Archive for March, 2010

Deb’s House Concerts

A Man With a Passion for Music

I happened upon Brian Currin’s web site one day and saved it so I could share it with you. He’s South African and he promotes South African music online. Here’s what he says about himself:

Online Marketing is about doing more of the right things, more often” — Brian Currin

My name is Brian Currin, I live in Cape Town, South Africa and I’ve loved music all my life. I was born 4 days after “The Day The Music Died” according to Don McLean (You figure it out!). I am a self-employed online marketing specialist and music researcher.

I have been marketing South African (and International) music online since January 1999 and I have helped many South African musicians and music-related businesses establish a presence on the internet.

Links to Brian Currin’s Music Projects

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Deb’s House Concerts

I’ve Written About “The Architect’s Garage” Before

I don’t know why I keep reading (and, watching) this video blog.  I guess it’s like a soap opera. I want to see what will happen next. I care about what happens to the characters.  I’m pulling for the hero and the heroine, but they don’t seem to be pulling for themselves.  I see what it looks like they’re trying to do with the plot, but there is an underlying theme that is louder than any of the things that are deliberately spoken by either of the main characters.

Zucchinis and Tube Socks

Really???? Is that what we are, men and women, nothing more than the body parts alluded-to with these images (shown repeatedly, and held up as demonstration items, during this video diary entry)? We are asked to comment, and in our comments tell if we are a ‘zucchini’ or a ‘tube sock’.

What’s My Point?

The point I tried to make with my comment was that we are all much more than our male or female body parts. And, relationships between men and women, or men and men, or women and women, are much more than just those ‘parts’ doing something.  That’s what I said in my comment. Humans, and relationships between humans, are so much more than body parts.

“Health” AND “Peace, Justice and Equality”

I’m linking this post to these categories only because I believe it is more healthy to be honest with yourself than dishonest. That’s the ‘health’ connection. The ‘peace, justice and equality’ connection is that there is no peace, justice or equality as long as people are taught from childhood that they are less than (not to mention evil, wicked, perverted, child molesters, and an abomination to God) by religious teachings that make every effort to keep a foot on the necks of those who don’t fit into the “male + female = acceptable to God” category.

The Comment I Submitted

I responded with a comment to the repeated statements that men are ‘zucchinis’ and women are ‘tube socks’, and that ‘zucchinis’ are (by nature) dominant and ‘tube socks’ are (by nature) submissive, and that it just doesn’t make sense for two ‘zucchinis’ or two ‘tube socks’ to be together, because ‘zucchinis’ are supposed to be in ‘tube socks’.  It just seemed like such an over-simplification of ‘relationships’ and an obsession with body parts as the only measure of what makes a valid relationship. This is the comment I submitted (plus one more sentence in []):

Anonymous deb said…

I wrote a comment, and then my browser crashed the comment window, and I lost the comment. I hesitated about trying to rewrite it, because you may not want to post it anyway, but I do want to share my thoughts.

I agree with what Jon said. Human sexuality is so much more than ‘zucchinis’ and ‘tube socks’. People are so much more than their body parts. Relationships are so much more than sexual acts.

Exploring the issue of Adam and Eve and God and men and women being together for a reason, I have a few questions. If men and women are together for the purpose of procreation, what about the couples who are unable to have children? What about older couples who meet after their childbearing years have ended? What about couples who no longer have ‘zucchini and tube sock’ sex because of illness, or disease, or injury? What about the couples who have had all the children they plan to have? What should these couples do? Should they end their relationships because they are not having sex and bringing children into the world?

People are so much more than their sexual body parts. Relationships are so much more than specific acts. Viewing human sexuality through the perspective of pornography is no better than saying a photocopy of picture of a mountain is the mountain itself.

If you want to use movies to try to understand ‘gay’ and why two men might be together, why not look at movies that are about relationships instead of contrived sexual scenes? Watch something sweet like “A Touch of Pink” and see a movie-version of a relationship between two men who love each other. You never once see their ‘zucchinis’, but you see how they love each other. You see a real (Hollywood style) relationship. It’s a movie, so it’s not real life, but it’s much more real than porn. [It's fluffy and sweet, and one of the guys has an imaginary friend he confides in, but it's definitely more 'real' than 'zucchinis', 'tube socks' and porn explanations of sexuality and relationships.]

Why not ask your readers and viewers to recommend movies you can watch to try to imagine relationships between two men? That’s what sexuality is about. It’s not about porn-movie sex. It’s about relationship.

February 23, 2010 12:51 PM

What Was I Responding To?

This is a complete transcript of Rob’s video post called “Mechanics”:

Monday, February 22, 2010


Are you a zucchini or a tube sock?
Let’s just say zucchinis are like men and tube socks are like women.
I want to talk about mechanics today.
Never have I been able to, knowing that I’m one of these, make the jump, or take the leap, in my own mind, to really understand and accept putting two of these together, or, putting two of these together.
There’s always seemed to be a very natural, ordered connection between these two things, that I believe that God-breathed, or IS God-breathed.
Question for you, if you’re gay or lesbian: How did YOU justify taking THIS, and adding two it, saying, “two of these together make sense, or two of these together make sense.” Or, perhaps you completely reject this, and maybe consider it to be something it’s not.
I would really find it interesting to know, maybe because you’ve got same-sex attractions that you justify in your own mind that that is enough to either discount this or add to this.
Maybe you were abused as a child and that was introduced, “that” being some sort of homosexual environment or “act” was forcibly introduced to you and it changed your thinking. um.
I have never been able to get past the pragmatic notion of two zucchinis together, um, obviously a zucchini, just by its nature, is a, is a dominating object. And, the tube sock is more of a submissive object.
Now, I realize I’m just talking about physicality. So, taking two of the same object and putting them together always seemed to have little, if any, appeal to me, purely from a logical standpoint.
Of course, the Bible talks about homosexuality. It’s very clear that it’s not part of God’s plan. Even if you go back to Genesis, you look and you see God created man, woman, put them together for intended purposes. Even after the fall those purposes more or less stayed the same.
So, I offer this as an opportunity for you as a individual who struggles with same-sex attraction and isn’t actively involved with someone of the same sex, or maybe you’ve got same-sex attraction and you ARE involved.
Maybe you’re in a monogamous relationship, or not. I’d like to know your opinion.
I’d like to know what separates you from me in terms of your thinking. How do you justify, from a pragmatic standpoint, bringing together two members of the same sex together.
Signing off.

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Deb’s House Concerts

Following RuPaul With Lingerie

It seems only right to follow RuPaul’s drag show post with a post about a lingerie ad. At the least, it’s a convenient place for me to put this post.

Sexiness for Everyone

That’s the name of this lingerie ad. It’s definitely breaking new ground and pushing the limits. It achieves the sexiness goal. The limits it is pushing are possibly religious and political.

Count on the Europeans

I used to expect the next new thing to come from California. It seemed to be the way things happened. They’d start in California and move east.  But, in matters of sexiness married to religion, I don’t expect to see it in the USA. For all the simulated and suggested sex on television and in movies, there is still an underlying conservative attitude in many  places. The lingerie company that put out the ‘sexiness for everyone’ ad is based in Germany. Daily Finance had the story.

Glow Berlin

I think the company took a huge risk and stepped way outside the usual lingerie imagery. If you liked the ad, they’d like you to visit their Liaison Dangereuse page, too. It helps if you know German.

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Deb’s House Concerts

RuPaul As A Man

I look at the stats for this site, and very often there will be a search for “RuPaul As A Man”.  I think that’s funny. RuPaul IS a man. He does not have to dress up in order to pretend to  be a man.

RuPaul As A Woman

We, television viewers, know RuPaul as a woman, or at least as a drag queen. The first time I ever heard of RuPaul, he was on some late night show. Maybe he had his own show. It seems like it was ten or fifteen years ago. He was a tall, blonde, glamorous drag queen. He was really going against the grain then. But now, his drag queen persona hardly raises an eyebrow.

RuPaul Is Bold And Beautiful

RuPaul is a gay man, and does not try to hide it. He’s bold and beautiful when he is dressed as a woman, but is not a woman. Nor, is he a transgendered person in transition. He is a gay man who performs as a drag queen.

RuPaul As An ‘Ex-Gay’

I’ve written about this before. RuPaul was not personally ‘ex-gay’, but he played an ‘ex-gay’ counselor in a campy movie that exposes the lies and manipulation of the ‘ex-gay’ movement in a comedy that plays on every stereotype (just like the ex-gay movement does).  He plays a man in that movie, But, I’m A Cheerleader, a gay man trying hard to be ‘ex-gay’ while trying to teach young gay men how to be ‘ex-gay’.

I Like RuPaul

I’ve not seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, so I can’t comment on it. But, I like his larger than life drag queen persona. I like that he is not afraid to live out loud and draw attention to himself. I don’t know what effect he has on young gay people, but I hope what he does for them is to give them the courage to be themselves and love themselves as they are.

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Deb’s House Concerts

Spoofing “Going Rogue” With”Going Vogue

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Deb’s House Concerts

The Advertising and Availability Yo-Yo

Advertising influences us. It tells us we want that food they show us, we need that food they show us.  Availability makes it possible for us to get that food and eat it as often as we like. Then, advertising makes us believe we are ugly and fat, and we need to get rid of that ‘ugly fat’. The ‘diet’ industry is huge. There is a massive amount of money being made by making people feel terribly about themselves.

Health vs Weight Loss

I don’t want to take the ‘weight loss’ approach. Even if we were all rail-thin, we’d probably have body issues. We’ve learned since childhood, from advertisers and those who believe them, that we are not okay the way we are. That’s the way it is for most women. It’s an issue created and driven by advertising.

My Goal

My goal with my new blog, Walking Back Home, is to make my own struggle public. It isn’t about drawing attention to myself, because I don’t actually like that (contrary to how it might appear, since I write this blog). My reason for being ‘public’ about this is that I hope it will encourage me to stay on track. It’s easier to walk with a friend. It’s easier to work out with a friend. It’s easier to eat a healthy diet when eating it with others who eat a healthy diet.

My Hope

My hope is that by writing about my struggles and efforts related to exercise and food, I will begin to do more of what I need to do to be healthy. I hope that by writing this new blog, I will take myself to a place of doing what I need to do to help myself return to my best physical self, and by doing that, keep myself healthy for decades to come.

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Deb’s House Concerts

Candy Bars for Breakfast

I spent much of the past year having a Snickers and a Mountain Dew almost every day, at least 3 or 4 times a week. Sometimes, I had more than one of each. And, more than once, I ‘rewarded’ myself (for what, I don’t recall) by stopping my Krispie Kreme and having one (or more) of their mouth-watering doughnuts.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and I continued to pretend there would be no bad result of so many empty calorie consumed while spending endless hours sitting and listening to lectures, or sitting at my computer.

One Pound Per Month

I think I gained about a pound a month over the past year. That’s a lot of weight. I know it’s possible to gain more than that, but that was without doing anything ‘excessivly excessive’. ;) Once before, when I was in Oklahoma, I lived a mile from a Braum’s Ice Cream store. I really like milkshakes, and I could easily use half of a box of ice cream in a huge milkshake.  I also enjoyed the variety of flavors they had.  So, at one point, I ate a container of ice cream every other day for a month. I did it because  could, because I wanted to, and because it tasted good. I quit after I gained about ten pounds in a month. I think I lost those ten pounds later, or most of them, but I don’t remember now.

Easy On, Not-So-Easy Off

The number beside the letters BMI (body mass index) are bigger than they should be. If I were the size that goes with my ‘healthy’ BMI, I’d “look like a stick”, or so I say. In reality, I’d be slim, and I’d look healthy. I do not, in any way, endorse ‘fad diets’. I’m not even fond of most of the ‘diet’ books and ‘diet’ companies.

Weight Loss vs Good Health

What I am looking for is good health. I have been lucky enough to be healthy for my entire life to this point, in spite of my poor choices in nutrition. I’ve probably eaten enough good (healthy) food to counter-balance a lot of my ‘bad food’ choices. But, I’m also at the point where the balance is tipping, and it’s not tipping in the ‘healthy’ direction. So, it is imperative that I make changes now, and make them lifestyle changes, not ‘fad diet’ changes. My goal is good health, from this point forward, not weight loss (although that will happen if I change how I eat and how much I move).

March 8, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

Driving at Night

The other night, I was driving down a road where there was a stretch of nothing but businesses. The fast food signs were large and bright, advertising their specials.

Suicide Assistance

I said to my friend, “They should just say, ‘Let us help you kill yourself.’”

Sugar and Fat

We both eat too much and exercise too little.  Way too many people in this country do that. I hope that people in other countries, those who think life is better in the USA, don’t take on our unhealthy habits. We eat too much. We move too little. We’re getting fat. We’re developing heart disease and diabetes.  We’re developing high blood pressure and having heart attacks and brain attacks (strokes).

Advertising Changes Behavior

Some people like to say that advertising does not influence decisions people make. Even a brief look at the advertising industry in this country shows evidence to the contrary. We buy what is advertised. That’s why companies spend billions on advertising. They know that no matter what we say, we ARE influenced by ads. (This is why the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of unlimited campaign contributions and advertising by businesses was so wrong. Likewise, the recent ruling, by elected officials, that elected officials are not acting unethically to steer contracts to contributors is also wrong.)

Feeding Us to Death

If our enemies want to kill us, or even merely control us, all they have to do is feed us to death.  We are willing slaves to advertising. We willingly buy fast food, even though we know very little of it is good for us. We willingly move to a larger size for a small price, even though that little bit extra every time adds pounds and cholesterol we may never be rid of. We buy snacks and drinks out of the vending machines that are located in almost every place we go. We buy huge boxes of food (often with questionable nutritional value) from warehouse stores. We are willing sheep, following as we are directed by availability and advertising, traveling as a group to our own individual early graves.

It’s Not Too Late

We, as a nation, are puffing up like balloons. This is no slur on big people. I’m talking to myself, too. I am concerned for myself, and for you. I see every day what inattention to health (including good nutrition and exercise) can do to the body. I see in my own body that all it takes to gain weight is just to eat what I want, whenever I want. And, the irony of that is that I don’t even think I eat “that much”.

March 7, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

(cross-posted from my new Walking Back Home blog on healthblogs.org)

Do You Mind?

I ask her every time. I email her what I’ve written, or I tell her what I’m going to say, and I ask if it’s okay to quote her. I don’t want to use her comments without her permission.

I See Her Often

We lived in the same town before, for most of my life, actually, but I was away for awhile, and now I’m back. I try to see my parents as often as I can. I’m in that ‘sandwich’ generation, the one they say is caught between the needs of their parents and the needs of their children.

It’s Not So Much About Needs

I moved back home, back  to the same town, with the goal of spending time with my parents before they needed me. I did not want to come back only because they might need my help. I wanted to be able to enjoy them while they did not need me.

I Asked If She Read My Recent Posts

Sometimes, after I’ve written a new post, I email it to a few family members and friends. My mom was on the  short list for the new posts for myhealthblogs blog (this one, Walking Back Home).  I saw her this evening, and I asked if she read the new posts. Yes, she did. Did she see where I’d quoted her? Yes. Was it okay with her? Yes. In fact, she said, she was pleased that I had remembered what she’d said.

Don’t Be the Smallest One

She did not tell me not to have friends who were bigger than me. She said that I should also have some friends who were not bigger than me. Why? Because I’d not realize how big I was if I was with people who were bigger than me. And, she wanted me to think smaller (for my own body), not bigger.  I do think it was all about health. She doesn’t usually seem to worry about things, but my eating habits have been on her radar for most of my life.

Milk and Ice Cream Every Day

When I was growing up, I drank milk like there would be no tomorrow. I ate ice cream that way, too, way into my adult years. I never made the connection between milk and my stuffy nose until I was in my twenties when I saw an allergy specialist. But, I don’t regret the great pleasure I took in whole milk and ice cream. My bones are strong, and I’m sure that is partly due to all the Calcium and Vitamin D I consumed in my formative years.

Peanut M&Ms for Three Months

When my mom said it was okay to quote her, and said she’d read the first three posts for my Walking Back Home blog, she made another quotable suggestion. She asked, “Are you going to write about the time you ate Peanut M&Ms for three months?” I told her I did not remember doing that, but  I totally believe I might have done that. She reminded me that I bought LOTS of huge bags of Peanut M&Ms with a plan to give them away. But, since I didn’t want to prepare food to eat, I just ate Peanut M&Ms for three months.  I don’t specifically remember that, but if it is not true in every detail, it’s probably close.

Recent After-Valentine’s Day Sale On Candy

I did something similar recently. I went into a drug store to buy a gift for a friend who was in the hospital. They had Valentine’s Day Peanut M&Ms on sale, so I bought some, of course. But, in my usual way, I did not buy a simple small package. I bought a big bag of each of two color schemes so that my friend could select which one she wanted.  And, I bought a second bag of each color scheme for myself. As it turned out, my friend was not able to eat candy, and I ended up with four big bags of Peanut M&Ms. I ate one on my way home (a two hour drive). I gave two bags to my mom. (Maybe I did that. I’m remembering it that way. More likely, I gave her one bag and ate the other one.) And, I ate the fourth bag while writing blog posts.  Yes, she was probably remembering correctly, and I probably did live on Peanut M&Ms for three months at some point in my life. I could probably totally enjoy doing something like that now, too.  But, I don’t plan to ever do something like that again (assuming I really did do that!)  ;)

No Peanut M&Ms tonight

I don’t have any more. That’s probably a good thing, because if I had them, I’d want to eat them. And, I probably would eat them, too! That makes me lucky, I guess. I’m lucky I do not have any Peanut M&Ms tonight. Since I don’t have any, maybe I’ll just go to sleep. Really! At least, I’ll give it my best effort.

March 7, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

(cross-posted from my new Walking Back Home blog on healthblogs.org)

I’m A Night Person

It’s more normal for me to be awake late at night than early in the morning. I guess I was made that way. From what I’ve been told, I was that way by the time I learned to walk.

Out of Sync With the Rest of the World

I’ve never minded being a night owl. In the past, I’ve thought of it as my time for ‘creative work’. Even now, I tend to write blog posts in the wee hours when I’m not sleeping.

The Magic of Benadryl

I’ve used Benadryl to help me sleep when I’ve needed to go to sleep in order to wake up early the next day (or else risk being up all night and getting no sleep at all). I’ve treated it like a magic pill. But, I read somewhere a few months ago that it can inhibit the ability to remember information, so it’s not a good idea to take it when studying. In the past couple of weeks, I found more information on it that said that when used long-term, it can affect  the brain in ways that look like memory loss or dementia.  I’m paraphrasing here, but it was enough to convince me that I need to stop using it to put me to sleep more than once in a while.

So, I’m Awake … All Night Long

I hope I won’t be awake all night long, but I’m writing this post at 3am, and I’ll be surprised if I’m asleep before 430am. And, I’m supposed to be awake and meeting classmates to study at 10am. We met at 10 am today (yesterday) after I was awake for about three hours in the middle of the night. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. (I hope I never really know what that feels like.!) It took several tall refills of Panera’s coffee before I felt fully human again. By 8pm, I could barely move, and I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. Now, I’m up again, and I’m showing no signs of slowing.

Why Does This Happen?

The obvious reason for my insomnia, my best guess, is a mixture of having a ‘night owl’ nature, and working a whole string of overnight shifts recently. I don’t work any set shift. I just work now and then, when they need me. But, when I worked recently, I worked overnight, and I did parts of five nights in a row. So, it should not surprise me that I either cannot fall asleep, or I wake up in the middle of the night.

What Am I Going To Do Now?

What can I do now? How can I go to sleep at any reasonable hour, now that I’m trying to avoid the Benadryl? I still think it’s a great drug and it works wonders. But, if the literature I read is correct, it should only be used infrequently. That takes it away as an easy 3-or-4-times-a-week sleep aid. :(   (sigh)

Pretending to Sleep Put Me to Sleep (at least one time)

Last night, I was able to go to sleep on my own and quickly. Maybe it was because I was exhausted from working close to 60 hours during the middle of the night. That would be a very good reason. But, I told myself this was the reason. I lay down and closed my eyes and pretended I was asleep. I don’t really know what that means. But, that’s what I told myself I was doing. I decided to pretend to sleep. Maybe it worked. I was asleep in less than one minute!

Sleep Schedules and Physical Health

It seems to be a given that people who work night shifts are physically all out of sorts, or can be easily, because of the messed up sleep cycle. I’ve read that working nights also weakens the immune system, makes people more prone to disease, and shortens the life span. That would not surprise me. I  have no sources to quote, so consider these comments anecdotal and third-party, at best. But, that’s why I’ve not been jumping to work a  night shift in my next job. The shift pay for working nights is sweet, but I’m trying to look down the road and imagine my physical health. Will I be healthier if I work a day shift or if I work a night shift?  I’m guessing days are easier on the body and long-term health.  This exhaustion and insomnia are certainly running me down in the short-term.

March 6, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

(cross-posted from my new Walking Back Home blog on healthblogs.org)

Another New Blog

I’ve started another new blog. My goal is to help myself change direction and become more healthy as time passes, rather than less healthy. My first post was the last post on this blog, Living Well Until We Die.  This post includes my second post on Walking Back Home.

Why I’m Here

I wrote this as my ‘about’ page, but it’s really just a post that explains my purpose in starting Walking Back Home on Health Blogs. (If you want to write about health, you can sign up for a free blog on healthblogs.org.)

Why Am I Here?

No, I’m not asking an existential question. I finally quit asking that question a few years back, maybe in a previous decade of my life. I used to try to figure out the meaning of existence, of my existence. There are many possible answers, some based in religion, some based in science, and some random thoughts of friends like the one who said, “I don’t wonder about the meaning of existence. There is no meaning.”

It Is What It Is

Whenever it was that I decided I did not need to know why I was here, I gained a certain freedom to live without trying to figure it all out. I’m still prone to asking questions that are too big for answers, once in awhile, but more often now I try not to ask those questions. It seems so much easier to simply want to do something good before I die.

“Why” Reduced to a Pithy Saying

I like the saying that says, “If one person breathed easier, because you lived, you did not live in vain.” Or, something like that. But, seriously, I don’t want to look back on my life at some future point and think of all the wasted potential. Ha! I don’t even want to look back on my life now and think of all the wasted potential! That’s too depressing!

Missed Opportunities, New Opportunities Ahead

I have lost many opportunities in my life by being afraid to discover what I really cared about and by not being willing to live my life to the fullest. I have been afraid, far too many times, to take chances and put myself on the line. I have been indecisive, and I have never been entirely sure what I should do with my life. And, the years have continued to slip away behind me. Unfortunately, I’m still that way to some degree. But, in spite of my self-doubts and indecision, I’ve plowed along.

Remembering My Grandmother’s Garden

I’m thinking of walking barefoot in the dirt field that was beside my grandmother’s house. It was bigger than the entire piece of land my current house sits on. My grandmother worked hard, and planted, and hoed, and weeded, and harvested and canned vegetables. I only visited. I did not live there. But, at least once or twice I had the opportunity to walk behind the horse my uncle used to plow that garden.

My Life as a Garden

I’m thinking about my life as a garden, a huge field. I’ve been walking behind an old, slow horse that’s wearing a collar and pulling a plow with a single blade. I’ve been plowing that field, behind that horse, slowly, up one row and down another. It’s taken my whole life to be who I am now. That’s nothing profound. It’s true for each of us. We are who we are in this moment. We have behind us what has been. We have before us what will be. All we can know is that we have a piece of land (who we are, and how we live). We can till and fertilize the soil, and plant, weed, and water the new growth. We can thin out the parts that aren’t worth keeping. It takes a tremendous amount of work. We can just let it go, and let it grow however it will. Or, we can work the garden. As with a garden, there is much that is up to me, and there is much that is beyond my control.

So, Why Am I HERE, On Healthblogs?

Well, for one thing, I know the person who started healthblogs.org, and she’s been asking me to blog here for years. But, I’m not really doing it for her. If I were, I would have done it years ago. I’m doing it now, because I want to find a way to hold myself accountable for what will happen next in the ‘garden’ of my life, at least in the areas that depend on me for making the right choices and taking the right actions.

Personal Accountability

I’m at a point in my life where I need to do more than know that I need to move more and eat less. It’s not really about food or fat or diets. It’s about health. I’ve eaten what I wanted for long enough that my BMI is higher than it should be, and my cholesterol is creeping up. I’ve lived more in my head than in my body for most of my life, and I’ve thought about being physically active way more than I’ve ever been physically active. I’ve valued the life of the mind. But, even that life is at risk if I let inactivity and wrong foods, or too much of my favorite foods, take away my physical health.

I See It All the Time. It’s Time to Make It Personal

I work in health care. I can look at myself, and those I work with (other employees), and see people who do not take care of their bodies. We carry too much weight. Our feet and knees and hips hurt. Look at us, and you’ll see people who walk with a limp or some kind of adjustment to gait, trying to manage to work 12 hours on concrete floors. We eat junk food and take-out. We work long, hard hours. We abuse our bodies trying to take care of other people who have abused their bodies. Believe me, when I help you, after you have abused your body for your entire life, I am putting my own body at risk. I have to constantly remember to ‘work smart’ and use good body mechanics in order to avoid hurting myself while trying to help someone who cannot help himself or herself.

A Matter of Perspective

I’ve not been my ideal weight for decades. I’ve not been grossly out of range, but I’ve let it creep up. It’s easy to feel small and healthy when the people you know are bigger and less healthy. I’ll give you an example. Several years ago, I briefly tried to live in a healthier way. (This is something I’ve done off and on throughout my entire life. I’ve tried to think of it as being healthier, not as dieting. I’ve just tried to change the way I eat, and that’s usually lasted a short time, before I’ve returned to eating the foods I wanted to eat.) I must have lost ten or fifteen pounds. My neighbor and friend, someone who weighed more than one hundred pounds more than I did, said, “You’re anorexic! Have a hissy (hysterectomy), and then you can eat all you want.” I still do not know exactly what she meant, because I was bigger than two anorexic women combined, and I don’t know how a gynecologic surgery would lead to the opportunity for unlimited eating without consequences. But, that friend was always good for interesting comments and memorable stories, so it did not matter if it made sense to me. It made sense to her, so I filed it away, and eventually I went back to my less-than-healthy, or at least inconsistently healthy, food choices.

Is It Not Too Late For Me?

After my bigger-than-me friend insisted I was anorexic, my mom suggested I get to know some people who were smaller than me, so I’d not be able to feel small beside them. She was not saying anything bad about my bigger friends. She was trying to get me to see that my perspective was warped by my environment. She made a good point about how we make choices, and how we rationalize behavior. Much of how we see ourselves is based on our experiences and our perception of the world around us. When people decide to change behaviors, they have to change environments. When people want to stop drinking, they have to stop going to bars. But, how can we stop eating too much of the wrong kinds of food? We can’t just stop being around food. If we live in a world where we are all eating too much and exercising too little, it seems like the normal thing to do. So, how can we change? How can I change?

Why I’m Here, Revisited

This brings me back to why I’ve decided to write this blog. I’ve signed up for healthblogs.org, because I’m not very good at taking action. I’m a procrastinator. I’m not very good at doing what I need to do for ME. I’m good at taking care of other people. I’m not so good at taking care of myself. I’ve seen what not taking care of oneself does to the body. I’ve seen the damage done by people who did not mean to hurt themselves, good people who just lived their lives and ended up with all kinds of health problems. There is no reason for me to end up that way. I have seen what happens when people don’t take care of themselves. Why do I still eat things that will increase my body mass, my cholesterol, my triglycerides, and my blood sugar? I do not currently have problems with all of those things, but I could, and I probably will if I do not make specific changes to take care of my body. I have seen the damage people have done to their bodies by living ‘normal’ (in this country and this culture) lives. I will have no excuse if I become a victim of my own inaction.

My Amazing Diet (2 weeks of my entire life)

I won’t ask you to exercise with me or change your eating habits. That is a personal decision that each of us must make for ourselves. I don’t even know if I will be able to do it. I know I should do it. I know I need to do it. I know how I felt in the past when I was my best body size and my most fit. I know how I felt in the past when I ate an amazing diet (specific food choices, not ‘weight loss diet’) that I’ll write about some day. I’ll probably try to eat that way again, with the food choices that made me feel so amazing. I only ate that way for two weeks of my entire life, and it was almost twenty years ago, but it was so good, and so amazing, I still talk about it. Why have I not eaten in that amazing way for all this time, knowing how good it made me feel? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it has been a combination of inertia and eating foods I really enjoy (with lots of fat and sugar and salt in them). Those foods that treat us so badly taste so good.

My Invitation to You

For most of my life, I’ve taken the easy route. Now, I’m trying to change direction and change the future course of events. I invite you to walk with me, and keep me company, as I begin walking back home to my best and healthiest self.

March 6, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

(cross-posted on my new Walking Back Home blog on healthblogs.org)

The ‘Best’ in the World

For so long, the USA has been considered ‘the most powerful nation in the world’. I suppose we still have that title, but we have to think twice about it these days, with so much of our real estate, business and debt owned by other countries. We’re still big and strong as a military power, but we’re struggling to keep that status, too. (I wish we could build schools and hospitals and assist with clean water and self-sufficient farming, more than fighting wars, but that may be just my ‘peace, justice, and equality’ dream. I am happy to know that we still do good things for countries facing emergencies (recently Haiti, and now Chile). But, this isn’t what I intended as my topic for this post.)

Is More Always Better?

What I’m thinking about right now is how being ‘the best’ is not always such a good thing. In the past century, we became a super-power. We had so much of everything. We, as a nation, had an overwhelming major helping of the wealth in the world. There are many people in this country who are currently struggling financially, and food and shelter have become primary considerations as discretionary income has disappeared for many. But, we are still a nation, for the most part, of people who have easy access to plenty of food (processed, fried, fat, sugared) and other chemical pleasures (tobacco, alcohol, drugs of every variety) and leisure (most of which requires nothing more of us than watching or participating with keyboards or remote control devices).

Being the ‘Best’ Is Killing Us

Having nearly unlimited access to food, drink and non-physical leisure activities might feel like living in the lap of luxury, or at least sitting on the couch watching tv while eating pizza or chips. But, our faster and easier way of life is taking us to a collective early grave. There’s really no original thought in this idea, but it’s something I think about often. We’re almost all overweight. We are not physically fit. We work, if we’re fortunate enough to be employed, in jobs where we do very little physical labor. We use food and other substances to solve every kind of problem we think we have. And, it’s killing us.

Genetics vs Personal Choice

I’m lucky enough to have some great (healthy) DNA from at least part of my ancestry. I came from people who worked hard, lived long, and died at an old age. I supposed that gave me a false sense of security and longevity. When I was younger, I looked at the ‘old heads’ and believed I’d be like them, living ‘forever’. It was only when I reached the years I used to think of as ‘middle aged’ that I began to think about my own mortality. Age + Work (taking care of people who have many physical problems) = Thinking more about the limitations of the physical body. Some people get sick through no action of their own. But, for most of us, and I am trying to make myself listen, there is so much we do that hastens ill-health, and so much more we could be doing to make ourselves healthy and keep ourselves healthy.

I Enjoy Food and Relaxation

I don’t think of myself as ‘piggy’ and ‘lazy’, but there is irrefutable proof (in my physical body) that I eat more than I need to live, and I do less physical work than is necessary to stay healthy, strong and fit. (I gained weight over the past year while I was in school about forty hours a week. And, I did not exercise regularly.) Why? I know better. Why do I not do better? It is easy for me to see how tobacco and excessive use of alcohol can destroy lives. Why do I not turn the mirror to myself and see that too many calories and too little physical activity have the potential to destroy my life? Too much of the wrong foods, and too little exercise, can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Why in the world would I eat too much and exercise too little when I know those behaviors could lead to future health problems?

I’ll Do It Tomorrow

I’ve lived my life eating what I pleased. It did not matter if it was fried, or sweet, or had more calories than I could possibly use in a reasonable time span. When I was younger, it did not matter. I could feel my bones, and I was lean enough. I was strong. I could do what I wanted. And, I ate what I wanted, and I did as much or as little as I wanted. Mostly, I’ve done as little as I wanted, not requiring myself to be physically active to keep in shape.

So, What’s the Point?

The point is that what we do for years and years without consequence will eventually bite us. And, how bad that bite is may be a matter of luck, but more likely it’s a bite we don’t notice until it’s so bad we can’t repair it. In this country, food and drink and tobacco and leisure have been available to us all for so long they’ve become part of our mindset. We don’t even notice how unhealthy we are. We don’t even realize we’re killing ourselves.

What Am I Going to Do About It?

What am I going to do about it?That’s a good question. A few months ago, a doctor I’d never seen before told me I need to exercise. I asked, “You mean I should lose weight?” He said, “You should not gain any more weight.” He pointed out how “unhealthy” people are where I work. He pointed out that I don’t need to be like so many others, becoming unhealthy while they help others who are not healthy. More recently, another doctor told me much the same thing. “What are you going to do about it?” My life of eating what I enjoy and using my mind more than my body have brought me to a place where I need to either make some specific changes (eat differently and exercise more) or begin developing physical problems (the way we all do when we eat too much and exercise too little).

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love You Tomorrow

I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll start tomorrow. I have to finish the xxx in my refrigerator. But, I just bought xxx. I guess it’s like not wanting to throw out cigarettes if you smoke or not wanting to get rid of alcohol if you’re going to stop drinking. How do you give up food? Pretty easily, in theory, if what you need to give up is the ‘too much’ aspect, or the candy and doughnuts and soft drinks aspect. It’s just not that easy. I wonder how the craving for sugar compares to the craving for nicotine, or any other substance one might try to quit. I’ve been telling myself for the past week that I’d start a new way of eating ‘tomorrow’. Then, I forgot to take my lunch to work, and I met my classmates to study in a place that sells food, and I wanted a quick pick-me-up at work and bought a candy bar.

Psychological vs Physical? Psychological + Physical?

Is the difficulty in quitting things that are bad for us psychological or physical? Is it a little of both? Just as prisons are no deterrent for most people who commit crimes, the distant specter of ill-health is no deterrent to most of us in this country. We don’t think about the possibility of developing diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. We don’t think about increasing our risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and dementia. It certainly has not gotten me into a good exercise plan or a better way of eating. What is wrong with me? I know exactly what I need to do. I have a very specific plan. Why is it so hard to do it? Is it inertia? What will it take to get me over the as-it-is-now way of doing things and into the how-it-needs-to-be way?

Just Do Something. Anything.

All I need to do is something, anything. All I need to do is start. All I need to do is to make one little change, and then another. But, not yet, not until after I finish the chocolate chip cookie dough and the ice cream. Funny. But, not funny. Hmmmm.

March 5, 2010

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Deb’s House Concerts

Preventive Medicine

When I was a child, I often heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Why do we not hear that saying anymore? It is still true that healthy foods can keep us healthy. But, in our current culture and society, we are more inclined not to take care of ourselves and then look for medications to solve our health problems.

Western Medicine

I greatly appreciate the knowledge and skill of health care providers, those who assess, diagnose, and prescribe and those who reset bones and do surgeries and remove ‘bad’ things. These are things I grew up with, and these are things I believe in.

Which Is Better?

So, which is better? What should we do? Should we try to prevent illness and disease, or should we go to doctors when we are sick? Well, if you ask me … and, you did not, I know! ;) … we need both! It is clear that we are killing ourselves with what we eat, what we drink, what we inhale, and how little we move. And, we make it worse by worrying, feeling stressed, and letting things make us angry.

Can We Just Start Over?

What if we just start over? Can we do that? Can we stop for a minute and look at how we are living and then adjust ever-so-slightly and see how if feels? What if we drank one more glass of water each day and one less glass of sugary (or caffeinated or alcoholic) drinks? What if we ate one more apple or sweet potato each day and one less candy bar? What if we ate more fatty fish and less of other fatty meats (or, maybe no meat at all)? What if we ate dark green vegetables and avacados and whole grain breads and blueberries and olive oil? What if … ? The possibilities are almost endless, and I’m only thinking about food (not even reaching the point of moving instead of sitting for hours a day).

Can Food Be Medicine?

Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald thinks so. I don’t know her credentials, I only read her article. :)  But, I like to consider any kind of primary prevention. I like the idea that we can take care of ourselves now and maybe avoid having to repair ourselves later. Dr. F published an article recently on Huffington Post entitled Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Top 10 Healing Foods Of The Decade.

Many fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed whole foods have properties that can benefit our health. Studies in the past decade have taken nutritional research beyond protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Chemicals in the plants called phytochemicals have been a specific focus in the past decade, offering benefits such as cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, and hormone regulation, to name a few.

Dr. F’s Top 10 Super-Foods




Green Tea


Spices – Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger


Dark Chocolate


What’s So Great About Those Foods?

Read it for yourself, and see!  ;) Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Top 10 Healing Foods Of The Decade

PS – My Mom Said …

I wrote this while visiting, and read this to my mom when I finished writing it. She said, “Is that something you’re going to post?” I said yes, and she said, “It’s easier to give advice than to take it, isn’t it?”  I laughed out loud and asked if I could quote her. She gave permission. It’s true. I know the right things to do, but I do not do the right things enough of the time.  I am definitely talking to myself with what I have written here. (Today, I ate both healthy food and junk food. And, I sat for most of 8 hours at school, and I’ve been sitting for most of the past 4 hours. I am definitely one who needs to “eat right and move more.”)

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Deb’s House Concerts

Medication vs. Meditation

Deb and Ed Shapiro have written a book promoting meditation as the ultimate high. The title is BE THE CHANGE – How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They said it, “helps us to understand how we can become free without drugs — a natural high without the hangover!”

Why Meditate? (Why Not Medicate?)

Here’s what Deb and Ed have to say about why meditation is best.

Five Reasons Why Meditation is the Best Natural High

1. Rather than adding toxins into our system, meditation is a way to clean out.

2. Meditation purifies our nervous system and mind in such a way that we see our present reality with greater clarity. Creativity is enhanced and solutions to difficulties arise so we can be with whatever is happening, rather than trying to hide from it.

3. The madness of the mind is likened to a drunken monkey bitten by a scorpion. With meditation, this begins to calm down and we can make friends and peace with our mind, so we can be free of the craziness.

4. Meditation opens our heart to love, joy and compassion, and there certainly isn’t anything as high as the power of love!

5. Meditation gets us high on life. It enables us to enjoy life to it’s fullest, to enjoy breathing, walking, a sunset, and the simple beauty of being alive!

Read the Whole Article

Getting High: On Drugs, Medication Or Meditation?

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