Monday, September 26, 2011

Don't die that way

Over the past 4 years I have lost about 60 pounds. I have cured myself of arthritis, asthma, and IBS. In the process I have cut way back on portions, eliminated or almost eliminated dairy, most grains, most nuts, legumes, and all processed  foods.
As anyone who has made major lifestyle changes for the better knows, it's hard when your loved ones keep doing the same old same old with the same old results. Not too long ago, my husband likened me to a religious fanatic.
I was recently able to explain myself to him. My mother dies at the age of 52 from "complications of heart disease and diabetes"- my family's warm and fuzzy way of glossing over the fact that she told my grandmother she wanted to die, stopped taking her insulin, and ate an entire box of peppermint patties.
Her body was found 3 days later.
(And when anyone, even someone as distressingly sane as myself realises that her mother committed death by chocolate, 10 minutes of hysterical laughter WILL ensue, and not the good kind of hysterical).
I think my husband understands better now why seeing him eat a meal that includes bread AND potatoes AND
beer AND dessert it makes me frantic. Yes, we all have to die someday, but some ways are worse and a diabetes related death is a terrible way to go, for the person dying and their family. Don't do it to yourself and your loved ones.

A dear friend is watching her mom struggle with lung cancer. She is begging everyone she knows who smokes to please, please quit. Lung cancer is a terrible way to go, for the person dying and those who love that person. Would people ever start smoking if they knew the potential to bring those they love such pain? Never smoking, or quitting if you do, may be the kindest thing one can ever do for themselves and their loved ones.
Please, for those who love you if not yourself, take care of yourself and keep life affirming habits.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


If you know anything about me, you know that two important parts of my identity are my Lutheranism and my love of Star Trek.
Also, I think zombies are pretty cool.
You can imagine I was pretty pleased when I got both Night of the Living Trekkies and The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten for my birthday. Talk about imagining yourself in the zombie apacolypse.

Night of the Living Trekkies is a blood soaked romp through the Botany Bay hotel, host to GulfCon. When the dead start rising, hotel security guard Jim Pike and a band of roving nerdy survivors must rely on lessons learnt from Star Trek- and a replica weapon or two-to survive. How much did I like this book? I've decided to go as a zombie Trekkie to the upcoming GeekGirlCon . All in all, it was the faster read and more enjoyable of the two. As a parent, I'd rate this PG-13, which in my case means I'd let my 12 and 14 year old read it.

Zombies of Lake Woebegotten takes place in a parody of that fictional town of  average but special people, where everyone one is Lutheran or Catholic, the men are beautiful and the women are strong. I strongly identify with the get it done aspect (of course. It's been said of me that I "Put the work in Protestant work ethic"), but also with the Lutheran pastor who finds the starker, black and white, violent world of the post zombie apocalypse. I'd say this book leans more to the R rated, and would not let my kids read it.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Faleo (very TMI)

I must be doing something wrong.

For most of the 6-ish months I have been doing paleo, I've felt great. All my arthritis symptoms gone. No asthma. Body reshaping, although I have only dropped a few pounds. I have felt fantastic and full of energy.
Then, my last period. I always get constipated at that time, so nothing unusual. But when my period was over I still couldn't poop. It took a couple days of pushing water, fruit and Vit C every couple hours to have a poop.
Now, this month. Last day of period, Friday. By Sunday I had not pooped since the day before my period. Now one  thing I will say about what my lifestyle has done for my periods....they are shorter (5 days instead of 6-8) but more intense. I also don't have the hormonal swings so severely- and that includes almost none of the hot flashes and sleeplessness I was having with my periods.
Saturday night I lay in bed in pain from constipation. It was radiating up my side so much I wondered if I was having heart issues! Sunday, with our chili dinner, I actually had pinto beans, something I have not eaten or wanted for months. I did poop some this morning, but still feel that hard lump in my intestines. I've been eating fruit and carrots, pushing the Vit C again, and had another bunch of beans with lunch. I'll be keeping them out again now, but may consider a few servings of black beans only during my periods, to keep things moving.
In addition, I'm having arthritis pain in my hand, a sore throat, clogged ear, and feel yeasty. And gained three pounds over the weekend.
I know for sure some things I have been doing wrong.
Too much animal fat. I'm going to go back to tossing the fat from meat I cook and cook with olive oil. As tasty as schmaltz and lard are, I really think they are the cause of the "Oooh, my heart" feeling I have on and off.
Too much sugar. I know that contributes to several of my issues. Going to bake NOTHING for a few weeks.
Letting too many grains creep back in. I've stayed gluten free but am eating too much rice/rice flour baked goods/ corn chips. I'm going to go back to limiting myself to a little rice maybe twice a week.

My focus is going to be to make the changes that eliminate my pain and discomfort, and trust that in the process those pounds will come back off. Here's hoping I'm back to good in a couple days!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you remember where you were ten years ago today. What you were doing when you heard that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center. My husband had heard it on the early NPR broadcast, before leaving for work. He woke me up to see the news.
I didn't believe him at first.
I spent that day glued to to TV news (which I still had back then) and popping over to the computer to converse with my natural parenting friends about the events.
People act out of fear and hatred and we respond in kind and here we are ten years later, at war. The war has lasted longer than my youngest child has been alive, and my other two don't remember a time when we weren't at war.
And all over the internet, I see people who are sure that other peoples' innate wrongness is to blame. Lack of patriotism, too much nationalism. Godlessness is the cause, religion is the cause.
Which is really ridiculous, because 99% of humans manage to be patriotic or not patriotic or religious or not religious, every day, without doing another violence.
But as long as we persist in labeling people the other and then demonizing them and laying blame, we are making sure the ground work stays laid for another tragedy like this.
This kind of violence comes from one place : fear. And I would say from the greatest fear we all share...that what we have will be taken from us. Our homes, our families, our lives, our culture, our way of life. When we feel too threatened, we act like desperate, cornered animals. And it's nice and tidy and makes us feel good to note how the "wrongness" of the "other" led them to do that.
We tend to do that from the position of never having been the cornered animal, all the while never believing that we are making things worse.
There's this guy I know who once said we should love our neighbors as our selves. The thing is that for good or ill, I think we already do. For some that means running into a burning building to save lives and for others that means making that building burn in the first place, and when the latter is the outward expression of one's inner regard, one's fear, then we must ask ourselves what needs that person had that we could have met.
Let's honour the dead today by setting aside all hatred, by refusing to ever demonize another group of people, and by rededicating ourselves the work of seeing that all our fellow humans have their needs met.

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Full schedule!

I want to apologise to my dear readers for not updating recently...I've been busy turning 39 and getting our school year started. I want to get a longer post going next week when we've had a chance to dip our toes into all our activities and get all our online courses going, but here are a few highlights. Things are so busy that we already had our first scheduling conflict- Gothgrrl missed her first kendo class because she is on the 7th grade new confirmands cruise. (by the way, the boys were not expecting their first class to be learning how to sit, kneel, stand up and walk-without getting a shenai yet). Turbo is in ballet, tap, kendo, and bell and vocal choirs. Gothgrrl is in confirmation, bell choir, kendo, and in October ballroom dance. The Boy is doing confirmation and kendo. I love being back into the swing of our classical schooling. So far ( two weeks, ha!) I've been successful at keeping us on track with the literature! The older two will both be doing science and French online through Apex, so we're waiting for those classes to get processed. So far they have also both been great about getting their work done and even diving in with enthusiasm. I've been getting the greatest reward: The Boy telling me several times what a great job I'm doing as a teacher and thanking me for homeschooling him. Funny story...on the way home from confirmation orientation this Wednesday, he was saying that he didn't mind any of his classes so far except art history, which is dumb. The DM said "That's just sad, art history was my favourite subject in college".
The Boy: "Well Dad, where did Latin and Greek fall on your list of favourite classes?"
The DM : "I never took Latin or Greek".
The Boy ( with all the deep respect with which our children always speak to us) "Gee Dad, that's just sad".