Life Lately | April 2023


How is it nearly the end of April? April isn’t usually a month that flies by and yet, here we are!

I’m thinking about a lot…let’s do a run down!

Heart Rate Variability (HRV): This came onto my radar a couple of months ago but I didn’t really do much with it or pay attention to it until Fitbit changed a bunch of things with their app back in March (goodbye friend challenges *sobs*) and put HRV on their list of things they keep tabs of. Paired with a couple of online acquaintances beginning to talk about it I’m realizing my HRV could be a lot better. I haven’t usually worn my devices to sleep because I find them annoying but I’ve started trying to wear them more to track my sleeping and now the HRV. Between the perimenopause symptoms and some reflux issues I had back in winter, I’m just trying to biohack anything I can at the moment.

Book banning: Texas leads the US in book banning at the moment with Florida hot on its heels. Last week was a big week for it when HB 900 passed in the Texas House under disingenuous pretenses. I’ve found a couple of great writers who have summarized the current moment, first with Frank Strong and his write up about HB900 and this post from January by Anne Lutz Fernandez on why Book Banning is Getting Worse. I actually tried to have a good faith discussion with a book banner last week who is prominent in the movement here and learned a few things: there are no good faith discussions with them. They are in it to win it and don’t really care about being disingenuous or manipulative. It’s also paired with the right’s fight for school vouchers and a general dismantling of the DoE on both the state and federal levels. They also for the most part do not read the books they are hellbent on banning. There are other groups who have built an entire arsenal of media for them to share with built in language that will trigger school boards or religious parents who don’t bother to do their own research, understand context, or understand they are being manipulated, into joining these bans. How these people live with their conscience, especially the ones claiming to be ultra-religious, is beyond me. So, I’ve started keeping tabs on some of these groups quietly while I think about how we can be proactive instead of reactive. Because being reactive isn’t really doing much at the moment. And that’s what most of these insane bills are really for (new ones last week about posting the 10 Commandments in classrooms!)—to provoke reaction and to get a Supreme Court decision to overturn prior precedent, which is what happened with the Dobbs decision last June. That was something the right had been working on for decades and after getting enough of their folks installed, it worked. They play the long game and we aren’t doing that. It’s time for a change or we’re in for more decades of very dark authoritarian decisions made by minority viewpoints. Definitely follow Chris and Mendi Tackett if you are in Texas and want to stay up to date on Christian Nationalist issues.

Physical therapy: I’m still going twice a week and had my first follow up with the orthopedist two weeks ago. I’m starting to feel some results, though not as good I was hoping, so I’m continuing. The true test is when I’m on my feet for long periods, such as hiking. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing much hiking the last few weekends so I haven’t had a chance to see how things have changed again, but I hope to see this coming weekend how I feel. I’ll have a string of a couple of good days and then a few strings of not so great days, which is definitely better than it was, which was all bad. My goal is for those bad days to be few and far between and it will take months or work on my own after PT ends for it to get there. I will say, seeing how many older adults are in PT has me glad to be being proactive now about this but also generally keeping up with mobility as I get older.

The garden is doing really well at the moment, on all fronts. I’m finally weeding the last bed I needed to deal with and am brainstorming in my head how to get that bed filled out so there is less empty dirt (or mulch) and more plants filling the area. We’re also working on expanding a little forested floodplain type habitat in the front yard with the wet swale! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and we finally started making an effort towards that with planting dwarf palmettos. I’m growing out some inland woodoats and need to start strategizing some sedges into the area along with other flowering plants. We have several bald cypress trees in the wetter area as well as two swamp chestnut oaks on either side of the driveway that have been there for nearly a decade already. I’m hoping in five years that we have a really cool habitat in that area and wish we’d started this five years ago!

I’ll do a dedicated gardening post soon!

I’m at about 21 books read so far this year but April really slowed down. I’m starting to pick up books again and am reading The Creative License by Danny Gregory and Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk because it was on one of the book banner’s list of bad books she didn’t like and of course had never read! The author is known for his book Fight Club (and the movie, of course) and while I’m not a usual reader of dark literary fiction, I am giving it a whirl because we should all read banned books!

I’m also getting back into my nature journal as I am several months behind. The goal is to start doing this in the mornings on weekends instead of wiling my time away in other ways. At some point in the near future I am also planning to clean up my studio because I haven’t painted over there in so long!

Watching & Listening:
My no tv watching has been broken by both Sanditon and Call the Midwife having returned for their new seasons. I’ve been catching that on PBS on my laptop since we finally severed the cable cord a few months ago. I finished Sanditon and only have a couple of episodes of Call the Midwife left once they unlock for the next couple of weeks and then I just bide my time until Outlander!

I’m not listening to much lately, though have been enjoying my friends at the Florida Madcaps on their new podcast and have been listening to some episodes of the Huberman Lab. Oh, and the new format of the Slow Home Podcast which has morphed into a monthly podcast called The Tortoise, which I have found delightful!

Looking Forward:
We have a lot going on in the next six weeks, and well for a lot of the summer! Camping, visiting friends, volunteer work days, family hopefully visiting at Memorial Day, a girl’s weekend, and then Forest will be gone visiting grandparents for two weeks in June and again probably in July. There’s a lot going on! Tomato and blackberry season are right around the corner, too!

Tell me what’s going on with you!


  • Judy

    I also just finished weeding my last bed. I have 12 large “working” beds that need to be weeded and cared for. I’m pooped. Now I just have daily weeding as I walk around the yard and pull what I see. I did the first fertilizing of my nearly 50 camellias and azaleas. And then trimmed 17 shrubs. No need for a gym.

    I have to say I am not a native Texan but lived here most of my adult life. I am not happy with the direction the state is going and I am thankful my kids are grown and have left the state. My girls are in their reproductive years and I can’t imagine being denied a medical abortion.

    I can’t even get my mind around the gun situation.

    I was a teacher and I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore either.

    We are planning to move near our children and Texas is somehow making it easier to leave.

    • mlittle

      I don’t blame you. I don’t plan on leaving, and if I left I would probably end up back in Florida which is even worse, TBH. We have to fight it while we can! And rant away! 🙂 I’ve got plenty on my blog where I rant, too!

      Also, I didn’t realize you had so many camelias and azaleas! Would love to see a landscape view of them sometime on your blog!

  • Yeah, Another Blogger

    “I am giving it a whirl because we should all read banned books!” — absolutely, because we are under attack from the far right.

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