Friday, May 17, 2019

A Year In My Life Of Urban Self-Reliance

My Apartment Building

Yesterday marked one year of living on my own in my apartment in a city. I learned a lot in that year. One of the most important things is that all people, men and women, need to be self-reliant. Of course, in my previous home I was able to grow a garden and can a lot of food. Now I cannot do that. I have been debating the canning issue. I could do that, but I have no room here to store it unless I put it in my storage area. To be honest, I don't feel like doing it any longer. Being self-reliant living in a city is a whole different issue than being self-reliant living on a homestead in the country.


The first thing I must address is that I eat low-carbs, following the Ketogenic diet and Intermitten Fasting. One thing that Dr. Jason Fung, (who is the person to learn about Intermitten Fasting from) said in one of his YouTube videos is that in Asian countries, the people shop for fresh produce daily. Buying just enough meat and produce to last about three days. Not a week. Not two weeks. Not a month. Three days or less. For me that is what would be ideal........once I work out my transportation issue. I choose not to own a car. Where I live though, public transportation is available. I am in the process of learning how it all works.

Walking to Post Office

I have been waiting for a nice dry day to teach myself to use my "Jazzy" (mobile chair) to go to the post office and Tops, the grocery store. It is about three blocks away so I have not attempted to go as far as Tops with my rolling walker. I have gone to the post office though. It is nice to be able to do things on your own without asking someone for a ride or to help you. A few people in my building use their chairs to go places and some of them really take off. Faster than a bicycle! One lady is 92 and she is always on the move!

Dehydrated Foods on Bottom Shelf

Minimalists tell of having only enough food for one day in their refrigerators. That is a bit much for me. I need to have some food stored to fall back on. Am I afraid "something will happen" and I won't be able to get any food? No, I am beyond worrying about things like that. I believe things are put out in the media to scare us all. Every now and then I purchase dehydrated foods from Emergency Essentials. It takes up less space and the large cans last a long time. Instead of having potatoes (which I do not eat anymore, but I used to), onions, berries or peppers going bad because you stored them too long, I have plenty in dehydrated form in the cupboard. They last for a long time. Just keep them dry.

My Storage Locker

I live in a building that was built in 1888, as a school. You know these buildings are very well insulated. I have a very small, 338 sq. ft. studio apartment. So not any extra space for storing foods. I do have a storage area on the lower level, and even though it is very small, it can store a lot. Right now I am getting rid of the stuff in there so I can make better use of it. Using Rubber Maid containers, I can stack extra supplies or even food. It being a cellar, I like my stuff to be inside something due to mice or whatever finds it way into the building. It is very clean though, so I am not too concerned. Just want to keep dampness and whatever does get in there out of my things.

Norwich Senior Living 

As I figure out how to prepare better in this situation I will write more about it. It is my idea that the storing of a lot of canned foods that you do not eat all the time is a big space waster. I mostly eat fresh meat and produce. Some frozen and some canned also that are all low carbs. I grow greens in my apartment using an Aero Garden. That is the freshest I can do. As soon as I pick any Rabbit and I eat it right then. Fresh produce in the stores and the produce markets is questionable. You have to do what you can do. Or are willing to do. 

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

A year ago, I was dreaming about moving into my own apartment. Now I have lived here for a few months less than a year. I have not looked back. How could I? It was a good move for me and my situation. Until I moved I felt like my life was over. That I was just waiting to die. I felt unhealthy and depressed. Now I am feeling energized almost every morning. I get up and say to myself, "what shall I do today?" A big perk of living alone is the freedom to do whatever you want to do every day. I admit to spending a lot of time on the computer. Not just social media. I have been working on my family tree for a number of years. Just recently, I went back to Flickr and I enjoy that site too.

I understand that some people do not like being alone and need people around them. Actually I live downtown in a small city and there are people all around me. In my apartment building, with 32 apartments, it is like living in a neighborhood where you know everyone. For the most part, we all get along and are friendly. It is not the type of place where someone is at your door all day long. For me though, I have always been an introvert and being alone has never been difficult for me. I love it and never get bored by having nothing to do. Mostly because I never have nothing to do. I am always working on something.

I had been seeing many inspirational posts about living the life you desire, you must step outside your comfort zone. Comfort zone? What is that anyway? I have learned that your comfort zone is not the same as mine or anyone else's. It has to be defined by YOU! I had to confront my comfort zone little by little. I could not just do it all at once. Make a list of what you would like to be doing in your life in the next five or ten years. Then cut it down into little steps by each year or months. Find the first step and then pursue it.

The comfort zone for me, for many years was being a wife and mother. Staying home and not working out in a regular job. Once my son was grown up and I was on my own, life was never easy for me again. I should have found some direction for my life at that time but I got sidetracked by marrying an alcoholic........and I did not even drink! What was I thinking? I did manage to get out of that and went on. My life though was to be difficult and it was usually due to financial complications. Waiting until I could draw my Social Security then allowed me to step outside that comfort zone (which was not very comfortable!). Having my own money made a difference.

Your goals do not have to be very big or outlandish. Like saying you want to marry a billionaire or become a rocket scientist. It can be simple like wanting to meet someone to go out to dinner or to movies with. Or signing up for volunteer work or getting a part time job. I have been taking my goals off my list as I accomplish them and then add new ones one. I had some major issues that I needed to get done as soon as possible so that is where I began. Now I am finding it easy to step out of my comfort zone. Try it!

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Storing Bananas Longer

Rabbit loves his banana treats!

It is no secret to anyone who reads my blog or is a friend of mine on Facebook or Twitter that I have a "house rabbit" for a pet. One of the favored treats of pet rabbits is bananas. Yes, they certainly love them! My little bunny boy is no exception. He wants it every morning. Now the house rabbit "rule people" will warn you about feeding bananas or any fruit too often. That is because it technically is a sweet for them and can rot their teeth. Well.......Rabbit does not comprehend that explanation very well. So I give him a little piece of banana in the mornings. 

Banana Bag

Since I eat low carbs, bananas are not something I eat much of. So buying bananas for Rabbit is not a food I can share with him. I started off by wrapping one in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to store. One banana can last him 3-4 days and that is a long time for storing one. Most times, I ended up throwing it away. Sonny bought me a banana bag for me to try. I could not believe how great this thing works! No more wasting a banana.

Bananas don't last long!

I just put the whole bunch in the bag and make sure the vented side, the side with netting on it, is on top and the ties are pulled tight to close the bag. Then put it on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. It slows down the ripening process for as much as two weeks. I am thinking of buying a second one for storing salad greens for Rabbit. They don't last very well in anything else even though I have tried everything. I watch YouTube videos on various methods and tried them all. But since using this Banana Bag for bananas, I have hope that the other one available for lettuce would work too. They say the banana bag works for apples, cucumbers, carrots and more. I need to try it.

Storing a black, cut banana for Rabbit!

I never knew that black bananas were still good. They are though. Another thing I didn't know was that I could cut a piece off from one and leave it in the skin and put it in the refrigerator and it would stay good. Now I am not wasting money by buying bananas that go bad fast. Most of the bananas in the stores are green anyway, so putting them in the banana bag makes them last even longer. 

Just fine for rabbit or human!

After reading the reviews on Amazon on the Banana Bag, I want to warn you to buy the one that is sold by Carol Wright. The others seem to have negative reviews as to being a cheaper knock off bag. Another thing some of the reviewers are mentioning, the ones who didn't like it, is that they say the bananas do not taste the same after being in the bag. Well, I never noticed any difference in the taste. The only reason I can think of that occurring is because they are staying firmer longer, even when the skin spots or turns brown. We like them just fine and I have not noticed them not tasting as good after being in the bag. I believe they get sweeter, as they get softer.

Vent side

I have not had to throw even one banana away after I started using the Banana Bag. For me that is a big savings. I hate to throw away any food. No fruit flies! Love the fact that there are no more fruit flies in my kitchen. From now on I will always use the Banana Bag for my bananas.

Now I can buy bigger bunches!

Storing the bananas in the refrigerator was something I had just started doing with one opened banana and I wrapped it in plastic wrap. But not long after that, I got the Banana Bag and it proved to be the best storage of bananas immediately. I could not believe how good it worked. I had never heard of one before so I was surprised. Give it a try and see what you think. I hope you like it too. 

In the refrigerator

 I am an affiliate of Amazon and others and will receive a small commission it you click any links to their site and make a purchase. It does not cost you any more money. It is the way I keep my site going. Read my Blogging Disclosure for more information.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Adjusting To Life With New Dentures

My Denture Process

I told in a previous post, Surviving Dental Work, about my experience of having my teeth extracted. I should have called it something like The Pain of Having Teeth Pulled or something like that. I did not want to make it sound extreme. It was though. I would say it was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My boyfriend, Sonny, said when I came out into the waiting room after having them pulled, that I was going into shock. Maybe I was. I remember I was shaking a lot. I can never remember feeling like that before. I was so thankful that he was the one going with me that day. In the car as we were leaving, I could see his concern for me on his face. He took good care of me then and the days afterward.

Our favorite diner in Cortland, NY.

Almost four weeks later, I went back for my dentures. When we left there we stopped to eat at a little diner, Hydes' Diner in Cortland. We always stop there if we are in the area. I tried to eat some chicken noodle soup, but could only eat the broth. Even though the noodles were a very soft homemade type. I discovered after doing a lot of research online how to adjust to using my partial dentures. The most important fact is that dentures are definitely NOT like having a new set of teeth! Absolutely not! The other fact is that every single person's experience with them will be different.

Keep dentures in water when not wearing!

Your dentist will tell you to come back for adjustments to them. That is important! You must go back every time you experience discomfort or pain with them. I went back a few days later and he ground them down in a couple of areas and I am doing better with them. Another thing is you need to wear them! I know people who have dentures but never wear them. You will not adjust to wearing dentures or eating with them if you never wear them. I still do not wear mine all day long. I put them in when I am leaving my apartment. But I take my denture cup with me, just in case I cannot tolerate them. I still am not eating with them yet. So not going out to eat in public as of yet.

Tools for dental care I use.

Brush your teeth after everything you eat. Use dental floss daily on the teeth you have left. I use an anti-cavity mouthwash without alcohol after I brush. Brush your dentures following the instructions from your dentist. I do not use anything but my regular toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them. And do so, every day. Put a towel or washcloth in the sink when taking them out or putting them back in. Then if you drop them they won't break or anything happen to them. One very important fact from my dentist was to never let them dry out! If you take your denture cup with you, make sure you have water in it. I carry the denture cup in a plastic container with a tight lid, just in case I need to remove them.

Scrambled eggs and avocado is a soft food.

As for eating with the dentures. Well I have not mastered that yet. I try to eat soft foods with them, but end up removing my dentures. I am nowhere near being comfortable with them. That is why I am trying to wear them for longer periods of time. Eating with them though is a problem. I am afraid of choking on something because I am not chewing very well. I am determined to conquer this because when I have them in, I like the way I look. They make me look so much better and it makes me feel good. I like to wear lipstick and had not been wearing it for years, since my teeth had gotten so bad. I did not want to draw attention to my mouth.

Not worried about hiding my teeth in a picture anymore!

To be honest here, the dentures feel like you have a mouth full of plastic or something. I think when I talk my voice sounds different. I know after my adjustment period, I will be happy with them. But it is not as easy as it sounds when you are thinking about getting all your teeth pulled. You do not realize how the whole process works. I had some good advice from some of my Facebook friends who have gone through this. They helped me a lot. I did not have any other option really. So I will keep working on these dentures and hopefully will be eating normally in a few months. I will keep updating my progress here.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, February 11, 2019

Using A Bottled Water Dispenser

My bottled water dispenser

When I first moved from my house in the country, I had someone bringing water in my canning jars. The city water here in Norwich, NY, does not taste or smell good. It has stuff added to it I am sure. So I knew I needed to have a source of good water. That was a lot of work for the person bringing it to me. He had to fill each jar and bring them to me, which took gas and not to mention the time. What changed my mind about it was seeing how heavy the jars of water were when you put a lot of them into a box and have to bring them to my apartment (even though I have an elevator). He never complained about it but I felt it was too much for him.

Canning jars for storing water

Then I was gifted with a bottled water dispenser. At first I did not want to use it. I was afraid of the quality of the water in the bottles. That it would not be as safe as the water being brought to me from my house. Then I remembered seeing specks of paint every now and then in the water (from my house). Even when I  still living there. The pitcher pump which is how we got water since the house does not have running water would drop chips of paint off. So now that I was free to choose........I decided to go with the bottled water dispenser after all. I am very glad I did!

Hot and cold dispensers and storage underneath

The one I have is made by Kenwell and is electric for hot and cold water. I do not use it plugged in. I only need it for the room temperature water. It has a dispenser handle for each. I find it very easy to use and fill a jar with water from it and then take it into my kitchen for whatever I need it for. I keep two bottles of water in the refrigerator for drinking if I want cold water. I keep a container of water for heating in an electric pot so it is always ready if I need hot water. Not difficult at all.

The bottles can be bought filled at any grocery store

My friend who bought it for me, put it in place and set a bottle of water bought from the store in it. I have it in my bathroom since my kitchen is very small and has no place to put something like this. I have two bottles and my friend refills them at his house from his spring water system. So I do not have to buy the water at the store. In the future, I could if needed. It is much easier to have the water like this than all those individual water jars. I will say I use a bottle a week or about that. I never really kept track. It is a good way to have water when living in a city and hooked up to the city water system.

It does not take up much room either

I am an affiliate of Amazon and others and will receive a small commission it you click any links to their site and make a purchase. It does not cost you any more money. It is the way I keep my site going. Read my Blogging Disclosure for more information.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, February 08, 2019

Growing Greens and Herbs In My Apartment

Herbs growing in my apartment!

Growing salad greens and herbs in an apartment? In New York? In the coldest months of the winter? Well, yes. I am doing just that using the Mircle-Gro AeroGarden Harvest, an indoor hydroponics garden kit I bought online last year. I wanted to grow salad greens for Rabbit, my pet house rabbit. Moving from the country meant I had no way to forage under the snow for greens for him. I used to get him a lot of plants that were down underneath the snow and still alive. So looking for a solution on YouTube, I found a ton of videos on the indoor gardens. I was hopeful after watching them, as it is the one downside about moving here from my house, where I had a large garden.

Set up in a location away from my bedroom

The brand of indoor garden I bought, the AeroGarden has 6 pods, they come with 9 too but is more expensive. There are some that are real fancy with other options. This one was just a bit over a hundred bucks on Amazon and I did not want to go any higher than that. I figured if I want more plants, once I learned how to use this garden kit, I could get another one, but used on eBay. The pods are available on Amazon. They have a variety of seed pods such as herbs, salad greens, tomatoes and peppers, as well as flowers. The herb pods came with the kit. I wanted the salad greens instead, so I ordered them when I bought the kit. Now I just got around to planting the herb pods and they are doing really well.

Seed pods have sprouted!

The seed pods come with a plastic clear dome cover to use when you first plant them for each pod. As soon as the plant sprouts and is touching the top of the dome, take the dome off. They should take off growing! Mine grew very fast and are nice looking plants. If you wanted, you can start the plants this way and transplant into a garden. Since I am living in a city apartment with absolutely no yard, I have to keep them in place where they are. I did not want to have to move them from one place to another. The light though, is very bright and stays on for hours depending on what plants you have growing. It is programmed by the type of plant and the LCD panel will tell you when to add nutrients and other information. A bottle of nutrients comes with each kit and pod package.


The plants grow in water, not soil. You have to check every few days to see if it needs water added. Then pour it in up to the spot that says "add water to here." It uses advanced hydroponics and is really very simple. As I learn more about this method, I may buy just the pods and nutrients and use other seeds of my own choice. Read the reviews on Amazon and you will get ideas of what you can do with this indoor garden. 

20 Watt LED Lighting System

The 20 watt LED lighting system is programmed to allow plants to maximize  photosynthesis, which results in rapid, natural growth with abundant harvests. It does too. My salad green harvest was plentiful. I picked handfuls almost daily. Enough for Rabbit and my own dinner salad.  The LCD control panel tells you everything you need to do. Just pay attention to it and check your water level. The panel turns the lights on and off automatically. So you don't even have to worry about that either.

Genovese Basil leaves are a good size, smell good and are tasty!

I might get another one, which I would like to, but the light is so bright I have to cover it with a box at night. If you have a separate room to put it in that would be good. It is a useful night light....but a bright night light! I pick the herbs and then try to use them in whatever I am cooking or fresh in a salad. Rabbit is fussy about the herbs and picks at them. The salad greens he ate all of them with no problem. It is pretty nice to have fresh salad greens and herbs growing year round inside my apartment. I would recommend this particular indoor garden kit to anyone who wants to try growing a garden inside. Happy harvesting!

"Mmmmm, I approve!"

I am an affiliate of Amazon and others and will receive a small commission it you click any links to their site and make a purchase. It does not cost you any more money. It is the way I keep my site going. Read my Blogging Disclosure for more information.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Surviving Dental Work

I wrote this blog two weeks ago, the day I came home from having my teeth extracted. I did not get back to it after that. I just want to say before you read it that I have been healing and now have not needed the pain medication as much. Maybe once a day in the evenings. I am looking forward to going back to the dentist for the dentures next week.

In 1977, my teeth were great.

Today I had a large number of teeth extracted. I am not sure exactly how many but more than a few. Right now I wanted to lay down while I wait for the numbness to wear off. Except that even if I am well propped up, I can feel the blood draining down my throat, so I am not going to lay down after all. Sitting here at my computer is more comfortable, if I can relax and go to sleep. The numbness has been wearing off a little bit at a time. I started feeling the pain. I have pain medication to take but until the numbness wears off I cannot swallow it. The water runs out the front of my mouth instead of me swallowing. So I have to wait. My boyfriend, Sonny, crushed up a number of the pain pills and put them in separate dishes for me to mix with water when I take them.

Winter weather

Normally going to a dentist would have made me a bundle of nerves. This morning though, our weather was freezing rain and slick roads. So I was concentrating on Sonny's driving to get us there. I guess it was God's way of keeping it out of my mind, thinking about the teeth being extracted. Riding with him anywhere is usually enjoyable since he listens to NASCAR radio all the time. That was also taking my mind off the appointment also.

My appointment was at ten and we were right on the dot. They took me in immediately and the dental technician (I am not aware of what her official title is) was friendly and bubbly and talking to me about her dogs and children. She made an impression of my upper and lower teeth. Soon the dentist came and he was friendly and told her what instruments he would need as he looked at my chart. He came back in a little bit and put my chair back and started giving me shots. I must have made a little moan when he did a couple of them, and he said he was sorry, with a lot of compassion in his voice.

Then he left again, as did the technician also. So I was in the room alone and I started praying for it to go quickly and as painlessly as possible. Soon they were back and I was completely numbed. He put my chair back down and went to work. I must say the actual extractions did not hurt nearly as bad as the shots had been. Once you get them done, the rest of the process is easier. He said we were all done and I managed to tell him that he was fast. Which he was. My appointment was at ten and Sonny and I was on the highway headed home and I looked at the clock and it was 10:47.


Now I am home waiting for the numbness and bleeding to stop so I can take one of those pain pills. I found I cannot swallow with my tongue numb. I still have a mouth full of gauze biting down to stop the bleeding. But I want to take a pain pill now! I figure all the discomfort I am in today is my own fault. Years of neglecting my teeth. In my younger years, I went to my dentist every 6 months and some years, I didn't even have a cavity. Eating the wrong foods, drinking soda instead of water and no dental visits contributed to this day. I can't blame anyone but me. I should have looked and found a way to take care of myself on my own. Which is what I am trying to do now. I have help and support from Sonny though and he takes good care of me.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole