Saturday, November 3, 2012

internet ads

WOMAN IS 53 BUT LOOKS 27!!!!!!!

Often this ad or one like it is purported to be talking about a woman from Minden.  The particular ad I'm looking at is next to the Rachel Maddow blog and doesn't give a location. 

The photo looks like the miracle facelift is made from the blood of virgins or maybe just crushed cranberries and cherries.  Don't think I want to find out any more about it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


When I arrived home tonight I surprised what looked to be about a dozen young robins.  I say young because they were fairly slender through the chest but I don't know that that means they were young. 

Googled "robin behavior" and found that in the spring robins forage for worms and other ground insects but in the fall they prefer hanging fruit such as that on crabapples and mountain ash.  The trees they flew away from as I approached were mountain ash and crabapples.  I have one ash and four crabapples so may see then around for a few days.

Most of the trees and shrubs around my house (approximately 130) were planted with wildlife in mind, for shelter or food or both.  I'm rewarded year round with many varieties of birds who come for fruit or seeds from weeds or perennials.  Several of the non-noxious weeds provide large numbers of seeds for the birds' delectation. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Common Good

I've been thinking about Plutocrats, by Chrystia Freeland, and philosophy and ethics.  I'm realizing that the concepts of "the common good" and "individual rights" need to be discussed as we slide towards third world status.  Googled "the common good" and found this entry from Santa Clara University.

I grew up at a time when folks could actually work their way through college and earn a degree without debt from student loans.  Not at Harvard or Stanford.  I do not think that the practice of recognizing "the common good" means Harvard and Stanford should be affordable to the entire population.  I'm also not convinced those universities and their like are superior.  I suggest they are where the powerful go to learn how to maintain their power and influence.  I did not come up with that idea on my own--much smarter people than I have written about it.

This was also a time when the country recognized its responsibility to the men and women who fought in WW II and helped provide them an education when they came home from the war.  This benefited the entire nation (in my opinion) as it helped to create a middle class that made us a stable country for many years.  Thus, our generosity towards these people contributed to the common good. 

Our leaders now treat the armed forces as just so much cannon fodder (now there is a grand tradition), to be used, then discarded with as little cost to the economy as is possible.

The "common good" is an idea.  I think (not sure however) that it was a more popular idea in the 1950s and 1960s, then in the 1970s corporatism began its stealthy takeover of the world.  Is there a correlation with the popularity of the MBA degree?  I don't know, I'm asking.

The push/pull between individual rights and "the common good" could provide a checks and balance system.  What I see is that "individual rights" has become corrupted thanks to our Supreme Court, corporatism controls the government, the populace has been educated to vote against its own self-interest, the media is hopelessly corrupted.  I try to be optimistic and find that increasingly more difficult.

In reality, the real individual, a human being separate from other human beings, has less protection from the state.  Meanwhile, created individuals such as corporations, Kochs, Waltons, many hedge fund managers (the super wealthy) at the expense of actual individuals.  Our rights are being, have been, eliminated over the past 50 years.

Like many people, I think in generalities and have to be reined in constantly.  Having wealthy friends means I've had to give up thinking of wealthy people as a general group.  I don't think my friends are in the 1% which is good.  I think many of the 1% are sociopaths then have to remind myself that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are not sociopaths.  Gates is a businessman whose ethics might come into question.  He is also following the Carnegie example and using his robber baron gains to benefit many.  I also have to recognize that many wealthy people are actually very generous and think about the common good while attempting to protect their own interests. 

Sigh.  It would be so much easier to just rely on stereotypes (and neurons) but then I'd have to watch Fox news and read Glenn Beck, etc.

Thinking is not easy and maybe not even fun.

Unlike the great thinkers of the world and of history, I don't seem to be able to think these things through on my own, by myself.  I rely on friends to help me see the possible flaws and variations and traps and only do this through discussion which there does not seem to be a lot of time for in our world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


After watching the video of Romney discussing the murdered ambassador and three others murdered with him and watching that awful smirk on Romney's face I developed such an aversion to the man that I actually felt my revulsion for him viscerally.  At that point I wasn't angry, just repulsed.

Then I watched the video I've linked.

That pissed me off.  I have worked since I was 12 years old ironing and baby-sitting, got my social security card at age 14 when I went to work in a restaurant as a dishwasher.  Since then I have worked continuously except for a three month period when  I was just married and living in a new town, trying to pass the damned typing test so I could go to work.

I retired at age 61 with a decent but not huge pension and went back to work part time two years later and have been working most of the time since.  During the time I didn't work I spent time taking my parents to doctors, hospitals, and taking care of empty houses and burials after they died two years apart.

So Romney does not just repulse me, he angers me.  I just watched him explaining how he just said it inelegantly and he was still smirking.

His wife is more overtly creepy.  She doesn't smirk.  She sneers as she discusses "you people."  What a couple of creeps.  Repulsive creeps.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Death of a Hmong daughter

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman

I haven't read the book.  Read a NYT article (one of the free ten I'm allowed each month) about the subject of the book, Lia Lee, daughter of Hmong immigrants to the US.  Lia died Aug. 31, age 30, after a struggle with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, pneumonia and sepsis that began when she was three months old.

As I was reading her obituary I was struck by the lack of understanding we have of other cultures.  Living in a country ruled by the simplistic thinking of Teabaggers, fundamentalists, frighteningly ignorant national senators and congresspeople, people who only watch Fox News, it's easy to avoid developing an awareness of the need to open our minds and hearts to those who are different from us.

I'm not certain where I'm going with this.  I had a brief flash of awareness of my own ignorance and how that ignorance contributes to enormous suffering.  I need to let this simmer.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The day after the day after

Aug. 31 was a wonderful day.  I gave myself the day off and splurged.

I fixed a small, healthy breakfast and fed the cats.  I did my small chores, got some laundry going, showered and dressed.  Did not have any tea.

Left the house about 10 a.m. and went to Starbux with my book (a Miss Julia by Ann Ross), presented my coupon and ordered a grande Pike Place with heavy whipping cream in a mug.  Went outside and sat at a table with an umbrella and savored my first cup of coffee in 31 days while I read about Miss Julia's latest adventure.  Coffee is a drug of sorts and after 31 days I noticed it enhanced my appreciation of small birds looking for crumbs under the table, a young women training her young German shepherd, the slight breeze, the sun on my back, and my book.  I sat and read for about an hour and a half, then ran some errands and met a friend for lunch.

I ordered the salad Nicoise which had a "basic vinaigrette" dressing.  It did not occur to me to ask if there was sugar in the "basic vinaigrette" dressing.  We live and learn.  It was served on the side and I spooned a couple of teaspoons onto my salad and took a bite.  Uh oh.  I could taste the hefty sugar ration immediately.  But, I figured, "What the hell, I'll see how it affects me."  I had to spoon several more spoonsful onto the salad and ended up taking half the salad home for dinner.

Dinner was a small rib eye steak, the rest of the salad and an avocado.

Well, I went to bed early but woke up at 12:30, unable to get back to sleep until a few minutes after 5 a.m.  Slept till 7 a.m., got up and felt like shit.  I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't think to check my blood sugar two hours after lunch and dinner on my free day.

For the next four or five hours my sinuses were painfully stuffed or alternately, draining heavily, my eyes watered, I sneezed repeatedly, I felt slow and puffy, slightly depressed and exhausted. 

The way I should have done day 31 was to add cream (my coffee with cream is the thing I missed during the Whole30 Challenge) to coffee with breakfast, cream to something at lunch and cream again at dinner.  Then, on Sept. 1 I would have known what was responsible for the way I felt.  That's the instructions all of us on the challenge were given by our hosts Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

So, I'm back on schedule.  Carol and Jim had me for dinner last night to share the beautiful fresh-caught trout he took out of the Walker River.  Jim asked exactly what I could eat and prepared sauteed onions and mushrooms, a fabulous salad with vinegar and oil dressing and trout.  They sent me home with a good-sized piece for lunch today.

I feel so much better today and ready for the next phase which began yesterday and ends Sept. 30.  I am going to test the cream in 14 days and see if that accounts for the sinus problem.  It definitely could be since dairy and sinus problems are often related.

Speaking of Miss Julia's books, they are a hoot.  Ann Ross has produced a woman in her late 60s, recently widowed who is confronted by her late husband's nine-year-old love child, little Lloyd.

She is very proper, as was her hypocritical husband who kept her firmly tied down to severe rules about how a good Presbyterian woman, wife of the town banker and owner of multiple properties both business and residential, is supposed to conduct herself in the world (a small town in North Carolina).  She is left a millionaire who decides to enjoy her money as well as deal with little Lloyd.  The books are often laugh out loud funny, full of appropriate bad, hypocritical folks as well as endearing friends and neighbors.

First in the series is Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 31

The 30-Day challenge ended yesterday and it was a success.

I weigh 108 pounds, down from 115.

As reported earlier (I think), my blood work came back with excellent results.  Cholesterol very good, triglycerides excellent, thyroid pretty good except for the T3.

The bone scan was not good and I'm pretty certain I know why.  A year ago my bone scan showed that I had reversed my osteoporosis and had the progress continued, this year's scores would have showed I no longer even had osteopenia.

However, last September I went from a sub-lingual dose of Synthroid to an oral dose of an expensive designer levothyroxine called Tirosint.  Three weeks ago I discovered that a side effect of Tirosint is decreased bone density.  I am not surprised about the reverse of the progress but I'm plenty pissed.

My former endocrinologist told me the sub-lingual dose was better for my bones but did not explain that levothyroxine in the intestine can prevent absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, both very important to maintaining bone density.  Had he explained this, I would not have agreed to go to the expensive designer drug my family physician prescribed. 

This is really annoying, given that I gave up grains and legumes of every kind because elements in them also prevent the absorption of minerals in the intestines.

So I remind myself that doctors are educated by drug dealers hired by Big Pharma to show up in every doctor's office at least once a week.  During the five years that I was taking my mother to doctor's appointment every month, we were never in one of their offices that a drug dealer didn't show up with a big (enormous) bag of samples and pretty literature to ensure the continuing huge profits of Big Pharma.

So now I get to argue with my doctor's Physician Assistant to change back to sub-lingual Synthroid and a compound prescription of T3 that I can also take sub-lingually.  Not certain that is spelled correctly but you get the idea.

I am pleased with the 30 days.  No sugar for 30 days has decreased my cravings for sugar in all its forms and the love handles I've been carrying around have been cut in half.  They are still there but greatly reduced.  I need to keep this in mind whenever I'm tempted to eat simple carbohydrates.  The fat just above the waistline is what kills us.  Heart attack anyone? 

I'm pleased that I was able to be disciplined enough to stay with this for 30 days.

What did not work so well was the planning and cooking.  I plan to spend the month of September working on that.  I bought too much food for a week each week.  I threw very little away but some greens had to be carefully picked over the second and fourth weeks.  Even with that I spent less money on food than in any week in the last three years.  I also did not eat out except for one breakfast.  That helped.

Tomorrow I begin the second 30-day challenge, doing everything I did this month but adding two new food groups to the forbidden list--nightshades and brassicas.  Nightshades for my joints and brassicas for my thyroid.  I also intend to add 15 minutes a day of walking which could help with the removal of what is left of the love handles.

Life is good.