Friday, June 19, 2009

2447 Diet - Day 2

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."


What I ate yesterday:
coffee, coffeemate vanilla sugar free
grits, Quaker original pkg
Margarine, Promise, 1 tbsp
MacIntosh apple, w. skin
coffee, coffeemate vanilla sugar free
Wheat thins, Nabisco, .77 oz
Iced tea, Lipton diet
LeanCuisine - parmesan fish, pasta, zucchini, carrots
Tomato, small fresh
The usual vitamins and minerals, not included in totals below.

Totals for yesterday:
Calories - 732 (out of 1153 allowed)
Carbs - 107 (299g allowed)
Sugar - 11g
Fiber - 11g
Fat - 25 (67g allowed)
Protein - 20 (47g allowed)
Cholesterol - 30 (297mg allowed)
Sodium - 1245 (2402mg allowed)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2446 The lure of the kurta

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Michel de Montaigne: “Life in itself is neither good nor evil,
it is the place of good and evil, according to what you make it.”


Another blogger (you know who you are...) mentioned having worn a beautiful sparkly kurta to a sort of country-style old-time-religion-y event, and seemed to have caused quite a stir among the other very plainly dressed women there. Their reaction confused me. I often feel like I'm dressed "wrong", too, even though what I'm wearing is chaste and good, and I'm seldom sure why. I had to think about it a while.

I think it has to do with sin. Fundamental types get all upset about sin.

To sin is bad. But to tempt another into sin is worse.

To feel envy is a sin. To cause another to feel envy is a worse sin.

I suspect the other women were envious, and to them it was a bad thing, and it was blamed on the lure of the kurta.

Likewise, to lust is a sin. To tempt another to lust is a worse sin, and that's why in older cultures and fundamentalist religions, women either cover their hair or otherwise make it ugly, and wear concealing clothing.

And that's why my mother wanted me to cut my hair when I became an "adult".

2445 Woots, and an African storm

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."


I've been Wooting! (Ha! Look at me! I made a verb!) If you don't already know what is, check it out. They offer one deal a day, and when it sells out, it's gone.

Last week or so I bought a thingy that you can plug into an analog video output device, like a video cassette recorder/player or old video camera, and it converts the output to digital and will put it on an iPod, or thumb stick or whatever. I have a load of old VCR tapes. Woot! I haven't got around to trying it yet, but eventually I will.

Today my most recent purchase arrived. It's an actual turntable for vinyl records that produces digital output and plugs into the laptop USB. I had tried a long time ago to convert vinyl to CD, using the old stereo in the living room, but the input to the computer was analog and I had to use a program that translated, and it didn't do a good job. Plus there were pops that even Jay couldn't get rid of. I hope this works better.


The following is Kim Komando's selection for Video of the Day. It's Perpetuum Jazzile, an a cappella jazz choir from Slovenia, singing "Africa", but they go a step further. They create a thunderstorm with their hands. Pretty cool.


Same group, doing a Bee Gees Medley:

2444 Diet, Day 1

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thomas Edison: "Many of life's failures are people
who did not realize how close they were to success
when they gave up."


I went to a site yesterday recommended by Becs, which redirected me to You can enter what you eat, and they'll fill in all the numbers for you, and track you by day. I put in my current height and weight and activity level, and asked how many calories I would need per day to lose weight at the rate of 1.5 pounds per week.

It said 1153.

Then I started filling in what I ate. For some things it works well. Put in "Apple", and you get the numbers. Put in "CoffeeMate regular" and you get the numbers. But then I ran into trouble. I use CoffeeMate Vanilla Sugar-free, which is not at all the same as regular. It isn't on LiveStrong's list, and the program doesn't allow you to fill in the numbers from the package yourself. I ate a diabetic pre-packaged meal for lunch, which wasn't on the list of choices, so I tried looking up the separate parts of the meal, but LiveStrong's numbers were wildly different from those on the meal package.

So, in the end, I decided that LiveStrong would be useful for looking up data on some things, but to keep track of my daily fare I'll need to do it myself.

I set up a little database, and kept track of everything I ate yesterday. I used the package numbers for everything but the blueberries. Blueberry numbers I got from LiveStrong. (I'm amazed that nothing includes calcium numbers, but I take 1800 whatevers in tablet form per day.)

Daily requirements/Limits (per LiveStrong):
Calories - 1153
Carbs - 299g
Fat - 67g
Protein - 47g
Cholesterol - 297mg
Sodium - 2402mg

What I ate yesterday:
1 cup blueberries
oatmeal and a baked apple (diabetic pre-packaged meal)
cup coffee with CoffeeMate (sugar-free)
Lean Cuisine - garlic chicken, creamed spinach w. carrots
Ice cream - one Eskimo Pie
The usual vitamins and minerals, not included in totals below.

Totals for yesterday:
Calories - 694 (out of 1153 allowed)
Carbs - 83 (299g allowed)
Sugar - 28g
Fiber - 12g
Fat - 31 (67g allowed)
Protein - 29 (47g allowed)
Cholesterol - 45 (297mg allowed)
Sodium - 807 (2402mg allowed)

Yesterday's fare is pretty typical for me. I didn't cheat at all - that's a typical day, that was my actual intake, and those are my actual totals. So, why don't I look like Paris Hilton?

Sob. I don't understand.

I'm going to track every day for a month.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2443 As it should be?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Katherine Hepburn: "Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then."


I am having some time dissonance today. I will be joining The Man on Saturday. We'll have the afternoon free, and then the Shakespeare festival in the evening. I usually take stuff to the recycle center on Saturday, but, thinking ahead, I went to the recycle center this morning. The result is that I keep thinking today is Saturday, and I'm momentarily confused every time it proves not to be.


The Man has some definite ideas on what he wants as far as medical intervention is concerned. He has told me that if he should have a heart attack or stroke or whatever when he's with me, that I am not to attempt to "save him". He figures when it's time, it's time, and he wants no extraordinary effort. I think perhaps he has a fear of ending up hooked to machines, or bankrupting his family (or me) with medical costs, or ending up unable to work. Or, it could be just fatalism. When it's time, it's time.

It's not what I would choose for myself, but I told him ok, I would respect his wishes. No CPR, no aspirin, no immediate 911, no defibrillator.

My philosophy is different from his. Yes, I'll agree that when it's time, it's time. I helped Jay to stay alive so long because that's what he wanted and what I promised him, but when it was time, when all his organs shut down but he was still fighting, I told him it was time to let go. I had to. And he did.

To be absolutely honest, I'm not certain I could abide by the promise to The Man. I know what to do in various situations, and I'm afraid I would do it anyway, without thinking. I couldn't do otherwise.

My theory is that if it really was time, he'd have the heart attack or whatever in his car, or alone on a late night shift in his office, or in his sleep at home, not when he's with me. If he has it when he's with me, then obviously it's not time yet.

Like, it's a test.


I was thinking about that yesterday. I had picked up another tail end of yarn and followed it, and ended up reading a lot about a particular very rare condition caused by chromosome damage, an extra copy of a particular chromosome. (I won't give the name here because I don't want someone searching for information on the syndrome to find this, but the number thirteen is significant, and having three of them instead of the usual two is what causes the problem.)

With the extra copy, the fetus develops incorrectly. The skull either closes too quickly or doesn't close, the brain is malformed, the intestines are messed up, the feet are deformed, there may be parts of the eye that don't develop properly, and there are often extra non-functional digits on the hands and feet. There may also be cleft palate and heart and kidney defects.

The condition is often not detected until late in the pregnancy. If born alive, the child often does not live long.

In the worst cases, the child will be blind (if not from poorly developed eyes, then from the brain being unable to process visual information) and unable to speak (the speech centers in the brain don't develop). Most never learn to crawl, let alone walk. They never learn to swallow, apparently they don't have the reflex. They have to be fed through a tube in the abdomen. Eventually the malpositioned intestines twist and surgery is needed to reposition them. If they can hear, I don't know that they can process what they hear. They are profoundly retarded. They have seizures. They do not develop manual dexterity. Some children are better off than others, not having all the defects, but even in mild cases, it's severe. Really bad.

If they live past the first few days, their life is one infection after another, one surgery after another, and the surgeries don't improve or cure anything, they just keep them alive a little longer.

I read many stories of children living with the condition, and of their parents' battles to get proper care for the children. Almost universally, the doctors, having diagnosed the condition at birth, strongly advised the parents to allow the child to die. (The nurses were generally more supportive of the parent's decision, regardless of what it was.) Some parents take the doctor's advice, once they find out what the condition means. Others don't, and begin the round of corrective surgeries, tube feedings, 24 hour care, anti-convulsive medications, and on and on.

Of course all of the stories I read were authored by parents who chose the latter course, and many of them were very dismissive of and even angry at parents who allowed the child to die shortly after birth. They figured that God (or whomever, or whatever) gave them this child to care for, and they would, no matter what it took.

One woman was very indignant that someone had said to her, "You are forcing this child to live!"

I can understand that attitude. Sometimes you find parents of exceptional children who want to be congratulated for how selfless they are. And those are the ones who least respect people who decide otherwise.

My take on this issue is that yes, the baby was "given" the condition, and yes, these parents were "given" this baby, BUT if the intent was that the baby die, then it was given to parents who would allow it to die, and they would learn the lessons of that birth and death. If the "giver's" intent was that the baby live, it would be given to parents who would make a supreme effort to keep it alive, and the parents would learn the lessons of that effort. Either way, a divine lesson is to be taught, and the parents learn (or teach) that lesson, and it is exactly as it is meant to be.


...So, if The Man ever keels over in front of me, I will do what I will do, whatever that is, I don't know exactly and won't know unless it happens, but whatever I do, it will be the right thing, and the right lesson will be learned (or taught), either by me or by him, because he keeled over in front of me, not someone else, or somewhere where there was no help.

So there.

2442 Thud

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Plato: "Wise men talk because they have something to say;
fools, because they have to say something."


I just heard a defendant on a judge show, who doesn't want to pay the plaintiff's bill for a service, complain that it took the plaintiff four hours to "do her diligence".


2441 Curiosity

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt: "Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering."


I'm curious. Who's visiting from somewhere near Owings, Maryland, running Firefox, on Linux? Welcome to my blather. You can leave a comment and relieve my paranoid mind - you don't really need a Blogger or Google id, I think you can use "anonymous" on the comment form. But I'd love to know whether you are male or female, how you found me, and whether we already know each other or not. A name's not necessary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2440 Variations on a thyroid

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.


I stopped by the doctor's office today and picked up copies of my last several tests: the bone density of 4/20, and blood work from 5/06 and 6/10.

Bone Density

On the bone density, all the nurse told me on the phone was that it was "a bit low", and that I should take a different calcium (the one I had been taking was just calcium and D, the one she recommended included other minerals, too), and I should do more weight-bearing exercise.

According to the report, both left and right femurs are less than optimal, and both left and right femoral necks show osteopenia (not osteoporosis yet, but not far off).

I was surprised, because I'd been taking both calcium and magnesium for a long time, and I have yogurt every day, and get a fair amount of cheeses and broccoli, and I walk.

I did a little research myself and found out that it's probably not an intake problem. In fact, up until my forties I used to have an excess of calcium, which formed "sand" in my muscles and joints. I even grew three extra adult teeth in my thirties - two more wisdom teeth which got pulled, and another molar that's still there, crowded between its sisters.

It's more likely an absorption problem. I've been taking Prilosec for years for reflux (and that IS in my records), and the reduction in stomach acid inhibits the dissolution of calcium. Now I need to figure out what to do about that. There's a form of calcium that dissolves more readily, and other anti-reflux preps that aren't quite as strong.

First blood test

On the blood, from the 5/06 baseline panel they told me only that "there's something wrong with the thyroid", white blood count is high, and glucose is high.

I got to see the numbers today.

Glucose was 151 (65-139 normal). Ok, that's a bit high. The normal range is based on non-fasting, and I did fast, so I don't know what that means.

WBC was 11.6 (3.8-10.8), and hematocrit, RDW, and platelet count were also a bit high, which fits.

Thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH, was 7.60 (0.40-4.50). Wow! Now that's a bit excessive.

Cholesterol was marked high, at 202, but the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, the good one, was extremely low (I've always had high HDL), so I guess they don't see that as a problem.

Ok. That was the first set. Now we go to the recheck, last week's (the one that left me badly bruised).

Second blood test

The nurse had called and told me that my thyroid and white count were fine now, but the glucose was still a bit high.

Glucose, at 128, is actually now well within the range!! (65-139), which says I'd been a good girl the previous few days. However, they also did an A1C test, and that was 6.4 (should be <6.0 for non-diabetic). So I was a slightly bad girl for the past few months. But this tells me that even the few non-painful changes I've made to eating habits has made a difference. I'm not sure what the nurse was saying.

For some reason, the carbon dioxide, which had been good, is now low, at 18 (of 21-33 normal).

And the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which the nurse said was fine, is actually still high, at 5.28 (0.40-4.50)! It's down from last month, but it's still high!

At first I thought maybe I messed up what the nurse had said, that she actually said the glucose was ok and the thyroid was still off, that I had misremembered, got them mixed up, but no, she absolutely recommended that I "might want to see" a dietitian for help with a pre-diabetic diet.

I don't understand.

Anyway, everything else is within limits, or only a negligible amount off, and things that had been high-normal are now low-normal and vice-versa. It doesn't even look like the same person's blood in both reports - which is an argument for not getting excited, absent symptoms, about anything until you've seen it consistently over time.

2439 Photos from Iran

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An adventure without a dragon is not worth telling.


Photos from Iran, from

Friday, June 12, the excitement before the "count" -

Monday, June 15, rioting excalates -

Monday, June 15, 2009

2438 Eating Healthy

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ghandi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

Me: Amen. He's got a point.


I am so proud of myself! I not only located the forms for the estimated tax payments, and asked for a check from Piper with enough lead time, I got the tax checks into the mail in time.


I've been exploring the "healthy eating" guidelines again. Every so often I'd do that, and get discouraged, and give it up.

In 1967, when I was pregnant with the baby I lost, when I quit teaching and eating only one meal a day, in the school cafeteria, I decided I wanted to eat healthy through the pregnancy. Three small meals a day, scattered over the pyramid. I really counted calories and avoided fats and sugar, and did a good job of it - until my doctor had a fit because I gained 35 pounds in 6 weeks (and at the time I was 4'10", and started out at a trim 104 pounds).

She put me on four cans of liquid meals a day, and I still gained weight. We had to cut to two cans.

At my current activity level, I gain weight if I eat more than 1200 calories a day. I guess I'm just efficient.

So every once in a while since, I'd look again at what is supposed to be the recommended daily intake of various nutrients, look at what I'd have to eat to get it, and give up in disgust.

Here I am again. To regulate blood sugar, fiber is recommended (among other things, of course. One cannot live on fiber alone.) Let's look at just fiber.

...the body needs 30 to 40 grams to achieve optimum health. The average American gets 10. The foods that can get you that extra 25 grams of fiber are also foods that don't come with nutritional labels.
  • An apple with the skin has 5 grams of fiber.
  • 5 pieces of dried apricots have 3 grams of fiber.
  • A half of a grapefruit has 6 grams of fiber.
  • A medium pear has 5 grams of fiber.
  • A cup of strawberries or blueberries have 4 grams of fiber.
  • A cup of plain oatmeal has 12 grams of fiber.

If I ate everything on that list, that's still only 35 grams. It's also a heck of a lot of food! Seven apples, every day? Well, maybe I could instead eat three cups of oatmeal per day? Are you kidding me? There's no room left in the tummy for dairy, veggies, or meat, and not much room left in the calorie count, either.

Luckily, seeds and nuts have fiber, and I have a habit of nibbling on them.

It's my theory that it's not really the amounts, anyway. It's the relationships and proportions and the source. The body needs a certain amount of fat per day, too, to process the fat-soluble vitamins, but that doesn't mean lard.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2437 Tehran, and 2100

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If you love something, set it free.
And if it flies away, run after it and kill it.


Michael Totten has pulled together commentary on the situation in Iran, including some videos, one of which I have embedded.

In this video, riot police ride motorcycles into a crowd. The crowd manages to unseat a rider, and set a motorcycle on fire. And then, they help an injured policeman to a safe spot and offer him water.


Go read Michael's stuff, here, and here.


Saturday night I accidentally watched "earth2100". Apparently ABC aired it on June 2, and then repeated it late last night. I was on my way to bed when I caught a bit as I was turning off the kitchen TV, and was fascinated, and ended up watching it all the way through.

The story is told as comic strip panels (or as the non-readers call it, "graphic novel" format, bleck, and no, that doesn't make comic books sound any more intellectual, sorry, good try but no cigar, beeeeep, thud). The Wikipedia entry linked above pretty much covers the story. It is speculation, science fiction, depicting a possible future.

I found it depressing, because global warming or not, human causes or not, whatever one's opinion or theory, much of the ball is already rolling - the water problems in the west, the melting of ice caps, overpopulation, the cutting of rainforests, the movement of tropical flora and fauna into temperate areas. No one can deny any of that. It simply IS.

The scariest part to me was the thawing of tundra, which would release massive amounts of methane. I hadn't thought of that before. If the glaciers and polar ice are melting (and they are, NOW) how long will it be before the tundra thaws? Is that a tipping point? Or have we already passed it?

By the time it was over, I was glad I had no grandchild. Even if things don't go as the movie suggests it might, I have a feeling the future is grim.

Since then I've read various opinions of "earth2100" from both sides of the global warming debate. I am disturbed by the number of people who just wave it off. They say it's a natural cycle, no big deal. Well, yeah, no big deal to the earth and cockroaches. They'll continue. But will we?

One blogger pooh-poohs "earth2100" as fear mongering:
"If you have tweens and teens, this is one show they don’t need to view. Let them live their lives hopeful and knowing our world is ok – because it is, and it will be for their kids. If we all believe that, we’ll take the necessary steps to ensure our futures."
"Knowing that our world is ok ... we'll take the necessary steps"? Um, that doesn't compute.

And that's the problem. I don't think we will take the necessary steps.

We waste water, and large parts of the country are drying up. We waste oil, but, hey, I NEED my Hummer. We pollute the air, but hey I can buy those allowance thingies and keep right on doing it, ok? We cut down rainforests, and then wonder why weather patterns are changing. We refuse to acknowledge there's any problem until it affects us directly, then we want the government to fix it.

Easter Island once had a thriving population. The island had plenty of fresh water, and was heavily forested. And then, for some reason, possibly in part to raise all those stone heads, they cut down all the trees. That changed the ecology of the island drastically, in a bad way. And then all the people died. One of the lines I remember best from "earth2100" was (paraphrased), "I wonder what the person who cut down that last tree was thinking as he did it?"

I can pretty much figure out what he was thinking: "But *I* need it! I'm cold! If I don't get it, Joe will, so I may as well."

Replace those big stone heads with dollar signs. Would we have done any better? Been any smarter?

(Everybody wants their little piece, and the Earth as we need it might die the death of a thousand nibbles.)

I have absolutely no faith in mankind's ability to "take the necessary steps". The human race is too selfish, too greedy, unable to think ahead, and when they don't already know what the solution is (and have not been assured that a solution, when found, won't require deprivation on their part), then they will deny that there is any problem until it's way too late.

There IS a problem. Forget the words "global warming" if they bother you. Forget "Al Gore"; this is not a political discussion. Look at what IS happening, and what the results of that *might* be. How sure do you have to be to even consider it? By the time you get to 60% sure, it's too late.


I searched briefly, and the only place I could find "earth2100" for safe free viewing was on YouTube, in nine parts. I thought ABC might have it available, but they don't. Part 1 of 9 is here: Starting there it should be easy enough to find the other eight parts. (Actually I prefer movies in parts. That makes it easier to wander away and pick it up again later.)

2436 It's ruined, I read, Iran, They rode.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Don’t believe everything you think.

I fiddled around a lot yesterday, clearing out the bedroom closet, sorting clothes, reading on the internet, and watching TV. I think I was a little depressed because I had planted lily of the valley and five other kinds of perennial plants next to the front door, and something ate them.

I had noticed small holes dug in the flower bed in the area where I had planted the lily of the valley. Only maybe an inch across. Like maybe a chipmunk might dig. Then I noticed that the other plants had sprouted, but none of the l-o-t-valley. I guess something ate them.

I had noticed that the other plants looked like they were being nibbled, but they were growing quickly, so no big deal. Yesterday morning I found them all nibbled right down to ground level.

I may as well give up on flowers.


One of the sites that wasted my time yesterday is "You Suck at Craigslist", a collection of terrible Craigslist ads.

Here's a representation of some of the easier to net out ads:
  • Rare long haired black chiwawa [Psst - black long-haired is not rare]
  • chester droors,9 droor dresser and mirror - $250
  • ketchin and specality cabenits - "I can offer exultant quality at a very affordable price. No mater how large or small a project you have in mind. Email me for a free estaminet"
  • FRENCH PREVENTIAL FURNITURE [That word can be spelled about 50 different interesting ways, and has been, as you'll see next....]
  • Antic- Couch - $3500 -- "This beautiful Antic French prevention style couch has been in the family for over 40 years. ..."
The really interesting ones are too long to reproduce here. There are some very strange people out there.

I've also been reading a lot about the Iranian election. Iran is ripe for a revolution, but the cost in lives would be so high, I don't see it happening for a long time. That's why this election was of vital (literally vital) importance to so many people. They hoped for a slow quiet revolution from the inside. Looks like they've been foiled, and they don't like it. But they don't have any leverage on the Supreme Leader and his cabinet, absolutely nothing shakes that bunch, so if SL & Co. want the dinner jacket, that's it, it's a dead issue.

A dictator is difficult to influence, but he can be overthrown. A fanatic religious dictator is impossible to influence, and it's very dangerous to overthrow him. Even if you win, you lose.


I went to an antique (antic?) motorcycle show today. It was pretty interesting, actually. I even saw an 1890-something motorized bicycle. And I found out why bikers in full leathers have big bellies. The only way to keep cool is plenty of beer and ice cream.

There were vendors selling motorcycles, accessories, and parts, in which I was not interested, and then there was the leather stuff. Neat. I ended up buying a nice pair of lined leather gloves.

This is the far parking lot when I arrived. I expected a lot of motorcycles, but this blew my mind! There were thousands! That tree in the back is further away than it looks.

This is the smaller closer lot. These would be the folks who arrived earliest, and left earliest, so the lot when I arrived wasn't full. (Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

These are some of the antique motorcycles being shown by proud owners and restorers. I don't know why, but when I take a picture, someone will move in and block what I'm looking at. When I was on the boat last weekend, every time I tried to take a picture of Bannerman Island, just as I pressed the button, some fool would raise his arm and point at something, blocking the island.


2435 Lots more blood

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You can’t prevent what you can’t predict.

Remember when I said Wednesday's blood draw was very painful? Here's the evidence. My left elbow. This showed up for the first time this morning. All the nasty bruising is at least two inches away from where the actual sticks were, so I guess it's a lot worse deeper in, and I'm expecting it to look worse over the next few days. (The tiny red spot is just a red spot, I have lots of them, has nothing to do with the field of action, which was up near the top of the photo, where the downward drift of yellow starts.)