OK, Memorial Day is passed; we can put in the tomatoes. Summer is here. Yesterday Kat and I went out and when we stopped by Fitch’s farm stand for milk, I decided to pick up a couple of tomato plants, then I saw the nasturtiums (already started), and got some started lettuce… It’s hard to resist when you’re just picking up a flat. Then when you get them home, you actually have to dig up the garden and put them in, and water them, etc. We have, at least, got the hose out and turned on- did that when we put in the white lilac. I fear our persian lilacs may not be around next year. We should have cut the maple tree out of the middle of their cluster when it first started, but we didn’t think of it, and now it’s too big to take down safely. I love those lilacs!
The phlox and iris have come in this week, the chives are blooming (better cut them back!), the lilac and quince are mostly passed, the bleeding hearts are gone, and there are violets, but they are mostly hidden under their leaves. Gardens we pass are beginning to be full of flowers, and the garden centers are really seductive! We’ve opened the windows and installed the fans to suck in the cooler air at night. I have trekked up to the attic to open those windows- boy, it was hot up there before I did! Have a fan blowing that air out and theoretically this will suck cooler air in through the front door. I hope so, at this point it feels like my eyeballs are sweating (although I expect it’s my eyelids.) Over the weekend was cool enough that we were able to run the wood stove for a bit (burn off trash). We have to go more often in the summer because if that.
While I like to think I’m coming out of the depression, I find I’m still feeling more easily tired and not as motivated as I expect myself to be. By the time I’ve done basic cleaning, cooking, errands, etc. I’m pooped and spend the rest of the day checking my email and fb, reading, and doing the on-line courses. It’s really easy to watch one Tedx talks or Sci Show episode, one after the other, each fascinating clip leads to another, then *poof* it’s time to make dinner, or some other time sensitive thing, and then the day’s gone. That’s me being honest to make sure you don’t think I only do the things that are interesting enough to merit mentioning in the letter. Since such a large percentage of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, and similar problems, and it’s not something people have if they could help it, there sure shouldn’t be any stigma about it. I don’t want to say that I understand what other people who have these problems are going through, but that I recognize from my own problems, that theirs are difficult and real.
This accounts for my letters being less interesting lately, I think. This long, Memorial Day weekend there were lots of events to which I’ve gone in the past, and would love to have been at: Panteria, A Sacred Place Beltaine, Rites of Spring…. Kat and I were hoping to go to Panteria, but decided against it because the heat had gotten to her so badly in Williamsburg she was concerned about a rerun of that.
We did have Steve come up on Sunday, although we didn’t barbecue. We got out the charcoal and grill, but couldn’t find the “chimney” that makes starting charcoal easy. We’ll have to find another one. Steve’s still trying to help us with the computer woes. He brought an old disc drive that he hoped would replace my broken built-in one, but it turned out to be broken. He did find the software Kat needed for her word processing program. And it turned out he’d never seen Meet the Robinsons. Frankly, we hadn’t watched for years after it came out because the trailer made it look so stupid. I don’t really care for that style of animation, but the movie itself turned out to be witty and charming. One of the lines: “Master, I don’t think you’ve thought this through…” has become one of our families favorites, so I “had to” share it. I also was delighted to have someone share Strictly Supernatural which was apparently a brief English TV series in 1997, and this had episodes for Tarot and Astrology. It was narrated by Christopher Lee, and rather well done. I’d love to see more episodes, but those are the only ones available on Netflix and took about a year to get through my queue, so I doubt I’ll ever find the episode on Seances I found on the internet. It was rather well done, but I guess it’s a small viewer base (to my surprise).
I’ve been having fun with the Greek and Roman Mythology and Magick in the Middle Ages Courses, have not gotten to the Comics course this week. My difficulty with the program they asked for has discouraged me. This week we had a writing assignment and the hardest part was to do a good argument in 350-500 words. As you may imagine, saying less is a challenge for me.
I put in for my classes for Pennsic University. Given my lack of thinking at the moment it’s a good thing I had them picked out already. I’m doing the cultures AROUND the Anglo-Saxons where studying them gives context: the Celtic British, the Franks, the Scandinavians, and the Romans who went before and mediterraneans (and Normans) who came after. I don’t think I’ll bother doing booklets this year, just handouts.
I had a lovely chat with Liz, Kitty’s been up, and they’ve checked the camp, and Trish came up and dressed the family graves, which she used to do with Dad. We tend to visit them when we’re up there rather than making a special trip. I’m looking forward to it, and frankly, if Willow weren’t away, I’d probably go up there right now with my paints and finish the !@#$ book cover.
Willow keeps posting wonderful pictures from Florida on fb. She has seen manatees, seen Cape Kennedy, a zoo, and gone to Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. She did not get me a Dobby doll, which would have been perfect for my monster collection; but apparently she remembered that I’m trying to clear out as much as possible. I’ve actually put about half the collection in a basket and keep moving various monsters (like the Angel muppet) in and out as I try to figure out which ones I don’t really need to keep around.
Today we got a call from the Scheduling (which is apparently separate from the main office of Kat’s Doctor). Since the ultrasound showed nothing, they want to try an endoscopy. I asked the standard question: What do you expect this test to show?, and how will the results have a bearing on treatment? The theory is that if they can’t answer that question with something useful, the test is probably not worth doing. They couldn’t and they admitted it. We don’t know, so we’re just poking around looking since we have these tests available. Oh, joy. It’s Kat’s decision, so that’s all I’m going to say. We made the appointment.
This week I’ve been griping my way through a book called 10 Day Detox Diet that I took out of the library. I really want to lose weight in a healthy way, and know that sugar is addictive, so I probably need to get it out of my diet, but there are just SO many things about this one that make me uncomfortable. It bothers me that he seems to dismiss the cost with the old chestnut “being sick is far more expensive”. Great, but that doesn’t address the fact that buying the salmon, and nut butters, and other bizarre ingredients is going to cost you a bundle (you may not have)! Not only that, having gotten to the recipe section I can see that you’ve had to buy pounds or bottles of ingredients that are added to recipes in spoonfuls. If a recipe uses a quarter of an avocado, or a half a lemon, and is not used the next day, it’s going to go to waste. More expense.
He does suggest that you adapt to your own tastes, but the meal plan is basically Smoothie for breakfast (most of them look gross), followed by soup or salad for lunch and for dinner: salmon/snapper or chicken breast. SOME people like not having to think about what’s for dinner, but I prefer variety, and changing herbs or from broiling to poaching doesn’t count. I want a MEAL for breakfast, not something to grab as I head for the freeway.
Also, I think his taste is different than mine- some of us cannot stand cilantro and arugula. Nice for you if you do, but I don’t. Also, there are more kinds of fish than salmon and snapper. Also, the recipe headers make me want to yell “Liar, Liar, pants on fire!” when he gives his “cook time 20 minutes, prep time 15 minutes” estimates. PERHAPS if you buy your vegetables pre-sliced, and have someone else put all the ingredients out pre-prepared and measured in little bowls like on a cooking show, it would only take that long, but he makes it look like you’ll only be spending a half hour in the kitchen a night, and it looks more like twice that- NOT counting cleaning up. I guess we know what we’re supposed to be doing for the hours before bed they’re not allowed on the computer!
Did I mention there are “lifestyle” changes? I’ll admit that the SciShow also points out that getting more sleep helps lose weight, so I’ll give him that, and I won’t dispute that staring at glowing screens (computers, TVs, ereaders, phones) probably has a negative effect on going to sleep. Still, the Plan requires 30 minutes of exercise (whatever is appropriate for you) first thing, the food he suggests, relaxation exercises during the day, a half hour relaxing bath every night, regular bed times in a dark room, and NO looking at glowing screens in the three hours before bed. Oh, yes, and reduce exposure to bad news. And check into their website every day. Sounds VERY controlling to me.
And while it says 10 days, what do you do after (what I’ve read so far looks a lot like “I love it so much why would I stop?”). Not me, boy, I’d be really wanting some beef, wheat, and dairy! Also missing is: how do you deal with things like social occasions (when it looks like you have to bring your own food with you everywhere)? Sometimes the party is worth the hangover. I want to see how to transition back to a healthy, low sugar (but not none) diet. I already recognize that refined sugar is, in fact, an addictive poison, and consuming as much as we do is bad for us. But we all know someone who finds some great new diet/exercise regime/ philosophy/ religion and won’t shut up about it. We want it to work, but if it does, how do you avoid being that person? Like any addiction (a great point is that with sugar, like other drugs, you keep having to get increasingly large doses to get the buzz your brain is going for- hence the increasing size of Coke portions). It’s hard to give up the drug then go back to living with other addicts.
Since your going to alienate yourself from all your friends (Kat and John have said they do NOT want to try it with me), you get support from other people on their website. Change your friends? This is beginning to sound more and more like a cult! He recommends taking supplements, which you can “buy here if you can’t find them locally”. It’s not just a cult, but a for-profit one, like Scientology.
So I may try to go low carb again, I really want to lose weight, but I don’t think I’m using this system. Although I hate to pan something without trying it, so I’m planning on finishing the book, and maybe trying a couple of the recipes. BTW, if you don’t follow the link to the SciShow on what makes us fat, I am over joyed to tell you that science has pretty much confirmed that the “Calories in, calories out” theory has been thoroughly disproven, no matter how appealing it seems. Because our bodies are not closed systems but complex systems, it simply doesn’t work that way. Yes, if you burn substances in a lab, the calories on the label are what they get in the lab; but not in the body. For one thing, how we metabolize food is controlled by the endocrine system, and industrial chemicals like hexachlorobenzene that saturate our planet (and some of our food) have an effect on it. Also, epigenetics have an impact- things like how old or how tense was your mother when she had you. Things we CAN change include getting more sleep, keeping the house colder, eat as well as you can, reduce your industrial chemical load, and maybe you could try a fecal transplant- because those can adjust your internal ecosystem. I’m not sure where I’d get one, but I’d be willing to give it a shot. (I assume they start with taking a sample and seeing if you’re missing the gut flora that are there in thin people.)
I think the thing is I want to weigh less by about a hundred pounds, healthy, comfortably padded, and NOT waste energy worrying about food. I want to have some cookies at Christmas, ice cream in the summer, and try a new recipe that someone has come up with without giving them (or myself) a hard time. The way many people have an occasional beer and don’t worry about becoming a drunk. But I do think it’s worth investing extra time and effort for a few years to get down to a more comfortable stable weight. I don’t THINK this is the right program, but I need to find one that is. If the problem is that what’s throwing my (our) metabolism off is sugar and beef, and modern grains, maybe I do have to eliminate them, at least for a while. (I hate that idea. On the other hand, I’m a lot more comfortable with chocolate twice a year, than chocolate never again.)
I watched Moonrise Kingdom, which had seemed more interesting in the pilot than it turned out to be. Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDermand and other stars should have produced a better result. It was sweet, but not profound. I think it was going too hard for quirky. The 1935 Last Days of Pompeii was better. Basil Rathbone was good as Pontus Pilate, and Preston Foster played Marcus, who when he lost his wife and child, thought that only money could protect your family, but discovered that even money cannot. This isn’t based (as other versions in 1913, 1926, 1959, 1984) were on the book by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, but like the others has fun with special effects. (I was annoyed to watch arches crumble in stupid ways.) Still, it’s fun to watch the way Hollywood portrays ancient Rome, or handles volcanoes and falling buildings decade by decade.
Having finished False God of Rome, I’m about a third of the way through the fourth book in the Fabbi Vespasian series: Rome’s Fallen Eagle. The series continues good. I watched a bit of I, Claudius, a reminder that no matter how well researched they are, the authors use historical characters as they wish to. I still like Claudius’ speech to the Senate telling them that while he does stammer, limp, and has been seen as a halfwit, he’s managed to survive, and that speaks to his intelligence. He could, of course, not refer to the excellent job he was about to do as emperor, but that confirms it, and makes him a fascinating character, no matter who writes about him.
I finished Hollow City, and I will tell you this: the book is cool in a creepy way, but DON’T read it yet. The first book, Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, led straight to this one, and this had a cliff hanger ending, and the next one (Library of Souls) doesn’t come out until September 22! Wait until September and read all three then. Waiting a week for the Perils of Pauleen is one thing, waiting months and months is unnecessary stress. I finished the Short History of Women’s Rights in the Ancient World. It was short- probably because it only covered how those rights changed from their rights during the early Roman Empire to the Christian controlled empire, and a bit of how that carried on into the Middle Ages. I’ve been skimming Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What we can Do to Stop It, a 1972 book, one of the early anti-sugar polemics.I read enough of Being Mortal to be pretty sure I’ve already read it. Excellent book! I mean to read his others.
I had a strange thought a few days ago. Think about this: I read about 2 books a week (although I start more than that). That’s about 100 books a year. If I live another thirty years (and don’t slow down), that would only be 3000 books, and probably 2000 would be closer to a real estimate, since I probably will.
I have about 200 books on my “read immediately” (on the bookcase in my bedroom) list alone, that’s not counting adding books when I hear about them on NPR, or find references to them in a bibliography or “if you liked that, you might like this” prompt on the internet, or a friend recommends them, or re-reading an old favorite, or any of the other ways one is introduced to a new book. I went through that stack this winter and pulled out the ones I didn’t REALLY want to read- soon; and two years ago when I had around 100 there, I decided to “not buy any more books until I’d finished those”. You see how well THAT’S worked. Favorite authors write new ones. New authors write great books. I’m not going to be able to read all the ones I want to read. It’s not possible.
I could probably increase the number of books I read by giving up other activities (say facebook), which might not be a bad idea anyway. (I really wish I could set it to get nothing but updates by friends on what’s going on in their lives.) But I will never be able to read all the books I want to read, much less all the great books.
I think this is me coming to terms with my mortality. I haven’t even tackled issues like finishing books, painting paintings, making the world a better place. One reads books in one’s spare time. It should not be so hard. What’s it for? The enjoyment of knowing stuff, spreading my knowledge out far enough to catch connections between seemingly unconnected things. I love that. The next step is to sort them by the books I’ll enjoy most. (I think.) I’ve probably listened to two or three dozen audio courses in the last ten years, and will probably listen to as many again (and now have discovered the on-line option). Learning is fun. I like it. I’m also really fond of fiction, and theatre and poetry. I love connections. I should find a different criteria for “what am I going to read now?” than “This looks interesting!”, that doesn’t eliminate enough.
You have to remember that I am the one who, for my 23rd or 24th birthday had a party where we brought out a different dessert every hour all day long. Which little kid wouldn’t have that if they were allowed to? We had cakes, and baklava, ice cream sundaes and ice cream sodas, pie, cookies, and I can’t even remember what else, but it was gloriously excessive! I’m not good at rejecting things.
On May 25th, it was Nerd/Geek Pride Day and I put up a post on my blog about discrimination. Because “no one’s really going to be free until nerd persecution ends.” Nerd Pride Day started out as the day when Star Wars came out, and is Towel Day, from Douglas Adams’ birthday, and also the day of the Glorious Uprising on Diskworld. Although those who were there resented those who weren’t and couldn’t understand “wearing the Lilac”, these days Terry Pratchett fans wear it for Alzehimer’s Awareness. He probably picked the day because it’s when the lilacs bloom, but there you are. This year, the rotation had Memorial Day fall on it too. It was also Tapping and Tarot Day, which I think works in well with doing your own thing. (I wonder how long before the eft folks graft meridian tapping to the day? because that’s how it works these days.)
“We have news for the “beautiful people”, there’s a lot more of us than there are of you.”
Tonight on the New Normal I’m talking to Maureen McElroy, a psychic and healer about her “distance psychic surgery” which I think might better be called psychic healing, since as far as I can tell there isn’t any of the trappings of surgery that we expect when we hear that phrase.
All my love and good warm fuzzy feelings! Until next week:
Virginia aka Tchipakkan
“The first step is to measure whatever can easily be measured. This is OK as far as it goes.
The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading.
The third step is to presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness.”
The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.” Daniel Yankelovic