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Posts Tagged ‘health’

It’s opening night for my granddaughter’s middle school musical!

Y’all know I’m an old song and dance girl. Before I danced in my high school’s version of “Oklahoma,” I played the lead in “Camelot” at Camp St Joseph for Girls. I had to sing “If Ever I Would Leave You” in tights and a pillowcase and I must say I killed it.

My star kept rising with “The Music Man” and ascended to new heights when I played Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” Even if Bob (who played Nathan Detroit) and I were fighting one day, you know like if he may have not wanted to go to the Junior Prom or some such nonsense, we were professional enough to carry on with the show! The very first show tune I taught the two year old Love Bug was “A Bushel and a Peck.” We even had a dance number – if only we had had TikTok.

The Bug’s Mother is another story. The Flapper hung a tiny pair of ballet slippers over her crib when she was born in the hospital. Sounds like a fairy tale right? My Mother didn’t let a car accident stop her from dancing and by God, her new granddaughter would trip the boards like Terpsichore. And of course, dancing in the Berkshire Ballet’s “Nutcracker” would become our mother-daughter Christmas-Hunakkah tradition. Until…

One day the Bride announced in a letter that she no longer had the time to take ballet lessons. She was about the Bug’s age then, and too busy with school and horseback riding. I had to respect her wishes but I’m sure she knew my heart was a little broken. Little did we know that the Rocker would become the performer; maybe I should have taken him to tap classes instead of hockey practice!

Tonight my Bug will be playing an Oompa Loompa and I will be sitting front row center proud as a peacock! Will she catch Broadway fever from her first bit part in Willy Wonka? When she looks out at the audience tonight and hears the applause will something click? Is today the day she finds her passion in life? You never know but this is the age for making momentous decisions.

“I am preparing other surprises that are even more marvellous and even more fantastic for you and for all my beloved Golden Ticket holders – mystic and marvellous surprises that will entice, delight, intrigue, astonish and perplex you beyond measure. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!” 

https://roalddahl.fandom.com/wiki/Golden_Ticket#:~:text=A%20Golden%20Ticket%20is%20the,find%20was%20a%20press%20sensation.

This is about the age I left my foster parents and decided to live with the Flapper forever, coming out of my sheltered chrysalis. Beware of the preteen, she is a powerful totem with her golden ticket.

In a world of pure imagination

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Our family’s birthday season begins midsummer with the big boys and ends with the little Pumpkin’s falling leaves. We celebrated a milestone in Malibu. Although every birthday gives us a chance to rejoice or deny our humble beginnings; I’m in the denial phase at the moment.

The Groom’s family has a tradition where each person at the dinner table tells the story of the actual birth day. We all have different points of view so it’s like writing a book. Every chapter is the same time period only told from a different perspective.

The Flapper told me that my brother Michael was her easiest birth. She was outside hanging laundry on the line when she felt him coming and told my sister Kay to run through the backyards to fetch the doctor. I imagine her running barefoot through clouds of sheets. Michael was born fast, destined for a life in the sports world.

I was her only hospital-born baby. She told the doctor after five children she needed a rest.

As my Father lay dying, the doctor told the Flapper she didn’t have to boil my baby bottles. He said washing them was fine which was a tremendous help. I picture him looking like Santa Claus, in a plain gray suit. Cultural norms have changed since the 40s. Today more than 80% of newborns are breastfed.

While I was lying on the floor after my Malibu fall, Bob examined me. No broken hip, check. And my mind immediately cast blame on myself of course. Why do I act like I’m still 16? I don’t want to ruin this vacation so let’s just soldier on and walk up and down hundreds of steps to a beach. Until I couldn’t walk at all.

This week, the MRI tech who escorted me into the room told me I could take off my glasses and my mask. He pointed to a table and went on about how I’d be all alone in the room, and then he added,

“Dr Fauci is going to prison!”

At first I wasn’t sure if he said that, but to cement the thought he repeated it. I replied,

“I know he got Covid, but that’s not a crime.”

Then he gave me two ear plugs, tied my feet together and crossed my hands over my chest on the table. I was a prisoner in a metal tube with a redneck at the wheel. I tried going to my happy place but that wasn’t working so I just concentrated on my breathing while a jackhammer of sound waves attacked my pelvis.

Turns out I fractured the upper part of my sacrum. Which really isn’t a bad spot – too far to the right and I’d be paralyzed, too far to the left and my hip could have shattered. Lucky me.

I’m trying to resist absolutist thinking – like now I’ll never play pickleball. Instead I tell myself I could write more and read more and watch more Netflix while resting on the couch. Why do we need to give birth or nearly die to allow ourselves a rest? This American work ethic thing is real. I feel like a sloth or maybe an escargot!

Poor Bob. His birthday is coming up next and he’s on nursing duty. Washing clothes, cooking and watering gardens while walking dogs and tending to me. Not all at the same time of course. Turns out his talents exceed my expectations. I told the Pumpkin that TOGETHER PopBob and I would get through this just fine. “Don’t you agree Bob,” I said.

After an affirmative mumble from my harried husband, the Pumpkin looked at me and said, “Sounds like he’s not convinced!”

Wish us luck dear readers. I’m on the lookout for a rabbit’s foot charm, or an Irish shamrock to add to my feather pendants.

A reflection of me, before the fall

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When is too much of a good thing bad for you? How does passion turn into obsession?

It turns out the Pumpkin is a pretty natural soccer player. I drove him to his soccer game over the weekend and listened to everyone calling his name. He was laser focused on the ball, charging the opposite team without fear. When he scored a goal my heart leapt for joy.

I told him that I used to coach his Uncle’s soccer team when the Rocker was his age. He looked up at me incredulously… Nana coached soccer? And I remembered those bright, crisp mornings filled with orange wedges and Gatorade.

We graduated to ice hockey and the Rocker finally found a sport he loved. All I had to do was get up before dawn and drive and sit in the stands and shiver. We traveled to ice rinks all over the state of NJ lugging his equipment in a huge duffel, just about the same size as his pre-adolescent body.

But one morning he didn’t suit up for the rink. I had to wake him with the news that his Uncle Dicky had died. Bob brought the Bride into his bedroom and we explained to them both that Daddy’s brother had been sick for a long time; he had a drug addiction.

Dicky had been a sweet uncle with an infectious smile. Sometimes he would disappear for months. The hardest part was telling Ada. It was a watershed moment for us, I believe that this was our family’s cautionary tale; this was the moment our children grew up.

I’ve been thinking about Dicky since I read that drug overdoses have increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic. And not just needle-in-the-arm street heroin – plain old pain pills. Synthetic oxycodone that strangely enough, one can buy online. I read that 4 out of 10 pills can be laced with fentanyl.

“The new CDC data show that deaths at least partially attributable to synthetic opioids likely increased by around 20,000 (54%) in 2020, while deaths involving cocaine (21%) and other psychostimulants like methamphetamine (46%) also rose dramatically. In 2015, synthetic opioids were involved in only 18 percent of all overdose deaths; in 2020, it appears to be more than 60 percent.”

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2021/drug-overdose-toll-2020-and-near-term-actions-addressing-it

A record high of 93,331 synthetic and prescription drug overdose deaths competed with 345,323 Covid 19 deaths in 2020. So naturally the media follows the pandemic, and after all the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma are old news. Today it’s all about ridiculous school board mask-mandate meetings, and poor Mark Milley…

It’s misleading to cite drug overdose deaths as the ninth leading cause of death in the US. And for some odd reason, ODs are not even listed in the CDC data. So I had Bob do some digging – it turns out the number ONE cause of death for young adults 25 – 44 is overdose. More than motor vehicle accidents and homicides (of which almost 90% involve guns). I’m sure you heard that murder rates were up last year by almost 30%! https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778234

In short, we need to change our public policy around drugs, and yes guns too. Sure a pandemic is a public health emergency, but at some point it will end, right? At some point in the future we will have ‘the talk’ about addiction with the Grands and the ties that bind our family in sorrow, love and pain. But not now. Now is the time for apple cider, shin guards and soccer balls.

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It was a Wednesday like any other. I was having my morning coffee and noticed the mourning dove diner atop the tree stump outside of my window was empty. One lone dove stared out into space, wondering where his breakfast might be… so I threw on a rain jacket because there was a dewy mist to the air, and headed outside with replacement seeds and nuts.

Feeding the birds has become a pleasurable pandemic habit. I love watching them squabble over position and seeing a cardinal can become the highlight of my day. Sometimes I worry that I’m becoming “That Old Lady,” but at least I’m not walking out of the house in my bedroom slippers anymore.

The fancy slip-on UGG shearling slippers contributed to the mishap last Wednesday. I was wearing them as I waltzed out to feed the city’s wildlife, since squirrels take their equal share of the dove diner. On balance, I was in great shape. Thanks to Pilates, my hips didn’t ache and my knees were less crumbly. In short, I didn’t stop before climbing stairs to wonder which foot should go first anymore. A breakthrough in our quest to age gracefully!

To say I lost my balance would be wrong.

I simply turned away from the feeder and put my right foot up on the deck’s rain-slicked step. In less than a second I landed right-side-down on the deck with my right arm extended. BOOM. I wondered if I’d broken my hip. My ankle hurt a little and I yelled for Bob, “BOB!”

Thankfully he came out to examine me and deemed me very lucky indeed. My hip was fine and he put a band-aid on my ankle. I have some road rash on my right elbow – this is how fast it happened, I never put my hand down – and a bruise on the right side of my thigh that’s about to turn all shades of purple. Mercy prevailed, as the Bride was working that Wednesday morning and I really didn’t want to be wheeled into her hospital’s ER.

My pride was hurt. Still no dog walkers saw my slipped n fell routine; even our neighbor didn’t come out of his house. It was just a hump day like every other in a pandemic. We were going to pick up the Frenchie puppy for his Nana and PopBob day camp since both doctors were working.

Would this be a good time to remind you that TN has the distinction of being number ONE in the country for new Covid cases per capita?!

The latest milestone is one of several records the state has reached in the past several weeks, stemming from a spike in cases and hospitalizations among school-aged children.

Hundreds of students throughout Tennessee have been forced to quarantine or isolate due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some schools have closed classrooms due to staffing shortages, while others have temporarily asked the state to switch to virtual learning.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2021-09-14/tennessee-covid-19-cases-climb-to-top-in-the-country

On Yom Kippur we Jews are supposed to do a performance review of the past year. Last night, Bob and I hiked to a flowing creek by a golf course to throw our sins away. He had warned me I may be feeling the after effects of a fall, and I did. Thank you God for not breaking my hip. Despite my sore back, I cooked the last of our garden’s eggplant beforehand and delivered some to the Grands since both doctor-parents were working again.

On Balance, I’d rather not give our un-vaccinated grandchildren a deadly virus. I’d rather not hear what the twice impeached ex-president has to say. And I promise to only wear real shoes while feeding the birds.

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This morning, I awoke to a Tweet from Greta Thurnberg, the teenage Climate Activist from Sweden. This was her answer to #2019inFiveWords:

“Our house is on fire.”

You’ve got to admit, this young lady is consistent. She didn’t say the “Climate” is on fire, or the “Planet,” she said, “OUR HOUSE!” If I found my actual house was on fire, I’d pick up that little red fire extinguisher we keep in the kitchen and have at it. I’d dial 911. I’d clear all the people and pets out, maybe I’d take some family pictures. But come to think of it, most have been digitized, so I’d pick up my laptop. If I had the time that is…

Greta is trying to tell us this is personal. We shouldn’t get distracted with Impeachment Hearings when a true existensial crisis is looming. HA, I looked up how to spell the word cause I’d obviously misspelled it, and it just so happens that “EXISTENTIAL” is the 2019 “Word of the Year” at Dictionary.com:

adjective

of or relating to existence:Does climate change pose an existential threat to humanity?

 

I believe it does pose a threat; it keeps great minds awake at night. It creates actual floods since our seas are rising, polar ice is melting, and human floods of refugees seeking peace and a sustainable livelihood. Fires are killing koalas in Australia and decimating forest canopies in the Amazon. Our literal house, our whole world is suffering, and we have a President who mocks science, scoffs at facts, and jokes about windmills.

Our country has become a joke on the world stage.

And speaking of the world, our children have flown off to tropical locales for the New Year. And I know about the carbon imprint of air travel, but honestly, how else can we get anywhere? Sailing across the ocean like Greta would have used up literally ALL of their vacation time. So we must fight for the Climate while also doing what we can to take care of ourselves; putting the oxygen mask on the adults first so to speak. Which leads me to my five words:

Family almost always comes first. 

I’ve added a quantifier to my usual motto about family, “almost.” Women are more likely to be the caregivers in a family, to be the 3 am on-duty nurse, the round-the-clock scheduler, the chauffeur and chief cook. Yes, some things have changed since we raised our girls without limits and with great expectations. But some things have remained the same.

This past year I’ve learned to say “No” more often. I’ve figured out that self-care isn’t a sin, it’s a necessity. Our generation isn’t just in the middle of a sandwich – anthropologists like to call us “The Sandwich Generation” – I’ve felt like I’m in a “Club Sandwich.” Pile on the meat and cheese please, we are drowning in obligatory exercises of futility. And of course, this time of year doesn’t help.

What does help is JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), which is the opposite of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out):

Kristen Fuller said “JOMO” is essentially the “emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO” and it is “about being present and being content with where you are at in life.” Some people are born with it, others learn to embrace it.” https://www.insider.com/what-is-jomo-2018-7

So my #2019inFiveWords is not just about setting boundaries and caring for myself, something btw the nuns wouldn’t approve of, but it’s also about saying I’m Enough! For a number 9 Enneagram that’s a tough road to walk. Right here, right now I can be happy! I was strolling with Bob and Ms Bean yesterday, who has fully recovered from her near fatal illness, listening to the birds and feeling the warm winter sun on my face, when Bob said, “Where should we go in 2020?”

And I may have been a teensy bit short with him. Virginia Woolf once said, “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” But maybe in 2020, we’ll not only impeach, but convict and remove Mr T from office. Maybe we’ll stop chasing windmills and avoiding Climate Change. And I just may continue to embrace this ever-changing town I’m calling home. Even if it doesn’t have a Chinese restaurant open on Christmas day.

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Needless to say, I’m on the “almost too old to bother” with this test. But in my defense, the first time I was scheduled, after Katie Couric made it seem so easy, Gma Ada had a heart attack. I cancelled and flew to NJ.

The second time, just last year, I bought the gallon jug of prep medicine along with two gallons of margarita mix, because we were hosting a Cinqo de Mayo party. Honest. Last April Gma Ada broke her hip, so I cancelled and flew to NJ.

This third time for my very first colonoscopy would be the charm we figured. I considered not even telling Gma Ada what was happening but in the end Bob dropped me at the hospital and drove his Mom to the dentist today. In bubble wrap.

Here is what I learned while drinking myself into oblivion last night.

1. Don’t bother buying any Crystal Light. It only changes the color which made me think I’d flunk the test.

2. Don’t try to read Southern Living Magazine. It’s all about FOOD and you won’t be having any for awhile.

3. Ditto for TV. Did I need to know that Red Lobster is having a special on lobster of all things? The PBS special on rice however…

4. Don’t start texting with that friend who writes you long letters. Your attention span cannot possibly keep up with your powder room visits.

5. Don’t leave any jelly beans or nuts lying around the house, your memory starts slipping and you might be tempted to eat one.

6. Don’t accidentally mix the infant simethicone drops in with your dog’s dinner. It’s hard to multi-task while chugging GoLytely – a most ironic choice of names for my liquid diet.

7. Don’t forget to thank your husband. For answering your same question multiple times, “Did you talk to the doctor yet?” and for cooking dinner when it’s all over. The hospital socks are a nice touch!

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’ve heard that more and more Americans will NOT be serving turkey this year! Millennials seem to be leading the charge/change to a more vegetarian diet, replete with seeds and nuts. Like squirrels.

Well, you can count me out – I’m a purist on “Turkey Day,” and will be assembling my famous corn bread stuffing along with plenty of sides for the main attraction. I tried talking Bob into making ravioli, but he feels his pasta needs a night all its own!

Since when did food become political? Tofurky aside, I remember my first meeting with two vegetarians in college (vegans came into being much later). They were purists, absolutists too, they didn’t wear leather shoes. I looked down at their feet, under the cafeteria table laden with plastic wrappers. Then they told me they wouldn’t use honey, unless they knew the beekeeper! In the 1970s I thought this was absurd, who would mistreat bees?

Ever since, I’ve abhorred anything in the extreme; politics, religion, whatever. I would never cook Kosher because I always ate meat on Friday! I hope you’ve seen that episode of Portlandia, the one where they are ordering dinner in a farm-to-table restaurant and they end up at the farm with the waitress!

Most of you know I’ll eat just about anything, except sushi. Raw sushi, aka bait. But it wasn’t until I read this fascinating article about the intersection of food and politics with a feminist slant that our current obsession with everything gastronomic made sense.

“…the eco-food movement, also known as the eco-gastronomy or alternative-food movement, was busy embracing the war on obesity, joining the front lines of the fight. And food became something to categorize — whole or processed, real or fake, clean or dirty — and to fear. Pretty soon almost every food and health writer I knew was dropping gluten or white sugar from her diet, then bringing it back, then dropping something else. Now that trend has gone mainstream; even my 88-year-old grandmother knows what gluten is and why half her family isn’t eating it on any given day.”  https://medium.com/s/story/how-the-eco-food-movement-mass-markets-eating-disorders-d0302e0e0b85

When we categorize a certain food as “good” or “bad” we are unleashing our inner critic and jumping on the “Oh I only try to eat (insert whatever word you like – whole, healthy, slow) food.” In the article, Virginia Sole-Smith, a self-described recovering food writer, admits that such extreme food restricting is another form of body dysmorphia. Many food writers, and bloggers as magazines and newspapers died, became nutritionists who would try to sell us some image of clean food that is linked to conservation and social justice; not just another vain attempt at losing weight through the latest diet scheme.

We can save the ozone layer if we only give up __________.

Save the ocean, only eat wild caught __________.

Once the organic farming movement joined forces with the health and wellness community, and Oprah took on cattle farmers, we were prime for a revolution. Food could cure just about anything! “The Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami, Florida, which conducts industry research, calculates that the worldwide “wellness economy” is now worth $3.7 trillion.”

The Bride and I were just discussing how easily integrative medicine, with an evidence-based practice, can slide into quackery. This was while I was drinking my chai tea, and after my T’ai Chi class!

The Flapper taught me that food is love… And So It Is… in all its pesky forms. There may be some “Toxic” chemicals you want to clean off veggies before serving – “Toxic” being the “Word of the Year.” And I was so sure it was going to be “Curate;” as in, you don’t have to be a museum director to curate things anymore.

If you haven’t watched “Salt Fat Acid Heat” on Netflix, you must do so NOW!! And for my Tuscany peeps – the first episode is in ITALY!!! https://www.netflix.com/title/80198288

Happy Thanksgiving to all y’all! Here is a picture from Italy which explains why I hope no one in our family will ever be vegan. All hail our Pecorino Cheesemaker

IMG_3571

 

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While we were in California, we bumped into lots of new and exciting experiences. Feeding giraffes by the ocean, listening to the Rocker score a new Rogue One trailer, and of course dining at some of the most innovative, delicious restaurants. But picking up the bill was even more  astonishing, because all along the Gold Coast the people voted to give themselves a “Living Wage,” so the bill could be shocking until you realize there is basically no tipping allowed.

Well, at some places tips were included in the bill, but the basic premise is that by 2020 the minimum wage will be $15 an hour, and supposedly one could live on that salary in LA County. Just look at this calculator, it shows two adults working would pull in $62,400 a year, however – “Note: Although the living wage model is a step above poverty, it doesn’t take into consideration extras such as entertainment, eating at restaurants, or being able to save and invest.”  http://www.latimes.com/visuals/graphics/la-me-g-california-new-minimum-wage-20160328-htmlstory.html

Never mind a family with kids who had to pay for childcare. Still it’s a start. Until now.

Mr T has appointed a fast food billionaire as the next Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. This California golden boy runs Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s and thinks the Living Wage thing is hogwash, in fact he’d like to see robots making his food! Oh but wait, he also wants to see bikini clad women eating his burgers, because well, who wouldn’t? What’s more American than that I ask you?

  • He has been critical of the Labor Department ruling to extend overtime pay to more than 4M workers
  • He accuses the Affordable Care Act of creating a “restaurant recession” since it has deprived citizens of their extra money for dining out…not making $7 an hour
  • His “record of fighting for workers” means he believes a higher minimum wage will kill the job market…

I guess having a robot put mayo and avocado on your burger doesn’t kill the market? I cannot wait to see what Elizabeth Warren has to say about Andy; oh wait, here ya go:

Throughout his entire career, Andrew Puzder has looked down on working people. At Hardees and Carl’s Jr., he got rich squeezing front-line workers on wages, overtime, and benefits, all while plotting to replace them with machines that are so much better than workers because they are “always polite” and “never take a vacation.” Appointing Puzder to run the federal agency responsible for protecting workers is a slap in the face for every hard working American family.

Wasn’t it Sandra Bullock who said, “Once a waitress, always a waitress?” Well I’ve been a waitress and it’s one of the hardest jobs on the planet. The Bride worked a snack stand at the beach as a teenager. The Rocker was a barista in high school. I’d wager a bet that most of you dear readers have worked for awhile in the service industry. That is, those of you who didn’t get a few Million handed to you on your 21st birthday. And I bet most of you think a Living Wage is self-explanatory.

After all, its opposite would be a Dying Wage. The kind of wage that shortens your life span, where food choices and health providers are limited to your station in life. The kind of life where obesity leads to chronic diseases, the kind that taxes our hearts, and any young person feeling suicidal in their low wage job could easily purchase a gun at the Walmart. You see where I’m going…

We now live in a country where our life expectancy has declined for the first time in 20 years. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38247385

We know about diabetes and heart disease factors, but what is causing the rise in infant deaths under the age of one? Parents are warned about suffocation concerns with babies sleeping in a family bed, but I’m afraid I agree with a doctor who states “…the rise (is due) to “social stressors”, such as financial pressures and addiction.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country is “in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic”, with a record 28,000 people killed in 2014. No figures are yet available for 2015, though the 6.7% rise in deaths caused by “unintentional injuries” may be partly related.” How could you possibly care for a baby while addicted to pain killers?

Our ecosystem is so fragile, so intricately related: to billionaires running/ruining our government; to our life span shrinking; and to the beautiful giraffe grazing freely in Kenya. Like the canary in a coal mine, giraffes are now listed as “vulnerable” to extinction. Perhaps Mr T will invent a robot giraffe for our great grandchildren to feed at the zoo?

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When you see an obese child, what do you think? Do you immediately blame the parents, and/or poverty? There is no fresh produce to be found in their neighborhood, or maybe you think the parents are just lazy…What if we make school lunches more nutritious. Let’s get Jamie Oliver into every school cafeteria and teach those lunch ladies how to steam vegetables! Get a communal garden going outside the gym!

I find it fascinating that the GOP is all about getting government out of our way for free enterprise. They start yelling “fascist” whenever Mrs Obama wants to see kids get off the couch and move, or a school system tries to change what a school lunch may look like – don’t tell us parents what to do with our kids! Get government out of our lunch boxes!! We know what’s best for them, and if a parent wants to leave a gun lying around well…and then I picture a two year old yelling I WANT TO!!

Bob tells me he rarely mentions weight to one of his patients, after all he is not a family practitioner. But when he sees a severely obese child, he may say something to the parent in the ER. Because this is such a serious health risk, he risks that patient’s dismal satisfaction score. Not all doctors have the courage to tell a parent they are endangering their child’s health. Luckily, the rate of childhood obesity in this country is finally leveling off:

After a steady rise for many years, the number of calories American children take in each day is going down. Childhood obesity rates, though still too high, have now leveled off, and are starting to go down in some populations. The 5 billion school lunches served each year are more nutritious than they were a decade ago. Children are eating less processed food and drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages and full-fat milk.  http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/30/opinions/clinton-brown-healthy-kids/index.html

So yes, we can put juice in vending machines and model a healthier diet for our youngest children: by including them in food prep and offering fresh, real food; by sitting down to dinner as a family (an almost insurmountable task these days); by going to farmer’s markets or even helping them plant their own little tomato plant in a pot. I’ve mentioned my neighbor Kath the food blogger before. I love the way she has introduced real food to her toddler, he http://www.katheats.com/ways-motherhood-has-changed-me

Still, I think about how my Foster Mother Nell really didn’t cook, she would jokingly say she could open a can. Women in the 50s were sold that bill of goods – TV dinners on a tray, canned vegetables with marshmallows. Life was supposed to be “easy” for the 50s housefrau. They grew up watching their mothers actually grind meat on the dining room table, and wash clothes by churning them through a semi-automated washing machine, or maybe they were hauling clothes down to the creek? Why shouldn’t they get to vacuum in high heels!

And all I ever ate for lunch in high school was tuna sandwiches and potato chips, followed by a cheeseburger at White’s Drug Store immediately after school, with fries dipped in gravy… SO, canned food, semi-fast food, and I was never fat, in fact I made spaghetti for myself at night cause I thought I was too skinny! Those were the days, before babies, before menopause packed on the pounds.

We can all teach ourselves to prepare a healthier diet, we don’t need an RD to work up a meal plan. If there are no markets with fresh veggies in our neighborhood, we could plant some in pots. What we cannot and should not do for our kids is model complacency. What my generation had was the ability to walk to school, to go out on our bikes after school and not come home till twilight. We had the freedom to move, which this next generation may lack.

Kudos to the city planners and engineers who are redesigning parks and playgrounds all over the country. And bravo to the police who are walking beats and making neighborhoods safer and crime-free – not by stopping and frisking but by stopping and talking.

And maybe we could have a course at the police academy on nutrition?

Basil is ready for Pesto

Basil is ready for Pesto

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What do you do when you’re sick? Take to your bed and yell for “Mommy,” or ignore it and go about your business? Well when you’re married to an Emergency Physician, and you’ve given birth to another, your response to an illness pretty much doesn’t matter. After all, you are NOT dying, so it’s not a true emergency – like say, anaphylaxsis, septecemia, or a gun shot wound to the belly.

It’s only a virus. Antibiotics won’t help. In fact, my doctors rant about how other doctors overprescribe antibiotics, which is why we are in a drug-resistant pickle. You’ll be better in a few days. So you’d best go about your business; take Tylenol every four hours, force fluids and try to rest. Because as Daniel Tiger says, “Rest is Best.”

When I was young and caught a cold, Nell would rub my chest with Vick’s. Then she’d wrap some sort of gauze around me and tuck me into bed. In hindsight, she grew up when a small splinter could turn into an infection and kill you. Penicillin wasn’t invented until just before I was born. Growing up in the first half of the twentieth century meant you were isolated when you were sick, people took a cold seriously. As Adelaide would say in her Lament, a person can develop a cold, or La Grippe, La post-nasal drip…with the wheezes, and the sneezes, and the sinuses really a pip!
In other words,

Just from worrying whether the wedding is on or off,
A person can develop a cough.
You can feed her all day with the Vitamin A and the Bromo fizz,
But the medicine never get’s anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she’s getting a kind of a name for herself, and the name ain’t his,
A person can develop a cough.
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/actors-broadway/guys-and-dolls

But I digress. Back to the 50s, once an illness had passed, Nell would make me an eggnog. I know, sounds disgusting, but it was so good. Guess she didn’t know about salmonella in raw eggs? Oh and to keep me healthy, she would shove a teaspoon of cod liver oil into my mouth every morning, followed by a chaser of orange juice. It took me many years to like the taste of orange juice.

Still, this spring cold is a bad one, it starts off deceptively simple enough – a headache followed by a runny nose. You are lulled into thinking you’ll be fine by the third day. Then your larynx closes up and you can barely croak, a fever sets in and after awhile your eyes get all gucky. If you have children in preschool, or you have a spouse that is routinely seeing infectious disease every day they go to work, then it’s likely you’ll catch  it. In other words, “You can spray her wherever you figure the streptococci lurk,
You can give her a shot for whatever she’s got, but it just won’t work.” The cough will linger, you’ll want your Mommy, and someone to bring you chicken soup.

On my way home I listened to the TED Radio Hour “Believers and Doubters.” http://www.npr.org/2013/11/18/245949211/believers-and-doubters

And I thought about the time I nearly died from septicemia after a miscarriage. Lying in a hospital bed in the Berkshires, I prayed the rosary with my Polish room mate because she asked me if I would in broken English. I found her beads in her bag, and the words came back, they flowed through me like a salve. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket and tucked into bed.    CLR in Bathrobe

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