Friday, August 20, 2010
I took back the last book to the library today, which was the second of only two books by Jillian someone or other. She is apparently an international best seller, but the endings are never endings, just a pause with a number of loose ends left for the next novel. If thereís another out now I wonít bother reading it.
C. S. Forrester didnít do that with the Hornblower saga Ė the end of each book was the end of that story, but Hornblower wasnít dead. Thatís how he made it from a Midshipman to an Admiral, and then retired. Each book was complete in itself.
While I was there I picked up three more novels and a DVD that had four Red Skelton shows on it from somewhere between 1953 and 1962. The commercials were familiar and really took us back, and Red was really funny without being crude or offensive. It was all black and white, and the commercials didnít sound like commercials have for a long time now.
Red reminds me of the show I recorded some night this week on the international PBS channel. It was a video autobiography of Garrison Keiller, the ethnic comedian. I didnít grow up on a farm, but I did grow up in a Midwestern small town, with grandparents on both sides and aunts and uncles on both sides living on farms. Between all the visiting I and my brothers spent a lot of time on farms in the summer, especially after we were big enough to be turned loose to do chores without supervision, such as plowing corn. We were Lutheran, too, so Garrison really hits home because he does describe something like small town life. But you never see blacks or Orientals or Hispanics in his audiences. Iím pretty sure he doesnít call to them like he does to the small town crowd.
My black eye is mostly not any more, the Stratus has a new valve cover seal, I determined that Joanne lives a full eight hours from Louieís house but only a bit over four hours from Mishawaka, and The BW and Joanne had a nice visit on the phone today and decided to wing it as we go along. The BW called and talked to her friend Lillian in Indianapolis today but it wasnít too satisfactory. We will spend a day in Indianapolis so we can visit in person. Lil is in a nursing home and can read but not write, so weíll do the best we can when we get there. If we make it a Monday maybe I can stop in and see the retirees at lunch, but with two dogs and a wife it will be sort of hard. Iíll watch the dogs while BW visits Lillian, but I canít be trusted to stop for just a short time with the guys.
The good news is that the AAA book lets us pick out motels as we go along if we decide that weíre pushing it too hard. We used to cover 600 miles a day for several days in a row, even when towing a trailer, when we were trying to go somewhere in particular. The first time we went from here to Mishawaka in two days we were shot, and took three 400 mile days to get back. Since then 400 miles a day has been plenty, but it gets boring in the evenings. Taking two dogs with us, one of which is a neophyte, may make it tougher. We had Harry, a sophisticated 14 year old dog, and Gracie, a well traveled five year old dog, the last time. Now Ralphy loves going for rides, and was a good passenger from here to Ocala, but he likes to bark at strangers.
And Iím running off at the mouth again.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The last three mornings the sky has been mostly clear, but there have been some high thin clouds that catch the sun before it comes up, sort of like some sunsets when the same thing happens. It makes a nice sunrise with the really colorful clouds to start and then later some of the big clouds show up turning white on top to show you how big they are.
Today I got the stitches out of my vertical scar and a piece of tape over it to hold it together for as long as it lasts Ė the doctor said about a week. I got no tape the last time, so maybe I'm running out of skin. I told him that I was impressed because I didnít see where he got all the skin to sew things back together and I thought he did good work. He surprised me by being really appreciative, but maybe Iím just a graceless clod. I didnít expect him to take much notice.
We went down to Samís club and I looked for sausages but all they had was Jimmy Dean patties, with 24 costing $6.38, or 53 cents for two. That would turn our money raiser into a money loser because we usually get about $150 in tips, and the sausage alone would cost us $150. With the pancakes, syrup, butter, plates, napkins, propane, and silverware we would be in the hole even if the organizer gives us $100, so itís Costco for the sausage.
TOPS is coming up, and then we have to lay out the trip north. Joanne, the BWís youngest sister, wanted to visit us in Milwaukee, but lives in Cleveland. We could visit her, which solves her problem completely, get a large motel room in Niles or two rooms, and let her stay overnight there, or work out something with Louie. I recall it being a pretty long trip from Milwaukee to Mishawaka and Niles, so I need to look at all the distances and weíll figure out what to do tonight.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Yesterday I got to our Kiwanis meeting a little before seven, and Vicky had set up a table in the restaurant for us. Her excuse was that a big meeting was scheduled for the room we normally use. I put the podium at one end of the table, and we had our meeting in the middle of their breakfast crowd, which wasnít very large. I know we have been light this summer Ė some people working early hours and others on vacation all the time, so I counted and we only had eight members there. On the way out I looked into the room and counted ten people having their big meeting. I think we need to find another place to have our meetings.
After the meeting I took both cars to McBeeís for servicing, and the Camry needed a light bulb. The Stratus got an extra brake adjustment and cleaning for the rear brakes, and I scheduled Friday for a small leak in the valve cover seal.
Then I went to Nelsonís to inventory what we had and what we needed for the Triathlon breakfast on the 29th at the ďYĒ, figuring somewhere between three hundred and four hundred breakfasts. I left a message for Gene at the Community Center, telling him to get three more boxes of sausage for me (we only had 90 on hand, so another 600 would be about right), but after I got home he called and told me that they didnít have anything delivered now. They buy their supplies at Costco and everything costs half to a third as much. He told me that 10 pounds of onions were costing them sixteen dollars, and they get 10 pounds at Costco for six dollars. When I asked him specifically if they had bought sausage from Costco he did say that they hadnít yet, because the Country breakfasts have been stopped for the summer.
So I gave the list of supplies needed to John Papuga, who has a debit card for the service checking account, and he promised to check the prices at Samís Club while I checked Costco.
I took the BW with me, and we shopped at Costco. Actually, I just walked in and got the prices for Jimmy Dean fully cooked sausage links, and she shopped, so we did leave with some groceries and I ate a few samples while we were there. Then we went to GFS, and their sausages were the same price as the Jimmy Dean sausages, but the Jones cost nine dollars for 40 links instead of eight dollars for 48 links. I need to check with John to see if Samís club is any better, but I think we have an expected price. Iíll need to refill one propane bottle Ė two are three quarters full, and one is nearly empty Ė but maybe John can get everything else. We will see.
Tonight I go to the Tarpon Springs Kiwanis Club meeting at the cafť on Lake Tarpon to help keep the attendance up. They have our federal and state representatives both scheduled to speak at one meeting. We have had both of them, but only once, by accident, have we ever had two speakers at one of our meetings, and that was only because one of them misunderstood Liz, who is our speaker person now. The two speakers make the Tarpon Springs group nervous that they will have a small crowd.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The bad news is there's no easy way to lose weight. When I first started I followed the advice in the book "Live Longer Now" published about 1974. No sugar, no salt, no fat, no caffeine, no cholesterol, and rove. Actually, four oz of flesh a day were permitted but no milk or cheese - eat lots of greens for your calcium and keep the protein down to preserve your kidneys. I read in one book that you should try to keep your protein down to 40 grams per day if you have kidney problems, which I did for a while. When I tried to eat that way there was a horrible backlash from the cook, not verbally, but she knew how to fix the food we ate. It got to the point that I eventually refused to eat anything that I hadn't cooked. I'm used to being miserable, so I survived OK after a while, but the BW couldn't understand how I could eat the things I made.
I made bean soup, which was one pound of dry beans, three pounds of carrots, three pounds of onions, plenty of garlic, and one smoked turkey drumstick to give it flavor, along with a couple of bay leaves and some crushed red pepper. Believe it or not, Ray and Cecelia put away a few bowls and liked it just fine. It was about as much vegetables as beans, and it always came out very thick. I would throw in whatever we had around, such as celery or turnips, maybe cabbage, or something green such as broccoli. Because the BW complained about the smell in the trailer I bought a two burner electric hotplate which had one low burner. I would set it up on a table outside under the awning and let it cook. It was an advantage anyhow because the gas stove was always a little too hot for simmering with the lid on the pot. I would turn the low burner down about as far as it would go after the pot got hot and just let it simmer for two or three hours before pulling the drumstick out and picking out the bones and skin.. Then I threw the meat back in the pot and we ate the result. The company added salt, but I did without.
I also made my own bread using nothing but whole wheat flour, yeast, and water. You need to know how to make a sponge (a wet soupy batter) to start things off. It wasn't easy, and I had to buy some big Mexican clay tiles for the RV oven, but I did learn to make my own bread. Without added salt it rose exceptionally fast, so you needed to pay close attention. I also did a mean stir-fry which was almost all vegetables.
The net result was that I didn't worry about calories at all, but, except for the bread, the food I was eating just didn't have a very great caloric density. I had enough to eat, but it wasn't what I had been exposed to before. No high calorie anything. The fat want away by magic until I had another health problem. I eventually got off track for a few years and gained some of the weight back.
When I joined TOPS later I kept a log and counted calories. I had to give up eating in the evening, which is another habit that makes you miserable when you quit, at least for a while. I was down around 1200 calories whenever I got serious about losing weight, and that was what it took for me. Roy M. Wolford had a crew who all got along on 1700 calories forever, and there is still a group that follows that discipline. They want you to be fully nourished on 1700 calories per day, and they have some different foods they throw in to get the full nourishment. They're also always hungry, but think they will live a lot longer.
After a while I got my total cholesterol down to 102. The LDL was 55, but the HDL was only 31, and my internist wanted it higher. I started eating more fats, and the total went up to 131, but the HDL was still only 34, and he wanted to see a minimum of 40. Then, from reading another book by another cardiologist, I decided to eat more monounsaturated fats, so I started eating nuts and avocados and using olive oil to make vinaigrette salad dressing. That got me up to a total of 126 with an HDL of 41 in September of 2006. My last reading was 114 total, 40 HDL, and65 LDL, with triglycerides of 43. Thatís pretty good, and itís a lot more fun to have real salad dressing, nuts sometimes, and avocados in your salad or guacamole for dip. Having some fat makes things taste better.
Also, I find that if I stay pretty busy I don't have time to eat at random times, and the urge to snack goes away after 10 minutes or so if I just wait. Keeping your mind off food helps, if you can do it. I still tend to want to snack when Iím reading a book or watching TV, but if it gets too bad I open a stick of sugar free gum.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Today was a nice day Ė no rain, nice walks, no hurricane coming, and no unexpected bills. I called my internist for a new prescription, ordered a kit for the October class, ten extra books, and 50 medical record forms from AARP, and cashed a $55 rebate check. Later on I got an e-mail notice that I was a member of AAA for $64, so I called and checked. I had two memberships; the first try and the second both worked. After a little discussion I got the first membership cancelled.
I struggled with what I will do for a program for TOPS Thursday, and finally picked two of the Sparks articles Ė ď10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar AddictionĒ and ďStudy Spills the Secret to Weight Loss-Surprised?Ē One or the other should easily take up 30 minutes if we read it and let people discuss it as we go along. I was going to take some home made jam and crackers along for a sample tasting and tell them how to make it, but it was the BWís idea and she has too little to share any more. I would have to make a batch myself and lock it up somewhere to do that.
None of the articles will be a surprise to anyone, probably, so maybe Iíll look up games and see if thereís a game everyone can play. I donít know why I volunteered now.
The BW was remarking on the unsatisfactory motel we had in Lexington the last time we went north, so I told her that she could pick out the places to stay this time. That turned her on a little, and she kept trying to read the whole book to me and asking questions. I hope it turns out well.
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