[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Arthur and Kevin's Nellorat's LiveJournal:
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|Monday, May 20th, 2013|
|It Takes Guts
I often seem to have synchronistic themes in my life, and recently it is that of guts.
And I mean intellectually, not even counting the bout of personal physical distress a week or so ago, which was probably Norovirus
. I had a day of vomiting and several days of stomach inflammation; supergee
had a day or few of diarrhea; and our wonderful housekeeper, Delia, had a worse bout of diarrhea and the same kind of stomach inflammation. But, as they say, enough about that.
The motif has been much more interesting intellectually! In increasing order:
1) Gut instrument strings, perhaps from cats or perhaps from intestines way too large for that, on the TV show Hannibal
, which is far, far better than it has any right to be, given its premise of Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham working together to solve crimes.
2) The newest book from one of my fave nonfiction writers, Mary Roach, called Gulp
, all about human eating and digestion, how flavor works, the food industry, and all things alimentary. I'm only on the second chapter (the pet-food industry, including the huge difference between what we think our pets want in food and what they really want), and history suggests I'll get even more enthusiastic about the book as I read further. Cats cannot taste sweetness but go crazy over a chemical with a flavor that humans can't even really process (probably something similar to something in meat)! Charts of diagnostic flavors in beer for which brewing went bad! I can't wait to get to the discussion of fecal implants.
3) And speaking of fecal implants, I highly recommend "Some of My Best Friends are Germs," by Michael Pollan
, the recent NY Times Magazine cover story, all about research into the ecology of bacteria in the human body. The area of endemic and even necessary gut bacteria--including how they might affect our health, weight, and even mental outlook--is to me one of the most exciting scientific areas today.* In one experiment, a fecal transplant between a fat mouse and a thin mouse, changing the interior microflora of each, causes the former to lose weight and the latter to gain! Gut bacteria can affect not only digestion but perhaps also the immune system and serotonin production!
As Pollan makes clear, all of this is too new to derive any significant advice from, regarding lifestyle let alone specific medical manipulation of our inner ecology. H. pylori
, which causes ulcers and may be implicit in some cancers, may be vital in the formation of baby's immune systems. And no one knows, when a certain microbiome and physical conditions tend to go together, what causes what.
The few approaches that Pollan says the scientists themselves have adopted seem mostly consistent with older advice, but for new reasons: eat lots of fruits and vegetables, because helpful gut bacteria thrive on the fiber; eat a variety, because a diverse ecology is, as usual, a more robust ecology. And the new common sense (since the 1980s) about germs has added support: keeping everything too clean is not as good an idea as we used to think it was, especially for babies. But given today's use of pesticides and E. coli
-laden runoff water, don't go nuts with unwashed general produce. I plan to eat my strawberries and cherry tomatoes just dusted off (unless they really need washing), but only because I'll grow them myself. And if I were pregnant & undecided between nursing and the bottle, this article definitely would incline me to breast feed.
Most of all, the article presents a heady, almost dizzying, new view of humanity with implications for health, physiology, our general attitude towards bacteria, and even our ideas of what constitutes the self. Large or not, we really all do contain multitudes, each of us a macrocosm as well as a microcosm. I'm used to cursing the bacteria and viruses that make me miserable by using my cells as breeding pens without so much as asking my permission, but maybe it's time to start blessing the millions of microbes that silently and tirelessly nourish, maintain, and perhaps even build the very flesh of my body.
* Also the only one in decades that almost makes me wish I had pursued biology instead of switching to literature in high school.
Mood: relaxed but chipper
|Monday, April 29th, 2013|
|Fall from Clumsiness
Like youngersib--whose space-alien pug mix nigelpuggle
became too busy creating useful inventions like Febreze to chronicle her life--I recently took a tumble; and like womzilla
, I wasted medical resources by actually being OK
. (But always better safe than sorry.) Fortunately, the experience wasn't nearly as painful as youngersib's or as scary as Womzilla's.
Some of the stairs down from elevated subway stops have a nefarious extra step after you think (or at least I thought) the stairs have ended, and on Thursday I pitched forward and fell almost flat due to missing one on Broadway and 125th. Many people were around, and the support was overwhelming: one woman picked up my book for me, a man offered to help me to my feet, and so on. At first I thought I might have broken my nose, but the smudges of blood were only from a scratch right under my nose. I have some bruises and a few open scrapes, but no biggie. My glasses were twisted but could be bent back into shape.
As I was sitting, waiting for Triceratops Taxi to pick me up, one woman showed herself to be nice but overly concerned. No, really, I said, I'd be sitting here waiting anyway; I'd just be reading if I weren't dabbing at my upper lip. Finally I acquiesced to her suggestion that she go into the drug store to buy me water. While she did, an EMT team came by, as apparently the woman had called 911. More willing to take my word for my condition, they went away after asking me if I had been dizzy before the fall. No, I said, I'd felt fine.
Actually, I later realized that this was literally a case of pride going before a fall. I had been thinking of how good I felt: I'd both gardened and done yoga that day, and I was noticing how good my alignment was, how strong my core felt, and how pleasant walking was. And looking ahead instead of looking down at where my feet were going. This is doubly ironic because I often care too much about seeing where my feet go, to the extent that I am super-slow at night. Maybe it's better that way!
A minor mishap. By now it's hard to tell what bruises and small scabs came from the fall & which are from gardening, which is not always good for my epidermis but excellent for the rest of me.
Mood: lazy and serene
|Friday, April 19th, 2013|
|God Bless Perennials
This week has been just perfect gardening weather: in the 60s, sunny but with a breeze. And the yard is looking great!
Not so much with blooms, at least in the beds. The daffodils are finishing up, and the dog-tooth violets aren't in yet. Two hardy blue squill plants that survived when others didn't. Oh, and one lungwort is gorgeous
with small pink blooms. And then the forsythia is also finishing up & the huge magnolia (2 stories high) is just coming into its glory.
Most of all, I'm pleased with how many of the perennials & bulbs I planted last spring are coming up. Day lilies & bulb lilies in beds all over. The perennial yellow foxglove in one bed, heuchera and tiarella in another, all vigorous and abundant. I can tell from their little nubs that the Solomon's seal and lily of the valley have spread quite a bit. The bleeding hearts, which have been self-seeding, are growing fresh & tall. Even the ground cover--sweet woodruff, pink lamium, and creeping bluebells--is doing much better than last year in spots that are hard to fill.
This year I started in the back yard instead of the front. So far, I don't have any bare spots, or I can fill in with clumps divided from elsewhere in the yard. I will have to buy some annuals, though.
|Friday, April 12th, 2013|
Keeping things from getting messed up seems to go a lot more slowly & progress much less satisfyingly than doing major swamping out of rooms.
My main occupation this week was that kind of maintenance: distributing new books where they go around the house, getting some magazines ready to file & clipping articles from others, sorting boxes of stuff that Delia filled when she cleaned, dispersing all the little nests that I build in various corners. That needs to be done, but the results aren't so visually impressive. Finally, though, tonight I could see the difference in the living room; also, I unpacked four boxes of bathroom stuff and ratsie supplies that had been sitting boxed since we had the bathroom redecorated--what, maybe a year or more ago. That felt good.
I also went through my clothes ruthlessly. Now that I am indulging in made-to-measure clothes in fabrics I really enjoy, I got rid of four black trash bags of clothing that I have no reason to wear. It felt a little wasteful, but I had to remind myself that they served a necessary purpose when I bought them, although I have even better now. Two bags went to the women's shelter, two to a veterans' resale shop.
|Saturday, April 6th, 2013|
|I Can Has Health Insurance!
As you know, Bob, not long after we three first moved to the NYC area, over 20 years ago, I married one of my spice for the health insurance. Then, a few years
ago, it became advantageous for me to divorce that spouse & marry the other one, for the same reason. This seemed like a simple, practical plan, just for the three of us to save money; and it was, except in that it dragged on and on. A month or more ago, I ended up losing the health insurance I had. Eek!
Well, the sluggards in Albany finally stirred themselves to action, and the divorce is final. That spouse and I can hardly wait to commit adultery! More important--perhaps literally vital--in this barbarous country, as soon as we notarize some papers, I can become the domestic partner of the other and have health insurance again
That spouse & I almost certainly will marry, instead of remaining domestic partners. I'm slightly in favor of DPship, but he's definitely in favor of marriage, & the other spouse is neutral. Think of the benefits of legal marriage: he can't testify against me (in case I kill someone), and I get to inherit tax-free his guano islands (which he doesn't have yet, but who knows?). It will certainly be like the other legal marriage, however, just the three of us & not a social occasion.
We've talked about a social occasion, including marriage to womzilla
and I had a nonlegal marriage long ago) and a ceremony of commitment among the three of us. Now just doesn't seem to be the time, though, including financially.
Anyway, the best feeling of stability, for me, will come from this whole double-damned legal thing being over
, which it soon will be for now & then (after the legal marriage) will be totally. I adore how everything is going & just want it to continue as is. This whole process has been unexpectedly, even inexplicably, hard on me emotionally, but now we're on the home stretch.
Mood: spring-cheerful but a bit tired and facing a full day of work, whatever mood that is
|Monday, March 18th, 2013|
I've been working a lot, but I'm happy to say that I'm enjoying the academy more than I did over the summer and winter. Too much of my work was helping out students from boarding schools who have wealthy parents, and too much of that was helping them write their essays for college applications. I understand why the academy made a deliberate choice to target such students; it may well have kept us open in 2008 when many independent academies like ours closed. However, I just can't feel that I was put on this earth to give a leg up to students who are already socially privileged.
But the application season is over, and while many of my students are on spring break from boarding schools, almost everything else is different. I'm doing a lot more test prep, and with the AP English exams coming in May, I actually get to do test prep (which I'm good at and which is in demand) and literature (which I love and which has always made my life sing) at the same time. Also, I have three or four students who want help with research-paper skills, something else I am happy to do. (I've also, in the past six months to a year, learned a lot about differences between what I like in a research paper and what most high-school teachers want--after two of my students got, gasp, a ***B***! on papers I thought were wonderful.)
Come next college-application season--which, thanks to various early-admission applications, stretches longer & longer as well as becoming more & more arduous--I plan to contact some local h.s. teachers and give pro bono
help to gifted, underprivileged students applying to colleges. I thought about giving up the work I do for the academy, but finally I decided that this approach would allow me to keep work I overall enjoy without that bad taste in my mouth.
Also, did I mention my one individual student passed the NY English Regents? I don't think I--or a student--ever worked that hard, including students who got 800s on Reading and/or Writing on the SAT. And I'm even more proud of her, and I hope she is even more proud, too. I now have one student who is actually working to pass a test at his school, instead of for improvement, and I'm again very happy to be doing it, though one or two of those at a time is probably enough. That kind of teaching takes a lot more creativity, or at least so it seems to me.
Mood: relaxed yet tightly strung
|Thursday, March 7th, 2013|
|Surrealism in Everyday Life
Saddest line I've heard on Hoarding: Buried Alive
so far: "You deserve to have pee pads that haven't had dead bodies on them."
Status: recovering from a cold
|Monday, March 4th, 2013|
On the Which Walking Dead character are you?
quiz, I got T-Dog based on my answers. Not bad--OK, he's dead now, but he had a good enough life, all considered.
Despite its relative dearth of tense action sequences (I said "relative"), last night's episode of The Walking Dead
seems to me the saddest, most haunting one this season, maybe ever. Images, and the tragedy, stayed with me as I tried to drift off to sleep.( Implied SpoilersCollapse )
I'm proud to say that womzilla
brought home the first WD comics, lo those years ago, & we both instantly knew what a winner it was. In addition to all the gruesome pleasure we got long before the TV show, we just sold those early issues & bought the trade pbs, making a nice profit.
T-Dog, huh? Btw, annoyed that they had buttons to post on Fb and tweet the results, but not to paste into LJ. Sigh.
Status: enjoying rare leisure before going in to work for students 1:00-7:00 p.m.
|Sunday, March 3rd, 2013|
|eBay Amusements; Jewelry Projects
I have to say, buying charms (to make jewelry with) on eBay is a nightmare for anyone irritated by misnomers. Companies in China are understandably worse, but humorously inappropriate labels can show up anywhere, at any time. At first, I'd actually send messages intended to be helpful: "The charm you say is a wombat is actually some kind of wild pig, probably a warthog." But there is too much to correct, and my corrections probably just annoyed the companies anyway.
Unlike in other web venues, where obvious rat charms are often called mice instead, "rat" on eBay may turn out to be a squirrel, an armadillo, and once even a lizard. The only mistake in this direction I've seen elsewhere is one online company calling a beaver a rat. This is different from charms labeled both mouse and rat, which I endorse.
But the best is "girl," which includes anything remotely feminine or in a dress. Mermaids (not also
called mermaid, just girl) and Red Riding Hood (same lack of specific name). A guy in long trousers, tunic, and a fez. Medallions of the madonna (OK, she's a girl) and (I swear) one of a cardinal or pope and one of the baby Jesus in a long nightshirt. However, my favorite "girl" misnomer is Cute Ghost Girl
, for values of "cute" including "OMG is that disturbing."
Also, since when did "Tibetan silver" become the term for lead-free pewter?
But eBay is a great
place for charms, with a wider selection than any one online company & inexpensive lots of four or more of the same charm. Some people obviously have bought such lots elsewhere and repackaged them, at only a somewhat higher price, by theme, such as Alice in Wonderland charms with a top hat, little girl, playing cards, crown, rabbit, mirror, and so on. A worthwhile service.
I'm very excited about some of the jewelry I am and will be making. I'm assembling a necklace with horror charms; I had to buy multiples of most, and I'll have cards to hand out if people at the ICFA are interested in ones of their own. I've found some new rat charms & will be putting up rodent-themed jewelry on eBay, maybe before the ICFA but probably in late April. Swamping out the dining room, I found a bunch of my old rodent-themed earrings, and I'm actually pretty pleased with them.
Status: waking up, ready to shower
|Friday, March 1st, 2013|
|No Doctor Yet
Well, I didn't go to the doctor this morning. No, eldersib, I will go some time! I would feel better if I had, but I feel much more
better for having two hours more sleep. This paradoxical problem gives me even more sympathy for youngersib, whose health problems sometimes make her so tired she cancels doctor appointments. In this case, I said it was "a work emergency," which in a sense it was, as I had been unexpectedly scheduled for a very long, hard day that I couldn't face with that little sleep and no nap.
The new mattress seems to help a lot, and no pain yesterday or so far today, but I have tingling, especially in my lower right leg, that I need the docs to identify.
Mood: still quite cheerful
|Thursday, February 28th, 2013|
|3 Things Make an LJ entry
1. We have comfy new mattresses & don't have bedbugs.
The men who delivered our new mattresses yesterday refused to take the old mattresses, which they said showed stains from infestation with bedbugs. Today, an Orkin bedbug diagnostician said that based on the info we gave him, that's just not possible--we'd be "bitten to death," instead of one random insect bite ten days ago--and a 20-year-old mattress is just going to have stains. Sears is sending someone to pick up the old mattresses and will put a complaint in the delivery guys' files; the operator seemed more upset that they had been late, outside the promised 3-hour window.
On the one hand, I sympathize if they are so overbooked that they have to short-shrift us to not be even later, or if they are held responsible for keeping the truck free of bedbugs but don't have the knowledge to do so well. On the other, we three didn't need a big argument between me and supergee
(because I was at work and I felt he didn't handle the problem well), genuine worry over an infestation, and womzilla
and I itching all night due to the power of suggestion. (Stimpy, my person suit is all itchy with imaginary vermin & lice!)
2. My sciatic nerve is much better, but I still have an appointment with my GP tomorrow.
Actually, yesterday was bad--going back to the cane--but today I feel the best physically & emotionally that I have since the nerve flared up. I'd hoped a new mattress might help, and it seems to. Today I was a bit uncomfortable after yoga, but not at all during, and I could even do the bridge and downward dog--not the warrior poses, yet, but that was all. Still, I'm glad that yesterday I made the appointment.
3. I enjoy driving our new (new to us) car, Julie (short for Mint Juliette).
We've had her for a while, but I don't drive all that often, and I usually drive Templeton, our older car, when I do. Tonight I went up to Joanne's Fabrics for some buttons, and I like how Julie handles. Also, small moment of technowonder at the fact that the radio has an lcd readout that tells us not only the radio station, but the name and performer of the song being played.
Status: a bit rushed & hungry but happy
|Tuesday, February 26th, 2013|
|Hopkins' "Spring and Fall"; or, On Being a Margaret
Yesterday, in a morose mood about the ol' holy temple breaking down
, I phoned youngersib, who it turns out was in a similar mood over the death of C. Everett Koop (although he was 96 and hence, in family terminology, "getting up there" in age). In a reference to what youngersib may or may not know is one of my favorite poems, she said, "It is Margaret I mourn for." Since then, I've been thinking about that statement and the poem:
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Spring and Fall:
to a Young Child
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Now I hear the last line as one part informing, one part sympathizing, and one small part chiding: that's just how it is.
But I think it's not bad to be a Margaret. It's "can you?" not "do you?" let alone "dare you?" Rather than Margaret being too sensitive, the older, colder adults are too jaded; and "nor spare a sigh" in the next line seems to me about being unsympathetic and even stingy in our responses. Whole worlds of autumnal decay deserve at least "a sigh." "Fresh thoughts" are celebrated in so many of Hopkins' poems, such as "Pied Beauty"
It's valuable to be in touch with "what heart heard of, ghost guessed," and that inner voice is 100% correct.
And yet when there's so much to weep about in specific, the adults' failure to feel the true sorrow of the "blight that man was born for" is also a form of self-protection. Being unhinged over the mutability and limited life of any of "the things of man," in one way (sub specie aeternitatis
), makes as much sense as getting unhinged over the falling leaves every autumn.
One thing I like about this poem is that it doesn't in any way limit itself to Christian readers. Reading through his poetry on the subway today, I realized how many of his poems (including the two I link to above) establish a rhapsody (or soul-terror) that anyone can appreciate but then make the Christianity explicit only at the end. Not all of his poems do, by any means. On the one hand, some are explicitly Christian all through, such as "The May Magnificat"
, one I hadn't recalled but really like. On the other hand, others besides "Spring and Fall" are richly Christian but need not be taken that way--also seen in the "cries like dead letters sent/To dearest him that lives alas! away" in one of his terrible sonnets, I wake and feel the fell of dark
. I guess partly it annoyed me that some readers would be turned off to such profoundly universal and human observations by the poems' invocation of a system they may not understand or may not like. (Blaming the poems, not the readers, not that any annoyance on my part, let alone blame, really makes sense.)
But "Spring and Fall" can be appreciated by materialists from stoics to existentialists. We know we are going to die; what do we do with that knowledge?
Mood: contemplative, digressive, expository
A few years ago on LJ, in the midst of an admittedly heated discussion on another topic altogether, I was pontificated to about weight & health, and the official fat-acceptance position thereon, by a healthy someone in hir 20s or 30s. If that ever happens again, I hope it is in person, and I almost hope my sciatic nerve is being bad again, so I can hit hir with my cane.
Mood: obviously full of negative memory energy instead of saintly forgiveness or zen detachment
|Monday, February 25th, 2013|
|Law of Conservation of Annoyances
The good news is that my sciatic nerve is much, much better. Yesterday I didn't have to use my cane even with stairs, and today there's been no real discomfort even without Icy-Hot patches. I'm pretty sure I pinched the nerve when I pulled a muscle getting out of bed.* I'm not completely back to status quo ante, but it's coming along.
But now I feel like I put my neurological disease in supergee
, because he has Bell's Palsy, as I did a while ago
No, I don't feel even superstitiously that I had anything to do with it--though it interests me that S.'s doctor gave him antivirals as well as steroids. Actually, I'd be happy to think we both got some random virus. I not only worry about him, but--especially because he has diabetes as well--it makes me dwell on the nerve incidents of my own & my diabetes; it makes me sad and worried about my own holy temple falling into disrepair.
I can think of a few semi-comforting things, but I'm still feeling blue, at a time that I should be vibrant and getting tasks done. Feh.
* That sounds either completely infirm or incredibly athletic, and it's neither. Because I sleep in the middle of the mega-bed, I don't roll out to the side, but climb down & off the foot of the bed. Usually I crawl or scootch on my back, but sometimes I start that with my torso upright, and then I sometimes swing my right leg up and out front of me in an arc for momentum. I found myself beginning to do so this morning, actually. It would be easy to twist something that way, especially while still 1/2 asleep.
|Sunday, February 24th, 2013|
|Food & Fat
I highly recommend a major piece in the latest New York Times magazine, "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food."
The paradigm of addiction is vastly over-used nowadays, but when food companies are deliberately creating food that give enough pleasure to keep us eating but not enough impact or nutrition to produce satiation that would make us stop, I don't know what else to call it. Some of the quotes from food-industry executives and scientists are horrifying, such as that it makes more economic sense to get their present high-quantity consumers to increase consumption than it does to garner new low-quantity users. And it's interesting to see that some food-industry people do have ethical qualms, even more interesting to see how their efforts are treated by peers and how they turn out.
This brings me back to something I've been pondering lately: Is there a way to have a war on obesity that is not inherently a war on obese people? Ragen Chastain at Dances with Fat says no: "I say enough is enough. I say it’s time to call for an end to the ridiculous notion that there can be a war on obesity without having a war on obese people."
But I think that's not true.
Mind, I do think the distinction between the war on obesity and a war on obese people is one that most public-service writers and journalists are incapable of. My favorite bad example is a poster in the NYC subways against junk food: it shows the silhouette of a very fat man, with pictures of all sorts of junk food about to slide into his gullet. I really think our repulsion at his profile is assumed, and that repulsion is supposed to transfer to the junk food. And I am angered by how much "it will make you fat" has replaced "it's not good for you" by some malign synechdoche.
On the other hand, I have to say that I like and approve of a recent commercial about sugar in soda: A medium-weight, slightly nerdy guy opens and eats one packet of plain sugar after another, while people look aghast; the announcer says, "You wouldn't eat 16 packets of sugar, but that's what you get in a 20-ounce soda." Now, there may be all kinds of sizist motives for choosing a medium-weight person for the ad, but the ad does makes the issue one of nutrition, not weight, with the emphasis on the food.
In other words, I think one way we can have a war on obesity but not on the obese is to make it all about the food, and specifically--like the ad I do like--about amounts of certain foods. I wish the ad in the subways had shown the food going directly into a heart, clogging it. To me, that's more about the real problem--junk food--and more accurate about why such foods are bad as a stable diet. When messages focus on foods that offer too much of components most of don't need and not enough of components that everyone does, they seem pretty sane to me. Unlike messages about obesity per se, they're not stigmatizing fat people,and they're not doing a disservice to slender people by suggesting that they don't have to worry about nutrition because they aren't fat.
One semi-examined basis of various opinions about food, obesity, and the war on obesity is one's conclusions or assumptions regarding how much eating and weight are connected. I daresay 2/3 to 9/10 of the populace would look at me and figure I eat junk food all the time, a view that is demonstrably not true. On the other hand, many fat-rights activists say that fat people eat no more than people of other weights; In another post, Dances with Fat says, "Studies show that healthy habits, like vegetables and walking, can help increase the odds of being healthy (though of course health is multi-dimensional, not entirely within our control, and there are never any guarantees) but have almost no chance of creating long term weight loss."
I think both of these perspectives are wrong.
The most convincing study I have read is that fat people at a stable weight
eat the same as average people at a stable weight, but people at any weight who are gaining take in more calories than people at any weight who are stable.
I have to say that I don't know study design: it convinces me because it corresponds with my personal experience and manages to reconcile all the other, widely disagreeing studies.
In my view, my fat is in part a record of my past
eating behavior. I have no trouble saying that. The widespread and infuriating problems are that (1) people think my fat is a record of how I eat now, and most of all, (2) people think that weight and health are public and moral issues instead of private and practical issues. I think it's ridiculous to say that changes in eating & activity don't affect weight at all--almost, though not quite, as ridiculous as my belief in my 20s, still held by almost all people, that the right changes in eating & activity could quickly yet sustainably bring my weight down to what the insurance weight-charts said I should weigh. Rather, my fat represents an complicated and even incalculable complex of where I have been and where I am in terms of intake and use of energy. Doesn't that make a lot of sense? And doesn't it sound rational, without any shaming or justification attached to it?
On a moral level, I believe that food is just food; I certainly don't believe in evil food that one is naughty to eat. However, on a practical level, I think that some food is manifestly more healthful than other food, and that food with maximum nutrition and moderate-to-low fat and/or sugar is on the whole a better choice than food with minimal nutrition and high fat and/or sugar. Some food, like Cheetos, I just don't see any use for at all, except to make money for the snack-food company. Others, as appalling as the campaign to redefine the Cookie Monster is to me in other ways, I find myself thinking of as, in the Sesame Street
phrase, "a sometimes food."
Let's be clear: I am a complete fat-rights activist, the idea of deliberate weight loss twists up my brain in horrible knots, and I personally don't expect ever to be "normal weight" short of getting one of a group of illnesses I don't even want to think about. But I feel certain that we have to be able to discuss healthful nutrition without shaming. I wonder if that discourse can ever include talk about ways of eating that will keep us happy and never hungry but, especially in a sedentary life, not promote unnecessary weight gain. Maybe not--maybe society is just too fukked up for that conversation to happen. At least I have found a group of people with whom I can discuss just healthful nutrition in a fat-friendly, non-moralistic way, and that I am very happy about.
Status: time for The Walking Dead
|Friday, February 22nd, 2013|
|Literary NFL Teams
is all Twitterpated, and he brings the best tid-bits from tweets to me, which seems to me far better than actually reading Twitter, especially when I just got back to LJ and hardly ever get on Facebook.
Anyway, inspired by the Baltimore Ravens, tweets had been appearing about possible other major-league team names based on literature written by people from that city or area. The discussion continued in our living room, with results that included
the Detroit Psychos (Block was in Wisconsin, at least)
the Providence, RI, Outsiders (should they ever get a major league team)
and the Chicago Hog Butchers.
W. said he could especially see the team mascot for the third one, a deranged-looking pig wearing a bloody apron and carrying a cleaver. Someone on Twitter had suggested the Chicago Shoulders, but we liked this one, from the same poem, better.
Mood: good thing we three amuse ourselves
|Thursday, February 21st, 2013|
|Health Annoyances: Sciatica
Although I haven't been to a doctor, I'm relatively certain that the ache/discomfort/pain I've had since a week ago Monday is sciatica on my right side--probably a problem with the lower-upper trunk of the nerve itself (the huge one that branches down all the leg) instead of with the spine compressing it up top. The pain is mainly in my glutes, somewhat in the front thigh, with a bit of tingling in the lower leg. Like Bell's Palsy, which I had a while ago, it's more common in diabetics because hyperglycemia in the blood makes our nerves more vulnerable, but it has many other causes as well. Since I woke up with it, I think it had to do with motion as I slept.
At first, I felt discomfort, very quickly escalating to pain, even from sitting down, let alone standing or walking. When I lay down in a comfortable position, it went away, and eventually I could get up again without pain. All the symptoms have gotten better slowly, and I get less pain after much longer intervals of activity. Going up stairs doesn't hurt any more than almost everything else, but my right leg is a bit weak also. Beloved supergee
bought me a plain wood cane today, and that helps hugely with stairs.
Apparently, one isn't supposed to totally lie still, but to exercise as much as possible. I had yoga on Tuesday, after cancelling last week, and I was able to do a lot more than I thought I would. I did have aches for a couple of hours after, but it was worth it, especially since my lower legs felt much healthier: I could feel
the increased circulation. Also, to keep my spine healthy (although, as I said, I'm pretty sure that's not the issue), I need to keep up my core strength, and we did many poses to that end. The Bridge was out, but leg stretches actually felt fine.
Icy-Hot patches help, too. (The CVS copycat seems actually more effective--the first time I've experienced a better generic--though the brand stays on better.) YogaIlia suggested hot packs of castor oil, and I'll try that later today.
Whether I go to a doctor or not will depend on how quickly the improvement proceeds; and if improvement stops or regresses, of course I'll go in. It's partly the time and complications of just going in, partly because I dread being sent to a neurologist who might act like the one I saw as a follow-up to the ER for Bell's Palsy. On the other hand, I do like the idea of getting a prescription for PT.
I'm annoyed that, as often when I'm not feeling well, I've been eating much worse than usual, including lots of cheese. Partly I want food that makes me happier, partly I'm not occupying my full attention as much & so think more about food, and of course I don't want to put effort into cooking or even that much into eating, although I want a comforting full feeling. I know it's a vicious cycle, but the best I seem to be able to do is to eat less
badly, such as an apple and soy milk instead of white bread or no-sugar-added (but, as the package stresses, not reduced calorie) cupcakes.
I know I am SUPER CRANKY when the pain comes on, and fortunately Supergee and womzilla
understand and just leave me alone to lie down; then we carry on conversation when the pain has gone away.
And it is getting better: I was able to work a very full weekend last week, and I think today I might be able to do some picking-up around the house. Emotionally, I'm less worried & more stoic.
|Tuesday, February 19th, 2013|
When I told womzilla
that in e-mail to a friend I referred to my new clothing as "bespoke," he said that since the outfits are made from patterns, they are not actually bespoke, which is only when apparel is made from scratch from your description & measurements. Looking into it, I'm not totally sure that's true, but anyway, I'm delighted with my "almost bespoke" clothing.
It's made from patterns I bought and I choose, using fabric I bought, to my exact measurements, sometimes with other changes to the design such as different/added pockets, a different neckline, button instead of straight long sleeves, and so on.
Sometimes I worry that the results are a little too odd to be thought of as attractive or appropriate by somewhat less eccentric people such as co-workers and strangers, but personally I adore everything. And I have gotten some compliments at work, especially by the college-age staff members.
At first I avoided even buying flannel, because celestial flannel, especially in pastels, is so strongly associated with pajamas. But flannel is generally less expensive than quilting/novelty-print cottons, it's so comfy, and the room I teach in has been cold a lot lately. I decided to go ahead, but make the pieces look as little like pjs as possible. For instance, for the one fabric that I will have a whole outfit made of, the outfit will be a skirt and shirt/jacket instead of a dress (like a nightshirt) or shirt/jacket with trousers (like pjs). And just a shirt, or a shirt over a t-shirt, with jeans--heck, many people wear flannel shirts like that, right? I also picked out very nice metal buttons (very un-pj-like) and had buttons sleeves (ditto, plus can be rolled up when the environment is a bit warmer). I have two flannel shirts so far & did get asked where I get them, in an approving way.
|Friday, February 15th, 2013|
I highly recommend polymedia, an LJ feed of "Polyamory in the News."
As much as a few years ago now, I wondered aloud here why I and others in multiple households aren't more angry about not being allowed to marry. I understand many factors. Het multiples get "half a loaf," each being able to legally marry one, which is indeed better than none. I also think that in many cases, the mind subconsciously adjusts our expectations based on what we think might be even possible, to keep ourselves from burning out or burning up in anger. Still--
I find I am getting more angry about the situation. One igniting incident was semi-recently on The Daily Show
: Stewart gave a clip in which some conservative pundit used multiple marriage in a slippery-slope argument, and instead of making fun of the conservative for being so bigoted, Stewart made fun of him for such a worthless, incredible idea as that of public acceptance of marriages of more than two. Excuse me, Jon Stewart?this piece in polymedia
indicates a split I see now among GBLT people: those who argue for a queer sexuality not limited to couples and those who stress how monogamous (hence respectable) they can be. I understand why this is done, on a practical level, but it makes me both irate and despondent. T people, who just barely get on the bus and often get thrown under it, know how this is, I know. But how wrong is it to envy them for even getting in the acronym?
Of course, when I discuss these matters, I always say that social invisibility has advantages as well as disadvantages, and I don't know of anyone who was ever beaten by strangers for being poly.
But I'm getting sick of moments like when the Seamstress, talking with me as she sews at our place, reassures me time and again that she accepts our household's relationship. Well, I have to admit that if she says anything
, she says it four or more times, but still--by the Nth time, I'm thinking--I dunno, some annoyed melange of "how condescending," "don't make it such a big, odd deal," and "we don't need your approval." Am I losing my equanimity when it comes to assuming good will and explaining tirelessly?
It doesn't help my mood that I am still in a mixed quantum state re marriage, which will not collapse into divorce until some state judge gets around to just signing a few papers. Each lawyer said separately that noodging the judge would not help and might even cause further delays, which I consider alarmingly plausible.
But it's beyond the practical to an issue of rights & acceptance. As poly becomes less socially invisible--even just as a slipper-slope argument--I seem to get both more hope and more anger.