Friday, December 18, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151218

Just getting over a period of tiredness. This was not just a single feeling of being tired lasting several days. It was more like a Suite of Sensations that made me want to sit, lie down and snooze. Yes, there was sleepiness. But also my legs felt like limp noodles, as if I had been in a hot tub for about 30 minutes. Plus a subtle feeling of wooziness. And I never felt more unmotivated to do anything. So I've cut back to 1/2 pill (5mg) of Lexapro, and the Suite isn't as strong.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151209

Just another weigh-in.

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151202

The positive effect from taking Lexapro is that my appetite is lower, and my sugar cravings are well-suppressed. It might be related to the dry mouth that it gives me. Then again, I usually lose weight at this time of year.

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151125

Just another weigh-in....

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dropping Out of NaBloPoMo 2015

Just a quick note to make it official.  I'm dropping out of NaBloPoMo.

This year, unlike all others so far, I am so incredibly tired.  I fall asleep so easily.  So I didn't bother to go near a computer on Sunday.

I suppose I could bang out three quick posts and back-date two of them.  But I'm supposed to doing other things right now -- things that people pay me to do.  So I'll do those things and not this thing.

Thanks for reading!

Look for a Weigh-In tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The First Pill

I took my first dose of Lexapro last night, a few hours before bedtime.  I decided to cut the pill in half and take only 5mg, rather than the full 10mg that the doctor prescribed.  I plan to titrate up in a few days.  Usually the recommended children's dose for OTC meds is sufficient for me.

After about three hours, I had dry mouth and felt very tired.  The reaction reminded me of how I feel after taking Benedryl.  I drank two glasses of water before going to bed.  Then I had to get up twice to pee.

We're on a college tour right now.  While driving here I had to fight an overwhelming urge to sleep that went away after about 30 minutes.

I have no inkling of any elevation in mood.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Depression Follow Up

I actually saw the doctor about my depression.  I use "actually" because I almost never go to the doctor, at least not for an ailment.  Usually the long wait time to see a doctor exceeds the duration of any medical condition that sidelines me.

The appointment didn't go the way I'd hoped.  That's probably because my wife was there with me.

My idea was that the doctor might recommend light therapy (due to the seasonal aspect of my condition) plus exercise and perhaps meditation.  And he did mention light therapy.  But my wife's agenda was that I'd leave the office with a prescription for an SSRI-type anti-depressant.  So that's the direction we took.

It amazes me that despite all the medical screw-ups my wife has experienced, she still puts so much faith in doctors and prescription medication.

In fact, my wife interrupted our non-medication discussions a few times with increasing urgency, insisting that my condition was dire.  I thought she was going to erupt in tears at one point.

So the plan is that I'll take the medicine to make my wife feel better.  As if I already don't do enough shit for her.

Now I really feel depressed.  But I'm hoping the doctor prescribed a placebo.  Do they even do that?

Here's a little SSRI humor for you.  I can't seem to embed it, so I hope you'll make the effort to click on it and watch.:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Carry My Stuff

I'm still thinking about My Personal Assistant, the post in which I list the chores I would prefer to delegate to a Personal Assistant.  Let me add one more: Carry My Stuff.

I am overwhelmed by My Stuff.  I can't handle it all.  I bring stuff to work; I bring it back home again.

What do I have?  Water.  Lunch.  Tablet.  Wallet.  Badge.  Hat.  Tissues.  Jacket.  Inhaler.  Pen.  Keys.  Snack.    ShoppingListOfMoreStuffToBuy.  SomethingToFaxForMyWife.*  (Crap, I just remembered that I forgot to bring carrot sticks for my snack today.)

I cram all My Stuff haphazardly into a reusable shopping bag to make it easier to Carry.  But it's not easy.

It's a warm day, so I decide to Carry my jacket instead of wear it.  And I Carry the bag.  (Heck let's just call it a murse, okay?)  Now I also need to Carry the keys.  In my third hand.  In my dreams.

No, in my dreams, My Personal Assistant would Carry My Stuff.  As I leave for work, she somehow has already gathered It All and cheerfully follows me out the door with It.  Brrr, it's cold, so instantly she dresses me in my jacket.  The car is locked.  But she's got the keys, and deftly unlocks and opens the door.

At work the Pecan Pie that I ordered is delivered by a coworker's Boy Scout son.  My Personal Assistant brings it down to the cafeteria and places it in the freezer.

When it's time to leave for the day, My Personal Assistant actually remembers the pie (which I forgot three days in a row, so far) and adds it to all My Other Stuff.

We go to the store.  She carries the shopping list and ensures I get everything on the list.  Plus ice cream for herself, if she so chooses.  She brings it all to the car and stows it away, and she gets the tablet I accidentally left behind in the shopping cart as an added bonus.+

This is a wonderful dream.

Oh, and the Personal Assistant's name, if you haven't already guessed, is "Mommy."

* It is true that I do not have a cell phone.
+ I did this twice, so far.  I drove home from the supermarket, leaving my tablet in the shopping cart in the parking lot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151118

I drove my wife and daughter to a concert last night. I didn't go myself because I don't like the musician enough to spend $85 to attend. Plus, it's such a small venue that most bands overpower the room, and it's just too darn loud for me!

While I waited in the car, I did some reading and some napping. But it started to get too cold -- I don't like to idle my car's engine just to run the heat -- so I decided to find a nearby cafe with free Wi-Fi and dessert. Well, the dessert wasn't free, but it was delicious, and it came with free coffee.

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blogher and the Male Blogger

This is the first year I've been cross-posting on Blogher during NaBloPoMo.  I confess that I feel like an alien on that site.

Before I ramble on, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am grateful to Blogher for hosting NaBloPoMo.  And I admire the team of talented writers that contribute to the site's content.

But, the reason I feel like an alien on Blogher is because of the predetermined set of tags I have to choose from.  They're so... gender-skewed toward the feminine that I feel a bit stifled.

The complete list of tags is given below.

A few of the main categories are typical of a content provider or message board: Food; Health; News & Politics; Entertainment.  Yet the sub-categories under them seem incomplete.  For example, "Food" could use "Desserts" "Paleo" and "Outdoor Grilling".  "Health" could use "Vaccinations" and "Exercise" rather than "Infertility" and "Pregnancy".  "Entertainment" is fine except that "Sports" should be a main category all on its own.

DIY really should be called "Hobbies" because its sub-categories are essentially hobbies, and because it lacks such real DIY subjects as "Flooring" "Electrical/Lighting" "Plumbing" and "Automotive"

And then there's the most feminine main category of "Style," which includes:  Makeup; Nails; Shoes; Fashion; Hair.  Oh yes, I'm so looking forward to writing about makeup....  Hmm, then again, it might be a fun challenge to write about each sub-category of "Style," from a guy's perspective, of course.  Maybe Melissa Ford will make me write Style posts for the remainder of NaBloPoMo as punishment for dissing the tags.

The list of predefined Blogher tags, as of Monday, November 16, 2015...
Social Media
 -Tips, Tricks & Tools 
 -Blogging Events 
 -BlogHer Publishing Network News 
 -Food Politics 
 -Cooking for Health 
 -Frugal Kitchen 
 -Quick and Easy 
 -Special Occasion 
 -Vegetarian and Vegan 
 -Body Image 
 -Mental Health
 -Diet & Fitness 
 -Style DIY
 -Home & Garden 
 -Knitting, Crochet & Sewing 
 -Grief and Loss 
 -Finding Balance 
Love & Sex 
 -Marriage and Commitment 
 -Weddings and Anniversaries 
 -Working Moms 
 -Tweens & Teens 
 -Empty Nesters 
 -Home Schooling 
 -Special needs 
News & Politics 
 -Current Events 
 -Media and Journalism 
 -Race & Class 
 -Arts & Culture 
 -Movies & Television
 -Pop Culture 
Advertise and Market with Women 
BlogHer Conferences 
 -BlogHer Food '15 
 -BlogHer 2016 
 -BlogHer 2015 
 -BlogHer Conference 2012 
 -BlogHer Entrepreneurs '13 
 -BlogHer PRO '14 
 -BlogHer Conference 2014 
 -BlogHer Food '14 
 -BlogHer Food 2013 
 -BlogHer Conference 2013
 -BlogHer PRO 
 -BlogHer Pro '13 
 -HealthMinder Day 2013 
 -Pathfinder Day 2013
 -Viewfinder Day 2013 
 -BlogHer Entrepreneurs '12 
 -BlogHer Food 2012 
 -BlogHer Handmade 
 -BlogHer Writers '11 
 -BlogHer | bet 
 -BlogHer Conference 2011
 -BlogHer Food 2011 
 -BlogHer Food 2010 
 -BlogHer Conference 2010 
 -BlogHer Business 2010 
 -BlogHer Conferences 
 -BlogHer Food '09 
 -Reach Out Tour 2008 
 -'06 Conference news 
 -'06 Podcasts 
 -'06 Sessions/Speakers 
 -'06 Sponsors 
 -'07 Conference news
 -'07 Sessions/Speakers 
 -'07 Sponsors 
 -BlogHer Business 2008
 -BlogHer Business 2009 
 -BlogHer Conference 2008 
 -BlogHer Conference 2009 
Web site 
 -From the 'hood

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reinvent the Brake Light

Maybe it's a guy thing, but the first thing I thought about when I read today's NaBloPoMo* writing prompt was "cars."

Of course I know that cars have been invented already.  But they were invented so long ago when technology was in its infancy that they need to be re-invented.

Take brake lights.  They are essentially two red lights on the back of a car that are activated by a switch that, in turn, is activated by a pedal that the driver depresses with a foot.  We're supposed to infer from the brake light that a car is slowing down, stopping, or already stopped.  But they provide no reliable information about the car's speed or state of acceleration.  Consider these two examples:

A car can be at a complete stop while the brake lights are dark if the driver removes his or her foot from the pedal after stopping.

A car can be moving while the brake lights are on if the driver rests his or her other foot on the brake pedal.

This is how brake lights really should work:
  • When the car is moving forward and accelerating, the color of the brake light shall be green.  The lights shall blink faster when the car is moving faster.  The rate of blinking vs the car's speed shall be the same for all cars.
  • When the car is moving forward and decelerating, the color of the brake light shall be red.  The lights shall blink faster when the car is braking harder.  The rate of blinking vs how quickly the car slows down shall be the same for all cars.
  • When the car is completely stopped the brake light shall be off.
  • Brake lights shall be uniform in size and position among all car makes and models.
  • Brake lights shall also be installed on the front of all cars to help motorists and pedestrians determine whether an on-coming car is speeding up or slowing down.
It's not really expertise that's needed to make this happen.  It's political clout.

*"Pretending you have the expertise to make the product a reality, what do you wish you could invent?"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When Do You Use "We"?

"What do guys see in her?" my wife might ask about any of her friends.

This is obviously treading dangerously into "Does this make me look fat?" territory.  The best response is to shrug an "I dunno" back with a slightly dumbfounded look.  But not too dumbfounded, because, after all, the discussion is about one of my wife's friends.

But in my mind, the answers come easily, "They see a tight ass," or "They'll go after anything in a skirt," or "She looks easy."  Notice that I use the pronoun "They" not "We," even in the privacy of my compartmentalized mind.  But I'm a guy, so why don't I say "We" as in "We see a tight ass?"  Because let's face it, I do like a tight ass.

The reason is that the question, "What does guys see in her?" is subtly loaded with loathing.  It's like asking, "Why do [disgusting] dogs like to roll in shit?"  "Because, my dear, we like tight shit." "I dunno."

Even for neutral questions, I might hesitate to use "We" at least until I'm comfortable with the direction  a discussion is taking.  Consider this exchange:

"Why do engineers always talk about their gadgets at parties?"

"I dunno"

"I mean there's so much to talk about: the latest movies; the weather; the upcoming election..."

"Well I guess it's because they think gadgets are cool."

"Gosh if you've seen one gadget, you've seen them all."

"Oh, but we understand the technology behind them."

The biggest reason I avoid using "We" is because I don't feel I belong to any group.   A quiet sense of alienation has followed me around like a shadow all my life.  I've always felt like an outsider, an imposter, to the human race.

What about you?  When do you use "We?"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

HTTPS Support Enabled

Back in September, Google enabled HTTPS support for Blogger.  I've just noticed this, so I enabled the option for this blog only just now.

Now when you connect to this blog, the communication will be encrypted in the same way that web pages are encrypted when they allow financial transactions.

Encryption requires more computing power.  There's a chance that this blog will run slower on older computers.  Mobile devices might groan.  Or if your browser is quite outdated, Blogger might give you a warning that you need to update your browser.  It might even refuse the connection entirely.  If that's the case, you might not even be able to read this post!

But even more troublesome might be warnings about "mixed content" that will inevitably pop up for you.  That's because this site has many links and references to non-encrypted web pages.  Let me know if it gets to be too invasive -- I'll turn off the option and work on the fix offline.

The Contact tab provides multiple ways to contact me; the best choice is e-mail.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Picking and Biting Again

Back in September 2010 and again in January 2014 I wrote about my little habit of skin picking and skin biting.

I've started it up again.

The first photo shows the callus I've built up on my knuckle just prior to picking and biting it.  Gosh my hands look really old.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Personal Assistant

Today's NaBloPoMo writing prompt is "If you had a personal assistant who would do your most dreaded tasks, which items from your to-do list would you assign out?"

Here's that list:
  1. Feed all four cats at 5:30am and refresh their water.
  2. Feed the dog and play fetch with him.
  3. Prepare for my daughter: breakfast by 6:15am; a bagged lunch by 6:45am.
  4. Put out my wife's medications for the day.
  5. Scoop the litterboxes.
  6. Prepare a bagged lunch for me.  (I'll take care of my own breakfast.)
  7. Change the dressing on my wife's wound.
  8. Make and receive all phone calls.
  9. Pick up my daughter from school at 5:45pm.
  10. Take my wife and daughter to all their appointments / functions.
  11. Teach my daughter to drive.
  12. Load the dishwasher properly.
I chose these tasks mostly because they either take place in the morning and require that I get up earlier than I'd like in order to do them myself, or they require being somewhere at a particular time or getting something done by a particular time.

My life would be so much better if I could get out of bed after dawn.  I'm sure I'd have more energy and effortlessly lose weight as a result.

I designed my career so that I could have a lifestyle in which I could ignore the clock.  I chose a lower-paying job in research, in which I could work odd hours, rather than in service, in which you'd tell someone what time you'd arrive and then actually arrive at that time*.  I never went on vacations because I hate to fly and that's because you have to follow an airline schedule.  Likewise, I never went to the movies.

As a bachelor, I hardly ever needed to pay attention to the time.  Getting married, then, was a terrible mistake for someone like me.  My wife used something called an "alarm clock" that would suddenly make a loud noise at the same very early time each morning.  This was because she'd have to drive to her work place and arrive by 8am.  She'd also need me to tell her what time I'd get home from work and then get upset when I gave my usual answer ("I dunno") or failed to show up at whatever time I guessed I could make it home by.  Then there was the insistence that we go to Church, which meant paying attention to a clock on a Sunday!

Despite this wifely imposition of time, I did pretty well.  It wasn't until the Pregnancy that things got much more difficult.  There were more doctor visits for us during those nine months than I had my whole life.  And then after the birth, we were ruled by a living, screaming, excreting life form that you wouldn't dare ignore even if you were so sick that even your eyes hurt.  This is the same life form that, 17 years later, sends you racing to a place to pick her up or drop her off at a Certain Time, lest she show up embarrassingly late for a presentation, or be tempted to walk home alone in the dark in the sleeting rain wearing flip-flops.  That's way more responsibility than I ought to have.

I'm dreaming of my old life.  My daughter will have moved out.  My wife would be dead or living in Florida with her best friend.  If I was curious enough, the alarm clock could show me the time, but it certainly wouldn't make a sound ever again.  I'd probably not bother to switch between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.

* This is a quaint notion. Nowadays, someone in service will give you what's called a "window" which is essentially a free pass to show up at any time on a given day and still be considered punctual.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Litterbox Diaries

Do you remember "Pee-meister" the cat?  I gave him this name when I caught him peeing in the dry food bowl.  I set up a special litterbox in our master bedroom just for him so he could poop and pee without the other cats bothering him.  We kept the door closed because all the other cats wanted to use that new litterbox, and Pee-meister (a very vocal cat) would sit at the closed door and meow until we let him in.

The reason Pee-meister stopped using the other litterboxes was because he was being tormented by NervousCat.  The next chapter in this saga is that NervousCat started to torment GentleSimba.  That's when we found poop on our daughter's bed and poop and pee in an open cardboard box that had candles in it.  GentleSimba, too, needed some other place to go.

So I assembled a litterbox from a plastic storage box and shredded newspaper in it.  This turned out to be wildly popular, and I was changing newspaper sometimes twice each day!

The peeing and pooping in inappropriate places was solved.  But this solution was not good for the long term.  First of all, someone had to be home most of the day to let Pee-meister into the master bedroom.  Second, shredding fresh newspaper and replacing the old took a lot of time.  Third, the scoopable clay litter was terribly dusty, so everything in the master bedroom quickly became covered with dust.  But worst of all was that the cats sometimes would fail to squat before peeing; they would shoot pee on the hardwood floors, which are now horribly stained.

So we changed things around yet again.

First, we replaced the run-of-the-mill rectangular box in the master bedroom with a Booda Clean Step Litter Box, which we figured would contain the dust and prevent errant streams of pee from hitting the floor.  And we eliminated the dusty scoopable clay litter.  We filled it instead with World's Best Cat Litter, a fairly low-dust-producing scoopable litter.  And lastly we kept the bedroom door open so that Pee-meister didn't have to meow his way in.  But the box was a bit too small for GentleSimba.  He wouldn't bother to walk all the way inside, so his pee ran down the ramp and spilled onto the floor.  So we put a sturdy piece of plastic topped with newspaper under the ramp.  If you can't contain the pee, at least confine it to one spot that can be well-protected.

Then we made a new large litterbox from a 90-gallon storage container and set this up in the office.  I cut a U-shaped opening on one of the narrow sides for easy entry.  We filled it with Naturally Fresh scoopable litter, which is made from walnut shells.  This is another low-dust-producing litter.  Dust is especially bad in the office -- it will get into the printer and computer and cause early failure.  As I expected, streams of pee occasionally came out through the U-shaped hole.  But I was prepared this time with sturdy plastic topped with newspaper.

I decided we should use a low-dust litter in the laundry room, too.  This area in the basement houses our washing machine and clothes dryer, plus the boiler and well pump.  We hang clothes there to dry, too.  All the dust from the clay litter has been getting into the armatures and bearings of all the motors, and getting on the clothes.  I chose the World's Best Cat Litter for this only because it's available not just in the pet store but also in all the supermarkets we shop at.

There is one cat that continues to use the clay litter exclusively, so I wonder if we'll be able to eliminate it completely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151110

Is the world speeding up? Or am I slowing down? I don't think it's possible to prepare supper on a week night anymore. Even when just heating up leftovers and eating them, it's a race to get the daily chores all done before 10pm. I miss the days when I was young and living at home where nearly everything was done for me.

Waist = 40.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Monday, November 9, 2015


Autumn has always been a difficult time of year for me, even as far back as when I was a teenager.

It's the start of allergy season.  It's when the Sun climbs less high in the sky every day.  It's when school really starts to get serious.

Well, I'm not in school anymore, but my daughter is.  I get up before dawn to help her get ready for the day -- make her breakfast, pack her lunch, and see her off.  Plus I make sure the cats and dog are fed.  Otherwise they might try to steal her food.

She's a senior this year, so we're expending additional effort for the college search and application process.  But there's no money.  So this year is especially difficult for me.

The many months I've been acting as my wife's care-giver has worn me out.  She's had an open sore since June of last year that refuses to heal.  No medical professional really knows what to do about it.  I've been changing the dressing every two days.  Two surgeons want to operate, but how that wound is going to heal no one explains.  My wife's other chronic unhealthiness is getting even more expensive.  Plus she self-medicates with shopping trips.

And get this: the roof is starting to leak.

A doctor once suggested that I might have low-level depression.  I told him there's nothing to be happy about.  Every freakin' thing I really enjoy is either unhealthy, too time consuming, or (somewhat) immoral. Sometimes I can muster "satisfaction" or "pride," but nothing approaching happiness, joy or elation.

Let me eat as much ice cream as I want (without discomfort or ill effects). Let me sleep three hours more each day and work on my blog for a few hours. Let me not have to worry about my wife. Let me have these things, then can we talk about happy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What Selfies Really Say About Us

The front-facing camera in smartphones and tablets have made it incredibly easy for people to take selfies.  However, the resulting image is inaccurate.  It is reversed, as if viewed in a mirror.  When you send the image to others, you're essentially saying, "Look at how I perceive myself," not "Here's how I really look."

If the images from a typical digital camera were to come out the same way as those from a front-facing smart phone camera, everyone would complain.  Lettering would be reversed.  Folks would appear to be saluting with their left hands.  A photo of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" would have G-d on the left.

The designers and engineers of these devices could have corrected this distortion simply by mirroring the image before creating the file.  Why didn't they?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Too Much

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported on some conjecture about the cause of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt last Saturday.  The article begins:

"Russia’s top aviation official dismissed an assertion by the airline involved in a passenger jet crash in Egypt that pilot error and technical defects could be ruled out as causes."

Let me understand this more clearly.  A passenger jet flying at about 30000 feet suddenly blows up and someone still thinks it might be due to an error by one of the pilots?  What do you suppose happened?  Did one of the pilots accidentally press the "Self Destruct" button?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Importance of Deadlines

To all of you participating in NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo this month, this quote is for you:
The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline. Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen every time.
- Chris Baty
Founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
in "No Plot? No Problem!", page 19

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NoBloPoMo 2015 Blogroll Neighbors

With National Blog Posting Month under way, I'd like to call your attention to the NaBloPoMo Blogroll, which is the listing of all the official participants.  In particular, I'd like to promote the two blogs that my blog is sandwiched between (if I may be allowed to do so by ending with a preposition).  At number 370 there is The Moxie Bee, by the lovely Maura Alia Badji.  At number 372, there is The Everyday Elegance, by the young and elegant Courtney.

I am suddenly feeling very inadequate and amateurish surrounded by these two talented bloggers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151104

I've been so tired lately that I fall asleep at work now. Before the switch back to Standard Time, I thought sleep was brought on by a post-lunch drop in blood sugar. But this week I actually fell asleep before lunch. Plus, my sleep is deeper than ever. I used to sleep light enough so that if my cubicle neighbor returned back to his desk, I'd wake up and pretend to be functional. But recently I woke up and noticed that he had returned without my noticing.

I do have an appointment with a new sleep doctor this month. So hopefully all I need is an adjustment to my CPAP machine's pressure setting.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Handicapped / Reserved Parking Signs

If this news item about the petition to change handicapped parking signs came out in April, I would've assumed it was an April Fool's prank.  Instead, the month was September, which is nearly as far away from April as it's possible to get.

I'm not opposed to the message that disabled individuals are active and capable members of society.  The problem that I have is that it fails to address the bigger issue with the public, which is that they're mostly unaware of (and somewhat intolerant of) people with "invisible" disabilities.  The common view is that if you don't have a wheelchair, crutch or cane, then you don't need to (or shouldn't) park in a reserved spot.  The assumption is that such people are privileged folks who obtained their signs illegally or under false pretenses.

But people with chronic fatigue, lupus, multiple sclerosis and many other conditions, often appear whole and able-bodied.  Maybe their affliction is in remission.  But it could come back at any moment.

I'm not disabled but my wife is, so we have a placard that entitles us to park in handicapped parking spots.  There are times that I'll be alone in the car and park in the handicapped spot in order to pick up or drop off my wife.  Anyone who sees me do this would wonder why I need to park there.

We don't drive with the placard in place.  There have been times that we've parked in a handicapped spot and forgot to hang the placard from the rear-view window.  Surprisingly we never got a ticket for doing that.

Here's a link to the "position paper" published by The Arc of the Farmington Valley, Inc. 

What do you think of the new sign?

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Creation Story of My Very Own

God created the World on His ninth birthday.  It was a dreary summer day, with heavy, unrelenting rain falling from thick grey clouds.

His parents lavished Him with many outdoor gifts: a glider that you assemble from balsa wood; a brand new baseball mitt made from crisp virgin leather that smelled soothing and dreamy; a green and white kite made from thin, light-weight vinyl to name a few.  God was longing to go outside to play with them all, but His parents forbade Him owing to the rain.

So He turned his attention to his other gifts, giving them a second look.  His eyes rested on a large flat box.  In His hurry to open everything, He had almost forgotten that He opened This.  It was an Artist's Kit.  He padded upstairs to His bedroom with His Kit and closed the door.

He started with His favorite colors, blue and green, in magnificent arcs, even before He knew what He wanted to Create.  Then, pausing to look through the window at the rain, He decided to make His Own World, without rain, of course.  He plunged back into the Art.

Soon the outline of His World was created in blue and green.  He decided the blue would depict vast pools, lakes and oceans, and the green would depict lush plants and magical forests.  But He used so much blue and green, He decided to save them for another time, so He added some brown features to His forest to make the plants tall and resplendent.

Then He decided to make other Gods just like Him.  He continued to use brown for a while, but then tried some other colors, such as yellow, red and, to be really silly, even white!  "White Gods!" He laughed out loud to Himself.

He included His pets, too.  First came His four Cats, which were orange, black, tan and grey.  Next came His Dog, which was brown.  But then He made Cats and Dogs in other colors, too.  Then He added His fish, plus mice, birds, lizards and bugs to amuse the cats.  But He decided to make a few of the birds wily and a few fierce, just to keep the cats in their place.

He was starting to get hungry -- He was looking forward to birthday cake.  He decided to hastily add several other creatures.  He thought it would be great if there were a type of dog that was large enough to sit on while it ran.  So He made that, which turned out to resemble a horse.

Finally, His World was Perfect.

And anyway, it was time for lunch, followed by birthday cake.  He closed all the paint containers, gathered up all the brushes, and hastily placed His World near the open window to dry before heading downstairs.

Leaving it near the window, was, of course, not the best thing to do on a rainy day, especially in a home with four curious cats.  For when He came back hours later it was gone!

Perhaps there were some birds splashing outside that window to draw the attention of one of the cats.  Some how His World slid out the window, landing on an out-of-sight awning of a lower-level window.  It quickly got soaked and Imperfect.

It is believed that one day, the awning will be taken down for painting or repair.  God will be much older, with a Son of his own.  He will find His World, look upon its imperfections, and cry.  His Son will see Him crying over His Imperfect World.  The most devout believe that His Son will carefully scrape the delicate weathered Imperfect World off the awning and tenderly restore it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaBloPoMo 2015

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) has started yet again. I hope to participate by posting every day in November.  I don't know yet how I'll find the time, especially since my daughter is a senior and applying Early Action to a Certain College, whose deadline is December 1.  I have even less free time than ever (and I had none before). So I'll have to be even more ruthless when shuffling priorities, eating less, getting less sleep.  Maybe no one at work will notice that I'm blogging?

November is the month when I appreciate how difficult it might be to be a journalist, to come up with content for a new column, day after day, year after year.  Right now I have more content in my head than I have time to write it, so it's not so bad.

Anyway, if you'd like me to write about a certain subject, please let me know. Now would be a good time for me to fulfill your request.  Here are the topics I had planned to write about last year but never did:
  1. Gender wage gap
  2. Why is Thankfulness a Challenge?
  3. From Christian to Pagan
  4. The Right to Vote and Serve on a Jury
  5. When We Use "We"
  6. How I Actually Spent My Staycation
  7. Photos of the Views from My Drive to Work
  8. Things I've Not Done But Would Like To Try
  9. My List of Must-See Movies
  10. A Really Bad Lollipop

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151029

We've been eating supper later than usual lately. So I go to bed before I have the inkling to grab a snack. I suppose we'll be ready when we "fall back" to Eastern Standard Time.

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151021

Unfortunately I've been eating ice cream again before bedtime. Why do I even buy this stuff?

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151014

Just another weigh-in...

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151007

I found pomegranate in the grocery store a few weeks ago! I've never seen them out this early before. I associate them with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I become dismayed when they're no longer available. So I've transitioned away from blueberries and onto pomegranate. Oh, one reason I associate them with Christmas (other than when they're available) is due to their appearance. With their deep red color and unique knob on the top, they resemble Christmas tree ornaments!

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150930

We've been enjoying spaghetti squash as a substitute for wheat-based spaghetti. It's a great way to replace a serving of a grain with a vegetable, and it's suitable for all our diets: Blood Type, Paleo, Anti-Inflammatory, Vegan. Spaghetti squash is a variety of Winter squash, so it should available now in the Northern Hemisphere.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dumbed Down Doctors

I had the most illuminating discussion with a doctor today.

My wife had been under his care since March for a condition that is slowly getting worse.  The condition itself erupted in June of last year.

We had gotten a second opinion from a very well-respected and experienced doctor.  One piece of advice from this doctor was "take four biopsies and send them to four different labs."  When we mentioned this to the regular doctor, he shook his head and said, "That doesn't make sense.  What if you get four different results?  What do you do then?  I think we should take just one biopsy."

I was almost too aghast to respond.  Eventually I said, "If you really have so little faith in the results, why even bother doing one biopsy?"

But here's what I wish I had said:
  • When dealing with large uncertainty in data, the proper method is to increase the sample size, not decrease it, and,
  • What you're suggesting is that it's possible that at least three of every four lab results can be incorrect. That means the one result you get has at least a 75% chance of being wrong, and,
  • Didn't you have to take statistics in order to become a doctor? I think you should get your money back.
But, as I said, I was too aghast at his ignorance.

I could've accepted the one biopsy response if he said that insurance won't cover it, or that hospital policy forces us to use our own lab, or some other bureaucratic bullshit because I've become accustomed to it.  But I never expected such blatant ignorance.

And this doctor was voted Best Doctor in his specialty in our region.

I'm beginning to think that we need to go to a doctor outside the USA or consult a Shaman.  I no longer have faith in AMA-bred medical professionals.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Too Many Yellow Postcards

Yellow postcards now arrive about once every two weeks.  Twenty years ago, I'd get two each year to coincide with Thanksgiving and with Spring Cleaning.  The yellow postcards are from charitable organizations who offer to pick up your donation from your home.

More and more organizations are soliciting curb-side donations more frequently.  We're requested to place gently used clothing in boxes or bags, attach the bright yellow postcards, and place them at the curb in front of our homes.

But listen up -- I need my clothing!  That's what I wear.  And I continue to wear each item even after holes develop, or stains fail to disappear in the laundry.  And then, after an item gets so incredibly worn out and disgusting-looking that it's no longer fit to be worn in public, it becomes the uniform I don for home repairs, gardening and yard work.  And then, I might cut out whatever material is still fairly decent for use in crafts.

Charities are starting to request appliances via the curb-side pickup method.  As a tinkerer and handyman, I manage to keep my appliances functioning long after their warranties expire.

Currently, the handle on the dishwasher that releases the door latch is almost completely broken.  When it broke, I was worried that I'd never get it open again, and that most of our clean dishes and utensils would remain trapped inside.  But I managed to open it, and now I install a loop of sturdy string around the inner latch mechanism before I close it.  I simply pull up on the string to open it again.

The inner elements on the toaster fail to heat up unless I press the "Bagel" button.  I think it's stuck in some sort of Englishman's Toasting Mode, because, according to Sting, Englishman prefer their bread toasted only on one side.

The laptop power adapter stopped working.  I opened the module and discovered a bad solder connection.  I resoldered it, glued the module closed, and put it back into service.  Speaking of laptops, the screen went dead on the older laptop.  The inverter board that I bought for it also didn't work, but I can still use the laptop if I plug in a desktop monitor.

When the plastic handle broke off the lid of the crock pot, I bought a wooden cabinet knob from the hardware store and screwed it in.

These are just the most recent examples of the appliances I've been able to keep working.

So charities, You won't want my clothes or appliances.  So don't bother sending those yellow postcards to me.  All I'll do with them is hold them behind the cats' bottoms to keep their streams of piss inside the litterbox.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Quotes From "The Raven's Gift"

Ravens may drop walnuts on your head, storms may batter your canoe, blizzards may scatter your reindeer, but lighten up; nature is "'playing' with you and that is all.  It is not to be taken seriously." (page 210)
I wonder, does nature make traffic lights turn red just as you get to them?

The Koryak Creation Story
When the cosmos was new, there were no people, so Etinvin, our God, made people and placed them on the earth.  He started off first by making the Northern People.  He gave them the best, richest, and most wonderful place on the planet, right here near Vyvenka and above.  He put salmon in the rivers, seals in the bays, and reindeer on the tundra.

When Etinvin finished, there were many places left on the earth with no people.  But he ran out of genuine parts to make people with.  He asked Kutcha [the Raven God] what he should do and Kutcha suggested that they carve some people out of wood.  So Etinvin carved people out of wood.  These people became the Europeans.  They are stupid because they are made of wood and not genuine parts.  They fight too much and they don't think about the future of the earth.  They build too many machines that destroy the earth.

When all the people were finished, Etinvin looked down and saw a woman on the tundra.  She was giving birth and crying in great pain.  Her husband didn't know what to do, so he tried to cut the baby out of the woman's stomach with a large knife.  But that made the women and the baby dead.

Etinvin was sad and called Kutcha: "These people are new and they don't know how to live.  You must fly down from the heavens and teach the people how to live."

So Kutcha gathered the people, and explained: "Women must go to the tundra.  Watch the birds and see how they give birth."

The women walked out to the tundra and watched the birds laying eggs.  And then they understood.  They had many healthy babies and their numbers grew.  But still the people didn't know how to live very well.  So Etinvin called Kutcha again and told him to go back down to earth and tell the people out to live.

And Kutcha gave the following advice:

"Ocean water is full of salt and is not good to drink.  Drink water from the mountains.  That is the sweetest water.

"When the sun is setting, your children must not cry.  They must sit near you and you must tell them stories.  After the stories, the children must sleep.

"You must wake up early in the morning, especially in the spring, when the earth is waking after the winter night.

"If a child falls down, you the must say, 'Stand up.  Don't cry.'

"When fish swim up the river, you must have silence near the river.  The fish will have babies, so you must be quiet to respect the children.

"If you have a headache or stomachache or other pain, you must call Kutcha and say, 'Help me.'  And Kutcha will put on his raven coat and fly down from the heavens.  He will spit on the place that makes the pain.  Then you must push the pain through the body with one finger.  Pick up the pain on the other side of the body, grab it in your hand, and say, 'Go to your mother.  She lives in the darkest place in the North.'  Then you must go outside and throw the pain into the wind." (pages 194 - 195)

From "The Raven's Gift," by Jon Turk

Dream: Falling Behind in the RF Microwaves Course

It's the first day of the RF Microwaves course.  My colleague from the engineering society, CB, is teaching the course.  Several coworkers are also taking the class, and SK introduces CB, saying that she will also apply to our company for a job.

I have a pen but no paper.  "No worries," I think to myself.  "I'll just find some blank photocopy or printer paper."  But as I look around the room, I don't see anything like this.  I see piles of used papers, so I get up from my seat to look through them, hoping to find at least one piece that's blank on one side.  But even the scraps of opened junk mail envelopes have handwriting on both sides.

Then I see a cardboard box with stacks of pads of lined paper all wrapped in cellophane.  I cut the wrap with my pocket knife and take one pad and return to my seat.

The lecture has begun.  The professor has already written on the board so I need to catch up.  But the "board" is a wooden board in some dark finish like walnut.  The professor's chalk marks barely leave a mark.  In addition, to my dismay, the paper that I found is dark maroon.  My black pen marks are barely discernible on it.  I wonder, how I can do well in the class if I can't even take proper notes on the first day?!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150924

I had some Oreo cookies next to my home computer on Tuesday. I was annoyed and a bit hungry, so I ate all of them.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Welcome to USA Pope Francis

Pope Francis will be visiting the USA from today until Friday, so I'd like to extend a warm welcome to him.

It seems a fitting time to give readers a condensed timeline of my religious background, especially since it all started with Catholicism.

I was born in the early1960s to Roman Catholic parents and baptized into the Church, in which I had my first Communion and Confirmation.

Both G-d and Santa Claus were used as threats in order to temper my behavior.  G-d would punish me while Santa would grant or deny presents.  Actually, I never believed in Santa; I knew my parents and other relatives provided the presents.  Rather than write a letter to Santa for presents, I would simply pray for them.  And I'd write a list for my mom.

Being musically inclined, I was involved in the Folk Group as a teen.  We played during the Saturday evening Mass.  Then I turned 18 and graduated high school, and I left the group and stopped attending Mass altogether.

In my mid twenties, I went on a binge of reading about Christian Mysticism, as described here.

That changed after I proposed to my fiance and we became engaged.  She was Roman Catholic, too.  One of her first actions was to pin down a wedding date, select a Church and have us start attending Mass together.  Since we both viewed Catholicism as more punitive than nurturing, we "shopped" all the local Christian congregations until we settled on a modest Lutheran church in our town.  I joined their choir to sing bass, and we were married there several months later.

Our daughter was born a few years later.  We continued to attend services weekly.  Six months later, our daughter was baptized.  We would keep our tiny daughter with us in the pew among the other choir members and walk out with her if she acted up, which she rarely did.

After our daughter became a toddler, we decided to leave her in the daycare that was provided.  At this point she could become upset and quickly react with a meltdown under certain conditions, including being left alone in a room.  We called that separation anxiety.  So on that first day in the nursery we made sure she was comfortable and occupied, and we reassured her that we'd be back.  She seemed fine.  About twenty minutes later, the daycare provider was trying to comfort our screaming daughter, who was writhing and arching her back as if the woman was torturing her.  The woman was aghast and asked if our daughter were sick (or abnormal, perhaps).  We drove home right away -- we needed the entire 10 minute car ride to calm her down, and we kept our daughter with us in the pew among the other choir members for a few more years.

Eventually our daughter would be diagnosed with Mild Autism, and she was enrolled in the public school's preschool for children with developmental disorders.  Sunday school was difficult -- the church had no professionals to provide therapy or support.  The teachers were mostly parents or grandparents of "normal" children.  So my wife and I would attend the earlier grades of Sunday school with our daughter until she settled down.  But she never really "took" to it -- she formed no connections with the other children.  This continued into her teenage years and the Youth Group.

What she did connect with was the choir.  Unfortunately there was no children's choir at the time.  It wasn't formed until after our daughter was a bit older and after the idea about singing in a choir was no longer fresh and interesting.  Still, she gave it a go.  But with her extremely well-tuned ear for pitch and her sensitivity to tonal quality, she was disappointed with the other children and lost interest.

In the Lutheran Church, children wait until they enter grade 5 to receive their First Holy Communion.  And then they get confirmed even later.  I sincerely thought she'd drop out before getting confirmed.  The more she "learned" about Christianity, the less sense it made to her.  Fortunately the assistant Pastor made some accommodation for her, and she squeaked by.  And then she announced that she was Pagan and left.

I continued to attend the services as a choir member.  But it bothered my wife.  She didn't want to sit in the back with me and the other choir members, and she didn't want to sit alone in the regular seats.  So I stopped wearing the choir robe and sat with her in the regular seats, joining the choir only when necessary.

After eight years was getting tired of the weekly rehearsals and the getting up early on Sunday.  I had planned to announce my retirement from the group.  But the choir director beat me to the punch -- one evening she announced her retirement.  So I remained quiet about my own desire to leave.  It took one full season for the church to find a replacement, so I stayed on in support of the interim choir director.  I was the strongest bass we had.  I wasn't necessarily the best singer, but I could sight-singing and learned the parts quickly, even the tenor and alto lines, too, to help folks with their parts.

When the cat died, the emotional impact of singing was nearly too great for me.  Leaving my sad wife and daughter at home twice each week was an additional burden.  Plus my wife had been hospitalized two years earlier for four weeks and left with chronic pain and fatigue.  I stuck it out for another three months and then abruptly failed to show up for the first rehearsal of the next season.  When they called, my wife said simply, "He quit."  I stopped going to church for several weeks and didn't even speak with anyone until a couple of months later when I'd accidentally bump into a choir member.

We would attend some services, such as Good Friday (my wife's favorite) and Christmas Eve.  These days, getting out of the house by 9:30am five day each week in time for work is challenging for me.  It takes me four hours every morning to get myself ready, feed the four cats and dog, get my daughter ready for school, attend to my wife's needs.  So I like having the weekend with no morning obligations, church included.  And frankly, I've always considered prayer a solitary endeavor, so I never feel the need to be a part of a congregation.

Recently my wife became reacquainted with her Reiki instructor.  It turned out that the instructor was a practicing Buddhist.  We were invited to attend some meetings / sessions / whatevers.  So my wife decided to join them.  She and my daughter are now official Buddhists.

And me?  I really don't know.  I need to strip away all the brainwashing that I received and then figure out what make sense to me.  Most followers of the major religions in our world could be considered psychotic.  Do you think not?  Then read this: "I believe if I say certain words at a certain time each week, that life will be easier for me and my loved ones, and it will bring about World Peace.  And best of all, when I die, I won't actually die -- I'll go to a special, wonderful place."  That's some really crazy sheet.

Sorry about all that content, Pope Francis.  I do hope you enjoy your stay here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150916

I've been bringing baby carrots to work to snack on. Their crunch is stimulating, and they keep my mouth busy. They don't fill me up, but I suppose they keep my blood sugar from dropping.

Also, my wife has switched protein powders to one of the Garden of Life's RAW Fit products. I've been supplementing with it, too, replacing a full meal with a light snack plus a shake. When we make a shake with it, we combine the powder with about four ounces of chilled black coffee and four ounces of coconut milk or almond milk. I use almond milk exclusively, plus I add cocoa powder, powdered ginger, nutritional flakes and agave nectar.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150909

Today, I'm posting four weeks' worth of weigh-in data. If you subscribe to the feed, you'll have noticed that.

I weighed and measured myself today and on 8/27. Oddly the numbers were the same for both weigh-ins. But I didn't weigh myself on 8/20 or on 9/2. The numbers in the posts for those days are "interpolated."

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150902

Just the numbers...

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150827

I was sick on Tuesday with nausea and diarrhea, and I felt extremely weak and fatigued. This had the effect of somewhat resetting my weight and appetite.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150820

It seems like anything I eat or drink make me feel bloated. Even water. I'm surprised my waist size isn't much larger.

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150811

No time to chat. Just posting the numbers.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150806

No time to chat. Just posting the numbers.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150730

No time to chat. Just posting the numbers.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Happy Birthday Medicare

Fifty years ago today, Medicare was enacted. #Medicare50
Few programs in the history of the United States have brought as much benefit to society as Medicare. Since its enactment in 1965, Medicare has provided access to quality health care for those Americans least likely to be attractive to private insurers - those over age 65, disabled, or with end stage renal disease. Medicare has also prevented many Americans from slipping into poverty...Medicare also provides security across generations: it has given American families assurance that they will not have to bear the full burden of health care costs of their elderly or disabled parents or relatives at the expense of their young families.
 - Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, former administrator of HCFA (Now CMS), in the preface to "A Profile of Medicare" in 1998

Please follow these links to learn more about the impact Medicare has had on USA.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Experiment 2 -- E-Squared

I'm trying the second experiment in Pam Grout's E-Squared first.  (I know, "Try not!  Do you must!")  She calls it "The Volkswagon Jetta Principle" because..., oh it doesn't matter.

During the first 24 hours of the experiment, I'm supposed to count how many green cars I see.  (Well first she writes "green cars."  But then she changes the color to sunset-beige.  But I don't know what sunset-beige looks like, so I decided to stick with green.  Besides, it's my favorite color.)

The first 24 hours began at midnight on Thursday, July 23.  I saw zero green cars.  I think I was supposed to see a surprisingly large number.  Nope, not me.  Well, to be fair, I saw three motor vehicles that were green.  One was a pickup truck.  I guess that counts as a car.  The other two were the cabs from much larger trucks.  I discounted those vague putty-like colors that, if the car were parked on a lawn, it would suggest green.

During the second 24 hours, I'm supposed to count butterflies and/or purple feathers1.  In the text she specifies yellow butterflies.  And then she suggests purple feathers instead.  Finally she leaves it to the reader to choose.  Seeing how dismal the first half of the experiment went, I figured I'd count any butterfly plus purple feathers.  And even when I read "purple feather" I knew I'd have at least one to count -- I have one in my office.  As well, I have a (dead) butterfly in my office.  So far, that's all I've seen all day.  And this is Summer -- there are supposed to be butterflies all over the place!  I'm even looking closely at artwork and product packaging.

So, one green "car," one non-yellow butterfly and one purple feature, um, I mean feather.

But now I wonder if this dismal outcome is a success in some twisted way.  I don't really believe in the so-called law of attraction, made popular by Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret".  For example, if it were real, a lot more guys would be having a lot more sex, for starters, because that's what most guys think about most of the time.  So my underlying expectation is to be totally underwhelmed by the results.  And so far, my expectation is being met really well.

1 Every time I try to type "feather" I end up typing "feature" and I think the "FP" is trying to alter the request. After all, there are a lot more purple features than there are purple feathers.

Mindful Peeing

Mindful Peeing (mahynd-fuh pee-ing) -- the practice of being fully present and aware while urinating.
Of all the things I could chose to be mindful about, peeing is my number one focus right now.  Why?

One recurring, central theme in my dreams is the act of peeing in an inappropriate place or in a bathroom in which the urinals are unusual, odd, bizarre or extremely broken.  I usually don't report them here very often.

My goal is to always become mindful when I have the urge to pee and while I pee.  Then if I have another dream in which I pee, I can easily induce a state of lucidity.

Besides, I've nearly given up being mindful at all times.  I hoping that I can achieve this goal of mindfulness during the few moments that I take the time to pee.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150723

As I mentioned, my wife is on a diet. So we haven't been bringing home the usual amount of junk food, and I've cut back drastically on my consumption of ice cream.

But I have another habit that might explain why my numbers aren't all dropping. This is the habit of eating while food shopping. I'll find a package of gluten free brownies or cookies on sale, open it and eat while filling my cart with other items to purchase. By the time I get to the cashier, I hand over the empty carton to be scanned, and then the cashier throws it out for me.

It's funny how ingenious we can be in finding ways to sabotage our success.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why Are Shorts So Long?

I've been shopping for shorts to replenish my worn out summer wardrobe for years.  But every time I browse the racks I find "shorts" whose hemlines reach down to my knees.  Modern shorts resemble some sort of bastard children of Capri pants and Real Shorts.

The legs of Real Shorts stop three to five inches above the knee.  I like them that way because bastard shorts tickle my knees.  And besides, the long shorts give the impression that I'm wearing Real Shorts low on the hip and that underneath my shirt lies a bright gibbous moon.

I've examined a few bastard shorts with the idea that I could alter them to bring up the hemline.  Unfortunately they were cargo "shorts" with extra pockets that extend into where I'd place the hemline.  Either that, or the white inner lining of normal pockets would hang down below the new hemline.  Now that I contemplate this dilemma, I realize I could also alter the normal pockets to make them less deep.  But I shouldn't have to do this!

With the back-to-school season already in full swing in the world of retail, I'll make one last attempt to find something deeply discounted that I can alter into real shorts.  Or maybe I'll take a trip to the Salvation Army and find something from a few decades ago when shorts were Real Shorts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150715

The proprietary foods in my wife's diet seem to have done well to "crush" her food cravings. So far she's sticking to her diet and losing weight. But I still manage to buy ice cream and eat it myself, even though it's intended "for guests."

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150708

Very humid weather is a good appetite suppressant!

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150702

Here begins a new period of weight loss, thanks to my wife's diet. While I'm not on the diet myself, I avoid snacks so as not to make her feel like she's missing out.

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150624

My wife is thinking about starting the Nutrisystem diet. So she's in her pre-diet, bulk-up mode, trying to engorge on everything that she might not be allowed to eat, especially ice cream.

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150619

Due to a relentless series of doctor appointments for my wife, I've been missing a lot of work. So when I do work, I don't bother to take my half-hour walk breaks. I miss regular exercise.

Waist = 41.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150611

Hot weather has moved into our region. With no air conditioning, we have altered our eating patterns. Well, altered our cooking patterns, really. For example, I've lost interest in broiling steaks, heating up a frozen pizza or baking turkey thighs. We're more likely to eat sushi, salads and cold cuts now.

Waist = 41.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150604

The lure of dairy products is so great. Despite how much better I felt without them last week, I resumed eating them in moderation. But I stayed away from "sweetened condensed milk," which my wife uses to make "coffee treats." This thick white liquid is brilliantly sweet and thick and gooey like runny caramel. Once I have a little taste, I cannot stop myself from consuming it all immediately. But somehow I avoided it.

Waist = 41.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150527

In the past few days, the pain from my hernia was worse than I'd ever felt before. It was my fault for not following my very own hernia mitigation guidelines, particularly the diet-related ones. The biggest culprit was my binge-consumption of dairy products, especially ice cream and condensed milk, which we use to make "coffee treats." Once a coffee treat is made, I drink it down in one breath. They're usually twelve ounces. So on Monday and Tuesday, I completely eliminated all dairy. The hernia no longer hurts, and my weight and waist are noticeably lower.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150520

I'm not sure what to attribute this episode of bloating to. It seems like everything I eat or drink, including water, causes it to some degree. Hmmm, maybe it is the water.

Waist = 42.0"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dream: Catfish

I am standing with some other people from work on a wooden deck or platform about two stories above a canal.  I'm facing upstream.

As I gaze at the surface of the murky, grayish-brown water, I get a sense of foreboding that something sinister is lurking underneath.  A red and white buoy attracts my attention.  Suddenly, it sinks under the water, as a bobber might when a goldfish strikes a worm-baited hook.

Then I see a large grayish-brown catfish rapidly approach the surface of the water.  It's huge gaping mouth  emerges as it leaps toward someone a few feet to my right.  I shout a warning, but the fish does not jump high enough to reach us.

Then I see more of these fish, even larger in size, swimming downstream towards us.  The largest one is about the size of a very large retriever.  I feel unsafe.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150512

Today the laptop gave me a "Blue Screen of Death." It said, cryptically, "BAD_POOL_HEADER" which makes no sense because we don't even have a pool.

So I decided to get help from the manufacturer. They wanted the complete product (model) name (or number), and I figured I'd also make a note of the serial number. I decided to photograph them.

Unfortunately, the camera would not turn on. Well, I suppose the battery was run down, so I put the spare ones in. But that didn't help, either. I wasn't totally alarmed at this point. These were rechargeable batteries, after all. They sometimes just run down after a long time.

But after ten minutes in the charger, they still didn't turn on the camera. So now I think the camera also is shot.

Faults in electronics sometimes happens in spurts, but that usually applies only to plugged in units.

Waist = 41.75"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150505

Nothing to report. Just trying to survive this week.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150428

Nothing to report. Just trying to survive this week.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150421

Yesterday I had two huge bowls of ice cream, yet my numbers are better than last week?

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150416

My wife was released from the hospital on Monday. Unfortunately, the oral antibiotic that she's taking made her so nauseous, she threw up, so we canceled a follow up visit. I'm thinking I could use some caregiver support, but how do I find the time for it?

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150409

My wife has been stuck in the emergency department of the hospital since 2:30pm yesterday afternoon. Her bed is in a noisy, brightly-lit hallway. We're waiting for prednisone to combat massive inflammation. But the triage folks don't want to treat her that way because her leg is infected. We'll have to wait for someone from rheumatology to write the order.

Waist = 41.5"
Height = 5' 9"

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20150402

One of the most comforting sayings I've heard in a long time goes like this, "It will all be okay in the end, and if it's not okay, then it's not the end." It comes up repeatedly in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," spoken by the hotel manager, Sonny Kapoor.

Waist = 41.25"
Height = 5' 9"

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