Friday, August 1, 2014

Living Paleo

Yup, we went paleo.  Actually it has been about 8 months since we started living and eating the paleo lifestyle and diet.  In that time we have noticed a huge decrease in the amount of inflammation in our bodies.  A great side effect has been weight loss.  I have lost a whopping 70 pounds, and my husband has dropped about 40 pounds.  (He isn't as strict as I am or he would have passed me long ago.)

We sleep in a completely darkened room.  I learned early on to keep a small flashlight handy, since we have reached that age where at least one nightly trip to the loo is mandatory.  But with no light seeping in, we sleep sounder and longer.

Recently I have found myself watching less and less television and reading more books.  The librarians all know me by first name now, and we have piles of large print books everywhere.  When you are 71 large print books are a blessing from the reading gods.

I'm seeing a number of articles popping up lately poo-pooing the paleo diet.  Know what?  I don't care!  I hurt less, I have more energy, and I'm dropping weight as fast as I dropped my high school boy friends.  So I'm a happy camper. And for every negative article, I've got a doctor telling me that I'm doing the right thing. I'll take their word over those blog writers and supposed health advocates any day.  And anyway, you know the other name for vegetarians?  Bad Hunters.

So if you hurt, if you have stomach upsets, if you need to drop a few (or a lot) pounds, talk to your doctor and then pick up a copy of Robb Wolff's The Paleo Solution.  Your body will love you for it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Time To Get Busy

I haven't written here in a very long time.  I can remember a time when I blogged every day.  My mind was overflowing with thoughts, ideas, passions.  I wanted to share it all, to talk to my readers every single day about what was important to me.

So many things have changed since then.  There have been great losses, both personal and public.  Health problems have gotten overwhelming and then resolved, sorta.  And depression has found a semi-permanent home in my brain.

It's hard to be depressed when you can't take medication for it.  I have something called seratonin syndrome.  Not sure what it is, but my response to any of the SSRIs for depression treatment is to hang from the ceiling, my body shaking like a leaf, yelling at the top of my lungs "WHO DOUBLED THE CAFFEINE IN MY COFFEE?" It's even worse than being depressed.

For me the worst part of being depressed is my neediness.  I try so very hard not to be needy, but that is the primary way my depression expresses itself. I get overwhelmed with a desire to be held, to be coddled, to be warmed.  I'm always cold when I'm depressed.  It can be 75 degrees in the house, and I'm bundled up in a sweater with big thick socks and a space heater going right next to me.

Meditation doesn't help; exercise doesn't help. Sometimes crying helps.  But mostly, creating something, whether with words or with fabric, seems to be the best help.  So I'm creating, or at least trying to.  And speaking of that, I should get back to this quilt.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

70 Random Acts

In 63 days I will celebrate my 70th birthday.  And I have 63 days to perform 63 more random acts of kindness.  It is a goal I set myself this year, starting in mid-December, to perform 63 random acts of kindness as a way of celebrating having survived and thrived for 70 years.

My life has centered around giving.  How often I have wished I had been born into money or possessed the ability to amass large amounts of cash.  So often my gifts seemed meager and inadequate.  The few times I have been able to give abundantly have been a real joy.  But many of the small acts have brought great joy also: the startled pleasure on the face of the transit driver who I thanked for getting me to my destination safely; the genuine happiness of an old man to whom I gave a rose (he was on his way to visit his wife in the hospital it turned out and took the rose to her); the grateful pleasure for the warm socks or hat given to a cold stranger, homeless and unloved.

Sometimes it has been buying a meal anonymously for someone in the restaurant where we were dining; sometimes it has been simply adding $2 to our grocery checkout to help provide a meal to a hungry child or family.

Some of the best were enlisting the help of others:  70 quilts for wounded warriors; a year's worth of art supplies to a homeless shelter for art therapy.  Some were unheralded by the ultimate recipients: donations to the Wildcathaven Sanctuary, where the managers were grateful but the real recipients simply saw it as another meal or another weigh-in. And some were very big, like the year we managed to get together over a thousand dollars worth of games and supplies for a school whose population was made up of very low income families for the most part.

So I have 63 days to complete 63 more random acts of kindness.  And for that I need your help.  Suggestions, monetary help, whatever you can provide.   Any monies sent, either directly or via Paypal will go to the 70 random acts project, and you will be notified how it was spent.  Suggestions will be shared.  And group projects will be described here and on Facebook.

Can you help?

My email, both for Paypal and simply to contact me if you wish is sedwards1943@comcast.net

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It seems a simple and straightforward statement. But, like all of the Constitution, it behooves us to attempt to understand the intent of the writers, not just the literal meaning of the words. Originally authored by James Madison, the amendment recog
nized two fundamental principles for the time in which it was written: first that an army was not easily raised or trained and was expensive to maintain, whereas local militias could be formed in communities and kept prepared in the event of imminent threat; and second, that the founders of the nation had bad experiences with governments and sought to give the people protection against potential tyranny, making this the only nation known of its time to not only allow for but encourage its citizens to arm themselves.

However, they (the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) recognized the need for caution in the matter of arming the populace. Most notably, John Adams wrote, "To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws."
--John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

There's the nub of it: "....The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws." No where in any of the writings extant regarding the writing of this amendment do you find any provision for recreational hunting, target shooting, etc. In fact, the amendment itself as well as supportive writings specifically states that the purpose of allowing citizens to possess arms was the establishment of a well regulated militia.
On the floor of Congress, the following argument was put forth: "What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
-- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

A careful reading of these and a multitude of other arguments in support of the amendment in the 1780s can leave little doubt that the founders had a deep and abiding fear of a standing army, governed by Congress, and able to "invade the rights and liberties of the people." In fact, again and again the arguments in favor of the 2nd amendment stressed the importance of the people being able to protect themselves against government tyranny. It could rationally be argued that the existence of a standing federal army is in violation of the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Certainly, no one in their right mind would believe that the American people today, armed to the teeth as they may be, could prevail against our own military should it ever come to that. Yet that eventuality is exactly what the framers refer to again and again in defense of this amendment. Or, as Elbridge Gerry called it in the quote presented above, "...a standing army, the bane of liberty."
Should we then do away with the military? While Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to call forth an army, it specifically states that authorization of funding of that army shall not exceed two years. "... To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." The phrase "to raise" suggests quite strongly that the concept of a permanent standing army was never a consideration of the framers. It does call for providing and maintaining a Navy, without the time restriction imposed on an army. And it has explicit language governing militias:
"To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." 

If, as at least one member of SCOTUS has declared loudly and often, the Constitution is a dead document, meaning to be taken literally without interpretation or adjustment to common times, then we should eliminate all but the Navy and its ancillary forces, and require regular militia training.
Nowhere is the right to possess guns for the purpose of recreation, i.e. target shooting, non-survival hunting, either promoted or encouraged. In fact, some of the arguments in support of an armed populace specifically address the inadvisability of employing such weapons except in defense of the country and support of the militia.

So, if you want to have your weapons, join your local national guard, the modern equivalent of the militia. You will probably be disappointed to find out that they provide the weapons (and keep them when you aren't training); but at least you will know you are supporting the Second Amendment.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

To Christmas or Not To Christmas

Today is day #25,490 of my life.  That's a lot of days! 

My friend tells me I fail at being an atheist.  One look around our house might well confirm that notion.  The picture above is but one small portion of our decorations. I have placed a video for your viewing pleasure at the end of this entry.  Yes, we do go nuts.  The house smells like gingerbread and spritz cookies.  While I do not celebrate the birth of a savior, I see nothing wrong with celebrating a time of year when giving is paramount.

However, there is a bit of the Grinch in me afterall.  I see no reason to acquire tons of cheaply made crap that no one really wants anyway.  So many gifts are simply tokens, not thought out carefully and given just because we give gifts.  So every year we strive to give in a way that makes a difference.  This year it is hats and scarves made from donated yarn, going to homeless who are definitely cold and miserable in the winter.  I really don't care what put them in their current circumstance. I care that they know that people still care about them, that someone thinks they deserve better no matter what they have done. If I could I would fill their bellies with hot food, and would give them shelter for the night.  Lacking those resources, we give what we can.  I have all the sweaters I will ever wear in this lifetime; my pants are comfortable and adequate to the job. Same with shoes, coats, and scarves.  I am far more blessed than they: I have a home, a place to bathe and conduct the other bodily needs on a daily basis without fear of reprisal or embarrassment. I have the internet, music, television, books from the library.  When you think about it, I have by comparison with much of the world, an embarrassment of riches.  Who could ask for more?

Enjoy my video, and please add something random and kind to your Christmas gift list.  You will feel better for having done so.

video

Friday, November 9, 2012

Post Election Ruminations

There is so much anger floating around out there after the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  Rarely have I seen so many sore losers in one place.  The congratulations coming from the right side of the political aisle are less than enthusiastic, accompanied by veiled and not so veiled messages that the Congressional Republicans have absolutely no intention of working with instead of against this President.  I am loathe to understand why.

There was and is a lot of racism floating around.  Every time I hear a Republican say that those of us who voted for the President are people who "want stuff" I know they are not talking about stuff like health care for everyone, food in every child's tummy, quality education in all schools, roads without potholes and bridges that are safe to cross, libraries and courthouses and school buildings that aren't falling down, well staffed fire departments and police departments, functioning sewer systems and water treatment plants, sidewalks without cracks and missing pieces, parks that invite us to picnic and play, clean air to breathe, cars that are safe and efficient to drive, regular garbage pickup, National Guardspeople to assist in times of disaster and need, federal disaster aid, regular postal service, etc. No, they see only welfare and foodstamps and medicaid.

Here is the huge perception difference between liberals and conservatives.  We liberals see government as assisting in the quality of ALL people's lives, providing all those services I listed in the paragraph above, and more.  The conservatives see government as giving handouts to undeserving lazy wretches.  They conveniently fail to include the oil industry, big agriculture, big insurance and pharmaceuticals, and defense contractors in those lined up for handouts.  Because of this blind spot, they want to balance the budget and reduce the deficit on the backs of the most vulnerable, and leave their big donors untouched.  It implies a venality of huge proportion to suggest that they care only about filling their campaign coffers and personal pockets, but what other conclusion can one draw?  You have to applaud them, though.  The conservatives seem to have refined and polished to perfection the fine art of duping a large proportion of the very people they would love to leave stranded.

True patriotism calls for supporting, criticizing and working with one's government.  Closing your business, firing people for the way they voted, and labeling everyone not like you is not patriotic.  It is stupid, self defeating, and borders on the treasonous.  And when it comes to calling for armed uprising against the government? Well, that doesn't border on treasonous; it is treason.  So be careful what you call for.

How about we work together?  Raking your infirm neighbor's leaves is not a political statement; it is a social commitment.