26 September 2008

Pitching a fit

There are pros and cons to the meds.  Pros - - - you don't feel worthless anymore, you feel like there is a possibility that things might maybe get better, you're able to function a little better.  One of the things that bothers me about them can't really be called a con, but it does bother me.

I can't believe that I'm going to kvetch about this.

The meds change your outlook, and not a little, either.  I don't get angry, or super-upset, about much of anything at all.  As if there's a refrain of REM's Shiny Happy People running through my head.  I see others get upset about something, or lose their tempers, and most of the time, it is difficult for me to understand why they're all in a tizzy.  Is anyone going to die over whatever the problem is?  Are we standing on the precipice of complete disaster?  No?  Well, then, geez, dude, chill.  

How do I know that these reactions are the meds?  Hahahahahaha.  *snerk* Hoooo! Wait, wait, lemme catch my breath.....bwahahahahaa!  Ask anyone who went to elementary/high school with me about my rage.  I spent most of my teen years being pissed at the world in general, and even into my 20s, I still had the occasional anger issue.  I never physically hurt anyone; but I can be bru-tal with what comes out of my mouth.  Words that can wound badly, I'm good at that when I've got some rage going. 

I'm also a little mystified when someone gets angry at me.  Especially when I've done something that was not planned with an eye to piss them off.  Sure, sure, I snark a good deal, say sarcastic and biting things, which I then have to apologize for when what I thought was smart and funny was instead hurtful, or worse, unfunny.  But I don't go out of my way to make someone angry, it just isn't in my agenda.  I've got too much else to do, I haven't the time to construct elaborate plots to offend someone in my daily circle.

I think that the depression plays a part in this, too; that feeling which tells you you're worthless is the same little demon whispering in your ear who tells you that nothing really matters.  Why bother?  Its all pointless.  So when someone gets mad at you, you automatically think that you deserve it, and somehow, if you were a better person than this worthless, empty shell, they wouldn't be angry with you.  (Because that makes perfect sense, no?  There's a reason that they call it mental illness, people.)

Outwardly, that is easy to conceal; you don't show that you're hurting, there's that brave, tough-girl facade that I talk about often, which fools the world into thinking that you're an independent little cuss.  Inwardly, however, you're agreeing with every word as someone calls your intellect or whatever into question, reads you the riot act.

When the meds first started working for me, but before they were at the correct dosage, I wasn't feeling much of anything at all.  I didn't feel like I had this pit of despair sloshing around inside, but I also couldn't get excited about something, didn't feel much joy.  I had thought that feeling nothing would be preferable to feeling so horrible, but then I wasn't so sure.  Feeling nothing was sort of a relief.  But only for a little while, because that "nothing" faded back into the suffocating misery.

With the proper dosage, I regained the ability to be happy and excited about things, and also finally had the correct perspective on the world.  Losing your keys is not a reason to have a meltdown.

But has it gone too far in the other direction?  That I don't think anything is a big deal unless it is a catastrophe?  


Being a grownup?  Not the constant party I expected.  :-)

24 September 2008

Nostalgia for the musical past

Once upon a time.....

My dating history (what little there is of it, since I met DH when I was 19) is filled with musicians.  DH is not a musician, although he was a band geek.  No harm there, all of my friends were band geeks, and I was nuts about choir.  Music has always been a central part of my life.

In high school, I dated a guy who introduced me to BritPop, specifically new-wavey sort of stuff, Squeeze in particular.  He gave me a tape that he had dubbed of Squeeze's Play album, and I played it over and over and over in the tape player of my first car, a two-seater.  I loved that car, and there are a few bits of music that remind me of being 17, driving like a maniac down the highway in my cute white sports car, sun roof open, long hair blowing all over the place, music blasting at top volume.  Mostly the bad pop of the day, (En Vouge, I'm looking at you!) but a few gems like Prince's I Wanna Melt With You, Modern English, Tori Amos's Take To the Sky, and this Squeeze tape.  

Because the tape he gave me was one he'd taped from the original album on a dual tape deck, the sound was pretty crappy, and I had no idea what the name of the album was, or what most of the songs were.  I mean, you can usually guess with pop songs by the chorus of the song, but not always.  There were two songs in particular, Crying In My Sleep and Wicked and Cruel that I really liked.

Teh interweb is great for being able to vomit up the title of a song, the name of the album, and the artist's name from a few poorly remembered lyrics.  (Sorry for that imagery.)  iTunes is great for tracking down old stuff too, and I've written before about finding The Stone Roses on iTunes from the same process....type the lyrics into Google, hit enter, and within the first few hits from the search engine is the information you're looking for.

I knew that the old tape that the old boyfriend gave me was by Squeeze.  I no longer have the tape, much like my entire Janet Jackson catalog, it has disappeared into the sands of time.  I found two other Squeeze tracks I liked on iTunes, Black Coffee In Bed and Tempted, but there was no locating Crying In My Sleep.  Maybe I didn't remember the name of the song correctly.  So I searched.  I HAD remembered it right, it just wasn't out there on iTunes.

I've run into that a time or two before, but been able to locate the music I wanted digitally through begging friends to search their collections.  But with one or two exceptions, most of my online friends had never heard of Squeeze.

Amazon it was, then, et voila there was an import copy of the Play album, new, never played, from an import CD store.  Woooot!  

I have not purchased a CD for years.  Years and years and years, probably around 8 or maybe even 10 years.

So when it came (finally!  how on earth is it that something takes 10 days to get from California to Ohio?) I promptly popped it into the computer, uploaded it to iTunes, and spent the rest of the day playing the disc over and over.

One of the kind of fun things about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or my particular manifestation of it, anyway, is that I can listen to something over and over and not necessarily get bored with it.  I can re-read novels, or watch a particular movie, and not have it be super annoying.  Music in particular, though, I get particularly OCD about and have been known to put one song on repeat for an entire day.

It doesn't annoy me.  But it does annoy most of the rest of the world, and I know that, so I try to not inflict that obsession, the obsessively repetitive listening, upon others.  

I have long since stopped trying to analyze this behavior.  Why do I listen to something repetitively?  I don't know.  I just roll with it until the urge passes; I'm perfectly happy usually with the music just in the background.  It doesn't interfere with my ability to concentrate on other things, or rule my life.

But it does make me wonder.....on a scale of one to insane, where, exactly, am I?

23 September 2008


I am thisclose to declaring a moratorium on the news until the election is over.

Besides being sick unto death of the back-and-forthing over the longest presidential election in the history of the world, I'm also highly distressed over what seems to me to be a rising tide of ever-more bad news.

I heard this morning about an American-style school shooting in Finland.  Finland!  Western Finland, someplace that is close to my heart because my sister spent her exchange year in a little town called Karlby in Swedish (or Kokkala, in Finnish).  Scandinavia doesn't have the same problems that we do here in the US with gun violence, largely, IMESHO, because handguns are exceedingly difficult to get your grubby mitts on.  I'm about the farthest thing from an expert on guns; personally, like any warm-blooded liberal lunatic, I think they're pretty unnecessary.  I know my viewpoint is not universally shared, so let's move on, shall we?

It shames me deeply that in addition to exporting what is good about the US, we also export that which is bad.  School shootings get lots and lots and lots of world-wide media coverage; copy-cat crimes follow not far behind.

I had to spend quite a bit of time explaining to schoolkids in Sweden that MY high school wasn't exactly like the fictional West Beverly High in the old Beverly Hills 90210.  Perception...what is seen on the telly...ends up seeming like daily reality when viewed from so far away through the telly screen.

Obviously, someone who totes a gun into a school full of children (and these days?  I'm counting pretty much anyone under 25 as a child) with the intent to do serious harm has, what we might politely call issues.  Ya think?

Which spins me off into the tangent of the tendency of the media to treat mental illness as the demon in the middle of the room, but let's save that for next year's Mental Health Awareness week, mmmkay?  I don't want to lose my primary point here.

Which is?

My worldview is getting a serious ass-kicking these days, and I don't like it at all.  At ALL.

Somewhere in there is the explanation for why I like fandom so much.  Escapism...my daily sanity-saving drug!

22 September 2008

Come to the Darkside....we have cookies!

Finally, I must admit de-feet (pun intended) over some of my sillier high-heeled shoes.

I bought a pair of (gasp!) Crocs.  In the name of comfort.

(You may expect the world to end at any second now.)

I first became aware of Crocs through Dooce & Blurb, aka Heather and Jon Armstrong.  Jon - - - loves them.  Heather - - - hates them.  A while back, they had an ongoing back-and-forth Croc war on their blogs.  Jon had (I think) a yellow pair.  Blazing, sunshine yellow.  Or at least that's what I remember the pictures of.

Readers of both blogs chimed in, and the comments made for highly hysterical reading.  When I actually saw pictures of the shoes, I wrinkled my nose.  Ewww.

And then I went to visit my baby sister in Cal-i-forn-i-a, and she had a pair.  My sisters and I all wear roughly the same size shoe, and I stole those Crocs the very first night, when we sat 'round a campfire on the beach.  Reluctantly, when I left the island where she lives, I left the Crocs behind, too.  Mostly because she threatened me with death if I took them back to Ohio.  These things inspire passion, I'll tell you that.  

You see them everywhere.  They match absolutely nothing, look terrible, and remind me a whole lot of Swedish trädskor, which literally means wooden shoes.  That gives you a false impression of wooden shoes that are carved and boat-shaped.  But trädskor are clogs, with wooden soles, leather uppers, and open heels.  Swedes wear them everywhere.  Even sometimes with dress-up clothes, which, I must point out, is very un-attractive.  But, they're practical, comfortable, and with the wooden soles being about 2-1/2 inches tall, they keep your feet out of the slush in the winter and away from the mud in the spring.  I brought a black pair home when I was 17, and when I went to visit in 1999, I brought home a brown pair.  They're great for gardening, and that 11-th hour trip to the grocery store for a missing ingredient in something you're trying to pull together for a dinner party.  (Not that I'd know, of course.  I always have everything I need.  *eyeroll*)

I went to visit my sister in 2006.  Two long years ago.  Since then, I've looked at Crocs in sporting goods stores and shoe stores, online, just about all over the place, and I just could not bring myself to spend $40 on a pair of shoes that are so ugly, I don't want to be caught dead in them.  I freely admit to a shoe-shopping problem, and having spend scads on far less practical shoes, you'd think that I wouldn't blink at the price tag.  "Reason" (of a sort) asserted itself, however, because the nagging voice in my head that wants me to be lots more frugal kept saying, "$40?!?!  Are you KIDDING me?  Put those back!"

As with all consumer goods, though, the price started to come down, and with news stories this year about people getting injured in Crocs (although I know nothing about the details, just remember it was in the news) they started to become a bit more reasonable.

In addition to a shoe-shopping problem, I also have an Amazon.com shopping problem.  I lurves me some Amazon.  I browse there nearly daily.  I buy things from them less frequently than daily, but often enough that when I log in to the site, it says, "Welcome, Lucy.  We have recommendations for you!"  I know, it does that for everyone.  But it tempts me frequently, and I have been known to purchase things based on wise and all-seeing Amazon's recommendation alone.  They know my buying habits, which ought to scare me a little, but strangely, does not.

So they had a picture on their gateway page, what you get when you type amazon.com into your browser, and a little SALE! notation, and so, I went and had a look.  Amazon had Crocs in every color of the rainbow, even in some colors that should never be considered for shoes.  

My current favorite color is a fire-y red.  I used to think I couldn't wear red, but I've darkened my hair a bit, and I like what I see in the mirror when I'm wearing a blazing red.  So I bought a red pair.

Comfortable doesn't really cover how these things feel.  I had sided with Dooce in the Croc war, but having worn them, I now take Blurb's side.

That does not mean I'll be wearing them outside of the house, at least not regularly, but man, those are some soothing shoes.

19 September 2008

Of the Not Christian persuasion

I went to a lecture given by a survivor of the Holocaust, one of the so-called "Schlinder's Jews".  I say so-called, because quite honestly, he would vastly be preferred to be known as a renowned Cantor than a Holocaust survivor.  As he explained to us, he lost everyone - - - uncles, cousins, his mother, his sister, ev-ry-one - - - during those horrible years, and it is painful enough to live with his own memories, he neither needs nor wants pity from the rest of us.

Ever since someone gave me a copy of Anne Frank's Diary when I was 11 or 12, I have been a voracious reader of everything I could get my hands on about the Holocaust.  I studied German in college for a few varied reasons; it was the closest thing to Swedish my Uni offered, it was taught by someone I admired....but also in the hope that I would someday be able to read historical documents of the time in the original German.

I'm also a complete language geek, but y'all knew that already.

Due in part to that language geekiness, I even know a few words of Yiddish.  He peppered his lecture with the occasional Yiddish word, and is it wrong that I felt exceedingly smug for knowing what the words meant without a translation?  Probably.

At the end of his remarks, he took questions from the audience, and they were interested in many things about his journey; but a dominant theme, asked several times and in several different ways, was this: how had he survived?  What gave him hope?  What made him able to get through each day, through the thousands of indignities foisted on them, great and small?

Perhaps not surprising, considering that he is a world-renowned Cantor, his answer was that his faith had sustained him.  His spirituality.  Or maybe that is surprising, because you might think that music would have helped him significantly.  After the war, he came to the US and studied at Julliard, and in that, I envy him.  There was a time when I would have killed for that honor.  But he said no, that he had not discovered his musical talents until after the war.

I waited until almost the end of the question-and-answer session to ask my question.  Since he had talked a whole lot about his work as a Cantor, (although he's retired now) and he made a point of telling us how he'd rather be known for his singing than for his survival, I wanted to hear him sing.  So I asked: "Do you still sing, and would you sing for us?"

"I'm retired!" was his immediate response; several people in varied places in the crowd called out (hilariously, completely in chorus) "We don't mind!"  He looked at me and said, "Young woman, you put me on the spot!"  I smiled, completely unrepentant, and apologized.  I was really surprised, though, when the crowd began to urge him along, and began to applaud.

So he did.  I had thought to ask him to sing something joyful, as a counterpoint to the tragedy and horror he spoke of, but decided at the last second that just might have been pushing it, a specific request.  

He sang of faith, how those of the faith never walk alone.  

It was, in a word, glorious.  

I'm always surprised when people's singing voices differ greatly from their speaking voices; I think I sound the same no matter if I'm speaking or singing.  His singing voice was deeper and richer than his speaking voice, and almost without accent.  While when he was speaking, his accent was thick and obvious.

In addition to my language geek issues, I'm also a music geek, so I appreciated what he sang for the sheer musicality of it.  Singing a capella, with no warm-up, no advance warning, on pitch and on key?  Damn near impossible.  And therefore, impressive.  Extremely so.  Moving, too, there was barely a dry eye in the house when he finished.

Mostly due to my sheltered upbringing, I've never run into anyone who was as fervent about their faith as evangelical Christians are.  While I know that there are plenty of people who are as zealous about their non-Christian faiths as the evangelicals, I'd never met one before.

I feel much the same way about his deep faith as I do about the Christians I know; I can admire their faith without sharing it.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

After the lecture, several people thanked me (!!!) for asking him to sing, saying they'd wanted to ask but weren't brave enough.  I waited in line to speak to him, and apologized again for putting him on the spot.  In the most Continental fashion, he winked at me, kissed my hand (which was incredibly cute) and told me he hadn't minded.  I thanked him for indulging me, and told him I felt very lucky to have had the chance to hear him sing.

I left the lecture feeling as if I'd had an epiphany; how about that?  There are other faiths that feel as strongly about their religions.  Who knew?

18 September 2008


A comment left on the delightful Mrs. G's blog the other day made me giggle, and then sigh, because while clever, it made me realize that yes, I've got that little voice inside my head.  

Mrs. G had solicited comments from her readers for advice for her college-bound daughter.  One of the respondents suggested that Miss G listen to that little voice inside her head, y'know, the one that sounds like your mother?

I have a conglomeration up there, of my Dad, my Mother, my Swedish Mama, and my grandmothers, both of them.

My father despises fast food.  Actually 'despise' isn't strong enough of a word.  Abhors, that might come close.  When we were kids and traveling in the car (which we did often, from Oh-hia-ia to Florida and from Oh-hia-ia to northern Michigan, and back again.) Dad would never want to stop at Mickey D's, BK, Taco Bell, or any of the other zillions of fast food outlets.  On the very seldom occasions when we DID do a fast food joint, there was ABSOLUTELY no eating in the car.  We went inside.  Without fail, when we were done, Dad would wash his hands.  Every time.

My sisters and I thought that was hilarious.  As we moved to our teen-aged years, it was a reason to roll our eyes.  Vociferously.

And then.  Of course.  I have started to feel the same way.  I had a quick taco at Taco Bell the other day, and when I was finished eating it, I wanted to not only wash my hands, but I also contemplated a second shower.  Ugh.  Gross.  

I avoid fast food as much as I am able, but modern hectic life means that sometimes, that's what you do.  I try to make the best choices I can among the very bad options, minimizing my fat intake, and trying to keep my daily caloric count down, too.  But recently, I've started to feel that ugh-I-need-to-cleanse-myself-of-this-grease feeling after even just an Iced Coffee from Mc D's.  


16 September 2008


Is it too much to ask to be able to run without pain?  I'm starting to think so.  I'm back on the daily grind of gym at an ungodly hour, work, home, dinner, knit for a short while, and bed.  I try to ride my bike to work at least 2-3 days a week, but Oh-hia-ia's weather, as usual, has been tres un-co-operative.

I can't seem to manage an entirely pain-free run.  Either I get stabs and twinges in my knee(s) or I get shin splints that are excruciating.  I'm using Podrunner: Intervals to train this time around, following their very sensible regimen of running 3 days a week and strength training on alternate days.  

I know I've written about Podrunner before, but it bears frequent repeating: this is phenomenal music to run to. (Linkage in the sidebar under Music, Bands, Radio.  I'm too lazy to type the html this morning.  Deal.)  Podrunner: Intervals are the brainchild of DJ Steveboy, and the idea is to take you from couch potato to running a 5K in 10 weeks.  As I've not done much running during calendar year 2008, it seemed prudent to just start all over, as if I had never run.  I had debated jumping in to Intervals around week 3 or 4, and I'm glad that I didn't.  I can only imagine how much pain I'd be in if I'd decided to just skip ahead.  Lots.

Intervals continues after the 5K as well, training for an 8K, a 10K and, I'm sure, in time, will also work its way to a half and a full marathon.  

I've tried all sorts of things for the shin splints.  I was advised to: eat more bananas (yuk), drink more water (more?!?!),  get new shoes (yeah, did that, too) and none of it has worked.  Shocking, I know.

I despise bananas.  Just....ick.  Unless, of course, we're talking about a banana milkshake.  Then, yeah, I'm all for it.  So what I've done about that is incorporate them into the protein smoothies I make, where they're not the predominant flavor.  I use those as a meal replacement sometimes, or I use them when that 10 AM or 3 PM I'm-so-hungry demon shows up.

I really thought with the last new shoe purchase, back in April when I was in Florida, that the shin splint problem would be over.  I went to a store that sells only running shoes.  I took my old shoes, to show them the wear pattern.  They spent over an hour with me, watching me walk, jump, sprint, and jog in place.  They gave me a pair of shoes that were heavier than my old ones, which was weird until I got used to them.  I did use them to run around in Florida, and had little trouble.  That honeymoon didn't last long; after I got back to OH, it was the same story.  Clearly?  I need to run only in Florida.  Heh.  Too bad that's not really an option.

As for the water, how much more can I drink?  I get far more than the recomended 6-8 8-ounce glasses every day.  @ work, I have a 24-ounce tumbler that sits on my desk, and I drink usually 2.5 of those in a day.  I drink at least 16 ounces while I'm working out.  Another 12-20 at dinner.  99.9999% of the time, I'd rather drink water than anything else.  I do have my morning coffee, but not every single day, so we can't blame caffine for draining all my hydration.  I don't drink soda.   My eyeballs will be floating if I drink more water.

For curing the pain after it has occurred, I do all sorts of not-really-helpful things.  I stretch, after every run, far more than the casual exerciser will stretch.  Because it feels woooonderful.  I have tried hot baths (in the winter) or sitting in the sauna after my runs.  Also feels good, but doesn't cure the pain.  Lavender oil, massaged into the legs along with a base moisturizer.  Smells nice.

I go to see my physical therapist (PT) when the pain is out of control.  What does he say?  Don't run.  Full stop.  Running's bad for your body.  Tell me something I didn't know, genius.  Life is hazardous to your health, FFS.  I'd rather be skinny and have bad knees from running than fat and unhappy.  Sorry, PT.

Suggestions for pain-free running gladly accepted in the comments box.

12 September 2008

Immigration. Again.

I heard a news story that was preceded by the pundit wittily noting that this election season, Sarah Palin's lipstick is more of an issue than immigration.  And ugh, he was right.  That is dammed annoying.

The report was about yet another right-wing nut job "we're against everyone who isn't just like us" group.  An anti-immigration lobby, that has taken out ads in Harper's and The New York Times and I've already blocked what their name was from my memory.

The thing is....the United States is a nation of immigrants.  I've ranted about this before, probably ad nauseum, but it still bugs me every time I hear someone talking about how all of those (Mexicans, Africans, Syrians) insert your favorite social minority here are ruining this country for the rest of us.  What-ev-er!  Isn't it a good thing that no one felt that way about their grands and greats?  Unless you can trace your ancestry to waaaay back before the Mayflower as being entirely Native American, guess what?  There is an immigrant in your family tree.

Is the far right really that dumb?  Whoever this group was, they are taking out ads warning of overpopulation, and how massive immigration just might destroy the environment.  Riiiight.  Because it is the recent immigrant population that is living in McMansions, driving giant SUVs, and continuing to push along the consumer-driven economy by purchasing ever more stuff at Wal-Mart.  Silly me.

09 September 2008

Off & On & Up

Even though my depression is mostly regulated thanks to modern medicine, I still have days here & there that are difficult.  Sometimes I know what triggers it.  Sometimes I don't.  When I'm having a difficult day, I often say that I'm "a little rough around the edges."  I picture single-celled organisms from my high school biology days, with spiky outlines.  Usually the meds soothe this; the meds make it easier to deal with things that would otherwise be catastrophes of epic proportions.  When the meds weren't quite right, or before I sought treatment, something as mundane as losing my keys could send me tail-spinning.

These days, it doesn't have to be anything in particular; I've decided that hormonal surges can account for days when I'm sarcastic and snarfy and snarky with everyone and everything.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, how would you be able to tell the difference from any other day, Luce?  There, I beat ya to your snark!)  

Today is one of those rough around the edges days.  I looked in the mirror this morning whilst getting ready for work, and I noticed the bit of weight I've gained in my face.  That bummed me out.  Then it is an overcast day, rainy and miserable, and it is going to be like that for a few days around here.  That grey, oppressing sky!  It makes me feel like the clouds themselves are pushing down on me, dark forces un-named making it hard to see out of the gloom.  

I frequently get songs stuck in my head, and this morning I woke up humming the harmony from a Dave Matthews Band song, #41.  I know I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but the sax player from DMB died recently, far too young, and there's an evocative solo he had in that song, and thinking about it made me sad.

Add those three things up, and bam, not such a good day in the offing.

Folks who haven't walked down Depression Way will say very un-helpful things like, "Snap out of it.  Its just the blues." or "C'mon, how bad can it be?  Get over it."  Which, as I said, isn't helpful.  Because then you feel guilty for feeling this crappy.  How difficult, truly, is my life?  A roof over my head, enough to eat, I get out of bed every morning, put my feet on the floor and walk.  So much more than so many others, that I shouldn't feel crappy.  That somehow, I ought to be able to 'snap out of it.'  

As I drove to work, I kept saying things to myself like, c'mon, you're going to a job you love.  You're doing well there.  You like it.  Little mind games, to, indeed, try to snap myself out of it.  A little coffee with chocolate (have I mentioned Bellagio sipping chocolate?  Milk+ Bellagio + coffee = yum.) and avoiding listening to the news, instead listening to my "happy" playlist on my iPod, and yeah, it is going to get better.  But I wish it didn't get to the low end of the spectrum in the first place.

08 September 2008

On the evils of HFCS

I saw a commercial the other day, produced by a pro-farming lobby firm about high fructose corn syrup.  It features a guy and a girl, on a blanket, in a park, sharing a picnic.  The girl pulls out a Popsicle, and offers the guy a bite.  He declines.  She then offers him two bites, and he responds by saying, "I thought you loved me."  

"I do." she says.  

"Then why are you trying to give me something that is full of high fructose corn syrup?" he asks, all plaintive.  

"What's wrong with corn syrup?" she asks.  

He flounders around for an explanation, and she gives him a rapid fire litany of facts about HFCS, that it has the same number of calories as sugar or honey, it isn't bad for you, everything in moderation, blah blah.

If you hadn't known before that second that the commercial was produced by some corn conglomerate, you did at that point. *eye roll*  But they are kind enough to put the words on the screen at the bottom, at the end of the commercial.  

Sure, HFCS probably does have the same number of calories as honey or sugar.  And if HFCS was the ONLY sweetener in that Popsicle, it wouldn't be as bad.  But the problem is that there is sugar, HFCS, fructose, and sucrose in a whole lot of sweet treats.  You're getting sugar on top of sugar, and would you like more sugar with your sugar?  Plus, HFCS has been refined ad nauseum, and is a pretty far removed thing from the cornfields of Iowa and Oh-hia-ia.  

What is making us fat, America?  Soda, processed sugars, fast food, gargantuan portion sizes.  Guess what is in the average can of soda produced and bottled here in the US?  HFCS.  And sugar.  And at least one or two other sweeteners.  

Guess how I lost a whole lot of that 43 pounds?  I didn't eat anything that had HFCS in it.  I read labels, obsessively.  I put it back on the shelf in the supermarket if HFCS was in it, I asked for ingredient lists at my favorite restaurants, I searched foodie websites to see what has lots of corn syrup.

Granted, I did a whole lot of other things, too.  Worked my tail off (literally!) in the gym.  Controlled my portions.  Removed a lot of the processed, prepackaged stuff from my kitchen and my life.  Focused on fresh veggies and fruits, not fruit juices and canned gunk full of salt.  Avoided fast food as much as possible.  Denied myself desserts and didn't take every. single. opportunity. presented to indulge my sweet tooth.

Is HFCS dangerous?  I dunno.  I do know that as a conscious consumer, I can (and do) choose to not eat it.  But don't tell me that it is as good for you as honey is.  I know better.  You do, too.

06 September 2008

Of Labor

as in, to work hard, not to give birth

As a little girl, I often watched my dad work on cars.  I learned early what the difference was between a clamp and needle-nose pliers, what a socket was, how to turn a wrench and a screwdriver.  That knowledge has served me well over the years, as I can manage small home improvement tasks around the house, and minor car repairs, too.  

I bought a headlight and taillight for my bicycle, because it is getting to be sort of dark in the mornings.  The lights shall become a necessary evil as the year moves on, and, I'd like to continue to ride the bike for as long as I can, until it gets really bloody cold.  The packet claimed that  installation of both items needed no tools.  

They lied.

I was excited about installing them, so I ripped open the package as soon I got home.  I read the instructions, and moved my bike to a spot where it could be worked on.  

Tyvarr, inte, I figured out almost immediately.  (Sorry, not, in Swedish)  I needed assistance to get the batteries into the headlight, and the tail-light, you needed a screwdriver to open it to put the damn things in.  Once I managed that, when I tried to put the tail-light on the bike, I discovered it wouldn't fit with the existing reflector that sits under and behind the seat.  Fair 'nough.  I could handle taking the seat off and removing the reflector.  I'd watched someone else adjust a bike seat once, and they'd accidentally pulled the seat all the way off, so I knew it came out, and once it was, the reflector would be a cinch to take off.

DH has an impressive collection of tools (although I do have my own, too, but they're kept inside, and his are in the garage, where the bike was) and because he is as OCD as I am, they're well organized and properly labeled.  I had no trouble locating a 13 mm ratchet, which I used to loosen the nut holding the seat in place.  

I took the seat off, got off the reflector, and managed to place the tail-light.  It was a pain in the ass, and required standing at odd angles.  By the time I was finished, my legs ached, my hands were dirty, and I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment.  

02 September 2008


After the appointment of Joe Biden to the democratic veep, I was feeling....blah. Sure, sure, Biden's foreign policy experience balances Barak's inexperience nicely, and yeah, yeah, being an Irish Catholic from Scranton, PA works for him, for the ticket. It is just....*I* don't care so much.

And then Friday, when John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate...pandemonium. Without divulging details about my job, I can tell you that there is cable in the office, and we watched Ms. Palin give her speech at Wright State University, right here in Oh-hia-ia. It is a well-known fact that I'm a die-hard liberal, and as we watched the telly, we also watched each other for reaction.

(Gentle Goddess, I love working someplace where I'm not the only political nut, as well as someplace where I'm not the only intellectual. Heeee, heee, heee!)

I hate to say it, but Palin said a lot of things that made sense to me. I'll never vote for McCain, because he's anti-choice, but this was a masterstroke because Palin will appeal greatly to those who feel disenfranchised by the Democratic party keeping Hilary off of the ticket.

I've heard die-hard Clinton supporters say that they'd vote for McCain rather than Obama, because they're still pissed at the party. To that I say: what-ev-er. How dumb can you be? Do we NEED four more years of Republican economics, the Republican version of women's rights, the Republican version of foreign policy, where we've become one of the most despised countries in the world? No. We. Do. Not.

Palin's got a son in the military. A kid with Down's Syndrome. She's a maverick, like McCain, and she's extraordinarily articulate. She doesn't have the power that Obama does in front of a crowd, but his charisma is nearly....supernatural. I've never seen crowds respond to anyone like they respond to him. Those who were around at the time tell me that it is very Kennedy-esque. But with her son in the military and heading to Iraq, that makes it hard for anyone to bash the war. With a kid with major medical problems, she's going to be seen as an advocate for healthcare. She didn't come off as brash, or pushy, or overbearing, walking that fine line that women in public life must with exquisite care.

Then, as I was running this morning, I saw a flash on CNN that Palin's 17 year-old daughter is preggers. They're saying she's going to get married and have the baby....let's hear it for abstinence-only sex ed!!!

All I can say is that it is going to be a hell of a ride. I plan to stay tuned.