Saturday, December 29, 2012

Harbor Greens Corn Chips

There is, or now was, a good local market in Gig Harbor, Harbor Greens next door to Forza Coffee. They are more a small, speciality food-deli market than anything since QFC and Safeway is just a few blocks away.

The did have one really good thing, corn chips made locally and fresh, that is until about a month ago when they changed the recipe and snuck in cutting the size of the package from 15 oz to 14 oz for the same price.

I liked their chips because they were totally different tasting than any of the regional or national brands, where the oil and salt were part of the taste. Then about a month ago they switched from canola oil to high oleic safflower oil, and in the process killed the great taste.

I liked their chips because the diet I'm on these days only leaves cornmeal and corn chips as the only grain or grain-like food I can eat. I can't eat wheat or any of the whole list of other grains, and potatoes, especially my favorite food, potato chips, are off limits too.

Now their chips taste like any other brand of chips without any unique flavor you could distinguish from any national brands. In short they got worse and there is no reason now to go to the store except for the few other products they sell which aren't available elsewhere.

This is disappointing that in the quest for healthy foods, taste and flavor are the first victims. Sad times for really good food, you know where it leaves the taste on your fingers too.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 In Review

We all review the year about now and look at the new year. Ok, nothing new or news there or here, but it was an interesting year in summary, the first half looking real good for seeing real change in my life and the second half watching it all unravel into pieces and nothingness.

Yeah, from great to terrible and next year doesn't look better outside of I'll be on an austerity program and budget for the next 2-3 years to climb out of debt for some other things I planned about now and won't happen.

So what happened? Well, the first six months were productive for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide where I got more done in those six months than the previous two years with plans and hopes to get even more done by this time.

I was walking and getting ready to start hiking later in the spring into the summer. Or so I had planned.

Then everything went flat, literally when during the first week in July, like through the holiday, I was flat on my back in pain from a pinched Siatic nerve where I couldn't stand let alone sit or walk. I finally got to a local Multi-Care clinc to see a physican, get an MRI and a diagnosis of a pinched Siatic nerve, L4 and L5 vertebra.

What happened is that my right leg was either in severe pain or almost totally numb, and my left leg, which went numb last year for 6 weeks, was weak. The left leg got better until Thanksgiving when it got worse where I have problems walking giving me severe shin splints.

The right leg slowly got better where my September only the front of the leg from above the knee to the ankle is numb. Not totally numb to touch but numb to pain and any muscle control. I have managed to get back to walking, although running is out for awhile.

I'm up to 5-6 miles 3-5 days a week depending on my schedule but it always leaves me physically tired the rest of the day. There's no real hope things will get better except maybe slowly over time as the vertebra and the Siatic nerve heals to restore feeling and use in both legs.

I think back to January into the spring where I was walking 6+ miles with 20-25 lbs of groceries with moderate changes in elevation on the route between my home and town. I even looked to adding 2-3 miles until work kept it at 5-6 miles.

Then in September I got a bladder infection which took 3 weeks to get through and over. Gee, thanks for something in unwashed food, the lesson I learned, always wash food, always, completely before eating. Never had it but won't have it again.

That said, both of these just decimated my mind and left my Dysthymia falling into depression. Add to that the realization about a life change which was taking longer than planned reached the end when we finally discovered my digestive problems were exacerbated by the drugs.

Yes, the drugs for one thing was creating worse problems in other areas and my body and mind were revolting. I learned it in the spring but kept trying until October when the last test proved the worst, there is no more to be done with drugs.

I also realized trying to get my personal business up and running over the last two years has exhausted my savings, and then from July with the medical bills I started losing my emergency savings account where I'm at the bottom financially.

By Christmas I was exhausted physically, mentally and financially, and why the new year doesn't look good beyond just trying to get and feel better and crawl out of debt. But it's better than being worse, so I'm not complaining, just bitching at the circumstances, partly my own undoing.

So next year is a tossup for now, and I'll blog here as it progresses.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Just thinking back on Christmas Day. Yeah, all of my immediate family but my sister are gone, only cousins and nieces and nephews long distant in time and place left. I still haven't located Linda who retired from the hospital in Eugene, Oregon.

One thing I do remember when I go out this day somewhere is that after I left the military I worked at a full service (pumps and bays) gas station just off Interstate 70 at Watt Ave in Sacramento. The station was on the southwest corner of the intersection on the north side of the interstate on/off ramps.

Both Linda and I worked there, she started before me since I hadn't left the military yet and I stayed longer as she got a job with one of the companies who contracted the service of the fleet vehicles at the station. We worked different shifts or at gas stations (he owned several).

But one thing was expected, everyone worked Christmas and New Years Days. He scheduled everyone to work 2-4 hours so no one got the day off and everyone shared the work that day. He also stopped by all the gas stations during the day to thank everyone.

We didn't get gifts or bonuses. He paid the minimum wage with no benefits. Owning and operating gas stations was a competitive business, so there wasn't much margin. He wasn't rich himself and worked hard with all his gas stations, all Union 76 brand.

But it didn't bother us who worked there. Most of my nearly two years was graveyard (midnight to 8 am) shift at the 24-hour station and later swing (4 pm to midnight) shift at the one or another station, usually closing that one for the night.

The shift work was because I was full time at a local community college on the GI Bill. The owner helped people in small ways to ensure they could work toward their goals in life and the owner accommodated me for that, although Linda worked the day shift which didn't help our marriage, but that's another story.

Anyway, I just thought of this day back in 1973. Strange what Christmas memories linger in your mind. Many long forgotten but a few always remembered.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Naps & Sleeping

I sleep in my bed, or occasionally a sleeping bag, but I always take naps on the futon couch. I can't sleep on the couch longer than a nap and I can't fall asleep for a nap on my bed. Don't know why, it just seems to be for me, beds are for sleeping and couches are for naps.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I wrote about having gone through, and occasionally still having, electrolysis to remove my facial hair, see my post 307 hours later (now 313 hours through 2012). Well, I go once a month now and likely will for a few more months before going just every 2-3 or more months next year to be done.

Reading about people, men, women, transwomen, etal who are contemplating it or are going through it, here are a few tips I've learned from my time and experience.

First music. I used to bring CD's, now I bring my iPhones and play the music I want the electrologist allows for the session. She has a music player for this purpose and I can share my eclectic collection of music and not let the pain fill the silence.

Second, a squeeze ball. I use the zen of electrolysis by mentally transferring the pain from the needle and treatment to my hand with the squeeze ball which I squeeze as hard as I can during the treatment for each hair.

Suffice it to say some areas of the face are especially sensitive, like just under the nose. It causes you to want to scratch it or sneeze. My electrologist treats that area carefully, giving me time to react if I want to do either scratch or sneeze.

Third tears. I don't say anything during session except conversation, but I let the tears flow from the corners of my eyes. When she asked why I don't say anything I told her:

If tears had voices, you would hear them a block away.

I express the pain through those ways and allows her to work with very few breaks for my reaction.

Anyway, just some thoughts. To everyone going through it, good luck. To everyone planning to go through it, even more good luck. You'll need it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There is Music and...

There is music and there is Carlos Santana. I have a number is his albums from his first, all bought when they were original vinyl and I've seen him in concert in the early 1970's. It's hard to know which of  them is the best, but it's clear from his first, they all get better than the previous ones. This one, Milagro, is always a favorite.

He just keeps getting better, his music, his musicianship and himself as someone who has spoken out for human rights and worked for organizations fighting for human rights and better conditions in the world.

Thank you Carlos for your lifetime of music and achievements, and my memories.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Five Months Later

I've written about my pinched Siatic nerve which gave me problems in June with my right leg, similar to the problems with my left leg in June 2011 which left it partially numb for 6-8 weeks before fading away, and the sudden pain in early July which left me flat on my back for 4 days unable to stand, sit or walk.

And I've written where the bulk of the pain faded leaving the front half of my right leg almost completely numb from just above the knee to the ankle with just enough feeling when you touch the skin but no reflect response or pain when hit or poked.

I started walking in early September, starting with 2.5-3 miles and working up to 5-6 miles, the distance I was walking last winter (to town and back, 2.5-3 miles one way depending on the route). I've been walking 3-4 days a week, taking a week off sometimes due to illness (flu/cold) or business and life.

So where am I at now five months later? Well, walking about 6 miles is good, I'm up to a 15-16 minute pace the whole time except for hills and the continual problems of shin splints which I haven't resolved trying a variety of shoes and KT tape.

The KT tape has helped relieve some of the shin splints but it's dependent on the shoes and air temperature, no pain when it's warm but the pain returns in the first mile or so as the air temperature drops, especially below 50 degrees.

I have more shoes to try, another old pair I tried before which helped some and a new pair on order similar to the pair that works the best. Shin splints have long been a problem since I started running 35 years ago and while disappearing for months, it always came back for months to years.

I'm fine with it when walking normally where I'm not pushing for time or walking more than a mile at a slow to moderate pace with stops, like shopping, but it always seems to come back if I walk faster or longer distance without stopping.

The problem is that I underpronate with my left foot, less so with my right so there is no problem with shin splints, just the left leg. But with the pinched Siatic nerve in my right leg now, I'm not close to what I was walking last winter.

And this is where I'd like to be this winter, walking easily at a moderate to faster pace (15 minute miles) for 6-8 miles. That was the goal last winter which I didn't reach for other reasons, even though I had routes already mapped out to town and back.

Also I was carrying 15-25 pounds of groceries or other purchases then which I can only carry up to about 10 pounds now. In short, I have a long way to go, really in both senses of the idea of time and distance.

I have no idea if or when the numbness in the right leg will fade away. The specialist just said it takes months into years to let the bulging disc heal and until then moderate stress on it but still exercise to keep from losing too much fitness.

Gee, thanks for the prescription, we've can't solve it and you can only keep it from getting worse.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I'd love to know why I still get pimples at 63 and have to wash my face at least daily because it gets too oily?

Cooking Not to Eat

Besides buying foods to think about them, I also buy food and cook meals to sample during the process and then don't eat more a few bites once it's ready to eat. I buy food to cook it and really not eat it. Yes, dumb and wasteful. Totally, on my part. But it's not about the food or the efficiency of money or food.

It's about the idea and thought of the food itself, to keep me connected to something I know almost everyone else has the power to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. The freedom to eat.

I don't have that freedom, even the luxury. Part is the digestive issues and part is that it's hard to buy some foods small enoough for one person to prepare, so I end up buying the smallest package and trying to divide the ingredients down to one person.

You can buy one of something in the meat department. They'll always accommodate you to split a package, even split a piece of meat, poultry or fish to the size you want but you can't split frozen meat, poultry or fish products.

You can buy enough fresh vegetables for yourself, but not packaged ones. The same for fresh fruit and frozen fruit. The same for bakery goods. And so on down the list where I have to buy fresh or what's available in the smallest packaged size to fit my needs.

But in the end, I often just cook food just to cook it and really not eat more than a few bites to satisfy the reward of cooking it. I'm not a good cook. I don't spend more than necessary preparing or cooking foods.

And that is mostly just a few minutes and into the oven at 350 for an hour (hint, that cooks almost everything except fish which is shorter) or put the lid and simmer, and then come back when the timer goes off. I don't use the oven too much anymore after buying a Breville Smart Oven, a way cool thing.

You just put it in, set the type, temperature and time and wait for the ding. I also have an extensive set of older style Calaphon cookware I bought 15+ years ago which is also way cool as it makes a bad cook like me better. It's really great stuff.

All that I was bought when I could cook and eat food, and now it's not often used except when it's ordinary stuff I can eat or the occasional time I buy food to cook but not eat more than a sample. But then I cook with some really good cookware and utensils.

After all, if you're going to cook, make sure you do your best. How much you eat isn't as important as the quality of your cooking. No one wants to cook to hate to eat what they cook. Even if only a few bites.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nothing New

Why do we open the refrigerator hoping there is something our taste buds will trigger us to find something and think, "Wow, that looks good to eat.", when there is nothing new and nothing worth eating at the moment?

I'm trying to cut the frequency of snacks I eat during the day since I don't eat big meals anymore from 4-6 times to 2-3 times, but this always leaves me hungry, more hungry than before when a snack only wets the appetite to want more.

So everytime I walk into the kitchen I want to eat something and consequently open the refrigerator looking for a tasty snack or two, but as always hope there is something new, I always know there's nothing new.

And I close it not eating anything. I found a cool poster, meant for women but equally applies to men changing a few words, about eating to remind me not to eat when there's no reason to eat. It's posted on the cabinet door next to the refrigerator.

But I keep opening the refrigerator door.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Hands

I'm slowly losing the use of my hands, at least when it gets cold, say under 50 degrees, and especially under 40 degrees. It started in the winter of 1990 doing field work for the U.S. Geological Survey, a short biography, for the Tacoma, Washington office.

I transferred from Phoenix, Arizona to Tacoma, Washington in January 1987 after nearly 5 years in Arizona and 4 years in the Eugene, Oregon office. It's a long story about being forced transferred from Oregon to Arizona (all illegal then and now) and then recruited to Washington (questionable but not illegal).

Anyway, my first job here (Tacoma) was what I always did for the USGS, field work as a hydrologic technician and then hydrologist (different Civil Service job title based on experience and education). I did the range of water resources field work, mostly stream gaging, and other work such as geophysical field work setting dynamite charges.

I was assigned the "old man's trip" which was the southern Olympic Peninsula and southwest Washington. Despite the majority of the time for this trip which normally took 7 days was spent driving  to all the gages from the Naselle River near Astoria, Oregon, to the Quinault River north of Aberdeen, Washington.

During the winter of 1990 I was doing a wading measurement  on Big Creek after servicing the gage when I first noticed the problem. There was about a foot of snow on the ground as the whole area and Olympic Peninsula was hit with a December snowstorm.

I had set up the tagline and went about wading across making the individual section measurements of depth and velocity. When I got to the end of the measurement I went to release the clasp end of the tag line to let it float away to reel it in when I got back to the other bank, I couldn't open my left hand around the wading rod.

The fingers would not open and the hand was in a open fist position. I managed to slide the wading rod out but the finger still didn't move. I got back to the other bank and found the fingers of my right hand wouldn't move much if at all. They were, as the fingers on the other hand, locked.

I finally got all the gear back to the truck. I started the truck, turned on the heater on high and full blast. It took 15-20 minutes to get my fingers to move enough to continue work. The rest of the day and the rest of the field trip, the fingers on both hands hurt and wouldn't fully function.

And during the whole time and afterward for weeks the hands were always cold and the fingers slow to move in the morning. Well, I went to the doctor with the old line, "Doc, my hands don't work when I do field work.", to which, you guessed it, he said, "Well, don't do that."

Yeah, old joke but so true. The problem is that if you're a field technician in the USGS, you work year-around, no excuses, no matter the weather. You don't like it, find another job in the USGS. I did find another job about a year later with a promotion, ending my 13+ years of field work for good.

Anyway, it was the start of my permanent condition of Raynaud's Syndrome which now plagues me almost all year from living in the Northwest the last 25+ years now. It starts in October and only lessens during the summer of June into September before returning again in the fall.

[Note.-- Raynaud's Syndrome is a reaction to the ambient air temperature where the body reduces flow to the extremities to preserve heat in the torso and organs. It's an automatic response which can't be controlled by anything. It also produces the same effect when holding anything cold, like a glass of ice drink, something from the refrigerator and especially the freezer. You get less than a minute before your fingers start to feel cold and begin to lock.]

It has hampered any photography field work where I get 10-15 minutes using a camera before I have to stop and warm my hands before the fingers lock in the position of holding the camera. At least doing large format photography I can work because there's not much continual holding anything and I can keep my fingers moving.

I have tried a variety of gloves (I have a box full of them) trying to find ones I can wear and still work, but none really work since to keep my hands warm, they're bulking and to work I need either light gloves or fingerless gloves, not conducive to keeping them warm.

And now this winter another problem started last week on top of this condition. I hold my hands, wrists and forearms flat and level with working at the computer, which I thought helped against Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

"Not so fast Grasshopper.", as they say as this last week the thumb and index finger of my right hand suddenly felt dead and heavy while holding the mouse. It comes and goes, but mostly stays once I start using the computer and holding the mouse.

And yes, it's Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. I'll have to find a wrist brace or something now to see if it helps. So that's the new thing about getting old. Beside it sucks, it only gets worse because you can't fix anything, you just adjust living with it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

If I was Young Today

If I was young today, say, I don't know, any age between 6 and 18, I'd long been on drugs, in therapy and a total wreck. Not because of what I did or didn't do, say or didn't say anything, but ll because of my personality.

I would have been diagnosed with abandonment issues, even though I had two supposedly good, loving parents, who decided not to raise me or be involved in my life, but to leave me alone to my own devices throughout my childhood and teenage years.

They taught me, and my siblings, to take care of ourselves without them, from daily hygiene, our rooms, our clothes, our time, whatever. We could get up, make our bed, get ready, make our own breakfast and lunch including washing the dishes and go to school.

We would come home, get something to eat, go play or do our homework, all until dinner, and then after dinner go back to our rooms to play or do homework. We never had to check in with them after school as long as we were home for dinner, after which they did their thing, usually watching TV and we did our thing.

And then repeat every school day and every Saturday we could go anywhere we wanted, just be home for dinner. We kept our rooms clean and organized, our clothes all put away or in the laundry room, to be washed an put on our bed for folding and storing.

Our toys were all put away unless we were using them, and then put away when we were finished. Everything about our life was neat and organized, because we had to keep it that way and we were taught to keep it that way.

Only on holiday and other occasions did my parents do anything for us or with us. They had their work and social lives which didn't include me. And when I failed my first year of college, mostly because I also had to work fulltime while going to college, I was told to leave and not come back.

I would been diagnosed with depression as I had genetic, lifelong Dysthymia and put on anti-depressants. This is a part of my personality, and over the years I've learned simply my brain isn't hardwired normally but predisposed to always see the negative first.

It was also wired to have the rewards center not function normally. I don't get excited or have longer periods of feeling happy for more than a short time, usually minutes, before I focus on what I think and was always taught, to answer the question, "Now what?", or, "What's next?", forgetting the momentary happiness for the reality of life.

I would have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder as I was extremely shy and stuttered. It didn't mind I was often shorter and smaller than almost all the girls and picked on in by the boys. I never physically grew up until after high school.

I was sent to numerous speech therapist who never helped. I stuttered until my early 20's and have been alway susceptible to it, which is why I speak as I do sometimes, to avoid the letters or words that cause me to stutter. Yes, even now.

I would have been diagnosed as a loner, even though it's alone thats fit the description than lonely. I prefered being alone, and still do. I'm comfortable being alone, but I would have been diagnosed and treated to be more social, the one thing I hated and feared.

And worst of all I would have been diagnosed as physically slow to mature and given hormones to get through puberty, which didn't start until I was 17, earlier. I would have hated it as I hated it later and hated having gone through it now.

I hated being a boy. Not that I wanted to be a girl, well truthfully yes I did and being a boy was the worst thing I could be. I was a failure at it, being short, small, stutterer and shy. I failed at PE, even though I played on the high school practice squads in tennis and played intramural basketball.

Today I would be diagnosed with gender identity issues, not gay they thought boys like me were then, not effeminite, just not masculine. I would be likely put on puberty blocking drugs today, probably the only good thing for me if I was young.

For I would be given the time and freedom to be who I was then and explore what I wanted to be when I was older. But I'm not sure I would have been convincing enough as I didn't meet the criteria as a transgender child beyond being me.

And that's because nothing makes me think or feel I'm happy. And likely the Dysthymia would mask the gender identity issues since I don't express myself, partly out of fear, partly out of hate toward and about myself, and partly because I liked being alone.

All in all my youth would have been a disaster if I was young today. I survived because I wasn't diagnosed. I survived because my parents ignored me and taught me to be independent of people when and where I can and get through the times I can't.

I survived because my personality let me survive without all the therapy, all the drugs, all the intervention "trying to help me be normal" as they would say today. I survived because of who I am than who they thought I should be.

So, be yourself. You'll survive if you don't listen, don't follow their advice, and try as you can, don't take drugs, go into therapy, or change to fit in. Just be yourself and survive as best you can. You will grow up and get the freedom you want.

It just takes time. That's the one thing you can bank on and the one thing you can give yourself. Just survive and time will give you freedom.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I Would Love to Eat

I would love to eat this burger with egg, bacon, cheese and all the trimmings with a large plate of extra crispy french fries and a tall chocolate shake. I used to eat this, twenty years ago, before it all started and this became a dream than a reality.

But, ahhh, tasty dreams are still cool. I can eat bacon, or one brand of it, some types of cheese and an occasional fried or scrambled egg(s), but all of the rest is off limits now, and more so the combination in such a tasty format as this.

To open wide and munch down through the layers to feel the textures and tasty the flavors with added fries and a shake. Alas I can still dream.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So What Can I Eat

I've written lots about the problems I have with food and my love for food, ad naseum to most readers, which leads to the obvious question, so what can I eat? Well, here's the list of foods I which is my normal diet.

Grains and similar stuff

Macrina Sour Ficelle bread, $3 per loaf
Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers
Corn chips (Harbor Greens brands - local market)

I don't know what I can eat the bread and crackers and not other breads or crackers, it just seems to be. What I haven't tried very often but can eat if I want.



Celery, maybe
Potatoes, not anymore and no Potato Chips either (damn)




Ham (not Pork), including sandwich Ham (some brands), bacon (Hemplers)
Seafood, mostly Shrimp and crab or Lobster occasionally
Canned Salmon (Northwest/Alaska brands, no national brands), especially Pink Salmon


Lactose-free non-fat milk (not cheap)
Hard cheeses, namely favorites of Gouda, Edam, Cheddar
Butter, not really but I refuse to stop using it


Creamy Peanut Butter, Adams brand
Jam/Preserves without seeds, regional brands
Mayonaisse, not really but I refuse to stop using it
Eggs, rarely but ok in mixes
Protein Drinks - Spirutein mixes 2-3 times a day
Clif and Power Bar brand protein snacks
Chocolate, occasionally and in small amounts


Salt - that's all
Herbs - a few occasionally

What this means is simple, nothing that is hard, fiberous, or roughage, such as celery, nuts, seeds, whole grains, foods with hard to digest shells (eg. corn, peas), etc.. No green or leafy vegetables. Nothing spicy or prepared with grains, vegetables, etc. not on the approved list.

And above all, nothing with probiotics in it. I personally wouldn't recommend eating anything with probiotics until you know which one of them works for you or not. You can test this by buying individual (of the 6 types) probiotic supplements to see which works or not. This is from my GI specialist.

All in all, despite the shortness of the list, it's ok since I like all of it and have found brands, usually local or regional, which are great tasting which is enough variety most days, and I allow myself one or two experiment meals a week where I have 2-3 days to see what happens.

And I eat these through the day in 4-6 snack-sized meals during the day, fewer times and less when I walk and more often when I don't, bad habit of walking into the kitchen and leaving chewing something.

Anyway, that's it. I'll update it as things or foods change.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Sometimes people like to tell you when they think you need a break, "Why don't you go outside, take a walk or something." Well my place is almost outdoors so I don't have to "go" outdoors, it's just outside my windows and doors.

I have a 2-bedroom apartment which overlooks the Narrows Strait to Tacoma on the other side and the Seattle/Tacoma to Portland BNSF train tracks with Mt. Rainier in the distant just a glance out the office window.

My apartment has a near 180-degree view of the southeast horizon with a 44' deck from the two Tacoma Narrows Bridges in the south and the Tacoma Utility powerline towers across the Narrows Strait on the north.

All the windows and doors to the deck look outdoors all the time. I don't close the curtains except the bedroom ones at night. This is partly because I'm mildly claustrophobic and can't stand enclosed rooms without a window I can see out and open for noise.

And that's the other thing, unless it gets cold like in the low 40 or colder, I keep some of the windows open for the breeze, and occasionally wind, through the apartment and all the sounds of the outside. I can't stand silence on an indoor space, I need the outside noise.

So when people tell me to get outside, I just say, "I already have it." I get to see the weather just flow through the day just outside the windows. I get to see the passing of the day from the early morning darkness to the night after sunset.

I get to see Mt. Rainier every day out my office window, from the dimmest form in the early morning light to the fading colors of the sunset. And on many days I get to see it shrouded in clouds, hiding from the world behind its own weather.

It's all there everyday just outside my window and just a short walk on to the deck. To sit and watch, listen and feel. In the end it keeps me sane.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Service

US Air Force, March 7, 1969 to January 2, 1973.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Being a Minority

As a voter that is. It appears outside a few votes, like for the Democrats, for Governor and for marriage equality, I'm on the other side of winning. I'm in the minority who thinks charter schools are the wrong direction and the marijuana law wasn't a good one.

And Tim Eyman should have been politically buried a long time by hamstringing the state leglislature on taxes. He's wrecked more damage to the state and the people by his out-of-state, superpac and corporate backed referendums and initiatives, the supporters didn't see or didn't care.

Oh well, such is life, but at least I'm not alone as in the wisdom to see the folly to the other side. Yes, the other side is misguided by their direction, focusing on their own personal view than the larger view of what's best for the people of Washington state.

Anyway, like everything I'll live with the results and what happens, and if by the way, the winning side turns into a bust, don't look at me, look in the mirror. I'm not the stupid one who voted for it. I'm stupid on other things but not these.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Buying to Think

I go to the grocery store once or twice a week. This is in part because it's how I learned to shop when the family lived in Europe where people often stopped by one or more different stores for food on the way home, and daily in small towns for bakery, dairy, fresh vegetables, fruits and meats and other products.

And in part because it's a good excuse to walk around grocery stores with cafe, deli's, bakeries, etc. to just enjoy the sight and smell of foods, sample food carefully avoiding obvious problem foods, and watch people.

I marvel at how much we take them for granted in the US. All those foods grown, processed, packaged and shipped from around the world to be there ready for you to buy and take home. This wasn't the case a century ago and isn't the case in many places in the world.

Anyway, sometimes I buy food to think about it, knowing most of the time it just sits on the counter or in the refrigerator until I decide I won't eat it or it goes bad or stale and throw it away. I know I want to eat it and will even look up recipes to cook it.

And sometimes if it's food experiment time, I will cook it and sample it. I rarely eat a food completely anymore, especially food experiments, to avoid the worst adverse reactions, and yes I get those occasionally - ask about Chutney chicken breast.

I know the reactions are of two types, and always the extreme which doesn't take much time to guess, extreme diarrhea or constipation. The former is usually said and one the same day or night and the latter will often take 3+ days to work itself out.

Anyway, it's something I do, just buy some fresh food to look at it and think about it. I don't buy a lot or at great expense so I'm not out a lot of money, otherwise, like Lobster, I will cook and eat it. And sometimes I surprise myself with a new food I can eat.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What I Miss

I was browsing a food Website on Tumblr and while scrolling through all the images and descriptions my brain fired a thought, I really miss my favorite doughnut, applesauce doughnut. I can't eat wheat, even gluten free, and apples for awhile, both FODMAPS.

But damn I'd eat this one doughnut. I can't remember the last time I had one since they're not common in stores and not often even in doughnut shops or bakeries. It was just one of the synapse firing from your memory, a good one except I can't fulfill it.

Sugar coated or glazed, it wouldn't matter. Just damn, I'd break my diet for one.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being Sick

I got my flu shot over a month ago but I've been sick with sick with flu-like symptoms, and discovered if I can't determine if it's from a cold, some bug or a virus or it's from some food I ate, it makes eating worse since I can't decide which among the few foods I can eat either caused the reaction or exacerbates the symptoms.

Eating less food from a narrower choice only makes eating harder with the few I know are ok. The short list of acceptable foods gets shorter. And it get boring and sucks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Food Experiments

I've written how I live on a very restrictive diet now, even less than a few months ago when my gastroenterologist suggested dropping FODMAPS from my diet which was discovered by some Australian scientist to aggrevate problems for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

My former gastroenterologist and the new one (long story about switching specialists at the same clinic which took 3 months to get approval since they both must agree even though my physician recommended the change due to my complaints) also suggested food experiments, meaning trying new foods or old foods again.

Well, I've been doing that for a few years, usually once or twice a week, mostly old food which I put on the questionable list or scratched off altogether. Besides the list of approved foods I keep a list of questionable foods which were good but recent up to two adverse reactions moved them to this list.

I also keep a three-strikes-you're-out list where after three adverse reactions it's off both those two lists only to return once a year to affirm, and only if I remember or see it in the grocery store. And this was this week's food experiment.

It was roast chicken. I love roast chicken. I loved barbecue chicken but I can't have anything barbecue anymore, so I roast it with butter, orange, dark sugar coating. Sadly it is now off the list of approved foods for the third time.

Such is life, and the more I look at menus at restaurants, especially fast food restaurants and even cafes, there isn't anything they serve or sell I can eat anymore and why I don't go to many places where food, even alcohol, is served since I can't eat or drink anything they serve, except for just one beer.

I reduced my alcohol consumption to almost zero years ago from the recommendation by my physician due to having genetic hemochromotsis which hasn't shown signs in the blood tests so far, but they said it's hard to know if it's because I avoid food and drinks which may trigger it or I'm didn't inherit from my father.

That said, it's also why I love food blogs with lots of pictures. Yeah, torture for sure and I could eat everything in every picture, but they show me ways foods I can eat can be prepared to be better and foods I can eat but don't can be prepared to be worth trying.

Anyway, the point is that when a food experiment goes awry with my digestive system, it takes 2-3 days to recover. Not smart but what else can I do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simple Choice

I have a simple choice every day now. If I excercise or be active I don't eat but a few snacks during the day. I get fitter, lose weight and my clothes fit again.

If I don't exercise or I'm not active I eat two to three times what I eat when I exercise or am active. I gain weight and my clothes become snug or don't fit.

So, it's a simple choice now which I do and who I want to be, healther and fitter or not. And when you're older, you can't give yourself too many days off from exercise or you find it harder to get the will to exercise.

I read once that your physical fitness habits when you're old are set in your mid-late 30's. You can change this but it's harder to get better and far easier to get worse. So, take heed to learn and do well in your 30's for it will pay off 20-30 years later, and you'll thank yourself.

Trust me, been there, done that and am there now.

One & Two

I'm taking two drugs for a medical condition, and fortunately the prescription has some latitude for the number of pills I take every day up to the maximum recommended by my physician. Because of the side effects of both drugs, I've had to moderate the daily dosage (number of pills) based on how I feel physically and mentally.

One drug has the side effect of crashing my metabolism, making me physically tired all the time where I become a couch potato. The other one exacerbates my Dysthymia into depression and makes me mentally fuzzy where I'm so slow in thinking I forget.

The second drug was reported this year as exacerbating intestinal problems, such as a bleeding small intestine and constipation. This caused me to take myself off it for months after just a 1-2 weeks at the lowest dosage.

I also took myself off cholesterol drugs because they all had a similar effect on the body, crashing it completely after a few weeks. With my cardiologist's advice we lowered my cholesterol level from over 250 to just under 200 in 6 months with diet and exercise, and it's likely even lower now.

Then after the Siatic nerver this last July and the recent bladder infection along with the walking I was able to return to the full dosage of one but just the half dosage of the second. After two weeks on the full dosage of the second, I was so mentally fuzzy I could barely think.

And both recent medical problems changed my digestive system where it's not reacting the same to foods which has caused me to go through the food list again and add or remove foods which now have problems, by themselves or exacerbating intestinal problems.

This is when the gastroenterologist added avoiding FODMAPS to the list and review and test the other foods. Suffice to say the list of acceptable foods has grown shorter, but at least I like all of them. They don't keep the taste buds happy but it does keep the rest of the body happy.

So, I'm getting better with the walking but it's coming at a price of my body fighting the side effects. Ain't that the world we live in, the drugs to cure us hurts us differently and often worse. So the idea now with the drugs, "One is ok, two is too much."

Monday, October 29, 2012


Nope, it's not a zip code. It was the identifier to my job in the US Air Force (1969-73). It identified me as a Special Electronics Technician in the 1035th AFTAC, or Air Force Technical Applications Command with headquarters then in Alexandria, Virginia.

More specifically after basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas and training at Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado, I was attached to the 1155th Technical Operations Squadron at McClellan AFB (Air Force Base) north of Sacramento, California west of North Highlands.

My job was in depot engineering and maintenance for the worldwide network of field stations for the various system used to monitor the nuclear test ban treaty. That was our mission, to watch the world for nuclear tests and assemble a complete picture about the bomb.

I spent the rest of my four-year duty there except for a few temporary duty assignments to Edwards, AFB, California, Eielson AFB, Alaska, Alexandria, Virginia, and Hamburg Germany (actually a small town outside the city I can't remember the name).

I was scheduled to go on tour to Aukland, New Zealand, Alice Spring, Australia and Chang Mai, Thailand but my boss changed the orders the week we were supposed to leave as he wanted the trip. He was reassigned when he returned from the trip for changing the orders preventing me from going.

My job was intitailly in the maintenance shop for the equipment for the H-System or magnetic and electrical systems used to detect nuclear explosions. There were 8-10 different systems with two additional airborne and one sea-based systems.

The field sites using the H-System were in Thule, Greenland, Edwards AFB, California, Alexandria, Virginia, Hamburg, Germany, Punto Arenas, Chile (closed 1970), the Shah's Wildlife Reserve, Iran (closed in mid-1970's), Alice Springs, Australia, Aukland, New Zealand, Chang Mai, Thailand, and the test facility at McClellan AFB, California.

All equipment was repaired at the depot at McClellan AFB and shipped to the field sites. Field sites were not allowed to repair equipment but to operate 24/7 and to remove and replace any equipment which failed to operate correctly. Later I was transferred to engineering where I developed, built and tested new equipment with the scientists.

Some of the equipment was used by other system, mostly the seismic system which was very similar to earthquake monitoring and detection systems used then and today. The chart Helicorders still in used for graphic display of seismic data was developed in part during the 1960's from this program and system.

[Note.--The graph is not an ink on paper recording. The paper is three layers of a base paper layer, carbon black layer and a top layer of burnable paper. The "pen" is a heat element powered by 450 volts DC to burn the trace through the top layer exposing the carbon trace. This makes the trace permanent and can't be smudged, erased or ruined in any way. The tics are 10-second intervals.]

Anyway, it was a fun job but in the end I always remembered that the mission of 1155th TOS was to identify, locate and reconstruct nuclear explosions, and in the event of a nuclear war, we were the score keepers. We could detect any nuclear explosion on the earth or moon, meaning anywhere underground, on the surface, underwater, and atmospheric.

Scary thought then but we all survived.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finding Your Heart

The best advice often is to find what you're passionate about and do it with all your heart. In other words, finding your heart, find who you are, finding what you love and finding where you want to go in life.

This applies not just to what you do, as I note, but to who you are, not just as a person and how you express your personality, temperament and character, but also as your gender. Yes, the vast majority of people don't see this aspect for one reason.

The sex assigned them at birth, male or female, pretty much matches their gender identity. The physical sex and the gendered mind are different but connected in everyone of us. We're born with a body which ranges from clearly female to clearly male, and most people are near the ends of the spectrum with some people somewhere in the middle.

Our gender identity is in our brain, hardwired into a sense of being, our sense of who we see ourself, across a spectrum from female to male with people in the space in between. It's what defines us later in life about how we present ourself to the world, to be seen as who we are in our mind.

Sometimes people are born where the body and mind are on different parts, sometimes different ends, of the spectrum where the body is one sex and the mind it the other gender. For many intersex people, this is common as their body has both sexes but their mind has a different mix of genders.

For the rest of us, meaning the few of us who have the body of one sex and the mind of the other gender, it's something we didn't want but have to find a way to live with it, but in the end almost everyone makes the decision the mind matters more than the body.

Because the body can be changed to be physically the other sex, less the parts which are innately part of their genetics, but the mind can't be changed due to the hardwired sense of being. Despite all the therapy and faith, which everyone demands, the mind will never overcome the innate sense we all have of ourself.

And to some, it's not what other people like or want us to be, but it's what our heart and mind knows who we are, who we want to be and who we can be, if only the rest of the world understood and didn't hate us for being who we are.

Finding your heart is both the struggle within yourself over the obviousness of your body and the struggle to free your mind and heart to have the body it wants, and the struggle to overcome all the forces of others who tell you differently.

Finding your heart is sometimes the only struggle that matters, everything else follows, and it's the hardest struggle you face in your life, the rest is what follows on the journey and hopefully when you find your heart and mind, and your body, together.

And for some it will take most of their life. Do it when you're young and live your life as you know who you are. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Find and follow your heart. Be yourself.

The Last Nap

I take a lot of naps now, almost every day, usually in the early afternoon between 1 and 4 pm. I have a really comfy couch with is similar to a futon but doesn't fold out but has a futon cushion. It's just long enough to stretch out with a pillow for my head and feet against the pillow at the other end.

And I'm usually asleep quickly. The length of the nap depends on how tired I am that day but last from short, usually 15-20 minutes, to long, usually 30-45 minutes. And I always wake up with a sudden start where I hear myself breath and my mind is awake.

Every now and then I lie there thinking how lucky I am to have that moment when I feel myself breath in and my mind awake up because if I didn't, I wouldn't know I had died. I think death must be similar if it occurs while you're sleeping, you just don't wake up.

You don't feel yourself breath and you don't feel your mind wake up. You never know it, you never realize it and you never see the world again. The last nap.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

KT Tape

I've suffered from shin splints all my running life, since I started running at 28. They came and went, sometimes nothing for months and then pain for months, and always in the first half mile of a run.

Since some other health issues I stopped running 2+ years ago but did manage to find periods where I could walk 5-6 miles a few times a week, until that is, early July when my Siatic nerve pain stopped everything except short walks.

The pain eventually faded but it  left the front of my right leg numb from above the knee to the ankle, meaning the knee and shin, but I was able to resume some sense of walking.

In September I started distance walking again, first 3-4 miles twice a week to now ~5+ miles 3-4 times a week. But all of it was walking through shin splints in the left leg in the first mile or so, after which the pain disappears.

Then I saw an ad for Spider Tech sports tape. I sent away for the free sample which I have but in the meantime I found KT Tape (Kinesiology Tape), photo above, which works great on shin splints. I can do 2-3 days of walks with the tape and only feel a slight twinge for a minute or so in the first mile or so of the walk and then nothing afterward.

This is great stuff. I don't know how it works on other muscles but it's great for shin splints. The downside is that it isn't cheap and not common in stores. It's $10 for 14 strips (1 box), so that's about a $1.50 for each pair twice a week. Considering the alternative, it's money well spent.

The other up side of this is that I've lost over 10 pounds so far (all fat) and an inch in my waist where my old jeans now fit. Last winter I bought larger jeans from the weight gain from the health issues and this week they're too big for me.

I have a whole fall and winter to walk and lose more weight, aka fat on me, and another inch or so in the waist. Lots of older clothes will fit again. That's cool, especially for a mid-60's person like me.

As for the toes, well there's a story there too. Really?

Since I started walking last winter I got and always have 2-3 black toes on both feet. In addition, I love walking barefoot in and around the home, and the little toes are my foot bumpers, always hitting furniture and things, which then turns separates the nail and turns it black.

So I found it was easy to trim them and use black nail polish so the toes obvious to me when I walk barefoot. They also obviously hide the really ugly black toes. And to all those "real" men types who argue against something like this, you should try it, you might find it fun.

What are you afraid of? Your manhood over nail polish? Really? Try it, you can't lose anything and you'll get a smile from everyone. It's cool too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Sometimes my mind gets so full, too full, and random thoughts spill out into my consciousness and I can either write them down or let them fall into mental oblivion, and good, bad or just something someone, even many, have already said, they're still my thoughts.

And writing them down is better than trying to remember them later knowing I won't.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Being Old

The problem with being old is that you can't be yourself because being old and being someone you truly are or being young isn't acceptable, unless you want to be thought of as crazy or something worse.  The problem with being old is that everyone else expects you to be as you are and as old as you are.

Being old sucks if only for the reason you lose your freedom to be anything other than old.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Real Rainstorm

Today (10/18/12) we're getting our first real rainstorm of the season. The storms where the rain pelts the roof so hard it feels like the rain is coming through the roof. You close your eyes and the rain is all around you, pelting every sense of your being, saying I'm rain.

It's so cool to hear, feel and smell, and be alive for it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Worse Part

The worse part of being sick isn't getting over it. It's getting back to where you feel normal like you were before you got sick. It's all you want to do, feel normal again. This is especially true and harder when you're old.

I had just gotten up to walking ~5 miles 4 days a week when this infection hit me and it will be into next week before I finish the drug and the side effects wane where I can start walking again, maybe earlier if I feel better.

But that's the point. It's not getting over an illness that matters, it's getting back to where you were when you became sick that matters.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wash Fresh Food

If you read the title to this posts, believe it. Really. Always thoroughly wash fresh fruit and vegetables, and even seafood and poultry, before preparing and eating if you're eating it fresh. I finally learned this lesson this week.

I bought some fresh raspberries from California last Saturday at the usual grocery store. I ate a few before I washed because they were very tasty. Through the weekend into Tuesday I started to feel like I had caught the flu because I showed the symptoms.

Well, over Tuesday night and into Wednesday it manifested itself not as the flu but as a bacterial infection, and today (Thursday) it was confirmed with urine tests that it was a bladder and urindary tract infection.

Although mild, it's very painful and worse than the flu. I'm now on Ciprofloxacin for a week to clear it out and an over-the-counter drug to reduce the pain during urination (yeah, that pain too). It will be a few days to improve the bladder and urinary tract but they tell you to continue the drug to the end.

And that's the lesson. We've all eaten fresh food, especially fruit and vegetables, without washing it. I won't do that anymore. It was just a container like the one above which did the deed, a few bites cost me a week of being sick.

It's the old adage, looks can be deceiving and foods contains bacteria, some of it very bad for people.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Imaginary Eating

I love food blogs, especially with lots of photos of finished, ready-to-eat food. I love them because I can imagine eating everything on the plate in the photos, but I also know I can't eat 99% of the foods because there always something in it that's on my no-eat list.

I tell folks the list of foods I can eat and enjoy eating can be written on a 4x5 Postit Note, one page. That's it, and I don't have to write small either. All because the Gastroenterologists suggested avoiding some classes of foods but still experiment now and then, about once a week.

The other problem is that I have almost no sense of smell. I was born with a deviated septum and at 21 in 1970 I had it removed. During the surgery, however, they severed the almost all of the olfactory nerves from the nose, which left me with very little sense of smell, only very strong odors.

It's left me for the time being to stop cooking, especially some foods I love, like pizza, roast chicken, kitchen sink soup, bread, anything with eggs, pot pies with extra vegetables, and so on down the list. Right now I live on snacks 4-5 times a day, which is a lot of protein drinks and snacks.

I love and hate grocery shopping because I love to browse but know I can't buy much because I can't it or won't eat it. Sometimes I just buy some special food, often fresh fruit, just to look at it for a few days before throwing it away.

Yeah, a waste of food, but it teaches me discipline because I know from previous food experiments with these foods my digestive system has adverse reactions in either extreme, something I can never predict.

I can't eat food samples at grocery stores. You know they over those small cups with freshly made dishes? Those. I can't even eat one of those, some, usually spicy, produces adverse reactions later. It's why I have a anger about myself and a fear of food.

But it doesn't change the reality I love food blogs with photos. I could easily eat myself into oblivion. And on top of that I had to stop eating my favorite food, chocolate. Yeah, it's only for awhile, but it's hard knowing just one piece of chocolate would make me feel good and not eat.

Anyway, just something in passing I thought while looking at food blogs.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Can Wish

I wish this were true, but I fear it's not.

But maybe there is some truth to it. I can hope. I certainly don't want to die thinking it's not true.


When you live alone, like me and all but a few estranged members left in your immediate family and all of the extended family gone elsewhere, long out of touch, you realize that you are alone. You realize when you die, there won't be anyone to remember, anyone to mourn or grieve, or anyone to care.

The world will still go on since no one else knows about you. Everyone will be busy with the lives not even knowing you existed. The whole world will continue as it did when you were alive. It won't skip a beat, give a moment of silence, or give a thought beyond disposing your belongings.

No one will wonder who you were, no one will care what you did, and no one will remember you. Only you, no one else, and you'll be gone. When you live alone.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I've written that I couldn't be an addict if I tried, the rewards center in my brain doesn't work enough for any drug to work. All I get is a sense of being fuzzy and sleepy and the painkillers, eg. oxycodone, barely work, only dulling the pain than stopping it.

I'm not sure if that's good since I rarely use that class of drugs. The only recent episode was with the pinched Siatic nerve which left me on the fllor flat on my back for 4 days. I couldn't stand or walk for more than a few minutes and couldn't sit.

Anyway, I also couldn't be a cutter. I can't hurt myself, especially cut. Not because I haven't wanted to try, but I'm one of those people who suffers from vasovagal response (15% of the population), meaning the sight of blood triggers a nerve which results in dizziness and other mild symptom to fainting.

Really, especially my own blood. If I injure myself and starting bleeding, I know I have about 2 minutes to get treat the injury, even a slight to moderate cut, before I get lightheaded. I know by 2 minutes I have to sit down for a few minutes to compose myself and continue with life.

And knowing this, I don't cut because something tells me the result before it happens, and I start to react just with the thought and mental picture of cutting. If I cut myself I know I'll faint. This condition is so bad sometimes, I can't look at real scenes with blood, other people's blood or even pictures of scenes with blood.

Sometimes limitations are saving graces, free with one's genes. Not so good, though, when you need them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All I Have

All I have is who I am, and who I want to be, but given the limitations of each, something we all possess, I can only achieve what I've been given by gene, birth and time. The rest just won't happen no matter how much I want or how hard I try.

And that is mine, as each of us also have, dilemma. All the wishes, hopes, dreams and desires won't change that. All the goals won't happen. All the plans never realized. Nothing can be undone, redone or not done. It's all history.

All I have is me. Like it or not. Hate it or not. It's what is, just like everyone else. We are who we are. That's our reality. But the real question is what we can achieve within ourself to be more toward who we want to be.

And that the only question we need to answer. All the rest happens from there.


Fall is coming to the Pacific Northwest, more specifically the Puget Sound where I live, and with that comes the rain, sometimes lots of rain. I live on the top floor of the apartment building and for reasons no one seems to remember some of the buildings were built with flat roofs, so my ceiling is the building's roof.

And when it rains hard, it pounds against the roof, so hard it will wake you up in the middle of a deep sleep. It's always a great sound, lying in bed and hearing it, like being inside something where everyone  is trying to get in and pounding the door with every ounce of their being.

I can't wait...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Diet Plan

Before I posted the list of foods I can't eat, I've been surfing the Internet looking for food and diet plans which fits into the foods I can eat, and unfortunately I simply can't find any. None, what's so ever. All the plans assume you can eat almost anything.

When you take out grains, most vegetables, many fruits, most dairy products, and most meats, it doesn't leave a lot to work with especially when you take out spices too. Spices aren't just for gourmet cooking, it's used a lot in vegetarian diets, backpacking dry foods, and most ordinary foods.

So, I'm open to suggestions to be creative, and I'll still look, but hey, if you know some or have some suggestions, I'll listen and even try some.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I've written a lot about my diet, eating issues and food, probably too much and more than anyone really cares to read. To most it's boring, but to me it's simple, it's an out from all the frustration I have. It's called journaling, and here's is public.

So, what's new? Not much, but I thought I would describe the foods I can eat, experiment with and simply can't eat, so far anyone, but then it's somewhat incomplete and inaccurate because many foods on the can't eat I stopped eating months, if not years, ago, so I don't know anymore if I still can't eat them, but I'm not interested in testing it.

Ok, onward with the description.

To begin with the recommendation from the Gastroenterologist was to add reducing the intake, or more so avoiding, FODMAP's, the newly discovered class of foods which contributes to food problems for people with IBS.

This is on top my existing restrictions, which are the following.

For one, dairy products. It's restricted to lactose-free, non-fat milk, some hard cheeses, namely Gouda, Edam, Cheddar, and similar ones because I love the taste. This means no soft cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. So, it's just one type of milk and a few cheeses.

Alternatives are soy, almond, and other based milk-like products which I've tried because I still haven't acquired a taste yet.

For another, gluten free grains and really less grains and carbohydrates. I'm not gluten intolerant, but it's more about the grains than the glutens which restricts myself with a lot of grain-based foods. To date I can tolerate one type of local bakery bread and Ritz crackers.

This means no bakery product too, like cookies, cake/cupcakes, pies, rolls, buns, etc. This means no cereal except a very few (see below for stuff found in cereals or other grains).

For another, no beef, no lamb and occasional poultry. Limited fish and seafood, my favorite foods which includes salmon, tunafish and shrimp. A few types of pork, namely sandwich ham and one type of locally produced bacon.

For another, no eggs except cooked or baked into products. For now anyway. I love egg dishes for breakfast and that's out for awhile.

For another, vegetables are simple, carrots and tomatoes, and occasional potatoes or potato chips.

For another fruits are equally simple, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, oranges.

For another, really simple, no nuts, no seeds, no whole grains, none but a few green vegetables and no leafy vegetables.

For another, no carbonated drinks (hate them anyway), no fruit juices (artificial sugar or flavors),

For another, only one spice, salt. Nothing else or with caution. No artificial sweetener ending in "ol" in the name.

Food I haven't tried and are untested in some time, rice, oats (oatmeal), quinoa and tapioca.

Food I miss a lot are pizza, roast chicken, turkey, stuffing, most soups, many fresh fruits, many fresh vegetables, any egg dish, cupcakes, cookies, pies, rice dishes (eg. Rice-A-Roni), and on and on.

You get the picture. Yeah, sucks but it's better than some people I've known. And it's still food and a diet I like eating what I can, so it's not that I hate eating, I love eating and am always hungry. I just don't get a variety of choices.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Difference

The only difference between bulimia and obseity is that once eaten the food takes different path to leave the body. This means while the obvious difference between the two is what happens after they eat, it's the eating itself, namely the why, which isn't different. They are the same, only the people experience them are different.

Let's not focus on the symptoms and the condition, but on the people. That's where the answers lie, not in the act, but the heart and mind. The act is the same cry, the same thoughts, emotions and feelings, but it's for different reasons. That's where we should help.

I'm not either, but I've had feelings of both, I just didn't express it to be obvious.

I was always chided as a child for being small, but also not athletic and fit, in others words secret for "you're fat", or at least how I saw myself from all their words. I have some solid German stock in my genes, being half German and half English, and have always had some fat on my body.

And no matter how hard I tried through running, hiking, biking and weight training I never lost the fat and never felt good about myself. And being compared to others by my parents and then seeing it school only excerbated it. This has only magnified with age and of late with the digestive condition and now the Siatic nerve problems.

I know I can't begin to fully understand someone with an eating issues to be bulimic or obese, somehow I always stop short of binging and then throwing up or eating where I can't stop or want to stop. I've always had senses to stop short of either.

But it doesn't change the thoughts, feeling and emotions. They're the same, just the extent, intensity and severity changes, and I know not much separates me from them. It never goes away as my feeling of being hungry and afraid to eat for what it would do and I would do.

It's why we're all the same, food and our body are the enemy, something to hate. It only depends how we express it and how it expresses itself on us.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This Says it All

This (click here or on images above) says it all about me. Scary thought looking back these 63 years now, but it's who I am. I took the Briggs-Meyers test in the early 1980's. It explained a lot then and still does, just in more detail.

Living a Lie

The lie is alive but not doing so well of late. The truth is also alive and getting better. When the truth becomes greater than the lie, the life becomes the truth and not the lie. We're all on some journey between the two, it just depends which direction we're going and where we are between them.

For me, who knows. I certainly don't at this point. Lies live because of fear. Not fear of the truth, but fear of the reality. We see the reality, we just don't want to live it, so a lie is the comfort, seemingly safe but deceptively painful.

In the end, it's not about overcoming the fear, but finding balance to live with it and live through any pain from living the truth in the face of reality. It is always harder and more painful as well as more rewarding and fulfilling.

That's the balance, knowing the lie and not letting it mean anything anymore, and facing the truth and seeing the reality, and living your life from there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I'm a fall and spring person. I love the fall and the first rainstorms. To hear the rain, from gently falling on the roof to pounding it so loud you can't sleep and feel it's coming through the roof any second. I love the fall for the change of the weather, especially from the heat of summer into the cool fall evenings and the chill in the morning.

But as everyone here in the Pacific Northwest, while we love the newness of fall and rain into the winter, we tire of the persistence of it for the next 6 months, and not just welcome the nice days but cherish the days of sunshine and warmth.

When I lived in Bellingham, north of Seattle near the Canadian border to Vancouver, British Columbia, there was a period longer than a month we didn't see the sun. Not once as the eye of every storm came over the city with just overcast and occasional rain and snow. But no sun.

I loved Bellingham for the summers and hated it for the winters. Here I love the fall through the winter and into the spring. I tolerate most the winter and love the few days we get snow which stays for a few days. I have difficulty with the long periods of storms, one after another, bring clouds and rain for days, into weeks.

Part of this is because I used to work in it. I spent weeks on field trips in the Olympics where all I got was rain. I never felt dry even with the best rainsuit, which I always had. My hands never dried out. My rainsuit and boots were always wet on the outside.

We used rite-in-the-rain notebooks and papers so our field notes were never a problem, but all the equipment and all the stuff got rained on and wet. I didn't miss it when I moved to an office job and now still don't miss it in retirement because I can choose when I go out in the rain and when I come back in.

And now, late September, it's nice to feel the cool evening, to sleep with the weight of blankets over you, and to wake up to the chill of the morning. For now, I know what's coming, but I'll take what is. That's enough to end the summer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

So True

I read this post from Jackie:


forced physical activity in school isn’t what helps kids be healthy

physical activity that is at their skill level and their comfort level is what keeps them healthy

forcing every kid, regardless of skill level, size, and muscle to do shit like run the mile in 6 minutes or less and criticizing them when they can’t do it is as fucking stupid as refusing to let kids have any physical activity in school at all"

Yeah, so true for me. The high school I went to required Physical Education for all sophomore students and all students were expected to pass with a C or better, or retake it.

Well, being the second shortest and smallest boy in my class, it's clear I wasn't up to this class in any manner because the teacher (Mr. McGuire, yeah strange you remember the names of some people you hated) set the minimum for the average boy in class, and being on extreme end of the curve, I was a dismal failure.

This is because I was just too short and small. I tried but at 4'11" and 95 lbs, it didn't matter how hard I tried and I succeeded for me, I failed any of the tests. It didn't matter the exercise or sport. It didn't matter the number of times I tried.

About halfway into the fall Mr. McGuire took me aside and said that if I tried out for the wresting team,  which he coached, he'd give me a passing grade no matter what I did in class. He said this because the team didn't have anyone in the lowest weight class. Yeah, you get the picture.

Well, I refused and he gave me a D for the year, but the school saw the reason and let it go. I went on, however, to play intramural basketball and played on the tennis practice squad. I played sports and did ok for me, but not necessarily for the "normal" curve.

And that's the real point here she's making. Using rules and standards for all students doesn't work and only opens the door to emotional or mental issues for those who fail and see failure as themselves and not the school.

In the end I hated physical activity, but later became a runner, hiker and occasional mountain biker. Now the pinched Siatic nerve has narrowed that to walking, but I learned through myself how much I need physical exercise.

The school didn't teach me that, nor did I learn it in school. Life taught me. Something school usually misses.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I had an appointment with a new gastroenterologist yesterday. The first gastroenterologist I had did two colonoscopies over a 5 years period, one for a baseline in 2005 and the second one in 2010 for the digestive problems, but in the end she didn't diagnose anything.

She was dismissive of suggestions I had from my experience and condescending when I asked questions, and unless the problem was obvious, she couldn't say anything. Iin the end she put my problems off to symptoms of age, diet and IBS.

Yeah, like I needed to hear that. Anyway, I got a second gastroenterologist who actually is very good. He's complete and honest with answers and explanations, answers questions fairly and treats patients like real people.

Anyway, we still don't have answers to the problem, in part because it's kinda' faded away after the Siactic nerve issue which suggests it was related to the back and spine problems, and likely nerves. But we got closer to finding what doesn't help, and hurts or excerbates problems.

And that's where diet comes in. After listing the foods I can eat and the foods I've tried but don't work, he said besides being food sensitive, I'm also likely sensitive to FODMAP's. It makes sense doing some homework (they're mailing me more information).

So, that's the new plan, a more restrictive diet where I limit foods not on the approved list. And the approved list? Well, it's short, very short. Like?

Well, for starters, lactose-free non-fat milk or other type of milk-like product which doesn't have lactose. After that it's some hard cheeses, namely the one I like, eg. Gouda, Edam, Cheeder, etc. No other dairy products except in small amounts, but none with any probiotics, which causes bad reactions.

The fruits are bananas, oranges, and some berries, but none with seeds. The vegetables are carrots, and nothing green or leafy. No starches save one brand each of potato chips and corn chips, meaning no spices besides salt.

Meat is some seafood, some fish but mostly canned Salmon and Tuna fish, some brands of sandwich ham, and occasional poultry, eg. chicken, but only organic. Nothing name or store brands (eg. Safeway).

Outside of that, at least I get a favorite, creamy peanut butter and jam, but only on Ritz crackers and one type of bread from a local bakery. All other grains, breads, crackers, etc. aren't acceptable. On the exclusion list are eggs of any sort, unless in mixes, nuts or anything with nuts, and nothing with spices.

That said, I live a lot on protein drinks and snacks, often combination of the above. I eat snack sized meals 4-5 times a day because I can't eat a large meal anymore. I'm lucky I like the diet but occasionally get hungry for variety which is why once or twice I week I have food experiment meals.

The problem is that not only is the digestive system food sensitive, the small intestine is sensitive to roughage and foods which often causes bleeding. Yeah, you can see the issue, I need food to eat but food is also my enemy.

As a result I haven't eaten in a fast food or take-out restaurant in years let alone a real restaurant with real freshly prepared food. They don't have anything I can eat, which means I take my food with me everywhere I go and only go to cafes for coffee.

Makes for an interesting life around food.

Being Thin

When I was 18 years old and just out of high school I was 5' 11" and 125 lbs with a 28" waist. Then I joined the service and in basic training gained 35 lbs and went to a 32" waist. I added another 15 lbs over the years and adding 2-3" in my waist. Today I'm 5' 9" (yes, age shrinks your height) and 170 lbs with a 34" waist.

And I hate myself and my body. I've always wanted to be thin, again, and hate I never will be thin ever again. There was a time I remember, and that's all it is anymore, a memory long distant in time, but still fresh as yesterday. Oh, to be thin again. I can dream but not hope.

That's because running which I did 3-4 times a week just a few years ago is just a plan as the disgestive system problems has left my over weight and my Siactic nerve has left my left leg numb from above the knee to the ankle.

So any plans, and hope, to return to running is distant, but I'm walking now toward returning to running sometime when I can physically do it. The common sense rule is that you can run at a slow-to-moderate pace about half the distance you walk, so who knows.

Even getting back to my weight 6 years ago of 160-165 lbs when I retired is just an idea, but what else do you have. It's the old adage when you wake up, you can get better or get worse, your choice, but you can stay the same.

Not at 63 years old, but it's the only choice I have, better or worse, but getting older isn't a choice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Well, the walking exercise is getting better after the Siactic nerve problem which virtually disabled me for the entire month of July and much of August with a bum right leg where the front of the leg was numb from above the knee to the toes and hurt when I walked very far.

By late August I was walking short distances, say a quarter mile, before the leg hurt then and afterward.  Last week, however, I decided to try something and walked 2.5 miles on the Ruston Way park walk/bike way along the waterfront in Commencement Bay. And Saturday I got up to 3.5 miles.

This week, Monday and today (Wednesday) I got it up to 4.5 miles, which is the two mile length plus the quarter mile up the hill to and from the car. The walkway is flat along the waterway, and there is room up to a mile from the ends.

This doesn't mean the leg doesn't hurt. I limp for awhile when I wake up and get on with the day. The front of the knee is still totally numb along with the front of the leg (shin) from the knee to the ankle with occasionally moving down to the toes.

But I can now walk some distance. The goal is to walk on flat ground to get to 5 miles before returning to walking to and from town, which is 2.5-3 miles there and 3-4 miles back with some elevation change on both trips. And I take a backpack to carry stuff home (grocery or drug stores).

Anyway, life is getting better, but I have a long way to go to lose the weight I've gained over the lasts two years with the digestive problems, which are also slowly getting better after July, and to regain the fitness level I had a few years ago.

But that said, at turning 63 this month, it ain't going to be easy this time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

307 Hours Later

Not long after 9/11 I shaved my full beard and kept my face clean shaven after that day. I did this because a friend of mine wanted to see my face and one day I got a free Mach 3 razor in the mail. So I said change is good.

I still have the razor, only the second razor I've ever had in my life. The other one was the razor the US Air Force gave me when I went to basic training in San Antonio in March 1969. It was the old fashion double edge single blade razor. I still have it too.

But since shaving my beard in the fall of 2001 I got tired of shaving and didn't want to grow a beard again, so in July 2005 I decided to go through electrolysis to remove my facial hair. Yes, it's painful and takes a long time.

The time was an hour a week from July 2005 to March 2011 and then every two weeks from then to now. And today, after 307 hours of electrolysis, I'm done and will never have to shave again. Well, sorta'.

I still have to go back occasionally for awhile because regrowth is normal, the first 20 minutes or so for the last 2-3 years was removing regrowth. But now regrowth is all I have left which will dimish to only a few times a year.

And while you say it's not "manly" not to have facial hair, a lot of men don't have much facial hair and many more, especially those in some cultures or ethnicities, have little if any facial hair. And now I never have to deal with a razor again in the morning.

And that's far cooler.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Which would you choose. If you had a pill which changes your life the way you've always wanted but taking the pill made the other parts of your life worse, the changes to your body were what you wanted but it also crashed it and the changes to your mind were what you wanted but it caused you deep depressions.

The pills would change you but also destroy you, your energy and metabolism, your brain into fog and your Dysthymia into depression. Would you take pills to change for better and for worse or not take the pills and not change for the better but feel worse by not taking them?

Because now you know you have a choice, so which would you choose?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pinched Siactic Nerve

A pinched Siactic nerve is no fun. As I wrote, it started in mid-June and two months later and two week longer than last year in the left leg, the right leg has only started to recover. Until this last week, the front of the leg from above the knee to the middle toes was numb, like really dead nerves numb.

During that time the upper right outer and front muscles hurt from compensating, but slowly I could walk, carry stuff, go up/down stairs and even jog a little before the leg got tired or started to buckle. Then for brief periods starting last week parts the lower leg, ankle and foot started to twitch and have twinges as the nerves seem to want to become normal (unnumb?).

But it always went back to being numb. The knee, however, is still dead to the world. You could hit it with a sledge hammer and it wouldn't notice anything. Only the back of the knee has feeling, and like my saving grace for the lower leg muscles to work to some degree of right.

Anyway, the story to date is that it's going through changes, but nothing great and intermittent at best. I still watch how I use my lower back for there are times both legs hurt and feel tired and lifeless. So much for life getting older. This along with the digestive issues, the TMJ, which is slowly getting better except the facial fat which defines our face, and Raynaud's Syndrome in both the hands and feet, it's only means one thing.

It sucks

I'd tell you don't get old but it's obviously not good or truthful advice since there's nothing we can do about that. We can only hope our genetics doesn't make aging give us problems we hate and have trouble living with in our everyday life.

But then when someone tells you past 40 it's downhill and past 50 that accelerates, believe them. And after 60, all bets are off because it only gets worse if you're unlucky in the genes department. The best I can say is good luck.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I'm good at remembering faces and voices, but I've never been good at remembering names. I can't remember the names of people, except of course those I can never forget. The quirks of our memory we live with.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The online counselling college posted an entry on their blog about organized people. Well, the list and advice is not true. I'd say wrong but there is some truth to some of the items on the list but in short, however, they mistake organization for neatness.

They forget seemingly disorganized people can be very organized because they know where everything is and know who to function around what appears to be disorganization, and even to some a mess. I know this because I'm an organized person but I don't have OCD about organization.

That's because I organize by a method I call organized chaos. I don't try to find a specific place for everything but lump common things together and put them in a place. If I want the item, I know where it's at with the other similar items. I don't have to organize it by any method other than it's in a place or box.

Also, I'm a great procrastinator, and why the organized chaos method works for me. I can lump into a group and sort them when I feel I need or want to sort them into a more specific order. I do this with receipts. I organize them by company in time sequence, but during the year I simply put all the receipts in one box and every few months sort box into their respective places.

I don't spend the time every time putting things away. Simply lumping the stuff during the year keeps it simple and I sort it out later. It works for many and many peope who are still organized because they know where everything is, it's just not overly organized, which is what they forget, organization is a relative to the person and their life and work.

Also, I don't work by deadlines unless it's a necessity. Deadlines aren't good or efficient if it puts pressure on the person to worry more about the deadline than the work. It's about doing good work, not meeting a deadline. How many things have come out less than the best because of some arbitrary deadline?

Some people work with deadlines and some don't, but the fact of the deadline doesn't change the quality of the person. It can, however, change the quality of their work if a deadline shortchanges the time they need to do their best. I've always worked with the notion you only impose a deadline when it's required, otherwise, focus on the work and most of the time you'll meet your deadline.

And there is some work which requires ignoring deadline because the work or the situation or circumstances of the work changes but the deadline doesn't. That's where a deadline is not just useless but wrong. I've seen too many managers impose artificial deadline which didn't require it and I've seen less than the best work, sometimes even shoddy work, done to meet the deadline which wasn't necessary.

The rule is if you plan the work with time for problems and changes, then you set reasonable and meetable deadlines, but then adjust them when it's important or necessary. Deadlines aren't brick walls, don't make meeting them like one.

Also, keeping things is or isn't a sign of an organized or disorganized person. It's just a sign of someone who keeps things. We all keep things. It's human nature for many people and what is all too often put in garages or rental storage places. It's not a sign of anything except keeping things. Only when it goes to the extreme that it's a problem.

In the end, this is a bad list for a bad idea, so ignore it and be yourself. It's better than trying to be something someone else says you should be because they think they know better and think you should be better to their standards. It's signs of OCD, but more so, it's cowpasture material.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Love & Hate

Yeah, we all have something we both love and hate, for both different reasons and for the same reasons. For me it's food. I love to eat but I hate to eat because almost all foods aggrevates the bleeding in my small intestine and I only get fatter as I've had a hard time excercise thise last few years.

So I love reading about food, seeing good photographs of foods, and imagining what all foods I read about or see would taste like, if only to sample it. It's why I have a kitchen full of gourment cooking utensils and appliances because used to love to make food to taste. Just taste and then trash it.

I love some of the foods I've created, roasted orange chicken among them, but mostly mixes where I add a variety of things to make it better, potpies with more veges, Rice-a-Roni with meat and veges, omelettes and scrambled eggs with all sorts of ingredients, and so on. All sitting silently waiting for another day.

And over the last few years I can't even taste it because I don't know how my body and especially intestinal tract will react. So food is off-limits. The kitchen stuff sits little used. The recipes cut from magazine and articles and recipe books collect dust. I miss them all and persist on a diet you can write on a 4x6 postit note.

It's not boring and it is tasteful, just not much more than what it is, a few fruits, a few vegetables, some cheese, protein drinks, a few types of natural/organic meat, poultry, seafood or fish, one brand of bread and one cracker, and at least my all time favorite, peanut butter and jam.

Foods I can't eat now? Anything with seeds, nuts, berries, breads and crackers save two, most meat except some pork products and some seafood, most cheese except a few I really like, rice and other grains, any green vegetables except peas, all starch vegetables, potato chips (just one brand of corn chips), milk products except lactose-free, fat-free milk (mostly for the cholesterol).

You get the picture, but then the foods I can eat are brand specific too. I've spent the last two years with once or twice food experiments to know this and create this least. And yes, all foods were tested 3 times before being eliminated. Some foods are on the occasional list to keep trying, but often end up still off the list.

So that's the story. Food and eating. Love and hate. What a world we create for ourself. Mine's food and eating.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Well, after a nearly a week of pain in the right leg, from full blown drop down on the floor withering pain from the hip to the toes shaking the whole time pain, the pain has subsided to just the pain from the numbness. I got to the Urgent Care center and after an examination and MRI, the diagnosed degenerative vertebra disease, common in people over 40, and bulging discs in the L4 and L5 vertebra, the ones where the Siactica nerves branch out to the legs.

This last week I was able to walk but not much more because the right leg is numb from the top of the knee to the ankle and any pressure from the body, lifting, exercising, etc. causes the leg to collapse, where I have to watch how I walk up/down stairs, and other situations which stresses the right leg.

But now I can sit and stand with little pain, and even walk to some degree. Right now it's just time. Time for the pain to fully subside and the numbness to disappear. The latter will likely take another 4-6 weeks, similar to last year's problem with the left leg, but that was only the calf and foot, but back for more if not.

Nothing like trying to do anything with a numb knee. Anyway, I'm a human being again, just older with TMJ (half the face shallow with all the fat gone), bleeding small intestine and a numb right knee and lower leg. Well, it could be worse as I discovered last week and not something I want to experience again in my life.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nothing Like Pain

There's nothing like real pain to give you a reality check about life, your life, and about the fragility and good or bad fortune of your body. It started about three weeks ago when I felt a sharp pain in the upper right hip. It dissipated but left my right leg numb from just below the knee, down the shin to the toes.

Then I noticed when I went up some stairs the right leg buckled. I realized something wasn't obvious right. But it was similar to last year with the left leg, the pain at the top of the hip, down the leg to the foot. Then it went down the outside of the calf, leaving it numb to the foot. I had to watch walking as I couldn't feel the outside of my left foot.

The numbness this time went right down the front of the shin to the middle toes. I decided it would go away as it did last year in the normal 6+ weeks. But alas it didn't as this last weekend and week through the Independence Day holiday showed. Saturday was the last good day, relatively speaking.

Sunday the episode got very worse but recovered later in the day. Monday was the day it became a full blown severe pain in the right leg and total numbness from the knee to the toes. The doctors found the two disc for the siactic nerve had a moderate bulging but thought the pinch nerve was "down the line" since the pain wasn't in my lower back but just in the leg(s).

Since Sunday I've been lying on an air mattress since it's the only position where there is little if any pain. By today the pain has dimished to only the area with the numbness, which is the knee, shin and foot/toes. My knee has no response to the reflex test. Yes, totally numb, and the surrounding muscles hurt from compensating or not working.

So that's why nothing is new in a week. I couldn't sit until I found a way to kneel with two pillows in a chair to sit here now, and the pain is bearable. I can only walk for a few minutes before the leg hurts but then the pain stablizes where I can limp around. I have an appointment next week after this week's visit to the local urgent care clinic.

After that it will be specialist(s) to see what, if anything, can be done to overcome what is initially diagnosed as degenerative disc disease. Last year it took 6 weeks to fade away. This looks longer without some medical intervention. It's worse and more widespread.

Today I went to Office Depot and replaced my old style wood banker's chair with a lumbar support one and am back in front of the computer. The pain is minimal but the numbness hasn't changed. In the end, it's the story of just one's genetics with your spine and back muscles, how you work and live, and how you take care of them.

As they say, nothing like a little pain to remind you of yourself.