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.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 27

I'm not doing so well with the daily posts.

However, I am doing well with the nutrition although not so much with the cooking.

I got all my scores on blood work but not the dexascan.  My cholesterol is great.  Triglycerides are way low.  My hemoglobin A1c is 5.5, down from the high a year ago of 6.1 so absolutely no sugar in the diet is working.

Thyroid is still a little off.  T3 is low.  I'm on a designer T4 drug--same as the generics but it's Akrimax Pharmaceuticals new version, called Tirosint and it's expensive.  I'm going to request that I go to Armour for three months and see if the T3 comes up.  The Reverse T3 wasn't measured and I'm going to ask for all the tests again in three months and this time include a measurement of the Reverse T3 which could give a clearer picture T3 is still low.  Armour comes from pigs and includes both T4 and T3.  Most doctors aren't thrilled about Armour and I have to keep reminding myself that they are constantly educated by drug company reps.

I need to work on the menus and cooking.  More cooking on Sunday, add more vegetables to the daily meals, more salads.  This is a work in progress.  This first 30-day challenge ends Thursday and the new one starts on Saturday, Sept. 1.

The new challenge calls for everything I'm doing now and adding in the elimination of nightshades and all the fruits and vegetables known to affect thyroid function.  And there are a lot of them.  Thank gawd raspberries, blackberries and blueberries aren't on that list.

I consider the August challenge a success.  It's shown me that I can do what I need to and let go of some of the Want, Want, Want.  Have to admit, I still miss my coffee with cream.  And I missed my cigarettes for a damn long time after I quit smoking the last time.  Addictions stay with us--all those damned neurons and pleasure centers.

Enough!  Time to fix breakfast and get on with the day.  And a lovely one it looks to be. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 20

Twenty down and ten to go.

The best result so far?  I have a calm energy that lasts about 12 to 14 hours a day.  No more crashing at 3 p.m. with my book and a thrown together dinner.

Biggest disappointment so far?  Although I have lost weight, I have not lost the belly fat and the bulge at waist level above my hips.  Which indicates, if I'm understanding all the science thrown at me in the last two weeks, the blood sugar is still playing games with my hormones.  That's so oversimplified but it's the best I can do.

Still working toward being fat-adapted rather than sugar-adapted.  Sigh.  I am assured that will come and it would probably help if I would exercise.  That's the September challenge.

I managed to get all my recipes into one volume, separated by type--chicken, beef, fish, lamb, vegetables, eggs, soup, salad and miscellaneous.  There are more categories but you get the picture.  Next step is to go though each section and get rid of everything I won't actually cook.  Probably at least half.  Maybe a lot more.

I made a week's worth of menus yesterday and a shopping list from which I did not deviate while picking up what I needed.  Nice not to have to think about what I'm going to cook and pack for lunch.

Nice tip from Kathy S.  Costco has some lovely baby romaine heads, grown hydroponically, supposedly eight to a package but so far my packages have contained nine.  They are the perfect size for one serving, wash easily and taste great. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 14

Feeling very content.  Salad and two organic beef (no mystery meats) hot dogs for dinner.  A beef stew is almost done for four meals tomorrow and Thursday.  Without the customary dredging of meat in flour the stew is more like an extremely thick soup.  Just as good.

Finished reading the text of Diane Sanfilippo's new book, Practical Paleo and am now reading every single recipe. 

This is the most informative of all the Paleo books I've read to date and I think that's close to 20.  Sanfilippo has a bachelor of science degree and is a certified nutrition counselor. 

She writes clearly, making hormones, digestive systems and parts, leaky guts, blood sugar regulation and poop understandable.

The book also has 30-day meal plans for folks dealing with autoimmune disease, high or low thyroid, weight loss, chemotherapy, blood sugar regulation and more.

Just realized I'm too tired to write more.  Am going to bed with my book.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 12

Darn!  Just lost the whole post for today.  Hmmm.  So, start over.

I feel very, very energetic, enthusiastic and happy to be alive.

No slips at all.  When she is good, she is very, very good!


The bundles of fat at my waistline are slowly getting smaller.

Optimistic and playful mood.

I'm loving this Whole30 Challenge.  However, I don't have a lot to say.  Perhaps tonight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day Eight

I've missed a couple of days blogging but not because I'm behind on the Whole30 Challenge.  Stuff came up, I did not remember I should post until I'd already shut down the computer.

I haven't cheated.  Not even by accident.  Not the tiniest speck of sweetener of any kind has passed my lips since July 31.  And not a single bit of dairy.  I did weigh myself this morning and have lost five pounds.  That infraction does not require that I start over with the Whole30 30 days.

I'm feeling great.  More energy, more upbeat, my sense of humor is coming back.  Pains in legs and hips have disappeared.  Concentration is good.  I think my thyroid medication is working better.  I have blood tests Aug. 20 and see Dr. Kriss Aug. 30 to discuss the results.

The cooking is going well.  It helps to have menus and a plan although the plans didn't go quite as I hoped.  Next week will be better.

Life is good at the casa in the Johnson Lane area.  I've lost a couple more trees (smaller ones) but am not certain if it's the dryness or that the irrigation lines aren't working as they should.  I'm going to replace them with sumac bushes which grow to be enormous globular  and beautiful shrubs and currants which provide berries for the birds.

We don't have as many birds on the property this year.  I do have a few robins who resent my walking on my porch.    It's how I get to and from the car so they have to put up with me.  They walk around on the ground, ignoring the three cats (who don't seem to give a damn that there are fat birds damn near walking up to them to rub beak to nose) and nibble at the chokecherries and currants.  The crab apples are just about ready to eat, the buffalo berries are close to peak sugar.  It's a moveable feast here.  I'm just sorry there aren't more feathered guys to enjoy it.  The apple tree is loaded and I need to check to see if they are ripening.  The quail go nuts for the ones on the ground and I think I remember some of the bigger birds showing up for the apples--mountain jays and magpies but I could be making that up so don't quote me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day Five

A very good day today.  Very early this morning I could tell that things were better.  I was energetic and awake.  First time since July 31.

Had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs--Mary's fresh eggs from her coddled chickens, yolks a bright orange--and sliced tomato.  Missed lunch--a Whole30 no no but not bad enough to have me start the 30 days from the beginning.  Sugar or dairy would, however.

For dinner I sliced three chicken breasts for stir fry with onions and mushrooms.  Quite good, if I do say so and plenty of leftovers for a couple of lunches this week.  Tomorrow morning I start the beef stew in the crockpot.  A couple of dinners and lunches there. 

It's 9:07 p.m., I'm nodding off over the computer keyboard, so I'm going to bed. 

Slept better last night but not enough hours (5).  Perhaps I can change that tonight.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day Three

Didn't sleep well because of the full moon and in spite of that I had a good day.  Breakfast and lunch were ordinary but dinner was tasty.  I cooked up Esther's chard with some bacon, then threw in leftover pork roast chopped up.  Sliced a tomato.

Fasting blood sugar levels have been fantastic, in the 70s and 80s.

Tomorrow I'm going to start exercising.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Finally, I can go to bed.  I'm feeling stiff, sore, I have a headache and I made it!  Had a big salad for dinner.  Look forward to tomorrow.

Day Two morning

The brain fog is worse.  This may be one of the days I need a keeper.  Past experience tells me that after day three things will get better.

The Whole30 folks are pretty tough.    This is what they tell you if you whine about the 30 days being hard.

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your ‘struggles’.”

I agree with the sentiment and it's easier to give up coffee than drink it without cream so I've gone cold turkey and am not drinking coffee.  However, I am allowing myself one cup (about 12 ounces) of white tea around 11:30 a.m.

The hard part for me is the amount of planning and cooking involved.  More on that after I get my brain back from wherever it wandered to without coffee.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day One of Whole30

The only thing different about today is that I had no coffee because we are not allowed dairy and I would rather go without than drink black coffee.  I did have a weak cup of white tea at noon.  Because of the lack of caffeine my brain feels fogged and I'm very tired.

Spent no money today.  I have a freezer full of meat, at least enough for half the month.  Friday I will inventory pantry and freezer, then create a week's worth of menus.  On Sunday I shall cook for the week.

It's 7:25 p.m. and I want to go to bed.  Too early AND Bubba the Cat threw up in my bed while I was out today.  I've torn the bed down but now I need to get the sheets washing and make the bed.  

It was a good day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  I have fresh eggs from Mary's beautiful chickens for breakfast tomorrow.  Love those orange yolks.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Food and Money

On August 1 I begin experiments around Food and Money. 

Is it possible to reverse Hashimoto’s Disease (food)?

What are the essential, absolutely necessary reasons to spend money?

Wednesday morning I start the Whole30 program 
This involves eliminating known allergens and suspect allergens (dairy, caffeine, sugar in its many forms, grains and legumes, etc.) and reintroducing them one at a time after August.

I eliminated grains and legumes in August 2010 and most dairy in 2011 so the first difficulty involves giving up my morning cuppa (14 ounces) with heavy cream.  That will get better after a few days.

The real challenge is planning and cooking ahead to make certain I have lunches and dinners.  Breakfast is easy—poached eggs and bacon, ham or leftover meat from dinner. 

Money is trickier.  This month calls for true austerity in order to find out what is really necessary in the budget.  It’s so easy to bullshit myself that for 31 days I must be firm and question every expenditure.

If I were among the millions of people in this country who lost jobs, homes, and more, what would I consider a necessary expense?

I’ve had mixed reactions from the friends I told about this experiment.  Some are excited, “You are doing an inquiry!”  One friend thinks I’m punishing myself.  At least one person took it personally and was hurt.

A friend with whom I have dinner and a long visit monthly immediately agreed to a walk instead.  I’ll already be downtown so I don’t need to drive to meet her.  We shall have our long visit while walking instead of eating.

I learned in the last few years that I require accountability to accomplish my goals, so I will write about these two endeavors on my blog every single day during the month of August. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Right’s False Prophet

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, Paul Gottfried, Cambridge University Press, 182 pages
Review by Kenneth B. McIntyre

The three paragraphs below are actually the last three graphs of the review.  The whole thing is worth reading (Well, I think the Austrians [and Ayn Rand] are fools and moral cretins, so of course I would like Kenneth's thoughts on the subject.)  Regarding the last paragraph, Louis Bromfield, in 1939, coming from a different perspective, said pretty much the same thing about Americans.  Google Bromfield if he's a new name--I've been reading and re-reading his books for more than 50 years.  He was doing sustainable farming long before the term existed.  Fifty years ago his books were educational, brilliant and fun, today they are heartbreaking because we didn't learn anything and are now probably past the tipping point.  I have no children and no close relatives so I can die lamenting only all the other mammals who will become extinct after much suffering which results directly from our human stupidity and mostly American stupidity.  Think James Inhofe, Mitch McConnell and all the other climate change deniers and science haters.  Our congresses for the last 30 years are responsible for most of what's wrong with the natural world.  Don't tell anyone but it's probably too late to correct for them.

Strauss was at best a mediocre scholar whose thought expressed a confused bipolarity between a very German and ahistorical Grecophilia on the one hand and a scattered, dogmatic, and unsophisticated apology for an American version of liberal universalism on the other. Amongst prominent European philosophers, Strauss was taken seriously only by Hans-Georg Gadamer, until Gadamer concluded that Strauss was a crank, and by Alexandre Kojève, whose work reads today as if it were a parody of trendy French Marxism. In Britain, neither Strauss nor the Straussians have ever been taken seriously.
Strauss’s argument about esotericism is both historically and philosophically incoherent and useless in any methodological sense. It calls to mind something that Umberto Eco called cogito interruptus:
cogito interruptus is typical of those who see the world inhabited by symbols or symptoms. Like someone who, for example, points to the little box of matches, stares hard into your eyes, and says, ‘You see, there are seven…,’ then gives you a meaningful look, waiting for you to perceive the meaning concealed in that unmistakable sign.  (Omigod, I'm so in love with Umberto)
Finally, regarding the phenomenon of Straussianism, the cult took hold here for the same reasons that cults generally succeed in the U.S.: ignorance, inexperience, and a desire to have a simple answer to complex problems.

For the entire review, click on link below: