Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In 20120328

The 7 Keys to Permanent Weight Control. Information to fight the battle against obesity, by Todd Burstain, MD

Hint, it involves re-balancing levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin.

Waist = 37.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Challenge of Travel

I don't like to travel.  By "travel," I mean "fly in an airplane and stay in a hotel for at least one night."

One issue is the idea of planning the trip.  Remember that my wife is a medical enigma that would confound even Gregory House.  So the idea of purchasing plane tickets and making hotel reservations for a set of dates during which I have no idea whether my wife will be stricken by any number of bizarre symptoms...  Sorry, I lost my train of thought.  But the idea is ludicrous.

Even traveling alone or with relatively normal people bothers me.  The main issue for me is diet.  I need to eat fresh, high-quality, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, minimally-processed food in order to pass myself off as a normal-functioning human.  This is something that airport food and hotel fare isn't well-known for.

When I went to Maryland for two days in January, I did fine with the free hotel breakfast on day one.  Yes, most of the offerings were bread-related -- cereal, bagel, oatmeal, pancakes, etc -- and I passed those by.  But I did find mini-omelets, sausage links and fruit.  So I took two of the omelets (which each had a mere teaspoon of chopped green peppers) several sausages, and a banana.  Yes, sausage meat is processed, but I did okay with it.  But on day two, the only thing I could eat was the bacon, and that more resembled wrinkled pink plastic than meat.  So I ate that and then went to the deli next door to buy an omelet loaded with vegetables.  Now that I think of that hotel stay, I never did get asked to complete a survey -- I was looking forward to lambasting them on their understanding of nutrition.

One other minor issue is that I seem to do things backwards in the morning.  When I get up in the morning, I like to eat first (after feeding the cats and dogs, getting my daughter off to school, fetching the newspaper, scooping the litterboxes, taking the dog out for a brief walk and making my lunch).  Then I brush my teeth, shower and get dressed.  Of course, when I'm away from home, all that parenthetical stuff goes away.  But the reason I eat first is that "first" is the logical place for eating to be.  After all, you don't eat after brushing your teeth.  You eat before you brush your teeth.  And you don't shower and get dressed before eating because if you spill something on yourself while eating, or work up a sweat while preparing breakfast,1 you'll just have to change your clothes and maybe shower again.  My preference is to prepare and eat my breakfast while wearing the previous day's clothes, and then shower and put on fresh clothes right before leaving for work.2

But when I travel, I find that food choices are extremely limited before 7am.  So if I need to show up someplace at 8am, I'd have to eat, brush my teeth, shower, get dressed and commute all in an hour's time.  Or I have to do things backwards: brush my teeth, shower, get dressed, eat, and lastly commute, even if it means I have to go out with bacon breath and a display of coffee dribble on my shirt.

I wonder, am I the only one who has these issues?

1 It's easy to work up a sweat just by preparing breakfast in the summer, especially on a humid day if you don't have air conditioning.  And if the preparation doesn't make you sweat, the hot tea or hot coffee surely will.

2 I discretely chose not to discuss how bodily functions contribute to this issue.  I prefer to shower after using the toilet, and I usually need to use the toilet only after eating breakfast.  And sometimes I have sneezing or coughing episodes due to excess mucus in my upper respiratory system.  My preference for expelling mucus is to shower after having a nice hot breakfast and some tea.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20120321

Tuesday is Chinese food night at our house. But I didn't order Chinese food for myself last night. We had some baked chicken breast left over, so I decided to have that instead. The issue I have with Chinese food is that it can taste so good that I'll eat too much of it. And this makes me tired, so I seek out crunchy or sweet snacks to perk myself back up. I'll do this even (or especially) when I feel totally stuffed.

I think Chinese food is a far better fast food option than burgers and fries. But it's not perfect. Even if you avoid the "crispy" dishes (General Tsao's chicken, for example, is breaded before it's fried) you'll still ingest the wheat and/or corn starch that's used to thicken the sauce. Wheat can be found in soy sauce, too.

If I'm desperate to stick to my gluten-free diet, I'll order the steamed chicken and broccoli. But the restaurant we order from gives us a free order of Crab Rangoon, which is like a small turnover. I hate to throw out food, so I usually succumb to this temptation. I'm sure the dog would eat it on my behalf, but he shouldn't be having that stuff, either!

Now for something completely different.... My wife complained last night that she weighed herself on Monday and was 13 pounds lighter than usual. Then she weighed herself again yesterday (one day later) and got the normal reading. I can get two back-to-back readings that are off by two pounds or so, depending on how hydrated I am and how much sleep I got preceding each measurement. And if the scale isn't quite level for one reading, it can report a different result. But 13 pounds is quite a lot!

Waist = 37.25"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Dream: Arriving at Work During Fire

I've just arrived at work with a co-worker and WN, the sales guy, who is visiting with a customer.  Rather than have WN go through the trouble of getting buzzed in, I offer to unlock the door for him with my badge.  However, I see that the door is already unlocked and slightly ajar.

I think how strange this is and wonder if there is a fire alarm.  I go inside and hear the alarm.  Sure enough a female fire rescue person shows up at the door.  Instead of turning around and leaving, I decide to enter further.  We usually have false alarms, so I figure it's safe to ignore it.

I'm walking around looking for any evidence of fire.  The surroundings resemble the concourse of an indoor mall.  I notice some commotion a few stores up ahead on the right.  A fire rescue person with an ax is smashing the window of a travel agency, and there is indeed smoke coming out from the store.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Parenting Leads to Good Driving

In my previous post on Road Rage, I described how the thought of my own daughter driving (or one of her friends) made it less likely I'd be reacting to other drivers' annoyances.

The thought of my own daughter driving leads me to another form of behavior modification.  I now feel the need to set a good example.  I'm less likely to coast through stop signs, run red lights or grossly exceed the speed limit lately.  And that's not even when she's in the car, peering at the speedometer.  This good driving malaise sets in whenever I see a car marked "Student Driver," or a young driver, or even a driver that makes an actual full stop at a stop sign (a rare occurrence in Connecticut).

I wonder if my auto insurance company considers this?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In 20120315

I have a coworker who likes to walk at lunchtime, so lately we've been walking together. Unfortunately he doesn't walk briskly enough for me. On the plus side, I have someone to talk to (beside myself), so the walk is a lot less boring.

Waist = 37.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Road Rage Innoculator

Those of us who drive have encountered drivers who cut us off, drive slower than we'd like, drive faster than we'd like, follow behind us too closely, and (generally-speaking) annoy us.

It's tempting to honk, shout and make hand gestures at them.

But many years ago, it occurred to me that I don't know who that person is whom I'm gesturing at.  What if it's a friend of mine, or my Mother-in-Law, or the Pastor at our church?

Then I expanded that list to include elderly folks and those who are disabled or are on pain medication.  How can you rant at someone whom you feel sorry for?  Besides, would you really want someone who's taking an opioid to be going as fast as the rest of us?

This morning I realized I'm allowing for another class of drivers -- teenagers.  This comes from being the parent of a teenager.  That annoying driver could (one day) be my own daughter or one of her friends.  Would you give the finger to your own daughter?

Then the epiphany landed on me.  Everyone is someone's daughter (or son).  I should rant at no one.

So that leaves me with only one outlet -- traffic lights.  Yes, when the light turns red right in front of me, and I'm alone in the car, I give it the Finger below the dashboard, where only I know about it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dream: Yellow Butterflies Emerging from Mud Slide

I'm outside in a lush, mossy, partially wooded area, approaching the spot that a shaman ceremony is to take place in.  As I walk closer, I see a rectangular landscaped plot that features large bowls or vessels on their sides among the bushes.  I am aware that I've forgotten to bring my bowl, which I needed for the ceremony, and so I wonder whether to take one of the ones in the plot.  I decide against it.  First of all, the bowls are not mine.  Second, they are much too large and unwieldy.

There are three or four of us at the ceremony.  We gather in a semi-circle around a pile of large boulders.  The leader has a large sacred book that he's trying to prop open at ground level in a niche of the rocks.

It's later, and I'm walking away from ceremony.  I look to my left into a valley.  Suddenly, a swarm of small yellow butterflies erupts from the ground.  I point it out to someone else who's nearby.  It signifies a glorious event.  As well, a huge mudslide begins at the same spot.  I'm concerned about an encampment that's nearby and want to warn the people about the mudslide.

I'm standing next to a large, rectangular, in-ground pool.  I know the girl who is cleaning the pool, and I'm having a casual conversation with her while she works.

Dream: Polar Bear

I'm outside in the backyard of my boyhood home.  The dog is also outside with me.  We are near the edge of our yard right next to the hedge that serves as a natural boundary to the yard of the neighbor with the small house.  I see a squirrel and a skunk at the base of the hedge.

A man is in the next door neighbor's yard.  He is either an exterminator or from animal control.  He is lying on the ground, peering under the neighbor's house, looking for animals.  I call his attention to the skunk and squirrel, but he's not interested in them.  He has a blanket or towel spread out on the lawn next to him.  On that towel is a dark animal, a fisher apparently.  But it seems calm and relaxed in the man's presence.  In fact, it's positioned on it's with it's back arched back and legs stretched out like a flirting cat.

Next, the man and towel are gone.  I notice a large white polar bear in that yard. I immediately go inside the house through the back door to warn everyone, leaving the dog in the yard.  But then I worry that the dog is in danger.  He should be brought in.

Dream: Four Vultures

I'm outside and see turkey vultures flying around.  I lie down on the short brown grass to entice them to come closer and perhaps land near me so I can get a good look at them.  (It is late winter, and the grass is hibernating.)

Shortly, the vultures alight on the ground near me, just as I'd hoped.  There are four in all, and they fly one-at-a-time in from different directions.

One approaches me, and I become concerned that it will start to pick at my flesh.  I try to get up, but I cannot.  I cannot move at all.


Some follow on comments...

I feel this dream was a very special gift. Although I was fearful in the dream, it did not carry over into the waking state. And I didn't even _feel_ the fear. I sort of just thought it.

"Four directions" resonated with me, but I didn't wonder which direction visited me first until later.

I don't know in which direction I was positioned, but after contemplating the idea of direction, this popped into my being: "The first vulture to arrive was the one who approached me from my right side, after waiting for the other three. He came from the North."

The next day I had the urge to visit a nearby nature center where we went on a guided walk many years ago and saw turkey vultures. The guide encouraged us to lie down in the field to see if we could attract them. (But we didn't.)

So my wife and daughter and I went back to that same place. As we drove there and walked the path to that field, the sky was completely empty. But after standing and waiting about two minutes together in the field, we were rewarded with two red-tailed hawks, three turkey vultures and, believe it or not, a bald eagle! It was exhilarating! I did lie down, too.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20120308

Girl Scout cookies are in, and I devoured the two boxes I bought in two days. I didn't even share a single cookie with anyone else.

So the numbers this week reflect the weight gain from this high-glycemic way of eating and inflammation from the wheat and perhaps nasty oils. Hopefully, now that I've got that out of my system, I can get back on track.

Waist = 37.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dream: Carrying the Laundry Basket at the Private School

I'm living on the campus of a prestigious private school.  It's late morning, and I've overslept.  Furthermore, I'm dressed very casually, with grungy jeans that haven't been washed for several days.  My unwashed, unshaven face matches my outfit.

I'm carrying a rectangular laundry basket in front of me with both hands.  The school administration that lets me live here doesn't want anyone to see me, especially in the state that I'm in.  So I'm trying to quickly get from one
building to another without being seen by the distinguished parents who send their children to the school.

Unfortunately, it's becoming a bit crowded with visitors.  I see two nearly identical Cadillacs pull into the circular driveway in front of the main building and park.

Dream: Torturous Dog Walk

I'm walking a circuitous route along the streets of a neighborhood (that I've walked in during dreams from many years ago).  I'm pulling / dragging my CPAP machine on the ground behind me.  I'm going rather quickly, as if I'm actually riding a bicycle.  And the path I take is a bit zig-zaggy.

A bit more than halfway through the walk, I find that the road I need to take back is blocked.  So I slow as I try to figure out a detour.  Just then I realize that our dog has followed me on this walk.  This is bad, very bad.  Our dog's right front leg is diseased with a bone tumor, and it gives him great pain to put weight on it.  So he tends to favor his left front leg.  But that leg has an old injury.  The carpus was bent too far.  As well, he had to have a cancerous toe removed from that paw.  So he shouldn't put too much weight on that leg, either.  Generally he is supposed to limit his activity.

I am devastated to see him in such poor condition.  The leg with the tumor is completely useless.  It has shriveled to just a stub.  The paw on the other leg with the old injury has flattened out like a furry flipper from the excess use.  The poor dog is soaked with sweat from the exertion and pain.

I wonder how will I get him home?  He'll need to be put to sleep, now.

Dream: Boy With the Blue Button Eyes

My wife, daughter and I are on vacation.  Instead of staying at a hotel, we are living in another family's apartment.  So far, we haven't seen the other family.

We have come home from an outing, and this time when we enter, we see an unusual young boy sitting nearby the front door.  The boy is unusual because he has large dark blue eyes that more resemble buttons on an overcoat than actual human eyes.  (Like in the movie Coraline.)

He jumps up when he sees our daughter and runs over to her.  He invites her to go with him.  The boy leads her several feet further into the apartment to a dark reddish brown couch.  "Go inside the couch," he says excitedly.  Our daughter enthusiastically complies.  He lifts up a cushion of the couch, and our daughter crawls inside.  The boy puts back the cushion.

I know that our daughter is gone.  I lift up the cushion to look, but I know that I will not find her.