Catch up: mullein, KEEN, a reunion, mini-zucchini, and apnea

So life has been busy! Partly because I finished up a major project at work in May – thus ending a 60-70-hr-per-week month, but then I turned around and volunteered (hold onto that word for later) to hold a reunion for my grad school buddies at my house. At my house-that’s-being-renovated-and-still-had-plaster-dust-everywhere house. And of course, I decided to make room for the BBQ portion of it in my backyard, so I had to turn my stacks of patio-building supplies into an actual patio. It has been late nights trying to get everything done.

But I still got in most of my adventures in May and June. To catch you up on my monthly new volunteer activity, new food, and new activity in general:


new activityguitar lessons, as noted in the last post.

new volunteer activity:  I volunteered to throw a reunion! It probably shouldn’t count as a true volunteer effort to help the planet, but here are the results. Happiness.

DSC04985Prep time was throughout May, but the reunion itself was in June.

new foodmullein.  Mullein is the plant Verbascum thapsus, a species native to the U.S., and basically has been brewed as a tea for stomach problems and other household recipes for many generations. However, few scientific studies have been done to show what it’s true efficacy is regarding different uses (see, except for one study that showed a probable effect in helping kids’ earaches. But there is a lot of talk on the web about how it helps with congestion, diarrhea, joint pain, earaches, acne, and much more.

I am always leery about drinking something that hasn’t really been tested thoroughly (but really, so few of our foods, teas, etc. have), but there were no warnings against it anyway. I steeped it for 15 minutes, and was expecting it to be kindof thick with ‘mucus’, which some websites seemed to indicate, but it was fine – and kindof tasted like chamomile tea when unsweetened. Nothing happened immediately, but I did have some stomach issues the next day – the thing I was trying to avoid!  It may have been something else, so I’m going to try again. I also used it as a compress for an ear ache – but it didn’t seem to help. More experimentation required. But at the least, it wasn’t bitter.

Here is an excellent article on the different uses and history of mullein.


new foodsome sort of mini zucchini, whose name I have forgotten, though it started with a Latin American country – I will have to go back to the store. But here are pictures.

DSC05000 DSC05008

Like I would with zucchini, I roasted them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, but I also tried different herbs on them: thyme, tumeric, marjoram, and an all-purpose seasoning. They were pretty good, but had a sharper, almost a “pop” of a taste to them. More tangy than I expected. I think I will stick to the North Americanized version.

new volunteer activity – went bowling with some special needs kids through KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now)! It was a good time. I worked with a very autistic child who could not communicate except through hand twitches, and some eye movement, but who loved to bowl. He would roll the ball down the bowling lane (which was specially set up with gutter guards so that the ball never went in the gutter – my score was never so good), and would give a nice, genuine smile if he hit most of the pins. A great smile if he made a strike. Days like these remind me that giving is better than receiving.

new adventure activity – Wait – what was my new activity? Oh no, I don’t remember! I hope I did one for June.

Stay tuned while I can see if my neurons can retrieve anything…

Aah, I remembered.  I underwent a sleep apnea test.  Which, by the way, is given when you are tired and have trouble remembering things.  Here is the picture I took of all the wires that wound up hooked up to me.  (The room itself looked like a hotel room, not a lab.) No results yet about my breathing, but my brain waves are apparently fine.


July promises to be exciting!  More to come.

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