. According to Sparrman massage decreases cortisol (our stress homone) while increasing the “feel good” hormones of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. I’ve only gone one time to a massage parlor and wasn’t too thrilled with my experience there. The lady that massaged me was too rough and didn’t understand English so I couldn’t make any of my preferences known to her. It was a rather uncomfortable experience for me. So far my good massage experiences have only been from family and friends, but perhaps I’ll try a “real” massage again sometime soon and will hopefully have a different experience (p. 55).
  6. Additional Tips: maintain a healthy BMI, stay active, partner dancing, get enough sleep, quit smoking if you’re a smoker, breath more deeply, and always wear a helmet for activities that call for one to be worn.

 

Source:

Sparrman, B. B. (2018). 60 ways to keep your brain sharp. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

Revisiting the KonMari Method and the Art of Discarding

I’ve read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up 3 times already and followed most of its advice in the past, but I never really completed my journey and would like to, so I’m returning to my discarding and organization journey once again.

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These are three of the dresses I’ll be getting rid of. The middle one is much harder to let go of than the other two. One of my great aunts’ who has Alzheimer’s now had helped me choose it years ago and so that dress holds a soft spot in my heart, but I don’t necessarily want to wear it anymore.

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For now I’m getting rid of six tops. I don’t imagine I’ll ever wear the shirt on the far left, I dislike the cut of the arms of the other two tops, and the pink floral one is a top I got a number of compliments on in the past, but I just don’t like it very much.

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For these three, it’s just two t-shirts and a floral top. The floral top is another shirt I got a good number of compliments on, but I dislike the fabric and find the straps to be too narrow when it comes to bras.

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The last two items for now is a trench coat and this book that I’d intended to give to someone as a gift, but the time has passed at this time for that, so I’ll just get rid of it.