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.