Almost Wordless Wednesday

Image

Baby cheering for SCOTUS ruling on Affordable Care Act

It’s not a single payer health care system (yet), but the United States enters the 20th century finding some way to cover citizens with affordable health care. This formerly fat doctor says, “Yeah, baby!”

Going Off The Grid

Our weekend in Vegas was tremendous fun, as you can see in this dignified photo of my sisters and me.

Now I’m off to the infrequently visited North Rim of the Grand Canyon with Sue and the pups in our trusty camping van. I expect hope that we will be unable to connect via our numerous i-devices and enjoy amazing scenery and cooler weather.

Staying on my primal-ish eating with ease right now.

20120611-125956.jpg

What I Love About Tucson

“Like” might be a better word to describe my view of Tucson (The Old Pueblo) because it has taken every second of our 6+ years here to appreciate this part of Southern Arizona. In keeping with my current sunny outlook (me, sunny – snort), I am focusing on the positive aspects of living in a red-neck, gun-toting more conservative state. Actually Tucson is known for being fairly progressive as befitting a university town. That is one of the positives – The U of A.

university of arizonaSome folks would tout the men’s basketball team (NCAA champs 1997). I like the women’s softball history with 8 NCAA championships and 21 appearance in the Women’s College World Series. More important than sports are the cultural events, museums, and jobs that the UA brings to the decent sized community (~1,000,000 in the county).

The environment was what brought us here from the glorious Gulf Coast of Texas (not being sarcastic). The combination of mountains and warmth and amazing biodiversity within short distances is hard to top. We live at 2700′. Behind us are the Catalina mountains at over 9,000′.

catalina mountains

Driving home

Traveling from our green Sonoran desert to the top of Mount Lemmon in 1.5 hours is equivalent to traveling to a Canadian climate zone. We do have the most southern ski area in the U.S., assuming there is snowfall. What about that heat? It is hotter than hell. Despite our average June temp of 101º, step into the shade, add some mist and breeze – ahhh. It really is not that big of deal unless one plans to do heavy outdoor activity May-September. Intense hydration and acclimation are a must. Two healthy adults died in May while hiking this year already. The trade-offs for the heat are the views; the desert critters that surround us (bobcat, coyote, quails, birds, bats, snakes! mountain lions!); amazing greenery year round; eating out doors at Thanksgiving; wearing sandals all year; moaning because 60º feels cold; running in the rain storms; watching lightning dash through the clouds. Our budget has to include bird food and extra water for the irrigation system that keeps our native trees going when nature falls behind.

Along with environmental factors I must include the low pollution (excepting dust storms) because of the emphasis on tech, tourism, and the university. There is little light pollution. The number of observatories on surrounding mountains has resulted in regulation of night lighting. I had forgotten that one could see the Milky Way! Hiking – wanna hike, just go find a canyon or mountain. Trails galore exist for all levels of hikers. Biking – Tucson is one of the top cities for bikers.

Biker riding El Tour de TucsonEl Tour de Tucson is one of the best organized perimeter races in the U.S. – just ask our tourist promoters. Come next November and ride with 9,000 others along a variety of routes. Oh my, how could I forget golfing! There are so many resorts, but the best deals are found at the public courses that are as nice as many resorts in other states.

The population is diverse though the city is very segregated. Over 35% of Tucsonans are Mexican-American, which accounts for our great food! I had to become accustomed to Sonoran style Mexican food after a life of Tex-Mex.

eating Sonoran hot dogs

My family eating Sonoran hot dogs

(We just found a wonderful place where I can eat my “primal-ish” method and top off fajita meat with an outstanding salsa bar assortment.) I thought there would be many Native Americans here – nope. Only 3% of the Tucson population is Native American. The Tohono O’odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe have the closest reservations, and they do have casinos in town.

Lots of festivals to attend from the largest Gem and Mineral show, semi-annual street fairs that close down half the city (exaggeration), Tucson Meet (Eat) Yourself, Festival of Books, Mariachi Conference – oh, go see the tourist site.

Lastly, we are close to many wonderful places, for instance, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, the White Mountains, Flagstaff. And, yes, there are rivers and lakes in the desert state. Just don’t ask me to discuss regional politics.

grand cabtib

Finally, it’s a pretty quiet town. I hadn’t realized what a big city gal I was until we moved here. A few bars are hopping all night, and I’m certain life nearer the university is more active, but there are not 5,000 restaurants or grocery stores open 24 hours. For this reformed fatty, that’s a really good thing.

Where The Hell Have I Been?

Subtitle: I f’ed up.

Over the last 6 months, I have made 8 posts. 8 ÷ 6, carry the…

While I don’t need to explain this pitiful output and have ruminated about disclosure for the paucity of posts, I decided finally to out myself. Not that kind of outing. Anyone who reads more than one post knows I am out.

Also, everyone knows that I am a yo-yo’er. I have, however, maintained or lost weight consistently over the past 2+ years. Not this winter. My bingeing returned with a vengeance as my SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) burst into major depression. So here comes the “outing” part. I have recurrent episodes of depression that are more significant than regular readers might have thought. The occasional mention of “my therapist” refers to the amazing woman who has been treating me for over 12 years with a myriad of meds and analysis. (Hey, she is the only one allowed to say that I have a form of bipolar illness. I don’t even get to say it.) No, I do not get manic – too bad because I could use a creative flair now and then. I have had episodes of hypomania that usually manifest as irritability (OK, more than usual), insomnia, and anxiety. One could call it Bipolar II – but we aren’t using the “B” word :) I could provide history of my disorder and the amazing family history that snakes up both sides of the family tree. (It’s in the blood as the Amish say.) But that is boring and not the intent here.

Life had been smooth sailing until the end of December when I hit one of my lowest episodes in recent memory. No matter the cause – I like to blame it on my trials as a breast cancer surgery survivor – I tried to sooth myself with food. Even though it didn’t work, I kept trying and not writing and not weighing and gained almost 20 pounds.

Why should you care? Folks with depression and other forms of “more common and less severe” mental illness receive less support, acceptance, and tolerance from family and friends. My own wonderful partner called my lazy during this episode. I was suicidal.  People do not get treatment because of societal judgment of these common mental conditions that can lead to major bad outcomes.

Moral of the story: If you are depressed, get help. It is a major illness. Treatment is effective. Most of us are highly functioning members of society, even. If you know someone who is depressed, please be understanding, ask what you can do to support them. For god’s sake, don’t call them lazy.

With some tweaking of meds, support of my partner (who finally saw my distress), and other changes, I managed to stop bingeing and get back to monitoring. In one month, I lost 13 pounds eating on plan. Now it’s time to write again. Honestly, part of the reason for this post is to remind me that the next time I feel like bingeing, I need to check in with my brain AND my body.

Memorial Day – Observe or Mourn?

Monday we observe, honor, celebrate (?), our military dead. I wrote last fall a little about my struggle with aspects of armed service given my leanings to non-violence. I am moved to tears each time I see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the somber USS Arizona where 1,102 men are entombed, and the vastness of Arlington National Cemetery. Clearly we need a strong defense. I would take up arms to protect my family and community from invasion.

So many wars and “conflicts”, however, are not about defending anything. Over 700,000 troops died during the civil war. Slavery was just one factor – economics and states’ rights (sound familiar ?) also were  important causes. WWII was seen as a “good war” because we were attacked, and the U.S. was instrumental in liberating Europe from Hitler.  Over 400,000 American troops died. Yet the number of dead soldiers does not begin to count the costs of war. Perhaps they are just they easiest to identify and quantify. This quote from former President Eisenhower, who was the Supreme Allied Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in WWII, has resonated with me for years: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Peace to those who have lost loved ones fighting in armed conflict for our government. Strength to all who struggle for peace among nations.

Monday is not meant to be about barbeque, shopping, or outdoor fun. Take a little time to observe Memorial day in your own manner.

child at grave marker

Arlington National Cemetery

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Afghani war widow

Afghani war widow

war orphans from sierra leone

Sierra Leone war orphans

When I Was A Kid…

There are many posts half written; some discussing my absence from blogging – kinda; one describing our adventures in the new camping van trekking to Texas and San Diego; another on friendship; and one begging forgiveness from being absent on so many of your blogs as a commenter. Since it seems very hard to complete anything original now, I have stolen borrowed an idea from Karen@Waisting Time who got the inspiration from Roni’s Weigh.

author at young age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was a kid:

1. My parents told me…“you can be anything you want.”

2. I wanted to grow up to be a… an astronaut. Since women weren’t accepted back in the dark ages, I settled for being a physician.

3. I refused to eat… brussel sprouts, which I now really enjoy.

4. My favorite thing to do outside was… play ball, any kind of ball. Softball, baseball, catch, football until the boys outgrew me.

5. I broke my… nose flying across my grandparents king size bed.

6. I liked to wear… OK, I was a tomboy and we mainly lived in warm climates, so shorts and tennies and whatever comfortable shirt I could get away with.

7. My parents always… made us go to church on Sundays. Remember, Dad was a minister so it was twice on Sundays, Wednesday night, and Thursday night choir practice. Usually some other events were thrown in to keep the family scrambling.

8. I thought that Santa was… my Grandfather. I watched my Grandpa get dressed one year and thought I had discovered who Santa really was.

9. My favorite cartoon was… Mighty Mouse. I have a Native American version (Black Lodge Singers) of the infamous song. Pretty cool. “Is it a bird? NO!”

10. I was the… the perfect child who rarely caused her parents any grief. It was really difficult thinking you are perfect in the eyes of your parents but knowing that you are just a normal kid. Tough to live with.

11. I got in trouble when… the few times I did get in trouble I was very young and don’t like to talk about the consequences. What, you think I’m going to reveal everything on this blog?

12. My bedroom was… never shared even though I had 3 siblings. They were much younger (by 8, 11, and 14 years).

13. My favorite food was… my mom’s Sunday pot roast, just because it made the house smell so comforting as well as tasting great.

14. My parents always made me… say ma’am and sir to all adults. It still slips out and people think I am being sarcastic. At my age, I probably am!

15. My first crush was… she knows who she is but I won’t embarrass her by using a name. We were both horrified at age 17.

16. My favorite toy was… a ball, any ball that I could play catch with someone.

17. I thought school was… at times boring, often challenging, frequently anxiety provoking as I kept striving to be my parents’ perfect child.

18. My biggest fear was… disappointing my parents. Needless to say, coming out to them was a lengthy process because of my fears, not their reaction.

19. My favorite story was… I found my Mother’s old Nancy Drew books one summer at her mother’s house. I spent hours reading them. I think that was what hooked me on mystery and detective novels.

20. My favorite memories… summers at the beach with my family, Grandparents, and my cousins.

Link

Red meat & mortality & the usual bad science

This is a great explication by Zoe Harcombe of the article in Archives of Internal Medicine released March 12 reporting the teeny association between eating meat and premature death. Skip the numbers if you want. The “meat” of her summary is in the first 2 points:

“1) This study can at best suggest an observed relationship, or association. To make allegations about causation and risk is ignorant and erroneous.

2) The numbers are very small. The overall risk of dying was not even one person in a hundred over a 28 year study. If the death rate is very small, a possible slightly higher death rate in certain circumstances is still very small. It does not warrant a scare-tactic, 13% greater risk of dying headline – this is ‘science’ at its worst.”

If you are so inclined, also read the rant on Gary Taubes’ blog post, Science, Pseudoscience, Nutritional Epidemiology and Meat

Tagged!

Thanks to Karen @ Waisting Time and Ann @ Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness, I have been tagged for a round robin of blogging extravaganza! It has been almost 3 weeks since my last real post and over 12 days since Karen tagged me. I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Sorry for the unexplained absence – just chalk it up to, um, misaligned neurons. Promise not to do it again without some notification.

Here are the rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post 11 random things yourself. As if you haven’t read enough about me…
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. (Using Karen’s since she was first tagger.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 peeps!
 Eleven random things about me:
  1. I am the oldest of 4 kids by 8 years.
  2. I was the first female among all of my relatives to finish 4 years of college.
  3. I/we just bought a camping van. (Thought our RVing days were over.)
  4. I gained weight over the holidays! First significant gain over the past 2 years. ARGH!
  5. It has been 9 months since my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m just starting to deal with some of the impact of the double mastectomy.
  6. I miss having a career but cannot imagine going back to work for someone else now.
  7. I am searching for a passion – don’t ask me what that means. But some of you might understand.
  8. I am sitting in the middle of a dust storm inside the house while all of all of the tile is being redone. (Darn those flippers who redid the house before we bought it 6 years ago.)
  9. I have concluded that I am a lazy bum. Making physical activity part of my daily routine is difficult, and I don’t have my foob pain to blame any more.
  10. My favorite song is “The Very Though Of You.” Yes, I am a romantic.
  11. My favorite location is a beach – any beach where I can hear the sound of the waves.
Questions from Karen:
  1. What is the most memorable meal you ever ate?  50th birthday dinner at the Four Seasons on the Big Island of Hawaii
  2. What TV show(s) are you embarrassed to admit you watch? True Blood
  3. Would you rather hire a trainer, chef, house cleaner, or personal shopper? Chef. We have house cleaners come in twice a week to do the crud I refuse to do. I love to shop. Trainers – ugh, I can do my own stuff and anyone who pushes me too hard I would just fire.
  4. Share a favorite childhood memory.  Fishing with my Dad.
  5. What destination would you love to visit?  New Zealand
  6. What’s one food you think you don’t like but you’ve never actually tried?  Flaxseed anything
  7. What modern technology that you didn’t grow up with could you now not live without? Personal computer
  8. List the 5 websites you visit most often. New York Times; CNN; Facebook (forgive me, but my family…); Google Reader; Twitter
  9. Who would you like to meet (living, dead, fictional character, blogger, anyone…)? Molly Ivins – a strange choice, but her wit, writing, and slant on politics, especially the Texas government, I miss desperately. Others include a couple of Texas heroines – Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson. My favorite celebrity crushes Renee Fleming and Meryl Streep. Who wouldn’t want to meet Jesus and Buddah and Mohammad? The current Dalai Lama.
  10. What’s your favorite spot in your house and why?  Where in your house do you spend the most time? Favorite spot is my huge bath tub with air jets. I spend the most time at the computer.
  11. How long on average does it take you to write a blog post? Days to ruminate about writing, maybe 2 hours to write and and then give it rest before re-reading and edit.

For the final portion I am supposed to tag people and have them answer questions. Almost everyone I read has been tagged, so I will follow a lead from Michele @ Within Reach and post questions that readers can feel free to answer (or not) in the comment section:

  1. What is your favorite cuisine?
  2. What is your favorite hobby?
  3. What would advice would you give someone entering college (assuming they would listen)?
  4. What country other than the one you live in would you consider moving to?
  5. What is your preferred method of travel when vacationing?
  6. What is your best time of day?
  7. E-books or paper? Why?
  8. Do you have a favorite color of clothes or color scheme?
  9. How do you see your life after retirement (or what are you doing if retired)?
  10. What is your biggest fear?
  11. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “It takes a village”?

New camping van