Saturday, December 18, 2010

3202 Don't give me codeine

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side -- I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts."
-- Bethania McKenstry --


Back in the dawn of time, in my 20s, I had frequent kidney infections. We never knew why, and I haven't had one since, but anyway - the doctors used to give me codeine for the pain. That's what was used back then.

It never worked. Didn't do a damn thing for the pain. And the doctors didn't believe me. They just patted me on the head and said of course it's working. Like they could somehow tell what I was feeling?

In later years, when doctors tried to give me codeine for back pain, I learned to tell them that I couldn't take codeine because it nauseated me horribly (it doesn't). They accepted that, where they wouldn't accept "It doesn't do anything for me" and they'd give me something else.

This morning I accidentally found this on Wikipedia, in the entry for co-proxamol:
...codeine is, in essence, a prodrug that requires in vivo metabolism to the more active opioid morphine for maximum efficacy, it is ineffective for some individuals with the "poor metabolizer" genotype of the liver cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2D6.
I am vindicated! There's a reason it DOESN'T WORK FOR ME! It's not all in my head.

(I wounder if it's related to the asparagus piddle, cilantro soap, dropped colon, and skunk appreciation genes. I've got all those.)

So now I'm wondering - is it possible that people with fibromyalgia (it's "all in your head", "oh, you're overreacting to ordinary twinges", "you're an attention seeker") actually have one or another defective enzyme, and the pain is actual and real pain signals that would normally be moderated by these enzymes, but aren't, because they're defective? I mean, it's not like the medical community always knows exactly what's going on....

Friday, December 17, 2010

3201 Drying out

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance."
-- Lao-Tse, in the Tao Te Ching --


I've been on a low fat, low sugar, three small meals and three snacks per day diet since visiting the nutritionist in February. I have lost weight, and the body (clothed, anyway) is looking pretty durn good for an old bat.

Back in February the nutritionist remarked that I had very nice facial skin, relatively unlined and unwrinkled for my age.

Well, not any more. I've noticed a network of fine wrinkles, all over my face, but especially on my left cheek where I have some hitherto almost unnoticeable abrasion scars from a 50-year-ago bicycle accident. The fine wrinkles really age me.

I thought it was just age catching up to me, and the loss of fat in my face.

And then I noticed my elbows this morning. I don't much look at my elbows, they're just there, but I was dressing in the second bedroom, and there's a large mirror there, and I caught a side view as I was pulling my sweater on, and I couldn't believe it. I've always had dry scaly elbows. They'll easily get rough and gray, especially in the winter, but I've never seen anything like this. They, especially the right elbow, have actual callous-like patches, hard, almost black, a quarter to half inch across. So thick and dead I could peel them off.

Now I think the facial wrinkling and elbow drying might be from the lack of oils in my diet.

So I spent some time this morning with my elbows in bowls of warm olive oil, and now when I sit at the computer, I have them resting on foam pads rather than on the counter.

The only actual fats I regularly have in the house is olive oil and margarine. A small bottle of olive oil will last me 6 to 8 months, and 1 pound of margarine will last 4 to 6 months. I trim fat off meats, and use low fat or no fat cheeses, milk, yogurt and whatever. The closest I get to full fat is peanut butter, ice cream (sugar-free), dark chocolate, poppy seed salad dressing, and potato chips, all of which are restricted to occasional treats.

I do use a moisturizer on my face and elbows after washing, and lately I've even been using facial pads on my face, not soap, but I guess that's not enough. I take several daily supplements, including 1200mg each of fish oil and lecithin. I guess I should increase them. And maybe add some oils back into my diet.

Olive oil is allowed, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3200 2010 in photos from the folks at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing,
while others judge us by what we have already done."
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow --


The folks at have gathered 120 photos illustrating 2010, at

I had forgotten some of these events, and others I would have said happened last year or the year before. Remember the Icelandic volcano? It's been an eventful year.

I am happy that my life is boring.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3199 Bill shock

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“Christians don’t conform their values and actions to the example of Christ.
They merely use the name of Christ as cover for their prior commitments,
which are locally and historically determined.”
-- Stephen, of [A]mazed and [Be]mused --


I got the first full month's natural gas bill yesterday. I opened it, assumed the fetal position in a corner, and quivered.

Then I realized that the heat is natural gas, and the hot water, and the stove, and the clothes dryer. So maybe when I add together the electric bill and the gas, it won't be so bad. Maybe it will be comparable to the old house's electricity plus fuel oil. I hope. Plus I had been using the dryer heavily - all those blankets, pillows, everything coming from the old house.

I would not have chosen gas for everything. Gas scares me. I'm not used to it. And the fracking thing bothers me. Not that fuel oil is much better environmentally speaking, but at least it doesn't blow up the neighborhood or kill you in your sleep.

3198 Truth in the ramble

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.


I suppose everyone has seen the clip of Clay Duke shooting up the school board meeting in Florida. (If you haven't, Google it.) The following is a quote from his Facebook page. I agree with his complaint. It's pretty much true, but we the sheeple don't want to recognize it. We are being manipulated. We are being farmed.

"My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)... no... I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats... same-same... rich... they take turns fleecing us... our few dollars... pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%... the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us..."


Monday, December 13, 2010

3197 English is weird.

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you can remember the 60s, you weren’t really there.


102-year-old Mr. Rondthaler on spelling:


3196 Just go get it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Some things have to be believed to be seen."
-- Ralph Hodgson --


If you look around the house, you'd wonder what I've been doing for the past two months. Yeah, I have been taking it easy. The longer I live this minimalist style, the easier it will be to NOT move down a lot of junk that previously seemed to be essential.

But I have (really!) been doing a lot more than it appears. It's just that the tiniest thing seems to take forever.

For example, you see that simple white cotton cafe curtain hanging on a pressure-mounted rod in that window? Wow. A whole 10 minute effort, right?

No. I didn't exactly just reach out my arm, snap my fingers, and the rod and curtain appeared.
  • Measure the windows in that room.
  • Locate the measuring tape.
  • Locate the stepstool.
  • Discover the width at the bottom is different from the width where I want the curtain.
  • Go measure a bunch of windows. Yeah, they're all like that. Stupid builder....
  • Decide I need three sets of 36" long cafes for the one wide and one narrow window.
  • Go online to locate the local Target and other department stores.
  • Go to Home depot for the rods.
  • They have the long one, but not the short one. Buy the long one.
  • Go to Target. It's huge. Wander until I find curtains.
  • They have no pressure rods, and they have only ONE white cafe set. I don't buy it.
  • Go to another store. Also huge. Wander. Find curtains.
  • Also no pressure rods, but they also have ONE cafe set that matches the one at Target. I don't buy it. I need three matching.
  • Wander the highway until I find a third department store. They have a short pressure rod, and ONE set of cafes that matches the first two. Buy the rod and the one set of cafes.
  • Go back to second store. Buy the second set of cafes.
  • Go back to Target for the third set. Apparently they have already sold it. No, no one will go to the back and see if there's any more. "All we have is out there." Too busy with Christmas rush, I guess.
  • Back to the second store. Return the first set of cafes.
  • Back to the third store. Return the second set of cafes.
  • Head home. Discover another department store on the way. They have ONE set of those cafes. Don't buy them, but go to the second store to see if they can give me back the ones I just returned.
  • They throw me out of store. (Not really, but I emerge unhappily cafe-less.)
  • Go to liquor store. Buy the makings for B-52s.
  • Get home. Try rods. The long one bends with only 1/2 inch of tension.
  • Back to Home Depot, exchange rod.
  • Get home. Make B-52 and sip it.
  • Go online and attempt to locate cafes. Find many in various colors, or white with colored embroidery, or too sheer. About the eighth site I try has --- the very same ones I'd been trying to buy, and they assure me they are in the warehouse and I can pick them up this evening at the local Sears. Order three sets.
  • Make B-52 and celebrate.
  • Drive to store. Pickup area says they don't have them, they're out of stock, that I had been send an email canceling my order.
  • Go home. Yep, email had been sent after I had left the house. (And give me no crap about "if you had a smart phone....")
  • Make B-52 and chug it.
  • Online search again. Turns out Sears can ship them from Timbuktu or somewhere in five days for a hefty delivery charge. Order them.
  • Go to bed.
That took the whole day, and I didn't even end the day with curtains.

Then there was the day I went to Pier One. I had checked their online catalog, and chose a table and lamp I wanted, both on sale. I called the local store and asked if they had them in stock. Yes, they did.

This is going to be a quick trip, right? Just go get them.

I went, and got the last table they had (this one, but when I got it, it was on sale at a significant discount), the display model, already assembled. I went to the lamp area. They had only one left of the chosen lamp, and the shade was oval rather than round and a bit darker than I expected, but I liked that better anyway. When I passed the rug area, I saw one I loved, so I grabbed that, too. Wow. This was quick.

Then I tried to pay for them.

The table was no problem. They even gave me a small discount on top of the sale price because it was the floor model, even though there was nothing wrong with it.

The lamp was a problem. That was not the shade that came with it. There was a real hardass manager behind the counter, and she said they couldn't sell me the lamp with the wrong shade.

The clerk searched the shelves and the back to find another of these lamps with the correct shade, but this was the last one. Then she tried to find the lamp this shade was switched with, but there were no more of that lamp left. They finally figured that someone else had bought the lamp this shade went with, but had had switched shades. The hardass manager repeated that they couldn't sell me the lamp with the wrong shade.

I was finally able to convince her that if someone else had bought a lamp with my shade, and now I want to buy a lamp with her shade, it would make no difference to their inventory records. "Pretend we both were here at the same time, bought the lamps with their original shades, and then traded shades in the parking lot. Same result."

Ok. She accepted that. By now, I had been in the store well over an hour.

Time to pay for the rug. I heaved it onto the counter and asked how much it is, "There's no tag on it." The clerk looked it up in their hardcopy version of the catalog, and when she said 46" by 68", I said no, this one's smaller. I unrolled it and held it up to me, and it was shorter than I am tall. Proof, as far as I'm concerned, that it's not over 5 feet long. Also, the one in the catalog looks flat brown, mine has longer shag and a golden sheen to it. We finally had to measure. It was 35"x 56", or something like that. Anyhow, they couldn't find it in their system, they couldn't find ANY rug in their system that was anywhere near the same size and texture, and without a skew number (or however that's spelled), the hardass manager refused to sell it to me.

I am very proud of how calm I remained. They'd been waiting on other customers in between trying to figure out my lamp and now the rug. Three hours have passed. I'm not kidding. Three hours I've been in the store.

At one point, after they'd called somewhere and got no assistance, I turned around and said, loudly, "Ok, guys. You can turn the cameras off now. We got them." To the manager, "That was fun. I'll just take my rug back to my car now." She didn't think it was funny.

I think the manager was hoping that I'd eventually just give up. She doesn't know about my stubborn streak.

The end finally came when I said to the manager, "Look. This rug is not in your system. You apparently don't sell this rug. It isn't in your inventory. You don't know how it even got here. For all intents and purposes, it doesn't exist. If it were to disappear from the store right now, no one would ever notice. That makes it free, right? So just name a price, and use the proceeds to buy cookies for the staff."

She didn't think it was funny.

She turned to the clerk and told her to sell it to me for the price of the larger rug that was in the catalog, $99. The clerk rang up my total, did the credit card bit, and when I looked at the receipt, I was surprised. She had charged me only $40 for the rug. She held her finger to her lips and shook her head.

So, three and three quarter hours after walking in, I walked out. Three hours and forty five minutes to just "go and get it", not even "shopping".

And that's why it doesn't look like I've done much of anything around here.

Mostly, because it takes me two days to recover after I DO do something.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

3195 Weekend, Wilderstein

Saturday, December 12, 2010

Any couples therapist will tell you
that the minute the initial contract of the relationship is breached,
all bets are off.


I believe the green quote above to be absolutely true, but often you don't know what that initial contract is. You think you know, and then find out it wasn't what you thought it was. The real contract was deeply hidden.

From the therapist's viewpoint, the expression of the contract is and always was as it is now, known to be now broken, but back at the beginning of the relationship, the couple may have expressed their understanding differently. We change, and our expectations change, and we think our current expectations are the same as ever. If you know what I mean.

Maintaining a relationship is often like trying to hit a moving target.


Yesterday a friend and I drove up to Wilderstein mansion in Rhinecliff, to see the Victorian Christmas decorations. First we had lunch at the Rhinecliff Hotel, and visited a chocolate shop outside Rhinebeck.

The Wilderstein decorations were ok, but I was excited just to see the interior of the mansion again. I hadn't been inside in several years, and I'm impressed with how well the restoration is going. It's just sad that the work could not have been done while Daisy was alive. I love love love the wood and the gorgeous detail in that house.

It's odd, but there are very few photographs of the interior of Wilderstein online or anywhere else, and as much as I love it, I have never taken any pictures inside the house, either.

The friend had two questions she wanted to ask in research for a book, the first question having to do with electric service at the turn of the century, and the second with train service.

I was amazed that the docent was knowledgeable about electricity, and then as we were leaving, we met a guy who was an actual train buff, filled to the brim with old train lore.

I mean, what are the chances?

After leaving Wilderstein, we headed south of Newburgh to a Mensa dinner/party. There were a lot of people there, and I was happy to see many people I haven't seen in months. What felt especially good was that they seemed happy to see me, too.

We had two, count 'em, two, GPS devices to get us south to the Thruway and back home, and somehow I managed to get lost anyway. Route 9w kicked off to the left near Suffern and I missed the turn, but I kept going thinking the GPS would simply reroute us. He did, and we somehow ended up on the Thruway alright, but headed north. Duh?

After dropping the friend off at her home, it was supposed to be another 25 minutes to my home. Yeah, sure, this is New Jersey. It took me almost an hour because the state police had a sobriety roadblock set up on route 35. I didn't get home until after midnight.

When I got home, I found a bunch of packages on my doorstep. One from Amazon was four seasons of "My Name Is Earl". I LOVE that show! So this morning after breakfast I set myself up with the DVDs in Bedroom #2, planning to lie on the bed and watch the first season. Uh, I woke up at 2 pm. Windy and raining today (prefect bubble-blowing day), so no loss.

And this is/was my weekend.