Sunday, January 15, 2012


Since I can work from home, I am home a lot, but rarely does my doorbell ring unexpectedly. Lately, however, there has been a parade of "entrepreneurs" hoping to generate some income by selling this or offering a free estimate for that. So far, no out-and-out beggars, but I have to wonder if my recent visitors aren't feeling a bit desperate, to be going door-to-door in January.

Last week at Target, the cashier mistook me for a fellow employee, because I was wearing a red jacket. I told him I did not work there, I just liked the color red. "But you're wearing khakis, too!" Great. I dress like I'm on duty at Target.

More apps for the Nook: NY Times crossword (which unfortunately are not tied to a subscription, so while the app is great, you get only 30 puzzles) and Lose It! for tracking diet and exercise (also good, but you cannot enter the food amounts by weight).

Football playoffs have begun. Since the Colts did not make it this year (really REALLY did not make it), I'm not too interested in the outcomes. The Saints-49ers game was exciting, but watching the Pats cream Denver was a yawner. Glad I did not stay up for that one. And by the way, a note to Tim T and all the other players giving glory on the field: God does not care whether you win at football. At least, I hope not.

The pets had their annual exams and shots recently. Fern has been losing a lot of hair. I've talked with both vets about it, but neither has much to offer since there is no obvious cause. One even suggested she might be "stressed" which sounds a lot like "it's all in her head". I've tried feeding her sardines and fish oils, but she refuses to eat them. (What kind of cat does not like fish?!?) I did change her food, and I *think* there may be some improvement.

Meanwhile, Betsy is kind of lumpy. I noticed a lump on her chest, which is probably a fatty tumor, plus one in her armpit. The vet detected some in the lymph nodes in her neck. No treatment, but now I am suspecting she has a bladder infection because she has peed on the carpet twice in the past week or so. She has not done that in years, since the last time she had a bladder infection. I am tricking her into drinking more (a little chicken broth in the water bowl helps), but may request a round of antibiotics as well.

As for little creatures of the human kind, my granddaughter is getting so BIG. She can climb on and off chairs, reach things on tables, and almost turn door knobs. She is also starting to imitate - I gave her a cloth napkin to play with and she used it to wipe down her high chair. Totally ineffective, but totally cute as well.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


I have consumed my share of alcohol in my lifetime. In college, it was probably more than my share, but not as large a share as many of my cohorts. In adulthood, it has varied from none to a few drinks a night. When my kids were teens, I did not even keep alcohol in the house - they may have been consuming but not from my liquor cabinet. I was looking forward to doing some serious drinking in late middle age.

Unfortunately, I seemed to have followed in my father's footsteps in my early 50's. After a lifetime of being the one-or-two-cocktails-a-night kind of drinker, he developed an allergy to alcohol at age 55. Even a sip or two could send him to the emergency room with a severe asthma attack. In my case, the reaction was sometimes an instantaneous hangover, sometimes a delayed stomach upset. With reluctance and disappointment, I faced a future of no booze.

Still, periodically I would try to drink. Thinking the problem might be additives in commercial products, I made some hard cider - mistake. Vodka was usually a safe bet, but only Grey Goose or Ketel One. Beer and wine were not wise. So much for a cold one on a hot day.

Then last summer I tried some Woodchuck Hard Cider. That seemed okay. This fall I sampled some organic ales with no adverse affect. Christmas eve we had tequila sunrises with our tacos. No problemo. Huh. I'm not drinking with abandon, but now I find I can enjoy a beer or two, use wine when cooking risotto, finish the day with a couple of cocktails. What a nice surprise!

I have no explanation for this change in my tolerance for alcohol. I have always leaned toward organic fruits and vegetables. In recent months, I have switched from store-bought, grain-finished meat to purchasing pasture-raised meat from a local farm. I now also drink raw milk and buy cheese made from raw milk. Could there be a connection? Who knows.

Of course, there is the question of, why drink at all? While raising my kids, I consciously lead a safe life, to ensure I was there for them, because my mother died when I was 20 and my brother 17. As an adult, I have always been uber responsible. Add to that, in recent years, so many pleasures have been demonized in our society. It has reached the point where I feel like I am saying NO, NO, NO all the time. Well, now that my kids are grown and I am old enough to throw some caution to the wind, I would like to say yes once in a while.

So here's to behaving with a little irresponsibility! (In moderation, of course.)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hope springs eternal

It's that time of year again, when this old girl's thoughts turn to resolutions. It seems I make the same resolutions every year: lose weight, exercise more, keep up with the housework, etc. This year is no different. In fact, looking back at an entry I made a year ago, the resolution list looks suspiciously familiar. Only this year, I started/restarted a bit early.

When I work at work (instead of at home), I sit near the actuaries. Some of them have started what has become a semi-regular tradition, of challenging each other to lose weight. Being actuaries, they have a method and a strategy whereby one can earn points, keeping track of it all on a spreadsheet. Some of them actually have lost weight, and a subset of them have also kept the weight off. They kindly invited my co-worker and me to join the current wave (are they saying I look fat?!?) Since there was a financial penalty involved if one did not reach one's goals, I decided I could not afford it. My co-worker, however, is participating, and after hearing him comment that, while he has not lost weight, he has dropped two belt notches, my curiousity was peaked.

So, about six weeks ago I asked him about it, and basically the strategy is one earns points by dieting and/or exercising, every day. The dieting guidelines are a bit stringent, so while he has been watching what he eats, he has been concentrating more on exercise. And it shows. Given that my exercise routine has become non-existent in the past year or so, thanks to some hip-shoulder-wrist problems, I decided the least I could do is go for a walk outside everyday.

And since the weather has been surprisingly cooperative, I have been able to do just that. And in case it isn't, an exercycle has found its way from my daughter's house to mine. Not only do the walks make me feel better physically, they elevate my mood a significant amount. And, to give myself a little incentive, I have an appointment for a physical in about three weeks, with a new doctor.

My weight has crept up about 15 pounds over the past year or so, so I am hoping to reverse that trend, with baby steps.

What are your hopes for the new year?