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 wasn’t very large. I know we have been light this summer – 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 McBee’s 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 Nelson’s to inventory what we had and what we needed for the Triathlon breakfast on the 29th at the “Y”, 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 didn’t 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 hadn’t 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 Sam’s 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 Sam’s club is any better, but I think we have an expected price. I’ll need to refill one propane bottle – two are three quarters full, and one is nearly empty – but maybe John can get everything else. We will see.
Tonight I go to the Tarpon Springs Kiwanis Club meeting at the café 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. That’s pretty good, and it’s 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 I’m 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 – 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 – “10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar Addiction” and “Study Spills the Secret to Weight Loss-Surprised?” 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 BW’s 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 I’ll look up games and see if there’s a game everyone can play. I don’t 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.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I read someone’s blog this morning where the low was either 49 or 59, and the high 99. Here the low was 79, and I thought it was really great. The high is only about 93, but the humidity tends to run around 90 per cent or higher, which makes you want to stay in the shade with a breeze and not too many clothes if you’re outside. The skin on my arms has the consistency of wet tissue paper from a combination of sun damage and old age, so if I just rub against something a flap of skin flips back, the blood flows, and I get another scar and a dark marking from the blood under the skin, which never is completely removed. From web research I get the message “wear long sleeve shirts” as the only treatment, which isn’t really a treatment.
With that advice as the preferred treatment, I bought a bunch of long sleeve shirts, which I can’t stand to wear, but when I cut the grass, which I did this morning, I now wear a long sleeve shirt. The lime tree is especially nasty with its needle sharp thorns, but I was able to finish up today without losing any blood, even though it has scratched me several times before. I started just after seven, when it was light enough to see, and finished while it was still cool, but the long sleeved shirt was still soaked. I wore it outside my pants, and the only dry part was the tail at the back. I don’t know the reason for that pattern, but maybe it was because I have to bend forward to push the mower.
I edged and blew the driveway, street, and sidewalks, and, just as ALEXTHEHUNN predicted, it gets easier each week. If we were living in the desert I could get up early and finish without showing the effort, but then we couldn’t go to the beach on foot. After 11 years covering three countries several times, this is the only place the BW would come back to, so this is where we settled. I guess there’s no point to this blog.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
When I was walking the dogs this morning, I heard some noise from the football field. We live close to the Palm Harbor University High School, which is one of the “better” high schools in Pinellas County. It is supposed to prepare students for college, which I thought all high schools did, but then I’m so old that a lot of my expectations seem to be out of date. The school and its football stadium and track are on the west side of 16th street, past the “Y” and part of the baseball diamond. The baseball field is on the east side, across from the football field and the cemetery, and this time of year it has been a beautiful sight to see. The football field is mostly hidden by trees, but you can see between them at places.
The noise was coming from a lot of kids in helmets, doing drills of some sort. Someone had an Acme Thunderer, which sounded periodically, and once I heard a klaxon. The kids were putting out a lot of chatter, which the coaches insist on to impress the competition – it proves you’re a tough team and someone to be reckoned with. It’s a sure sign that summer is ending.
It also reminded me of my first experience with football. When I was in high school, there were no peewee teams or junior teams. You just got to be old enough for high school and then they invited you to sign up for things. It got you out of phys ed, and all the big boys told me that I was going to sign up. It was like a lot of things; I didn’t know any better, so I did what the big kids said.
It started off with two weeks of “conditioning”, with morning and afternoon practices. I don’t know how long they lasted, but there was a lot of running and exercises, done in the full sun, and for hours at a time. We went home for lunch, but came back for the afternoon torture.
The real torture was the next morning. When I woke up I felt good. Then I tried to move and nearly screamed. Every muscle in my body was incredibly, unbelievably, sore. Stiff and sore does not begin to tell my condition, but I did eventually manage to get out of bed and dress, with every motion causing exquisite pain. I went downstairs holding the banister with both hands, one very slow step at a time, and with a rest between each step to build up my nerve for the next. As I moved I did loosen up, and eventually I made it to practice.
The second day wasn’t quite so bad, partly because I knew it would hurt so it wasn’t such a big surprise. The third day it was only bad, and after that I was fine.
In following years I was a little sore the first days, but never anything like that first day of the first year. I think that was the most painful experience I have ever had. A broken leg or the broken bones of later years were nothing by comparison.
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