Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looks like we made it

I always sang that song in my head coming off the last hill of the dam loop. I don't miss that ride at all.
HH, CH, and I made it through 2 weeks of home alone for long stretches. This well was smoother, but still a challenge.
I usually write on Dec 23. This year is my quinceneira. I was sick and worn out last week. I am going to try to get a chip this weekend.
Wish I could go to Go Dance NYE party. It was $25 in advance. I asked for a nondrinker discount, and they said no. A nondrinker and stay about an hour. Probably fine to stay home, rest, and steer clear of the amateurs.
I'm using my iPod touch, which I call an itouch, just to be annoying, but anyway the touch screen is acting a little weird.
I am still hacking up and blowing out gunk from my sinus infection-over 2
weeks. The worst is not getting enough sleeps due to cough. I always get this cough and have to beg for guaffinessin with codeine-one of the 1st cough meds and the only one that works for me. Just suffering. I wish docs understood some patients are not idiots and can use deductive reasoning if nothing else to diagnose themselves. Oh, well.
I'll stop, now, because the keyboard is being weird

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Louis CK and Unvacation

I saw a John Stewart interview with Louis CK about his FX series.  He is hilarious.  Reed used to tell me he thought Bill Hicks was his soulmate.  I feel this way about Louis CK.  He is so sweetly irreverent.  I was talking with a dad at Ramsey whose red-headed son was playing with Hank, and I mentioned Louis CK.  He also found him hilarious and also found others didn't get him.  I have tried to explain a few bits to Brad, but I admit, make Louis CK sound mean or raunchy, or just not funny.  I clearly, though I like to think I am, am not a comedian.  I don't have the timing or delivery necessary.  The entire FX series is on instant netflix.
I also recently saw a Dave Chapelle standup routine.  He discusses the ridiculousness of women in women's magazines giving advice about men.  E.g., 100 ways to please your man, written by a woman.  He said there were only 4 ways, and I paraphrase, "perform oral sex, something else related to oral sex, make him a sandwich, and don't talk so much."  I love that.  Although, I don't think that describes Brad.  But, maybe I have read too many women's magazines.

Hank, Charlie, and I have been home, alone together for the past week and a half (except for the hours of 5-8:30 am several weekdays and Sunday mornings).  I think Hank has done well with the transition of the addition of a huge attention stealer.  He has regressed, I guess for lack of a better description, in some emotional expression.  He has made progress verbalizing his want for attention or disturbance simply with the change in the game.  Last week, I thought a lot about the Calgon, take me away commercial.  It felt like an all day crisis management, and I was sick, and didn't feel well,  and sleep deprived, etc.  This week, after getting 2.5 days home with me and Brad, he has done much better.  He still has a few teary meltdowns when I deny him candy or going to the store to buy more toys, or something like that.  It is SO sad the expression on his face when he cries.  I want the instant gratification, I suppose, of entertaining his want for instant gratification.  I keep reminding myself that just because he cries when he asks for candy, and he has already had more than I intended to give him for the day, that I am not helping him by giving him more candy.  A cocaine addict would cry for more cocaine, and that doesn't mean they should be given more cocaine.  And not that Hank has developed an eating disorder or something like dependence, it is my job to be the self-regulation that he cannot yet provide for himself.  The fact that he even eats candy is not what I had intended for him.  Other parents tell me their kids would eat candy all day everyday if they let them.  Some parents have managed to keep their kids away from candy altogether.  The other day, he was eating some reese's peanut butter cups and said, "I love this candy."  He said it with the same sweetness he uses when he says, "I love you," to me.  He sometimes says, "I love you, too, mommy," as the initial statement.  It is so sweet.  This morning I was so sleepy, and he was waking me up by kissing my face.  It was funny, but also SO sweet.  I hope I will be recovering next week with some seriously long naps.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


I heard a long time before I considered having children that parents are stewards of their children. We don't "own" our children, and the point of having children is not to have children, but to ultimately have more adults. Merge those thoughts with a more zen approach of mindfully enjoying each day. Charlie was born last Sunday night after a very short active labor (9-11 pm), lots of the f word, exclamations that I was pooping, and that I could not, in fact, continue to give birth. The nurse midwife, L&D nurse, and Brad gave me enough encouragement that Charlie did come out, weighing 7 pounds, which seems like a lot, but Hank only weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces. So, here I am at 5 am, feeling totally hormonal, hungry, and freezing. I was freezing, I think from becoming slightly dehydrated during the night making the 2 tanker trucks of milk I am now schlepping around. I am happy to provide free food for the kid.
The other night, after putting Hank to bed, I got so weepy that he is already huge, and mad at myself for not staying in the zen, daily and minutely moments more often, and overwhelmed by feelings of how much affection and love I have for these people. Even for Brad, although he hasn't changed, I feel more love towards him as I see him being a dad. [As I am feeling hyper-emotional, I can feel my mammary glands topping off what were already overly-full tanks. Hormones are powerful substances. More powerful than synthetic drugs]. My point was that I don't want to overwhelm Hank and Charlie with my extreme and intense feelings. Brad can take it, so he may get overwhelmed. And the extreme emotions that accompany pregnancy and birth are adaptive in that they require a slowing down and promote mindfulness to enjoy every feeding and every burp. And the only thing truly required is to channel the love I feel into spending time with them doing what they want to do. Play with cars, legos, go to the playground, etc. And model being a decent human being. Providing direction and how the world works will not just come from me, and I don't think that is my primary purpose with them. I know I have heard in meetings, "God doesn't have grandchildren." That makes sense to me. I can't even get near the line approaching not having them in my life, but that thought is slightly less overwhelming if I think of caring for them on Earth in a way that God might care for them. Or at least that being the goal. I have been loaned them as a gift to stay with me until they are adults and will hopefully get to enjoy them well into their adulthood.

Slightly different subject, St. David's kicks Seton's ass so badly. My ob's practice at the Renaissance Women's Health Facility by St. David's North Austin Medical Center. a) I LOVED all the practitioners: 3 ob's, 2 nurse midwives, 2 nurse practitioners. One of the nurse midwives delivered Charlie. She was so awesome. b) the food was awesome. I made myself french toast this morning (with Hank's challah, no less) because I had had 2 awesome servings of French toast during my stay. They had a menu from which you could choose and order to be delivered at a time you wished. Awesome. c) The postpartum care was awesome. Adequate pain management, competent nursing staff, a comfortable room, which Hank called, "the hotel." I'll give Seton this, the food was OK, although I didn't get to pick what I wanted. Getting pain med was more like begging. I found the refrigerator sooner at Seton and was able to feel less like a lazy bum asking for water and crackers and stuff. I found the kitchen at St. David's the day we left, and actually, Brad found it. St. David's had locks on many of the kitchen cabinets, which I thought was kind of mean to taunt postpartum ladies with. I also had WAY fewer stitches this time, so getting around and up and down was SO much more manageable. I mostly had cramps when nursing, and achyness in my abs and low back. NOTHING like the wad of stitches I was sitting on after Hank was extracted from me by the male OB I didn't know at Seton. I know, a little dramatic, but, the more I consider it, the more I feel disempowered by that place and their practices. I know it's ultimately irrelevant. Got healthy Hank home, but why not leave the hospital with a beautiful feeling rather than feeling like we had to take Hank and run away from Seton at the first opportunity.
Anyway, postpartum day 7, I want one more baby. And no, I am not going to think about how unpleasant the pregnancies have been for me. Every pregnancy is different. The next one could be much worse. haha. I actually would like to be Angelina and Brad, if we had the nannies they have, also. But that is kind of lame. Why delegate part of child-rearing to strangers? If we had an aunt or some slightly older relative living with us who could aid in the care, I would be cool with that. When I am tired and don't feel like playing with legos, I want Brad to play with legos with him. I don't want Hank to miss out on playing with legos, but I realize it is not very motherly to delegate. I KNOW this is all a balance, and one has to bathe, brush one's teeth, EXERCISE, which I cannot believe how long it has been since I have done formal physical activity. I am going to do some right this second!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Problem with Us is Them

The American Psyche is crippled, if not paralyzed, by the constant self-declarations and designations of "us" and "them." In fact, there need not be a "them" in American politics, at least not if "we" truly want to change the absurd, and largely impotent, system of partisan politics. It would be political suicide for a lone or even a few Republican congressmen to accept President Obama's reach across the aisle, even if their convictions permitted. President Obama, although he can and has acted by example, cannot suddenly change the efficacy of Congress. Popular media vilify rogues, and the voters follow. The only way to change the system, what George Saunders eloquently dubbed, the "braindead megaphone," is to change our behavior. And behavior change requires a complete mutiny and damnation of the manner by which Congressional progress has eked along and been perceived since its inception. Early in our history, it was probably adaptive for us to have "us" nearly Americans and "them" English royalty. And, we made progress away from a monarch, house of lords, and unrepresented taxation. Yet this setup, like our Puritanical heritage has been toxic to preserve. Less than 100 years after we became we, we divided ourselves into us Southerners and them Northerners. I do not expect or even hope to find a consensus on most issues in American politics, however, digging into convictions of sound bites to defend "our side" leaves us stuck in a country full of ruts. I fantasize about a future in which we might regard "us" as earthlings, or even wilder, "Spirits of the Universe," all on the same team. But, I would be so thrilled if we started with "us" Americans, and truly pursued life, liberty, and happiness, not for ourselves, but for our fellow citizens, our only foe being divisiveness.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In What Organs Are Enzymes Found That Break Down Food?

This title was requested and the article was rejected. Boo.

The digestive system is one of seven bodily systems requiring complex pathways and hormonal signaling.

The digestive system is one of the seven bodily systems and is a beautifully orchestrated, complex collaboration of organs producing appropriate enzymes in response to a stimulus, eating! Digestive enzymes are produced throughout the body and have the ultimate purpose of making glucose available for every cellular process in the body.


The process of digestion is catabolic. You are probably familiar with anabolic steroids, which aid in the process of building muscle. Catabolism is the opposite process, a breaking down of complex food structures into smaller, usable molecules, such as glucose. You may remember from high school science class that sugars usually end in the suffix, –ose, e.g. lactose. The enzyme, usually ending in –ase, is associated with catabolizing the nutrient. In the case of lactose, lactase catabolizes lactose into glucose and galactose, making a larger molecule into two, simpler and smaller molecules.

Digestion is initiated in the mouth, which produces amylase.

The semi-permeable mucous membrane in the mouth makes saliva, which contains amylase, the first enzyme required to digest food. The semi-permeability of mucous membranes allows for secretion of amylase and absorption of some substances, glucose included, in the mouth. A science experiment you can try at home: put a saltine cracker in your mouth. Do not chew it; simply begin to let it dissolve. At first, the cracker tastes salty, but soon seems to melt into smaller particles. Because of amylase in your mouth, after a few seconds, the cracker now tastes sweet.

Mechanical Digestion in the Stomach

The stomach produces the enzyme, pepsin, and signals the gall bladder and pancreas for bile and insulin, respectively.

The enzyme produced by the stomach is pepsin, which begins to catabolize proteins, e.g. meat. Signaled by the stomach being filled with food, the gall bladder produces bile, which is secreted into the stomach. Thirdly, the pancreas is signaled by the stomach to produce insulin, a complex molecule composed of several enzymes. Insulin is employed in every cellular process of the body to bring glucose into the cell. Insulin is also absorbed into muscle, liver, and brain tissue for the utilization of glucose. While the stomach is often regarded as where digestion occurs, the primary function of the stomach is to mechanically digest food by using the muscles and digestive acids to begin to ready food to pass into the small intestine.

Where the Real Work is Done

The small intestine is the primary organ of nutrient absorption and contains, lactase, disaccharides, and several peptidase enzymes. Insulin and bile used in the stomach also pass into the small intestine. Most of the nutritional value of food, the carbohydrate, fat, and protein components, as well as vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream by the small intestine. The remaining fluid and waste products pass into the large intestine, and needed water is absorbed there. Intestine trivia for you: From the beginning of the small intestine from the pyloric valve at the emptying end the stomach to the end of the large intestine is about 13 feet in an adult. If you would like to know more of the gory details about the cellular processes involved in constructing the enzymes, hormonal regulation, and interactions of feedback and feedforward mechanisms between bodily systems, Dee Silverthorn, Ph.D. is a prominent human physiologist and has written several, excellent and thorough textbooks.

From the Top to the Bottom

This ordered list sums digestive organs and their enzymes:
Gall Bladder-bile
Small Intestine-lactase, disaccharides, peptidases

  • Sugar and Enzymes
  • Digestive Organs
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Glucose and Insulin
  • Cellular Processes

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nutritional Snacks for ADHD Children (Rejected Article)

Nutritional Snacks for ADHD Children

Credit: Dimitri Vervitsiotis/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Keeping your child's energy level constant facilitates learning.

While behavioral and pharmaceutical therapy may be at the center of your child’s Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder treatment, providing nutritious snacks may also be beneficial. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, eating large amounts of sugar does not cause ADHD, but an appropriate diet should focus on foods and snacks with a low glycemic index, foods that do not results in a dramatic rise and fall in blood glucose.

Foods with Low Glycemic Indeces

Children with ADHD lack the ability to focus, which may result from a lack of stimulation. Low glycemic index foods, particularly for school and as after-school snacks, prevent the spike in blood glucose that would promote hyperactivity, and the following drop in blood glucose, making attention wane. Foods low in glycemic index are usually high in fiber, and/or also contain protein or fat. For example, white bread has a higher glycemic index than does whole grain bread. The fiber and protein from the whole grains slow the rate at which the stomach empties into the small intestine and therefore slows the increase in blood glucose following the meal or snack. The following are examples of low-glycemic index foods: all legumes, all leafy greens, all dried beans, most fruits (dried fruits are higher in glycemic index), whole grain breads, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes (twice baked with a little butter and cinnamon are a special treat, ice cream, and nuts.

Credit: Peanut Butter01 image by Platinum Pictures from

Adding protein to carbohydrate lowers the glycemic index of the carbohydrate. A traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be much healthier with a few changes. Use whole grain bread, jelly or jam with no added sugar, just pureed fruit, and natural peanut butter with no sugar added for the lowest glycemic index sandwich.

Add Fat

Credit: cheese image by carol lynch from
Cheese contains protein and fat, both lowering the glycemic index.

Adding fat, preferably mono- or poly-unsaturated fat lowers the glycemic index. Regular or reduced calorie cheese on top of the legumes and beans or in addition to the fruit make the fruits and vegetables more filling and more appealing. For example, black beans with brown rice, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado, is a very filling and tasty snack. Homemade pizza on whole wheat crust with no sugar added pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pineapple, lean meat, and vegetables is also filling, tasty, and has a low glycemic index.

Eat Whole Foods

Credit: abstract, fresh beet . food ,vegetable image by L. Shat from

Although they are high in convenience, most processed foods tend to be higher in glycemic index the further they differ from the form in which they are grown. For example, apple juice is much higher in glycemic index than is an apple. Chips and crackers are higher in glycemic index than are brown rice and whole grain bread. The American Dietetic Association has a website with tasty, low glycemic index recipes ( The American Diabetes Association has useful information about glycemic index and creative ideas for alternatives to traditional foods. A desirable diet for a diabetic does not differ much from a desirable diet for someone with ADHD.

Explaining Performance Foods

Credit: mother and daughter conversation image by Allen Penton from

Sometimes children understand more than we give them credit for. If you are making a radical change in the snacks you prepare, tell your child why. He/she is already aware that there is an attention problem, and is likely frustrated. Explain in an age-appropriate manner that low glycemic index foods keep his/her blood sugar more constant, are not a punishment, but a performance enhancement, and are designed to make him/her the best kid he/she can be.

  • Low Glycemic Index
  • Whole Grain Carbohydrate
  • Performance Foods
  • Brain Food
  • Blood Glucose Regulation
  • ADHD Diet
This title was solicited by but didn't meet the ephemeral and confounding editorial requirements from It's exasperating to write for them, but if they accept it, it pays decently for someone who is under-employed...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walking offstage

Bill O'Reilly on The View
Bill O'Reilly said, "Muslims killed us on 9/11," among other incendiary and misleading statements in the conversation. When corrected, that it was not people practicing Islam, but terrorists who misappropriated Islam, who committed a horrific crime against humanity, he would not concede. I think it was absolutely appropriate for Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar to walk off stage. Barbara Walters said something along the lines of, 'if you invite someone into your home and they offend you, you don't walk away.' I think, instead, you would politely ask the person to leave.
I suppose having BO'R as a guest on the View is simply a way to demonstrate some "fairness" in airing differing views or more likely an easy way to create drama, which creates viewership on national television. I think if I were JB or WG, I would plan to be off the day BO'R was going to be a guest. He so completely out of touch with reality, while being a master at antagonizing and incendiary statements, I would have a hard time engaging in a conversation with him. I could, however, have a conversation with someone who was ignorant and bigoted, but open to suggestion regarding Islam and Islamism.
It's always a challenge to converse with someone on an emotional topic with whom you disagree. But, as Barbara Walters said, it should be, and must be done. I do not think BO'R is the person with whom any rational person could begin that dialogue.

Juan Williams fired from NPR

Juan Williams fired from NPR
I don't think Juan Williams was asserting that his fear of people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes was reasonable or founded in reality or something he was proud of. I think he was admitting his own ignorance regarding Muslims. JW knows that Muslims, categorically, are not terrorists. He knows that the misappropriation of Islam by a few Islamists should not reflect on the majority of Muslims. However, because of imagery often reinforced by news media, he had this irrational fear.
I think his fear is similar to being afraid of someone who looks like a "thug." Some thugs are black. Some are white. Some are Latino. I think their common thread is some visual indication of poverty and/or criminal behavior. I think white people might tend to be less fearful of another white person who looked thuggy, and similarly for black people. Whereas interracial interactions between thug and pedestrian would be more fearful. I don't think any white person is proud that he/she afraid of someone from another race simply based on the way he/she looks/is dressed. However, to say that there are never any visual commonalities among criminals is ignoring reality. I don't know how the 9/11 hijackers were dressed. They may not even have been wearing "Muslim garb" the day they committed a horrific crime against humanity that has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. Nonetheless, middle America, of which I am a member, has little contact with Muslims and remains largely ignorant about the religion as a whole. I'm sure Juan Williams, considering his expertise on the Civil Rights movement in this country in the 1960's, realizes ignorance and bigotry are congruous. He does not wish to be bigoted. Admitting that you have an ignorant, irrational thought does not make you bigoted, it makes you human.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Go, Rangers!

Not much of a baseball fan, but I am rooting for the Rangers. I think I don't like the Yankees in the same way some folks don't like the Longhorns. But it's also just neat to see the Rangers having a good team, especially under Nolan Ryan.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things to say/not to say to a pregnant lady

Not to say:
You look bigger than last week. (My thought: You look uglier than last week).
How ARE you? (Great, how ARE you?)
Are you glad it's a [boy or girl]? (Nope, sex change, right out of the chute).
How are you FEELING? (Great, how are you FEELING? I feel pregnant. Duh!)
Are you/How long are you going to nurse? (Until the child can ask for it and unbutton my shirt).
How much l0nger are you going to work? (I'm thinking I'll stop, now!)
You're drinking/eating [that]?! (Did you want a bite?)
Is your husband excited? (No, he's upset the baby is the milkman's child).

To say:
You look radiant/beautiful/healthy. (My thought: thank you. I feel fat, but I am glad my skin isn't pimply).
Your boobs look awesome. (I know, right!)
Hi. (Hi!)
Congratulations! (Thank you!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bodybuilding Diet

Body building requires discipline in and out of the gym. Doing the correct exercises in the correct order, with the correct form are certainly the cornerstones of successful body building. However, without the proper nutritional composition and quantities of macronutrients (food), the chances of making the podium are low.

Most body builders are aware that muscles are essentially composed of protein, and few body builders neglect to eat enough protein. There are two key concerns regarding protein: eating complete proteins, those composed of the eight, essential amino acids, and consuming the proper amount of protein based on your weight and activity level.

There are eight essential amino acids required for building muscle, and our bodies cannot synthesize these without our ingesting all eight of them over the course of a day. Animal meats contain what are called, "complete proteins," meaning the meat alone contains everything necessary for muscle building. There are vegetarian options, also. Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a grain that also happens to be a complete protein. (The website has more information about quinoa and how to prepare it). Eating beans and rice in one sitting creates a complete protein. Certainly, it takes more sheer volume of the vegetarian options to amass the number of grams of protein required, but it certainly can be done.

As far as how much protein to eat, you can calculate this figure yourself based on your body weight. Ed Coyle, an exercise physiologist who studies human performance at the University of Texas, uses a rule of thumb based on body weight of 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram body weight. (You can convert your weight in pounds into kilograms by dividing by 2.2. E.g., 150 pounds, divided by 2.2 equals 68 kilograms). Therefore, this body builder would need to consume between 82 and 102 grams of protein per day.

As far as how much to eat, in terms of calories per day, both your body weight and activity level should be considered. The short answer is, a 150 pound man burns approximately 400 calories per hour while doing vigorous weight lifting. A more individualized answer may be found on a website densely packed with helpful nutritional information:, published by the USDA. You can easily track your calorie intake and nutritional composition by creating a free profile and entering your diet each day. Most foods are already listed in their directory, but you can add foods, also. Along with your diet, you can track your activity level. Again, most activities are already listed, including vigorous weight lifting. What other activities you do during the day may also be entered, and should be, particularly if you are very active at work. The net result, calculated on the website, provides feedback as to whether you are meeting demands of RDA’s for micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (food) relative to your activity level.

Beginning body builders may err on the side of eating too few carbohydrates. In order to synthesize (create) muscle, your body needs the insulin response facilitated by eating carbohydrate. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, (yes, the same anabolic as in steroids) but it is totally legal. Essentially, eating carbohydrates, along with complete proteins, catalyzes an optimal amount of protein synthesis. Eating too few carbohydrates tends to result in muscular catabolism (Eek! That means break-down). Muscles need fuel to contract, and the primary fuel they use is glucose in the bloodstream. Without enough carbohydrate, your weight-training performance (you will not be able to lift as much weight) will be suboptimal, and/or you may end up undoing some of your hard work that would normally result in muscular anabolism (building).

The amount of carbohydrate to consume is not as easily calculable as is the amount of protein. Most nutritionists would have you consuming 50-70% of your day’s total calories from carbohydrate. If you are already consuming 10-30% of your day’s total calories from protein, that leaves 10-30% of your calories from fat. We now know the composition of macronutrients does not determine body weight, caloric balance does. In other words, the number of calories in (what you eat) minus the number of calories out (what you do) should be zero if you want to remain weight stable. However, while eating a diet of 100% fat would make you feel pretty horrible, if you were in caloric balance, you would not gain weight.

In the early stages of bodybuilding, a caloric surplus is required to gain weight, hopefully, mostly, in the form of muscle. Adhering to your weight-training program, while eating the appropriate number of calories per day, comprised of the appropriate proportions of macronutrients will maximize your muscular gain. Additionally, if you are a man, you have an additional anabolic hormone in greater quantities than does a woman, testosterone! Testosterone, along with the insulin response and another few hormones (Insulin-like growth factor, IGF-1 and human growth hormone, HGH), facilitate your synthesizing muscle. Yes, women have testosterone, too, (it is the primary hormone responsible for our sex-drive, by the way) but women have less of it.

To answer the question how much carbohydrate to eat, it depends. For example, if you are very active during the day, you do an hour of vigorous weight-lifting every day, and you weigh 150 pounds, you would need approximately 2000-2500 calories from normal activity, plus 400 calories from weight-lifting, for a total of 2400-2900 calories. We already calculated that a 150 pound body builder should eat 82-102 grams of protein per day. Protein and carbohydrate each have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram. Here’s the math using our macronutrient guidelines and calculated requirements:

4 calories x 100 grams protein = 400 calories per day from protein

(400/2400 = approximately 15% calories per day from protein)

4 calories x approximately 400 grams carbohydrate = 65% calories per day from carbohydrate

9 calories x approximately 50 grams fat = 20% calories from fat

There are many websites that will help you calculate your basal metabolic (BMR) and actual metabolic rates, including:,, and the aforementioned The most precise way to determine your BMR is indirect calorimetry, which uses expired air when you are fasted to determine your actual BMR. Most people do not have access to this tool, and using tables that list calories expended per time doing activity are perfectly adequate.

Body builders (and most Americans) dream of the magic food or supplement that will provide perfect results. But, just like your mother used to say, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The main attribute of a protein supplement, if you do not want to simply get your protein from real food, is that it contain the 8 essential amino acids. Claims that medium chain or branch-chain amino acids are more "bio-available" than other forms of protein are unfounded. If you enjoy the convenience and lack of math required by using a protein supplement, and you do not mind the expense, protein supplements are an easy way to ensure you are getting the right amount. However, use caution regarding the other ingredients in the protein supplement. Some supplements have been found to contain banned substances in competition, or simply ingredients you do not want to be ingesting. A reputable health food store can steer you in the correct direction ( and traderjoes,com, among others).

In terms of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), you should check with your primary care physician, using your blood counts, but simply following the USRDA’s for your age and your sex is a good rule of thumb. You do not need mega-doses of anything for bodybuilding. In fact, mega-doses of some micronutrients might upset your stomach, which could hinder a workout on any given day.

The rest of the nutritional guidelines from the USDA food pyramid apply to bodybuilders, too. The current recommendation for servings of fruits and vegetables is 9 a day. The best sources of carbohydrate are complex, whole grains. Lean meats, fish, and beans lead the preference for sources of protein. Lastly, polyunsaturated fats, such as those contained in olive oil, avocado, and nuts, to name a few, with a minimal amount of saturated fats, are recommended sources.

Some experimentation early in the season (or in your career as a bodybuilder) in terms of what and how much to eat will provide valuable, individualized information. Near competitions, many body builders eat very few carbohydrates, fats, or salt, in order to optimize their appearances. These practices, while common, are not founded in scientific research. Additionally, you should always check with your primary care physician before beginning an exercise program.

Written in response to a solicitation for bodybuilding supplements. There are not any supplements required for body building.

Friday, September 24, 2010

wasting time

Didn't cause it, can't change it, cant cure it. Had a busy week. Draw to pursue frivolity this morning rather than finishing tasks. C'est d'accord. Looking forward to some NCAA football tomorrow. One more week of teaching at UT. It's been real! My 150+ kid class was super talky yesterday, both participating in class discussion and talking while I was talking. What the heck. I've never been to a college class where the teacher had to tell the class more than once to stop talking. Annoying. They are young and still loyal to the family body politic, for the most part.

win me, two!

Blue Fall
Blue Fall by meredithlouise

win me!

Just Dance
Just Dance by meredithlouise

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not much

I don't like fox, foxnews, or now, foxsports. Couldn't watch the game, yesterday. Fell asleep while listening on the radio. Texas won. I have a star Longhorn in one of my classes....

Don't have much to say, just had a little time before the J and have currently caught up on most of my school preps. Watched some of the Buena Vista Social Club movie yesterday. We've been talking in classes about the relationship between wealth and health in US, and I think it's a different story in Cuba. No one has any money, and there is federally funded healthcare. The Cuban musicians who played on the grammy-winning album were between 60-90 years old, life-long cigars smokers, and smiling from ear to ear every time they were caught on camera. It seems the deadly combination for folks is to be poor and move to the US. Although, of course, the universal healthcare is probably the common denominator of health every where else in the world. Newly immigrated folks fare better on health than average Americans for their first 5 years here. After that, they quickly surpass "average" Americans on chronic diseases. It seems, until we do get universal healthcare here, that the only hope is to teach mind/body stress management techniques. And Martin Seligman's learned optimism skills.

Speaking of poor, I decided to stop taking dance classes and lessons until further notice. I am sad about it, but think it's the right thing to do. Have been trying to get in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week since I got my 1-hour glucose tolerance test results back. Although, gestational diabetes does not have the behavioral causes that type II diabetes does. In fact, I have none of the risk factors. However, it is a hormonal response to pregnancy hormones and sometimes insulin production cannot keep up with the glucose needed to grow the fetus. They did take my blood 10 minutes early, but I don't think the full hour would have gotten me under the limit. I have to go for the 3 hour test on Friday. A drag. I hope I can sleep between draws. 3 hours is a long time to waste. I've been totally out of reading mode, lately.

Hank is starting to get used to the ECP. It's been 2 weeks. Brad has been taking him in the mornings. He cries on the way to school, but apparently cries not at all or much less after Brad passes him off. It is challenging. I don't want him to think we are discounting his feelings. I do want him to be able to be comforted by others or by himself, but I don't know if this is the right time to do it. I suppose if he cried during the day or long after Brad left, there would be more reason to be concerned. And I guess 2 year-olds don't know how to stuff their feelings. I've been trying not to think about it and trust he is in the care of loving adults and gaining valuable life skills. When I pick him up he looks content or involved in come activity. That seems like a good sign. He loves making challah on Thursdays, and they have been making it with chocolate chips! That's a pretty sure way to earn his approval. My dad used to say about me, I would eat sawdust, if it had enough salt and grease on it. I disagree, but I do think Hank would eat anything so long as the main ingredient were chocolate chips. Brad, too, for that matter.

Did you know Ramadan just ended?
Eid-Al-Fitr (End of Ramadan): September 10, 2010

And the first of the High Holy Days in Judaism just ended. Happy 5571!

I like tradition and ritual. I don't like seemingly antiquated or random "rules." I don't like paying lip-service to something I don't endorse. I don't think there is a religion that already suits me. The Episcopal church comes close, but it comes closer in the way it is practiced than the way it is written. E.g. The Nicene Creed (Did you know that is 1700 years old)? I don't believe Jesus is the only son of God. I don't believe there is only one Apostolic church. I know nothing about Muhammed and can't say he isn't God's son. Or the Divinity of Mary, Mother Theresa, or plenty of anonymous folks who regularly engage in Divine acts.
I also don't think God cares anymore if we mix up the plates for meat and dairy, but it was a good idea to keep them separate before the industrial revolution and pasteurization. I think tradition can adapt. Can't it? It seems humans of all ages are comforted by sameness and ritual day after changing day. Like Groundhog Day. Like watching the same episode of Caillou over and over and OVER. : )
I like going to church for the organ music, a few of the convocations, a few of the prayers, and sometimes the reminders the sermon provides. I don't like reciting things I don't think are true - I don't want to be inauthentic AND I don't want to feel a part from.
I don't think there is a church with big enough arms AND high enough ritual for me. One of my favorite things about Judaism is that so much ritual is in the home. I want to engage in that. I guess the thing is to begin today.
I have been able to maintain a Groundhog Day attitude regarding Brad and our differences. I guess it's only one difference, and it is a difference of opinion about what something should look like. We have been at an impasse regarding this issue in particular, which he worries about more than I will, basically, from I do. I feel able to enjoy his company despite not enjoying his attitude or behavior regarding the issue. It seems he cannot quite let go of what he thinks about me long enough to enjoy me for very long. I feel peaceful that I am doing my best, and that is all I can do. I know he is doing his best, too. Even though, I suppose we each have different opinions about what's the others' best should look like. That is a divider.
I think quitting dancing was my way of stepping across the line towards him. I don't need a standing ovation, but I would like some acknowledgment of my grief. Choices the other one makes are personal and not really the others' business. I also think what I think and how I feel are not up for debate. I sometimes feel invaded that he has telepathically interpreted my thought processes and decided they are incorrect. Thought processes are none of the others' business. Whatever mental and/or spiritual path I take to I get to where I am is legal. When the family is affected by the actions of a member, of course, the line is very blurry. And, I suppose my perceptions must be cloudy because I mostly hang around people above my SES, which makes me feel frugal in comparison. I don't get my hair done, makeup, facials, massage, mani-pedis, go out to eat, buy clothes (very often, and I never pay retail!), have the latest electronic gadget, have cable tv, go to expensive activities by myself or with HH. I am pretty sure other women do some or all of these things because I either hear about them and see they have been done. I suppose just because I do not do the "norm," whatever that is, does not mean the norm is "correct," or the way I should do it. And, I guess I need to recommit myself to the Your Money or Your Life techniques. I think I got rid of a lot of stuff I didn't need after reading that book for the second time. Maybe I can get to a deeper level this time. It is the new year, after all. 5571!
OK, don't panic. Today is a day we must carry the message. Man, double a would be my perfect church if we had a couple of organ hymns during the meeting...But, I suppose that would scare the shit out of newcomers. haha

Trust God, Clean House, Help Others.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Been nesting and reading 700 page books

Just been busy with HH and cleaning and cleaning out the house. I am determined to get rid of these fungus gnats that seem to have no origin. Been scanning in more old stuff, backing it up on google docs, facebook, and flickr. Finished reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy and just watched the Swedish movie. Enjoyed learning a little bit about Swedish culture. They eat lots of sandwiches, drink lots of coffee, and are the opposite of puritanical.

Been looking for a job with no luck. Edited some papers via, but the end of the semester has brought an end to those jobs. Did get hired by Western International University and will be teaching an online class similar to the one I taught this spring. I am looking forward to that. I'll be wearing a Madonna mic and headset, and I will probably buy a webcam, but it's not required. I think they are cheap. BH was supposed to start school this fall, but is not going to. No comment.

HH is starting school at the J-ECP this fall. Theoretically, he can go 8:30-2:30 5 days a week. I wanted him in the MWF program, but it was full. I imagine we will be starting with a much abbreviated schedule. He does like school, though. Maybe he will get into it quicker than I think. Spring will be great for us because the new baby and I will be able to rest while he is at school. I want to be able to have enough energy to interact with HH (and baby, and BH) whenever they desire.

Nana got HH a few awesome toys and furniture at IKEA the other day. I had never thought much about looking there, but I did get him a dolphin there when he was an infant. I want to get a new highchair for baby, there, too. BH laughed I wanted to get HH an abacus. Kids having been learning to count for 2000 years with those things. Plus they have colored beads....

Not dancing much. Once a week with DID, and trying to practice at home by myself. He has been super nice and patient with me. I hope to learn all the routines for C&W comps in time to be able to perform them with him in about oh, a year or so. My SI joint is driving me crazy, however. 22 weeks as of yesterday!

Think that's about it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

not letting oxytocin make the decisions

Entertaining ideas about dog adoption, again. Samoyeds! What snapped me out of it was Brad describing a sweet, 16 year-old boy he saw on the news who wanted to be adopted. We should adopt him. The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange has LOTS of sweet looking kids ages 9-17! Of course, I realize the description is not going to say "this kid is a real pain in the neck," or have an unflattering photo of the kid shooting the bird or something, but what made me realize it was not reasonable to make this change at this time, because there were few I did not want to adopt. I don't really want a teenage girl, and I don't want a kid with severe physical disabilities.
So, we'll wait until this infant enters the world before considering bringing home one who is almost out of the nest. Texas actually pays for college for these kids. Pretty cool thing Texas does considering how many uncool things we do (TYC, for one, small example). But, I do want to remember the ideals of our family: community service, spiritual development, and proliferation of the species. #1&3 encompass kid adoption. #2, dog adoption.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Oxytocin and the adrenal cortex

I was thinking I could stay in Austin while BH and HH went to MI for a few days. I am PG, I don't like the beach, they can have dad/son time, blah blah. I thought about how much I could work and get done around the house. Rest. Clean. Get organized. Um, no. I can't be away from HH for more than a few hours. BH, well, darling, it's half your DNA. Not quite the same draw, but I am clingier than usual to BH, too. It will be expensive if we all go, and therefore may not be in the cards, but if they go, I go!

Recent reading list completions:
Other Voices, Other Rooms I didn't care for it, but am glad I read something by Capote. I couldn't handle taking on his Pulitzer Prize winner.
The Old Man and the Sea The most uplifting tragedy I have ever encountered. I always knew I loved Hemingway.
The Road Jesus Christ another very sad story. I thought it would make a pretty good movie. Apparently, it already has been made into a movie....
The Girl Who Played with Fire I'm about 300 pages into which I don't even think is halfway. It's a little tedious because I feel like nothing has happened, but I guess like Capote his descriptions are rich.

Remember Me 4/5 stars from me. RPattz is an excellent actor. The story was compelling, and the movie was well-made.
Intermission Sucky British indie comedy with some heavy hitters.
Cinderella Man Medium. Like Crowe. Don't like Zellweiger. Like the happy ending of the traditional American movie.

Sick munchkin awakes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Letter from Texas Summer Gymnastics Camp

I posted this on fb, but had to share it, again. Been on my mind after taking HH to gymnastics 2x this week. This was a letter I wrote my parents from Texas Summer Gymnastics Camp in Kerrville, TX when I was about 8 or 9. I remember liking the camp. My 2nd overnight camp. Better than church camp. Foam pits and balance beams in the middle of the woods and being starving between lunch and dinner and getting to buy a candy bar. What a luxurious treat. I also remember shocking myself plugging in a fan after getting out of the shower. Here's what I wrote my parents.

Dilemma of Bilbliophile

I got an Austin Public Library card yesterday. Feeling pretty proud of myself, I went through my Amazon wishlist, and deleted books one by one while adding them to my APL list. Unfortunately, APL does not keep your list, it just makes it for you once, to print or email. I was able to back out of the browser to print and email it. 21 pages. Not going to abandon Amazon, after all. There were several "more scholarly" books APL didn't have, and my revised, bookless wish list looked like one of a 10 year-old Asian girl, a 13 year-old white girl, and a 40 year-old Latino. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those, but my fiction wishlist just sort of mushed everything into looking like that of a somewhat sane person.

I've been a little disappointed in a few of the "classics" I started reading and didn't finish - Lady Chatterly's Lover for one. I realize it's the historical context that is the importance to note, but it was so SLOW and so unscandalous, I was too bored to get a little past halfway when she hooks up with her woodsman lover. Number 2, The French Lieutenant's Woman. I usually like the whole secret, repressed like of far-off love, (typical of English films) but again, not scandalous enough for me, and too slow. Oh, Tiger Woods, and Elliot Spitzer, your debauchery has ruined me for enjoying lesser debaucheries. I was thinking about Tiger Woods when speculative news of his 2nd lovechild surfaced. Those poor, adultery-committing men leave evidence in every tryst. If a woman is unfaithful, she is in control of the offspring, or lack thereof. I guess John Edwards' gal either made a mistake or a very calculated decision. I'm not going to throw any stones, just thinking about the rights of women in most parts of the world, American women have more freedom in every area of their lives.

For the record, I 100% approve of President Obama's performance in office. He is doing the best he can, and I appreciate how he talks with us like we are adults. I wish he hadn't said, "make no mistake," the other night, though. Sounded too W.

Watched the first 2 episodes of Band of Brothers. While I appreciate the subject matter and the producers' objective of accuracy, I found the dialogue and human interactions too contrite and irritating. Especially David Schwimmer. I realize his character was supposed to be annoying, but it was too annoying to enjoy. Not going to watch any more of the series.

HH is back in gymnastics and loving it. There is one rowdy boy in his class, and the rest are girls. He is a cautious dare-devil. I see a lot of me in his behavior. If there's a herd of kids around something, he goes where no one is. Before he really lets loose on something, he observes. Still not crazy about the bouncy jumper. But once he gets going on something, that wide-mouthed grin. Wow. It's non-sexually orgasmic to see.

Oh, yeah, the dilemma. To buy paperbacks and eat the cost ($1-$5) or buy hard backs and sell them back at a small loss (from Costco or Amazon to Amazon), or keep either because they are so good, or use this cumbersome, transient APL list, which requires leaving the house 2x for 1 book. Doesn't seem as easy a decision as I initially thought. Right now I am selling off Twilight stars' magazines - Bazaar with KS and RP - $10! People with the same cover stars- $5! Also just got $5 for a 1994 Clyde Drexler, Portland Trailblazers magnet card. That was totally worth keeping for 16 years. : / Speaking of Portland, congratulations to my longtime, good friend Dawn on her recent nuptials!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't worry, I'm just pregnant

Sorry for neglecting you, world. I have been pregnant and tired. I am still pregnant (15.5 weeks, but am feeling a little peppier). No drama to report or process. No longer friends with the friend who received much press. Finished teaching my UT class, and it was awesome. I hope I can do it again, sometime. I just applied to teach online courses from Western International University. I will find out in 2 weeks if my online powerpoint presentation with Madonna microphone narration was acceptable. Been dancing, but not nearly as much. BH is working like crazy, of course, and between that and being tired, I haven't been going to group classes. Back with DID as my regular teacher. I think we have reached an understanding, and I have reached a level of comfortability with my body, moving my body, and someone else touching my body while dancing. The C&W dances come easiest to me. I think because they require relative rigidity without demanding ballroom posture. I still love the Latin stuff, though. DID showed me a shine the other day we are going to add to and work on. I can work on it at home because I finally got a mirror in the exercise room. It's 3 door mirrors glued together and hung on the wall. $18 total cost. I kept looking and looking, Craigslist, 2nd hand shops, Target, Hobby Lobby. Mirrors are expensive! Who knew. Thrift stores don't accept wall mirrors because of the high probability for breakage. Craigslist has wall mirrors, but the ones I found were always in Lakeway or Kyle or Cedar Park, and now this Austinite does not like to go anywhere that's more than about 15 minutes away. Most things are about 10 minutes away.
Well, I seem to have a lot to tell you, after all. Here are some books I have recently (past few months) read and movies I have recently seen.

The Kite Runner and 1000 Splendid Suns - VERY sad. People had been telling me these were "good," but failed to mention they are extremely heart-breaking. DO NOT want to see the movie!

War by Sebastian Junger. Really liked it. Heard him on NPR. Missed him at Book People. Gets into the drive for returning to combat - all about meaning and brotherly love.
Midnight Sun first 12 chapters. I found a bit torrent download so I could print the thing out. I don't know why Stephanie Meyers wanted us to have to read it on the computer. I have not commercially reproduced my copy. 2 pages per 8.5x11 page on the back of paper that was already printed on. Not too many dead trees.

Just started Other Voice, Other Rooms. Wanted something good, but not too dark. Want to read as many of the Pulitzer Prize winners as possible. I can't remember if he won for that one, might have been for In Cold Blood, but I can't handle hearing about any more cold blood for a while. Next The Old Man and the Sea.

Freaks and Geeks Season 1. Painful like Dazed and Confused. James Franco's character is so irritating, it's hard to enjoy his hotness. Lots of future ER actors
James Dean made for TNT movie with James Franco as Dean. Good. Stuff I didn't know about Dean.
The Hurt Locker. Good, but I am glad I read War, first. Adrenaline, yes, but these characters feel little of the love, it seems. Impressive that it was directed by a woman, and that Ralph Fiennes was the only star in the movie. The main character who is black looks like a black Tim Hodgkinson, FYI.
Osama Couldn't get through the whole thing. It was SOOOOOOO dark. Laos, subtitled in Arabic, and I don't actually get to "watch" many movies.
Brothers Netflix recommended it to me, which is unusual because I told Netflix I liked Brokeback Mountain, and all I get recommended to me are gay male movies. I didn't like Brokeback Mountain BECAUSE it was about gay men, although I do like gay men, catagorically, as a whole, I liked the movie because it was an excellent film. FYI, Netflix. Anyway, this sleeper was pretty good. And happy ending. Fairly happy for an Afghanistan War movie.
10 Things I Hate About You. I don't know why I thought this would be watchable. Beyond Bad. Sorry, Heath Ledger, RIP.
The Machinist. Yes, C Bale was GOOD in it, but the movie was just painful and boring.
Strictly Ballroom. Cute, mostly because it's Australian. The eccentricities of the ballroom world x 10.
Cumbia Callera. I loved this movie. Spanish language, but it's practically a silent film. Filmed in Monterrey, Mex. Just a quirky, very low budget movie about a young woman living in poverty who finds amusement with 2 completely different men. Callera means quiet, FYI. Cumbia is a dance.

Sooner than later.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wow dream

Dreamed Brad and I bought a house that had a zoo. We found out one of the male, carnivorous cats had eaten the husband who used to live in the house. They let all the animals out regularly to roam the property. We were very appalled by the practice and couldn't believe they hadn't euthanized the tiger. We decided we would keep all the animals locked in their very comfortable and large enclosure, from now on. Then maybe we would be able to keep the tiger, but maybe not. There were a lot of empty salt water habitats. We also went to the family's other residence and it had lots of moldy, supposedly green appliances and a gym that was partly underwater. There was a weird tight rope thing that would drop you if didn't make it across.

PS I don't think I even ever reveal half of my inner most thoughts and feelings to you, world. There is much left unsaid. That's in a different book or not at all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another one?

When the wolf knocks on the door the first time, the piggies have to run or get eaten. The third time the wolf knocks on the door, don't give him a key or even a copy of the key, protect the piggies, then get everybody out of there!

If everyone acted exactly the way I wanted them to, all the time, why would I ever seek God? Their "misbhavior" drives me out of the way so God can do God's job.

Because humans are imperfect, their blessings are imperfect. The blessings they bring may come in the form of pain and suffering.

Opinions are like fingernails: everyone has them. Sometimes they look beautiful, and sometimes we need a manicure.

In case you missed this one below: Dear Blessings, it is unnecessary for you to come dressed in a disguise. In fact, your disguise is annyoing. Next time, just come dressed as you are, a Blessing!

My new favorite song: Caroline by Brandi Carlisle. I love her voice, the melody, and the piano. And the arrangement. It's super catchy - warning.

OK, read then sleep then Lindy!!!

Heysoos Kreesto

I can't believe I am still awake. TOO MUCH CAFFEINE. I am tired but not sleepy. Finished editing 2 papers for my Ugandan friend. I haven't danced, yet. Showered. Playing my guitar. Wrote on my notecards.
Here's my new blog idea. 365 days of hysterical thinking, grief, and joy.

Feeling your feelings and wallowing in self pity are 2 different things. They might look the same in a cross-sectional study, but they do not perform the same in a longitudinal study.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I made it!

I left Austin around 3:30 and arrived in my room around 8:00 pm. May I remind you I am highly educated and sometimes pretty smart. The google map was lame, and I was lost in the most armpitty and seediest parts of Houston for about 1.5 hrs. I didn't start getting very fatigued until the end, however. Got to talk with my old sponsor on the phone. I updated my facebook status WAY too many times. I read a few of the affirmation/meditation cards I made last night. They are funny. I like them.
Sponsor made me feel SOOO apart of. I am not alone. Dopamine withdrawal! Get it from somewhere more adaptive. Yes, and it doesn't have to all make sense. Friend or me.
I really don't feel like doing anything right now, but there is a dance tonight, of course. I will have to leave my room at some point. : ) I REALLY like staying in hotel rooms.
PS I welcome all comments long or short.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Recently received email

I get an email from this LifeCoaches thing - Bob Tschannen-Moran is a life coach. I thought it was particularly apropos this week. I am not angry, but I'm having a hard time with sadness and missing my friend. I know it's irrelevant, but I also think I am "right."
Here's what this guy said about forgiveness and fairness:

"Fairness. We know it's important because it's so primordial. "No fair!" is one of the earliest expressions of outrage mustered by young children, typically by the age of seven. In contrast to children between the ages of three and four, who are universally selfish, by the time children are seven or eight, they have developed a strong sense of equity. "One for me and none for you" just doesn't cut it any longer. Instead, they are keenly aware of whether or not they and their siblings, playmates, or classmates are being treated fairly.

When unfairness enters the picture, it's easy for children and adults alike to get very upset. Indeed, in its most extreme sense, perceived unfairness is the stuff that makes for wars. The whole notion of a "just war" is that it rights a wrong and follows certain rules of engagement (such as minimizing civilian causalities, which are perceived as being unfair compared to the treatment of enemy combatants).

In everyday interactions, a sense of unfairness can lead to grudges and general unhappiness. Some grudges are the stuff of legends: the house of Montague and Capulet (in Romeo and Juliet), the Jets and the Sharks (in West Side Story), and the Hatfields and McCoys (two feuding families in the West Virginia-Kentucky backcountry). Most grudges are privately held affairs, nurtured by gossip and enemy images. The longer and harder we hold on to them, the more miserable we become.

Perhaps that's why, when I searched on my Kindle for the word "forgiveness," it popped up most often in the books having to do with positive psychology and mindfulness. There is a connection between forgiveness and happiness. Listen to what two of the books had to say:

Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness:

"What does forgiveness mean, and is it worthwhile to learn and practice it? Forgiveness may be the one factor that can disrupt the cycle of avoidance and vengeances in which we often find ourselves. Advocated by many, if not most, of the world's religions, forgiveness involves suppressing or mitigating one's motivations for avoidance and revenge (which often bring with them accompanying emotions of anger, disappointment, and hostility, and, ideally, replacing them with more positive or benevolent attitudes, feelings, and behaviors."

"Forgiveness is not reconciliation, pardoning, condoning, excusing, or denying the harm done. And the expression, "forgive and forget" is a misnomer since true forgiveness involves contemplating the injury at some length. How, then, do you know if you've forgiven someone? It's when you have experienced a shift in your thinking, such that your desire to harm that person has decreased and your desire to do him or her good (or to benefit your relationship) has increased."

"Forgiving is something that you do for yourself and not for the person who has wronged you. Clinging to bitterness or hate harms you more than the object of your hatred. (Buddha said, 'Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.') Empirical research confirms this insight. Forgiving people are less likely to be hateful, depressed, hostile, anxious, angry, and neurotic. They are more likely to be happier, healthier, more agreeable, and more serene."

"Of all the happiness-promoting strategies described in this book, I believe that forgiveness is one of the most challenging to carry out. But, as is said, 'no pain, no gain.' What you reap may be enormous. If forgiveness fits your personality, goals, or needs, then the following techniques can be helpful. Appreciate being forgiven. Imagine forgiveness. Write a letter of forgiveness (don't send it, just write it). Practice empathy. Consider charitable attributions. Ruminate less. Make contact (send the letter, if it feels appropriate and healthy). Remind yourself of the importance of forgiveness."

Jack Kornfield in The Wise Heart:

"In Buddhist communities, there is a ritual of forgiveness where the abbot and elders regularly bow to the community and ask forgiveness for any errors they have made in their teaching and leadership. Every year at the end of our two-month retreat we do this. We invite our students' written suggestions and feedback. Then we move off our cushions and chairs and sit on the bare floor facing all the retreatants. We bow to them and their sincere practice. And then we ask their forgiveness for any way we may have harmed or misguided them. We tell them we did the best we could. Usually a lot of tears fall before the end of this ceremony."

"Forgiveness is both necessary and possible. It is never too late to find forgiveness and start again."

"Like the practice of compassion, forgiveness does not ignore the truth of our suffering. Forgiveness is not weak. It demands courage and integrity. Yet only forgiveness and love can bring about the peace we long for. As the Indian sage Meher Baba explains, 'True love is not for the fainthearted.'"

"We have all betrayed and hurt others, just as we have knowingly and unknowingly been harmed by them. It is inevitable in this human realm. Sometimes our betrayals are small, sometimes terrible. Extending and receiving forgiveness are essential to free us from our part. To forgive does not mean we condone the misdeeds of another. We can dedicate ourselves to making sure they never happen again. But without forgiveness the world can never be released from the sorrows of the past. Someone once quipped, 'Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. Forgiveness is a way to move on."

"In Buddhist psychology, forgiveness is not presented as a moral commandment -- 'Thou shalt forgive.' It is understood as a way to end suffering, to bring dignity and harmony to our life. Forgiveness is fundamentally for our sake, for our own mental health. It is a way to let go of the pain we carry. This is illustrated by the story of two former prisoners of war who meet after many years. When the first one asks, 'Have you forgiven your captors yet?' the second man answers, 'No, never.' 'Well, then,' the first many replies, 'they still have you in prison.'"

"For most people, the work of forgiveness is a process. Practicing forgiveness, we may go through stages of grief, rage, sorrow, hurt, and confusion. As we let ourselves feel the pain we still hold, forgiveness comes as a relief, a release for our heart in the end. Forgiveness acknowledges that no matter how much we may have suffered, we will not put another human being out of our heart."

In those sets of Ten New Commandments that we talked about at the start of this series, the connection between fairness and forgiveness is clearly described in one: "Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted." That, of course, makes forgiveness relatively easy. When wrongdoing is not admitted or regretted, forgiveness gets harder. Much harder. But that's especially when forgiveness offers us freedom and a positive way forward.

My hope is that we will find room in our hearts both for equity and for empathy. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, leads to a sightless and toothless world. Yet forgiveness without justice leads to its own form of abuse and disfiguration. We need them both to make life work."

Just keep on praying. I know it will get better.

Monday, March 08, 2010

looking back

November 2009

I told myself something I had forgotten. It was hilariously said, also. I also forgot this one, "if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten." I had forgotten how similar the last conflict with friend was to this one. Almost identical in craziness. I can honestly say I have never had such a dramatic conflict as these 2. Even when I was drinking, and I threw a glass at Bryan Bowden, I felt saner about it than I do this. That relationship made more sense than this one does, and we were both drinking drunks. Plus, I am friendly with Bryan, now. haha. I need to stay away from judging the friend, but I also need to protect Mere. There is no need to subject oneself to verbal abuse. And it is not being of service to stick around and take it.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

What a long, strange week it's been.

Today has been one of the best days of the decade. So bizzzzarrreee because Monday was surely one of the worst. Universe, I am not blaming you or giving you all the credit, but I'll just say thank you to whomever worked on this Day. I know it's not reasonable, but when BH is irritated with me, I just cannot get to full joy. When he is happy with me, I get 100% full joy. We worked the first exercise in Getting the Love You Want, a book I have owned for probably 12 or 13 years. But, not JUST that. So sweet and present, and such a blessing to me.

I am missing my friend, and have forgotten the tears of yesterday, literally. Funny how I do tend to hold grudges, but also am very capable of euphoric recall. I do believe the Universe took pity on me and did something to get me through the pain with BH and friend. Intense pain, abated and caused by (or at least I attributed it to) each one, at different times, and now just a dull ache from friend. Last night, friend said I was abusing spiritual principles. I do not know to what friend referred. I feel innocent of any charges, but wonder what appears inauthentic. I don't think in my life I have been called as many names. Very strange sensation. One stuck, because I eventually recognized where I was acting childishly. The other names were water on a duck. Swam on through.

A little hard not to wonder what friend had told others of the story. None of my business!!! Of course, I want to contact friend, but can offer no logical explanation why I should. Friend has been so clear I am unwelcome. I suppose this is another example of my boundary violations. Oddly, I have made GREAT progress on this issue in sobriety. I was so unaware of anything vaguely resembling a boundary. Now, I can sometimes see them, sometimes erect them, myself. And sometimes I even respect them, especially when they have been pointed out.

Got to practice waltz and foxtrot after Lindy team today. Didn't get to dance with my actual partner, really, at all because the first bit of choreo is with a rotated partner. And it was close, but I did not have to rotate to friend. Kind of funny on that one, Universe. One foot to the left, and we would have had to get through that. Friend acted normalish. I sensed I might be on a behavioral trial, just because of all the behavioral trials of others friend has told me about. I tried to stay present and felt successful. So far, routine is fun.

Had dinner with parents and Hank. That was more pleasant than usual. I guess give BH and I some time alone and together, and we can be pretty freaking charming.

soooooooooo much better

Had ANOTHER huge ooooooooooooooo with friend. Friend felt boundaries were violated. I totally didn't get that while it was happening. To me, it felt like I had taped a couple of pebbles to friend, and friend used machine gun to retaliate. To friend, it felt like I was attacking the little kid whose boundaries were violated. Makes sense. Gender differences for sure.
Sooooooooo much less pain. So much more detached. Ahhhhhhh. Relief. Thank you, Universe!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

good gone bad

This has been the shittiest 4 days in a long fucking time. Mother, don't worry, I WILL be ok. I just need to vent. And express how incredulous I am about how shitty it has been. March 1, the first day of my 38th year. Very shitty. March 2. Shitty. March 3. Shitty. Today. Very shitty. And "I wish I were a lesbian and not a hetero." - Loudon Wainwright III. OK, God. Surrender. I surrender. Enough shittiness. I know it is not God doing it to me. It is no one doing it to me. They are just doing it. And the way they are doing it is very shitty. Why is the Y chromosome so toxic? I do not understand. I understand less about it today than I ever have. They have us. Right where they want us. We give them all this ooey gooey love. Boobs. Shaved legs. Good smells. They turn on and off like robots. Mean robots. Cold blooded. Very cold. I've never met a woman as cold as the warmest man I have ever met. They are cold. Tiger-killing machines. Sperm-spreading machines. Would we have boundaries between countries without the Y chromosome? I think not. The earth would be grossly overpopulated with sweetness and breast-feeding and would be way too hot. Global warming caused by the absence of Y chromosomes. Aren't there fish and flowers who reproduce without needing the opposite sex? Come on, ladies. We can do this alone. The traffic would be so awesome. Us letting each other in all the time. Using our turn signals. Asking for directions. We could do each others' nails for free because we would have so much free time not cleaning up after them. The entire world would be enlightened in just a few more years of us running things. We would become one with the Spirit of the Universe. But, let's keep Hank.

PS Hurtful friend has unfacebook friended me. I guess we are not friends, anymore. Yesterday, friends. Today, argument. Unfacebook friended. That is what friend has done with all other emotionally intimate relationships. Friend says I am immature. I hope it is anything that is the opposite of unfucking facebook friending someone after breaking her heart several times over. That is very sad for friend. Must be much more lonely than I can understand. I will pray for friend to find a Different Way. And to save me from being angry and hurt. I have prostrated myself several times over and cannot penetrate the cement ice-wall. I hope friend can let someone in someday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2 things

I was going to sell another Sanrio item on eBay due to the success of the the sale of a plastic notepad holder I have had for 20 years that recently sold very well. I listed the stuffed animal, but it didn't sell, possibly because I forgot to change the category from Little Twin Stars. I don't know who this is. Anyone?

While trying to identify it on the Sanrio website, I started thinking I don't want to sell it. Millions of Japanese females can't be wrong.
I recently learned the term FOB from the urban dictionary. It stands for fresh off the boat and is a slightly derogatory term used by Far-east Asian-Americans to describe those who have recently emigrated. Used in a sentence on UD, "You look so fobby with all that Hello Kitty gear on."

I bring this ease of influence up because in my class on Tuesday, first of all, they talked!, but secondly, they talked about our 1st debate topic, "should drug laws remain restrictive." Five students presented the debate to us last week and did an excellent job. It recently occurred to me (I am slow) that drug laws are meant to protect us from ourselves. If that is the case, why is alcohol legal and marijuana illegal. Overdose from alcohol (death) is not uncommon. Overdose from marijuana is not possible. Yes, the risk of DUI/DWI is theoretically the same, however, marijuana, usually, makes people simply fall asleep, eat, or giggle. I don't think the incidence of DUI of marijuana is anywhere near DUI of alcohol. Of course, marijuana is illegal, so the comparison is not exactly fair. Anyway, we collectively agree that children, tweens, in particular were influenced by tv ads and popular culture images and ideas with which they are bombarded. Having certain drugs remain illicit would be adaptive for them. However, having alcohol and tobacco be licit is definitely maladaptive for them, at least certain ones. I remember being 12, 13 and looking at Cosmopolitan magazine, and thinking this is what adult women are reading, and this is how they act. With no self-respect, of course, tobacco ads were still Virginia Slims and "look how awesome I look smoking," kind of thing. Not that all my friends smoked, but the ones I wanted to be cool and rebellious like, did.
We mentioned "Just Say No," and I argued that one reason it was ineffective was that it addressed a situation that rarely occurs. Kids are not presented with drugs, nor do they need a refusal statement. As I mentioned in class, people who are drug dependent are not going around trying to share their drugs. They are not that magnanimous. If anything, they would say, "keep your grubs off my drugs," or something to that effect.
I was mostly sold on the family systems theory of maladaptive risk-taking, but after class I am convinced that that has to occur within the American culture of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, AND in the person who has the physiological and psychological predispositions to engage in maladaptive risk-taking.
The other point I meant to make here, is that the federal government protects us from ourselves with illicit drugs, but CVD is #1 cause of morality in US, and over half those deaths are from preventable causes like not eating transfat, high fructose corn syrup, like eating 9 servings of fruits and veggies/day, like getting 3-5 hours moderate intensity PA, and not smoking. The federal government does not restrict us or mandate us much in any of the other areas that clearly determine our health. Therefore, it is illogical for us to spend our own tax dollars on something that doesn't harm us as much as other things that do harm us a lot. Know what I mean?
I'm in a hurry this morning.
Have an awesome one!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

excuse me, while I diatribe

Woke up this morning, to my alarm, angry about our healthcare system. People have anger because it motivates change. Sometimes I forget why we have certain negative affectivities. My situation is minute, obviously. Minutia. But, I was dreaming about decorating a bas-relief that illustrated the history of Nelson Mandela just before I woke up.
I have had maxillary sinus pain and a stuffed up ear for over a week. Went to a "new" but older doctor at Dr. Lamy's office last week. He was absolutely the antithesis of healthcare. Just wanted to employ his agenda and listened to nothing I said. Complimented me, hollowly, to pacify me, which was easier than normal to do because I wasn't feeling well. But he didn't listen to anything I had to say. Told me to do all the things I was already doing. I had attributed some tooth weird-feeling I noticed yesterday to not flossing a night or two last week, but no, I think it's referred maxillary sinus pain. Why would it be only on top if it were a flossing issue? What doctors don't get is, we patients have deductive reasoning, too. We have intelligence; we have experience. We have the benefit of experience with our own bodies! Here are the symptoms I have experienced many times. Many, many times. I agreed to do what he said (which was to continue to do what I was already doing, except, I was doing something more effective, additionally) because I was doubting my self and my experience. Not smart. Experience, being in the same place I have been before, in Health, in Spirit, in Life, is worth something. It has value. It doesn't mean one can predict the future, or that one has expertise in an area, but it does mean, I have been here before, and I know what I did that worked to change it! So, now, I have maxillary sinus pain that is in my upper jaw. Way to go, Dr. Harrison.
I had an appointment with my ENT, but he had to cancel and reschedule, and I haven't called back, yet. Yes, I will call this morning.

Meanwhile, I don't know which other quack to call. The problem with good doctors is that they are much harder to get into. My quacks, I can see the same day. If they will listen to me long enough, I can usually tell them what is wrong with me.

I will spare you all my opinions about prescription drugs. Although, I will tell you, I don't like being treated like a drug-addict when I request a drug that requires a prescription and has any efficacy beyond that of an over-the-counter drug. Yes, I am a recovered drug-addict, but in the over 14 years I have been sober, I have had ZERO desire to use a mind-altering chemical for recreation. ZERO. Yes, I have used prescription drugs as they have been prescribed. Some of them are mind-altering. Have I gotten high? No! Far from it. When I had my tonsils out, I was taking a narcotic, hydrocodone, suffering in great pain while taking the maximum dose. Called the doctor, my doctor was not on call, of course, and the on-call doctor would give me nothing else. Same thing with episiotomy. I realize it's all a liability issue for them. I don't have any sympathy for that. I am an individual. I am an individual with whom they have some history. If I wanted a drug to get high, (which I don't, and haven't for a LONG time, by the Grace of God and a Program of Recovery!) I would call a drug dealer. I would not call a doctor! Thank you. You have listened beyond what you should have been subject to. I am pissed and uncomfortable enough to take more action.
Meanwhile, finally had some alone time with BH where we were mostly both well. Despite my stuffiness, I don't feel bad. He is very good at having alone time, although it is often harder to get him to agree to do than it is to get a prescription drug from a doctor! I can enjoy HH's cuteness with 110% adulation when I have had a little break every once in a while.
Unfortunately, there were few leads at dv, though I had clearance to go. Got in a fancy 2-step and WCS, but other than that, it was a lot of basics of every other dance. Sometimes fine, but sometimes boring. At least not condescending. And talked with some follows. I suppose that is good to do from time to time.
Got my test written for my class. I think it is good and fair. I spent quite a bit of time on it. I wonder if all professors think this about their tests and power point presentations. I know Ed loved his .ppts. I am ok with that, except he wrote them in the early 1990's and still used them in the early 2000's.
Done. Done. Done. Life is good. These are luxury complaints and observations. Anger motivates change. It's not bad or wrong. Thank you, Mary S.