Monday, May 29, 2017

Weight Loss Progress -- FINALLY!!

I am happy to be able to tell you that I have finally been able to break through my weight-loss plateau.  It is such a treat to be able to see the scales going down again.  I wonder if I could get addicted to THAT?  Heh.  That's just trading one eating disorder for the one on the other end of the spectrum.  Nope.  Not going there.  But I have a long way to go before that's a concern, anyway.

I am past the point in my life where I care whether I am more attractive or not.  There were four girls and a boy in my birth family.  Two of us girls were more attractive than the other two, and the ones that were not very attractive took it out on those who were, whenever they could.  It's not like they didn't have boyfriends, and they both married and had families, so they had lives that were as happy as they allowed themselves to be.  People were attracted to them because of their personalities, which is more permanent than just good looks.  You either ARE pretty or you're not, and if you're not, it's not the end of the world, for heaven's sake.  Personally, I don't give a rat's ass whether someone is pretty or not.  It's whether they're a joy to be around, is what I'm concerned with.  Pretty people have their burdens.  Opportunities come to them sometimes just because they're a pleasure to look at.  People are attracted to them in the same way.  It's a superficial thing and it's easy to get spoiled by it such that some pretty people don't try very hard to develop their personalities or use their brains.  But pretty is lost when pounds creep up, at least in the minds of many people, especially men.  And some pretty people don't age very well.  When your beauty is lost, you need to have your personality and your smarts to fall back on.  That is not to say that there cannot be beauty in people who are overweight.  It's just that obesity is hard on overall health, especially when it gets out of hand.  And also it is not to say that there are not beautiful old people.  Some beautiful old people were not thought to be all that attractive when they were young.  The really odd thing is that, when you are beautiful INSIDE, it shines through.  I felt this way about one of my sisters for many years.  I was pretty crushed to learn how she really felt about me, however.  *Sigh*.  That is ancient history now that she is 76 and I am 70.  The wounds have healed, I'm sorry that she felt the need to do those things she did, and there will always be a scar, but life goes on. 

I wish I knew, back when I first started struggling with keeping off the pounds, what I know now.  Research has been slow to happen on obesity, due to the widespread opinion of the general public, and most doctors, that obese people are just self-centered gluttons; eating machines that lie around stuffing their faces instead of getting out and doing things.  Slugs, if you will.  Nobody felt bad about fat-shaming us because we "deserved it", and, well, if we didn't like it, we could just lose the weight, right???  And then we all learned that there are just some people that would be the survivors if ever there was famine, because they have metabolisms that protect their fat stores.  The only problem with that is that there is NOT famine, at least not in such a way that there is widespread hunger among adults in our country. 

Things began to change somewhere around the 1950's, when the selling point was "convenience", or sometimes "economy".  We ran out and bought frozen pot-pies and boxes of Kraft Macaroni And Cheese, Swanson Cake Mix, instant mashed potatoes, Minute Rice, and instant skim milk powder, because the idea of getting in and out of the kitchen in record time appealed to the "housewife".  And it was helpful to younger women who didn't have many cooking skills, because along about that time, there was less on teaching "home economics" to girls.  Once our food producers found they could take something they had a surplus of to make something for pennies, market it as The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, and sell it for dollars, the die was cast to the point where we have an abundance of processed fake foods the likes of which God never intended, full of sugar, salt, fat and flavor-enhancing chemicals.  The thing we didn't know then was that these "ingredients" turn on certain switches that mess up our metabolisms.  Suddenly we are insatiably hungry, all the time.  Oh, they SAY that without all their innovative chemicals, there would be world hunger.  When you see a morbidly obese person galumping along, consider that actually there IS world hunger -- for healthy, non-processed, non-adulterated REAL food, and that is what it looks like.  This doesn't have anything to do with keeping us alive, because in fact we are dying a slow death from it.  It has to do with keeping the profit margins alive of the big chemical and food processing plants in our country. 

More and more people are finding themselves diabetic and/or insulin-resistant, at which point the weight comes on very quickly and is then very, very hard to lose and keep off.  If you are overweight and not insulin-resistant yet, it is imperative that you change the way you eat and lose the weight before that happens.  Because if you don't, it WILL happen.  Then losing weight will become an emergency health necessity.  You will have to work your ass off to make that happen and when you have succeeded, you will have to be vigilant, always, so that it doesn't creep back on.

It's like we are the prey.  First the fake food industry preys upon us to get us to eat more.  And then the weight-loss industry and the medical industry preys upon us for the rest of our lives.  There is one big lie that they tell us over and over, and that is that we must get on a strenuous exercise program in order to lose weight and keep it off.  Pie?  Sure, we can have pie.  Just run three miles to work it off.  What they're really doing is making us work harder so their precious profits will continue to rise.  They can continue to sell us sugar-, fat-, and salt-laden foods and their peers, who make their money from the weight-loss and physical exercise industries will also be able to make big profits.  Keep us well enough to work and make money so we can continue to buy and consume their crap.  When we're finally so sick we can't work, we're in real danger of just being "thrown away".  By then, they don't need us anymore, because they have the next generation, or two, whom we have trained to crave their processed products.  It's a genius plan, actually.

I feel blessed that I still am able to lose weight by just cutting back on portion sizes and avoiding fake food.  But that doesn't mean that I don't still hear the siren song of ice-cream, pie, cake, cookies.  It doesn't mean that I don't start to salivate when the food commercials come on TV.  But at least my brain knows that I am under assault at that time, so there are many times during which I can feel annoyed pissed off at those jerks who are lining their pockets at our expense and I don't internalize it and start feeling deprived.  Don't tell me things like, "You've been doing so well, you deserve a treat!"  Hell, no, I don't deserve that, and I'm annoyed that anybody would tell me such a thing!  I have done nothing to deserve sabotage, which is what that comes down to.  They wouldn't tell me I deserved it if I had an allergic reaction to it.  They wouldn't tell me that if I had a diabetic reaction to it.  They wouldn't tell me that if it was alcoholic and my difficulty was with that.  But it's OK to say things that might make me feel deprived if all it's going to do is make me gain weight I can't afford to gain.  And yes, I know they don't realize that's what they're doing and that they mean well.

I do have certain health issues that would decrease dramatically, or in fact might go away entirely, if I got my weight to a normal level and kept it there.  And I want to be healthy and feel well as long as I possibly can. 

It wasn't all that long ago that doctors had the opinion that all you had to do to not be fat was to "push yourself away from the table".  Finally, they're beginning to understand that it's a lot more complicated than that, as are most things in life, it seems.  But they still want to hand you a diet sheet, or prescribe a pill.  They do not seem to know yet that weight control is not cookie-cutter.  And it's not going to happen with temporary fixes.  It involves learning how your particular body works (or doesn't work) and how it reacts to certain things, then managing it, as one would manage any incurable disease.  What that means is that permanent lifestyle changes must be made, some of which may not be entirely pleasant.  But is it pleasant, what being overweight does to our health?  Yes, you do need an exercise program in order to be physically, and mentally, healthy.  But it doesn't have to be the workout that consumes your life.  Prior to 1950, the percentage of our population that were overweight was much lower.  And what they call "morbidly obese" was just practically unheard of.  But only bodybuilders went to the gym.  Everybody else just lived their lives.  What has changed?  LOTS of things.  Nobody had a television then.  Lots of people didn't even have a land-line phone.  We loved the radio but it was a big thing that had to be plugged into the wall.  I remember when the transistor radio came out in the 1960's.  I got one for Christmas when I was about 16.  OMG.  Best Christmas Present EVER!  Heh.  It had EARPHONES.  I could listen to Wildman Jack late at night while Mom thought I was asleep. 

Personally, I think a tendency to obesity is learned.  Food has come to mean love to too many.  When people want to celebrate something, such as an anniversary or maybe they're just out on a date, what do they do?  Why, they go out to eat.  And now that we live in such a stress-filled world we're anesthetizing ourselves with food.  A bad day at work, a fight with our best friend or our love-interest has us eating ice-cream out of the carton with a spoon.  At most family "get-togethers", there's so much food that everyone just stuffs themselves.  Then everyone sits around, actually miserable, with their belts loosened until the discomfort passes and then they go back into where the food is and do it again before they go home.  The industry is now telling us that our problem is that we SIT too much.  What the hell??  People, throughout history, have sat whenever they wanted to and have not been obese.  It's not the sitting.  It's what we're spooning into our mouth while we sit.  Several industries are in a symbiotic relationship with each other, they want us to be hyper-exercisers because it benefits the food industry, in that we can still shovel it in, AND the physical exercise industry, where we then must turn so that we can burn it off.  Plus there's the clothing industry that supplies us with all these cute exercise clothes that we think we have to wear to the gym, and all those expensive running shoes that we're told we have to replace BEFORE we wear the bottoms smooth, in order to protect our feet.  And then we wear out our joints and doom ourselves to plantar faciaitis so that we can thus have surgery to remove heel spurs and to replace our joints with metal ones that are far inferior to our original equipment.  Make no mistake: this industry is second to none

Hubs and I went to a grand-daughter's high school graduation last week, and we got there early because we wouldn't have been able to get a good parking place or a good seat if we hadn't.  So we sat there for about an hour before anything started happening and, being on the front row, we had the sad opportunity to watch people as they filed past, searching for seats.  I have to say that I think the obese percentage has increased from 30% to at least 50%, if not more.  I mean, here I sit, having gone through my closet trying to find something I felt like I looked nice in, only to sit there and watch people go by in short or skin-tight clothing that left nothing to the imagination, not that I would try to imagine because I would find that unpleasant.  I have true compassion for people who struggle with their weight, mostly because I'm one of them, and I understand.  But sometimes I wonder if a lot of us even know we're obese.  And then I wonder how some of us can not see how much better we'd look if we wore clothes that fit looser.  I am troubled annoyed by this latest trend that seems to be popular among female TV news and weather personalities in Tulsa to wear their clothing so tight that the fabric is tightly stretched across their breasts and they cannot possibly bend over or sit down without allowing all of us to see "To Paris, France", if you know what I mean.  But apparently that is a fashion statement that nearly everyone is making, and actually many people, obese or not, would look a lot better in their clothes if they'd just buy a couple of sizes bigger.  Sheesh.  There is no benefit to saying we wear a size 8, for instance, if everyone can see that we actually need a size 12.  But there IS a benefit to the clothing industry, because if you gain ANY weight at all, you cannot get those tight clothes ON!  So then you have to go out and buy more tight clothes, in the next size up.

The workout center where Hubs and I go to exercise has a section that is devoted to people who have been ordered to go there by their doctors.  Usually it's a heart condition, and the cardiologist has delivered a speech about how they will be dead in pretty short order if they don't do something.  So they arrive in varying degrees of sheer fright all the way down to annoyance at their doctor, and everyone that's there for the sole purpose of helping them.  One man in particular comes in, swipes his card to show that he was there on the computer, then goes to the break room and reads the paper.  Many times someone will have brought something from the bakery to share with the others because they've had a birthday and I seriously don't understand why a hospital wellness center even allows anyone to do that, but anyway, if there are birthday treats in the break room he will always have some before he rolls up his paper and sets out for home.  My heart just goes out to some people that come to the workout center.  They are so obese that they can barely walk.  Not to mention how labored their breathing is and how just getting where they need to go makes them break a sweat.  There, but for The Grace of God, go I.  Each painful step has to be made carefully, lest balance be lost.  No one wants to fall.  One of the therapists where I go for my shoulder says, "It's not the fall that hurts.  It's the landing and the getting back up." 

You who come here to read regularly know how I feel about sugar and other sweeteners, corn syrup among them.  I know that this is the culprit as far as I'm concerned.  And that is true for many.  Once free of the "sugar demon", I find myself craving salty things.  What the hell??  Will it never end??  There is still so much confusion and contradicting information available to us that it all just feels conspiratorial to me, but maybe it's just that we're learning right along about how obesity happens and some of the "experts" have gotten behind.  I've seen "truths" become "untruths" and back again such that it's like the stoplight down at the corner.  Now and then I'll pick up a book about one diet or another at a garage sale.  I mean, I already know it didn't work for whoever bought the book, or it wouldn't be so poorly regarded that it's offered up at only twenty-five cents.  But sometimes I'm curious as to what it is that makes this or that "diet" so popular.  I have found that, after awhile, the books all seem the same.  The first half of the book is case histories and arguments as to why this method is THE method.  Then a few pages about how to implement the diet.  Then the last of the book is recipes on how to make healthy food taste like the unhealthy food does.  *Sigh*. 

The fact that I have reached a goal with my weight loss plan does not mean I'm there yet.  I have at least 25 more pounds to lose, if not more.  We'll see when I get there.  In case you're interested, following are things that have been working for me:
  • Eat to live, don't live to eat.  This is imperative and for me, required a complete re-tool of many of my attitudes that I had about food in general. 
  • Food is not love.  Do not self-medicate with food.  Replace it with something else.  Write a letter you will never mail.  Go for a walk.  Dig in the dirt.  Work a puzzle.  Do a craft.  Visit or phone a neighbor or a friend.
  • Don't eat just because it's time to eat on the clock.  Put it off till you are feeling hungry, but not so long that you are ravenously hungry.
  • Eat REAL food whenever possible.  Read those labels.  Avoid soy and corn because almost all of it is GMO grown.  (soy beans and corn, grown in your own garden, is fine though).  Watch for hidden sugars (anything ending in -ose is suspect).  Remember "cellulose" is a filler product so they can say it's "high fiber" and can be anything from ground-up wood to GMO cotton.
  • Pay attention while you are eating.  Savor it.  Imagine how healthy it is making your body.  There is merit to eating slowly.  It gives your stomach time to signal your brain.  Know that the human stomach is only meant to hold about a quart at a time, so that if you have eaten too fast, you will be able to stop eating before the signal is given, knowing that it will be sent when the stomach catches up.  There is merit to chewing food well.  Chewing is the necessary breaking down of food tissues so that the acids in the stomach can begin the digestive process.  The reason why juicing is considered to be so healthy is because the chewing process has been done for you, and the trip from mouth to the intestines is much quicker.  The problem with juicing is that you need that fiber going through your intestinal tract too, because it isn't just undigested food tissue that you excrete.  It's other body waste materials as well, and they don't pass through the intestinal tract as well if there is not fiber.  And yes, you need that daily BM, because you don't want your body's waste materials laying around somewhere in your body waiting for enough to accumulate so that the signal will be given that it's ready to be ejected. 
  • Water is necessary to flush out the "ashes" of burned fat and to keep your BM soft enough that it is easy to expel.  Also seems like it doesn't smell as bad.  Water dilutes any salt that might be present in your food.  I do not salt anything, and I'm learning to taste things as they are meant to taste.  But many things already have salt in them.  Cheese, for example. 
  • I weigh every morning.  Some people don't like to do this.  But I write my weight on a calendar I keep just for that purpose.  After awhile, I'm able to see ups and downs and know they are cyclical, or the result of something I ate that I might want to eat less of in the future.
  • Many people believe it is too expensive to eat healthy.  I had to rethink that.  Think what a bag of M&M's costs.  Or a package of Oreo's.  Or a carton of ice-cream.  Or that package of potato chips.  The price of all these things has sky-rocketed just within the last few years.  So has the price of a doctor's office visit.  I remember, in the 1970's, it was only $8.  The last time I noticed what the cost was, it was $145.
  • I don't drink diet soda.  I drink water, or unsweetened tea.  Oh, yes, I miss the fizz, but not as much as I used to.  It's not too hard to imagine that fizz dissolving my bones, either.  That's what an imbalance of phosphorus in the absence of calcium does, according to my orthopedic specialist. 
  • My biggest challenge has been that I have to cook for Hubs, and he will not eat many of the things I eat.  He makes his own breakfast, and he buys sandwich fixings for his lunches because that's what he insists on doing.  So I only have to cook his evening meal.  I make his favorite dishes in quantity and portion it out into freezer meals.  Usually I do this cooking early in the morning when I've had my breakfast and am not hungry.  You know, this is just the best that I can do.  He tolerates his "frozen dinners" because he doesn't want to have to eat what I eat or cook for himself, and that's what would have to happen.  It's not like he doesn't know how.  Sometimes he buys fast food.  And no, I don't think, "Boo-hoo, I can't have any."  I think, "Woo-hoo!  I don't have to cook!!"  Frankly, KFC is GREASY.  Burgers are on buns that are tasteless and downright GOOEY.  Many deep-fried foods have a bitter aftertaste.
  • I get to have bread whenever I want it (within reason) because I grind local wheat for that bread and it is truly 100% whole wheat bread.  No preservatives, only enough salt, olive oil and honey to make and hold the yeast rise and nothing more.  Water as the liquid ingredient, not milk.
  • I try not to overdo the caffeine.  I add water to my coffee, about 1 part water to 2 parts coffee.
  • When I shop, I look for short ingredient lists without additives.  Mostly fresh fruit and vegetables.  I like cottage cheese better than yogurt.  I buy olive oil and coconut oil and real butter.
  • This is not to say I don't eat meat.  I just eat less of it.  The Frugal Gourmet used to say that meat should be used as a flavoring, not as the main ingredient, and I agree with that.  We buy our beef from a local butcher shop.  Pork is usually bought by the loin when it goes on sale at one of our local grocery stores.  It is already well trimmed of fat, and we have it cut into slices and cook it grilled like "chops", or the slices are cut into small chunks and used as one of the ingredients in stir-fry or casseroles, with plenty of vegetables, and with the starch component served on the side.  Hubs will usually eat these, too.  I buy grocery store chicken and I'm aware it's not the best choice due to several factors, including the fact that they add salt water to it whenever and wherever they can.  I just haven't found a source for anything better yet.  I save the bones in the freezer till I have enough for a batch of bone broth, which only takes an hour in my stove-top pressure cooker.  I would be lost without my pressure cooker.  (This is not the same as a pressure canner.  It holds six quarts of liquid, not jars.)  I can make a batch of beans in less than an hour and a batch of rice in much less time than that.  (Use the metal insert that comes with the cooker.  Pour in about two cups of hot water.  Then put the rice and the correct ratio of hot water necessary for cooking it in a bowl (I use a Pyrex 2-quart bowl) and set it down onto the metal insert.  Put the lid on and begin.  Only takes a few minutes once the pressure has started to build.  For white rice, all you need to do is let the pressure get to the point where the weight begins to jiggle, and that's all you need.)
So.  What is it that I eat, you might ask?  It changes.  For quite awhile now I've been starting the morning with a glass of water that has a tablespoon of good cider vinegar in it.  Then I have my coffee.  Later on, when I'm hungry, I have about 1/4 of a cantaloupe and a banana.  This stays with me until about 10am (I'm an early riser).  When I'm hungry, I'll toast half a bun (I bake my bread in hamburger-buns because they hold together better for sandwiches.  Before baking, the dough for the buns weighs out to about 3.2 oz. each).  On my toasted half-bun, I'll usually spread on some cottage cheese.  If I'm still hungry, I'll have the other half of the bun.  Or a little something else, like a carrot, or some almonds or a spoon of peanut butter.  Sometimes I delay lunch, if I'm not hungry for it, till about 2pm.  I keep soup in the refrigerator most of the time.  It's made from all the vegetables I am able to get my hands on at the time.  Mostly it's that old cabbage soup recipe that went the weight-loss rounds some years ago.  Sometimes, if I have beans cooked, I will have a bowl of beans.  My system is accustomed to beans and cabbage and I don't experience the gas that some people do.  If you're one of those persons whose body is going to grip you around the belly and say, "What the HELL is THIS?????", you may need to build up slowly.  I also keep mixed salad greens, usually including kale, and shredded carrot in a plastic bowl with a lid that seals down tight.  I have some home-dehydrated cherries or cranberries that I might throw into the mix.  When I'm ready for salad I might add extra things to my individual bowl, like sunflower seeds, grated swiss cheese, sometimes a chopped hard-boiled egg, ....whatever.  So if I have soup for lunch, I have salad for supper, and vice-versa.  I don't do salad dressings.  It's the juice from half a fresh lemon and maybe a small squirt of olive oil.  If I'm hungry in between lunch and supper, I might have half a bun and smear on crunchy peanut butter.  Or more cottage cheese.  And I have unsalted almonds on the counter for if I just want a little something "on the go".  But I'm careful with these as I can get carried away with them.  Sometimes, if what Hubs is having is reasonably healthy, I'll have some of that for supper or as a leftover for lunch the day after.  It just all depends on what it is.  If I think I want to eat after supper, I'll have an apple.  Often I'll just decide to go upstairs and have my bath.  Hubs will go up with me and have his shower, and then we just lay in bed and watch TV.  The refrigerator is far enough away at that point that I don't hear if anything in it calls to me. 

Really, I try not to think too much about food.  Been there, done that, doesn't work for me.  I cannot tolerate my stomach chewing a hole anywhere, but beyond that, I try not to pay too much attention to it.  Eat to live, remember??  Some people don't want to eat the same things every day, but as long as it's something I like, I don't mind that, at least for awhile.  I can change it up any time I want to, and I do make modifications sometimes.  For awhile, I was having an egg, fried on a lightly-oiled cast-iron griddle, on half a bun with melted swiss cheese for breakfast and then fruit later on in the day instead of toast.  Sometimes the fruit that I have is different, depending on what's in season.  For awhile we had fresh strawberries and sometimes there are grapes.  I try to always have some type of melon or cucumber every day because it helps me with water retention.  And the banana is a good source of potassium.  Not so good for those who are easily constipated, though.  When the weather is hot, I might use that banana, blueberries if I have any, some dry milk powder and a little vanilla protein powder and some ice and make a smoothie in the blender.  The protein powder is artificially sweetened, so I don't use very much of it and sometimes not any.  Banana and blueberries have a lot of natural sweetness and I don't mind not having any additional sweetener.  At any point, if I just want a little pick-me-up, I'll make a cup of hot green tea and put a spoon of honey in it.  I buy honey every summer at our local farmer's market.  It's from TuckerBees in Kansas.  Near Niotaze, I think.

Well, this is just about all I can think of to say for this time.   Except..... (and you knew that was coming, right?)

I want you to remember, if you are carrying too many pounds, that you DESERVE to be the best YOU that you can be.  You DESERVE to feel good, and to be healthy.  You DESERVE to look your best, and to enjoy looking in the mirror.  You DESERVE to show those people who love to shame you how pounds can be lost, but stupidity and cruelty are forever with their host.  It sucks to be THEM, but it's THEIR problem.  God gave you your body, it is one of His true miracles.  He expects you to take care of it, and He knows joy when He sees you at your best.  Hugs xoxoxoxo

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Catch Up Time, Yet Again, Second Week of May

I am woefully behind on posts.  I keep thinking I should do a bunch of little short ones instead of these long things but I don't seem to be organized enough to do so. 

Hubs and I have been plugging along while I try to recover from shoulder surgery.  I'm making good progress but the doctor authorized another month of therapy and said he wanted me to be "good as new".  I like that orthopedic shoulder guy a lot better than I liked the orthopedic knee guy.  He is so kind and seems like he really cares about his patients.  I don't know much about the knee guy.  I never saw anybody but his PA except for the day of surgery, and I was out cold by the time he showed up.  I wouldn't know him if we passed on the street, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't recognize me, either.

I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying something political.  Sorry.

Hubs and I watch "The View" and yes, it is heavily Democrat slanted.  But hey.  Watch FOX news and you will find that they are so heavily slanted the other way and they are pretty darned petty and offensive about it with all this, "Democrats are just mad because they lost" chant.  That, to my mind, is like a married man that says, "My wife doesn't understand me".  It's a wide generalization and not true anyway, because the real truth is all so much more complicated than that.  If they so want Democrats to "get over it", they need to quit bringing it up and throwing it in our faces all the time.  Sheesh.

Up until this year, I have always voted for the "man" and not for the "party".  I personally haven't given a rat's ass what party anybody is registered as and I think too many people have a history of voting for someone just because it's showing solidarity along party lines.  That is just such a stupid thing to do.  We have not had time to feel the full force of the lack of wisdom in doing this but I believe that we will.  So far, several things have happened that make me feel like turning to certain people who voted for Trump and saying, "How do you like him NOW?"  But that would be rude.  Not that quite a few Republicans haven't been rude to me when they have found out I'm a Democrat, mind you.  If we are reduced to voting for someone ONLY because of their party, we might as well all stay home and let the election board just count how many people are registered for each party.  Botta bing.  We need voter reform soooooooo bad.  Personally, I'm considering changing my party from Democrat to Republican just so I can go to the primaries and vote against the most incompetent candidates from the git-go.  It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.  Lots of somebodies, apparently. 

But anyway.

They had senator Kirsten Gillibrand on The View on 5/8.  She is a Democrat and I really liked some of the things she said, they were just so common sense.  Just so ya know, when they brought her on, I thought she was a Republican.  One of her ideas was that medical insurance should be a not for profit institution so people could have affordable protection.  We all know it's because of their huge profit margins that they don't want to insure anybody that might actually submit a claim.  I'd go one further and say pharmaceuticals should also be not for profit.  Here's her website if you'd like to look around. 
https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

She seems to be a sharp young female attorney and you mark my words, we'll be asking her to run for president someday.   It both amazes me and annoys me that so many Americans are secretly (or not) afraid to have a woman president.   Mostly men, and same people that don't like to work for a female boss.  A woman was our FIRST boss -- our mother.  And that expression, "If you want a job done right, give it to a woman", is spot on.  Women get together, figure out what needs to be done, and do it.  Men get together, ideas are presented, then their egos get in the way and they all want their idea to be picked whether it's any good or not.  They start bullying each other, eventually it turns out to be the guy with the most political clout or the most money whose idea is picked and they're through early with no idea how to implement it because they want to stand around and stick their chests out and pat each other on the back in front of a TV camera. 

On this same program they also had information about a way that people can help teachers.  You know, this country's public school teachers are some of the lowest-paid people in our country.  And they pay for their supplies out of their own pockets.  Here's a website that helps teachers, and apparently it's up to all of us to help teachers because there isn't any part of government that's doing much of anything for them:
https://www.donorschoose.org/about

I know all this tax stuff is compartmentalized and complicated and I don't see how it needs to be, but I am just an old Redneck woman afterall.  Something feels terribly wrong in Oklahoma to me.  Our state governor is slapping new taxes on all sorts of things, cutting back on programs, laying people off, talking about shutting down state parks.  Meanwhile, the City of Tulsa is on the news really often because they are just spending money like it was Monopoly Money and they haven't got the sense not to brag about it.  I thought that play tower they imported from Germany for The Gathering Place was just outrageous considering all, they even used the same word but I guess they have a different dictionary than I do.  Here's a piece on it if you want to read it.
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/gatheringplace/towers-playground-equipment-making-journey-from-germany-for-a-gathering/article_6473adef-7f32-5721-98a9-f036a33f6d9b.html

I guess that's enough ranting for now.  I can't have you getting used to me not ranting, you know.

There is a bird that is commonly seen out here where we live that is called a "Killdeer".  Cornell Labs says its name has something to do with the sound of it's call, but I don't know that I hear that.  It sounds very much like a seagull, it's in the same family, I think.  Plover?  Hubs encounters them often when he's mowing The North Fourth.  They lay their eggs on the ground, right out in the open.
Not a wise choice, if you ask me.  Lots of things can happen to eggs on the ground.  But aren't they beautiful?

Mama is always very protective.  Hubs had me walk out with him because I had told him the next time there were eggs, I wanted to get a picture.  She was on the eggs as we walked out.  (Between the two trees near the bottom of the top half of the picture, the fleck of white is her head)

But as soon as she saw us approaching, she went into high gear.

She chose a spot some distance away from her eggs, threw herself on the ground, and made churring noises, trying to get us to see her.  She flopped around trying to make us think she was hurt.  When Hubs mows, if there are eggs on the ground the mother actually runs around frantically in front of the mower.  Once he knows where the eggs are, he's always careful to avoid them.  And her.


All this to protect her eggs.  Cardinals do this sort of thing, too, but it's the male that pretends he is hurt.  I guess that's because he is the one that's red and easier to see.  I am always so touched with sadness as I see how they struggle to protect their eggs and their young, and I think what a hostile environment it is, yet they persevere.

We have coyotes, possums and skunks out here.  And the neighbors' dogs roam free on everyone's open land.  All consider eggs to be a nice treat.  Right after I took these pictures, it rained and rained for days and days.  After the rains were over I went out to see if the eggs were still there and they were not.  I hope mother Killdeer was able to hatch her eggs and get her young to safety till they can be off on their own.

I'm not sure where the wild geese have their eggs, but this is hatching time for them, too.  It's always a treat to see them walking their young around.  Father goose is part of the procession, honking, flapping his wings while he walks, ever watchful, ready to throw himself into the face of danger, literally.  All the little hatchlings following behind, Mother goose bringing up the rear, to watch for stragglers.  Such a great distance they walk those little ones, from one pond to another.  Little short gosling legs must get so tired.

The smaller birds are collecting stuff for nests and laying eggs.  It's kind of a nuisance, sometimes, as they like to nest in inconvenient places.  They've clogged up the rain gutters such that Hubs is out today to do what he can to clear them out.  Clogged rain gutters overflow to the point where there isn't much point in having rain gutters at all.

Sue has a good post over on The Iowa Housewife (link on my sidebar) about making fruit crisps, and that reminded me of how my sister used to make what she called "Dump Cake", she'd put some kind of fresh fruit with a little sugar and maybe just enough water to moisten, if needed, or if she didn't have fresh fruit she'd use a can of pie filling, on the bottom of a greased baking dish, cut about half a stick of butter into a dry cake mix and scatter it on top of the fruit and then bake.  It gets all bubbly as it browns on the top and it's done when the top starts to brown.  I made one, just to make sure I was telling you right.  I used blackberries I found in the freezer, saved from last June's harvest.  Blackberry cobbler is comfort food for Hubs, so he will eat almost all of it, a piece or two every day.  I offered to freeze half of it and he said no.  No is his favorite word, by the way....

Turns out kind of rich and calorific, but if you make it in a 9x14 cake pan and serve pieces same size as if they were a regular cake, you're not getting many more calories than if you ate it as cake, when you consider that you would put frosting on a cake.  But then, if you're going to top this with whipped cream, or a dollop of vanilla ice cream, that would change things. 

I may have posted this recipe before, it's one my mother used to use a lot and I've used it quite a bit over the years.  It's very economical because it calls for canned fruit, and I have modified it so that fresh fruit can be used instead, if that's what you have.

Easy Peach Cobbler
This recipe can be made quickly with no fuss, from things kept on hand. I prefer about half as much margarine in the recipe, however, and I prefer to stir it into the batter before pouring it into a greased pan. Otherwise I would try to incorporate the melted butter from the edges towards the center, as it tends to collect on the edges.  This makes for really buttery outside pieces but the persons that get the center pieces miss out. This doesn’t seem like much flour for a 9x13 pan, but trust me, one cup is the correct amount.

To make low fat, add 1/2 tsp. salt to the batter and omit the stick of margarine. Coat the pan with cooking spray. It's not as good this way, but that's the way of it.

May substitute 4 cups fresh berries or other fresh fruit for the peaches, but in that case, melt 1/4 C. sugar in 1 C. water and pour over the top of the fruit, before sprinkling on the sugar and spice mixture.

Mix Together:
1 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1 T. baking powder
3/4 C. milk

Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine or butter in warmed 9”x13” cake pan. Pour batter over melted margarine. Arrange sliced peaches and juice from a 29 oz can or a quart, if home-canned, on top of batter.  (I hold a spoon above the batter and pour the juice into the spoon, that way it doesn't disturb the batter as much.)  Mix together 1/2 C. sugar and 1 T. flour (may add 1/2 t. cinnamon or nutmeg if desired) and sprinkle evenly over all. Bake at 350ยบ about 35 minutes or till brown. Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 or 9 servings and is best if served warm.

Sue also had a post with a casserole recipe on the blog, and included the link to a .pdf downloadable copy of an old Good Housekeeping Women's cookbook.  When I went there, I was delighted to find that this site has many other downloadable cookbooks.  My only problem is that I hate my current version of Acrobat Reader.  I was forced, some months ago, to upgrade the version that I had and the upgrade is just really crappy, if you ask me.  Or even if you don't.  I suppose they're thinking, "What do you expect for free", but it doesn't much make me want to buy any of their other products.  Anyway, here is that site:
http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/browse.html

Well, what with surgery and all I haven't been very good about being careful what I'm eating.  God blessed me with a lot of things that might be good in some other environment, but are not so wonderful in my current situation.  And one of those things is a good appetite and the ability to efficiently pack away part of everything I eat "for a rainy day", if you know what I mean.  Not that I'd need anything for a rainy day because being cooped up in the house all day makes me want to cook and then eat what I cooked.  Sheesh.

Dr. Oz has been presenting a plethora of weight loss plans and I guess it's good for us to be informed but he presented one method via Tim Tebow a few months ago that totally got me off track.  I've been kind of stalled out since then.  It was just stupid of me, I know what works for me, this ain't my first rodeo.  I like Dr. Oz and I think his heart is in the right place and he does have a show to put on five days a week so I get where he's coming from.  It's just that I find myself watching his show with the attitude of a critic.  And we all have to do this with most advice that is given us about a lot of things besides losing weight.  Some things that work for somebody else work for us, some don't.  I am, however, getting awfully annoyed at all those women he keeps introducing to us, who say they've lost a great many pounds, and all I see is that they're so poured into their clothes, my guess being that they're wearing one of those "Spanx" girdle things all the movie stars seem to be so taken with, because they look like they're very compressed, and it makes me wonder if we'd be able to tell any difference between their "now" as compared to a "before" picture without the Spanx.  I'm happy for anyone when they're able to lose weight they need to lose in order to be more healthy.  But just don't try to make it look more impressive than it is.  It's not fair to us, not fair to them, and damages your credibility. 

Something I found interesting, though, was a piece he did about cottage cheese.  I was surprised to see that there were some people in his audience who had never eaten cottage cheese.  It has earned kudos in the past for it's high protein content, and then other times it's been sort of "blacklisted" because of its high fat content.  But Dr. Oz was in favor of it and in fact they are now marketing a smooth cottage cheese that can be eaten instead of sour cream, cream cheese, and/or greek yogurt. 

My mother made cottage cheese when we still lived on The Farm.  I was just little, but I remember her putting a big ball of it in the center of a muslin tea towel and then hanging it on the clothesline by securing all the corners of the towel onto the line with several clothespins.  It would drip for several hours and the ducks would gather under it to eat the whey that dripped on the grass.  When it was done dripping, she brought it in and stirred cream into it.  Oh, that was good!  After we moved to town, we'd have to settle for store cottage cheese but she bought it often.  And when I was raising my kids, I would buy it to serve with things that I didn't think had much protein, such as pot pies or the canned ravioli that my kids were crazy about.

I bought a 24 oz container of large curd cottage cheese at Homeland and it was almost $4.  OMG.  Today Hubs informed me that one of the stores has it advertised for $1.99, so I will buy several.  I actually have enjoyed eating cottage cheese on toast before but I never tried blending it smooth, so I decided to give that a whing. 


Well, I'm not exactly fond of it on toast that way, because it just tastes too salty.  I did enjoy it on a baked potato with some chopped green onion.  I just didn't add salt to my potato to allow for the salt in the cheese.  Not sure if I could find a low-salt version or not.  I find a lot of things taste so salty that they aren't even fun to eat anymore.  I much prefer popcorn, popped in coconut oil, and then with regular salt, instead of potato chips or corn chips.  At least I can control the amount of salt in that, and it has the crunch I want.  Less fat.  Cheaper.  I kind of suspect I might have a little bit of an addiction to salty, crunchy things almost as big as my addiction to sugary things.  My doctor's PA was telling me the other day that his father has heart disease and has to be on a diet, and that they found that the only cheese that doesn't contain a lot of salt is swiss cheese.  Hmmmm.  That's good to know. 

There are a lot of things we can switch out for some of the less nutritious stuff we've learned to love, and sometimes this is a smart thing to do, sometimes it's just more work than it's worth.  You have to be the judge of that for yourself.  I read on someone's blog that doing stuff like this is "like having sex with your pants on".  I had actually never heard it put quite that way and I'm not sure it's a good analogy but oh, well, whatever.  Their point was that you need to retrain your palate to enjoy things that are good for you rather than trying to fool it into thinking it's getting pie.  And we need to learn to "eat to live" and not to "live to eat".  I hear what they're saying but we all have our weak moments when we just want a piece of pie and if we can't have it we will literally eat everything else in the refrigerator trying to satisfy the craving, know what I mean?  Anything that is made with artificial flavors and sweeteners just actually makes you crave again the next day, or maybe even as little as a few hours later, and that's a bunch of unhealthy chemicals you're putting into your body, so it's probably a better idea to nip it in the bud when it first rears it's ugly head rather than to just kick the can down the road.  And there's something to be said for retraining yourself and breaking certain habits you have.  Such as having to have a little something sweet after a meal.  Or eating in front of the TV after you've already had a meal, like between dinner and bedtime.  It's best to go through the discomfort of breaking those habits but if it is just impossible, you can do things like keep a bowl of unshelled sunflower seeds around.  The sunflower seed is good for you and it's not like you can grab a handful of them and pop them in your mouth.  It's still better to break the habit, as there's going to come a day when you are out of sunflower seeds and then you'll walk the floor, anyway, trying to stay out of the refrigerator.  So diversionary tactics are in order.  Get up off the couch and take a short walk.  Or phone a friend and have a short visit.  Or pick up some needlework or some kind or a crossword puzzle.  Sometimes even a jigsaw puzzle on a card table in the room will make a good diversion and you can still know what's happening on the TV.  They say if you can do something for 30 days you can create a habit or break one.

I think we also need to actively train our stomachs not to expect so much volume of food.  This is often referred to as "shrinking the stomach", and it's not so much that as it is figuring out at what point your stomach is going to stop growling at you, and stopping there.  I think this is why they sometimes recommend you have six small meals a day rather than three larger ones.  If you do this consistently, one day you'll notice that when somebody gives you a plate that's piled full, you just won't be able, or won't want, to eat the whole thing.  The adult stomach is only meant to hold approximately a quart. 

Our garden, such as it is, is drying out after getting too much rain.  We expect rain, possibly tonight, and then for three days and two more nights.  So I will try to get some transplanting done today.  I have a Maypop coming up where I don't want it, and not coming up where I DO.  That's Maypop for you.  I found some Lamb's Ear that I transplanted to a spot under one of the fruit trees because it was being walked on, where it was.  And I have several things growing in bunches because they were wintersown and I just took the whole thing out of the jug and popped it into a hole I made, since I knew I'd be out of commission when it was really a better time to transplant.  Some things died, some made it.  I have a good stand of Calendula Resina that I think will divide well for its transplant as it all looks healthy, just too crowded. 

I have planted beet seed twice and I just haven't seen much happening at all.  I can't imagine why.  The seed I used for the first planting was packed for last year, but I've had good results from seed planted before that was a lot older than that.  And the seed I planted most recently was packed for this year.   I haven't seen that it's made much of a difference.  There are pea pods on the spring peas, and the fava beans have been in bloom for what seems like forever with no beans formed yet.  Spinach bolted to seed before it even got very big.  I do have some nice little clumps of Buttercrunch lettuce out there, but I just saw another dang rat run across the patio last night and so far it's been able to eat the bait without tripping the trap.  If it makes it out to the garden, goodbye, lettuce.  I read somewhere if they're getting plenty to eat elsewhere, your trap will work better if you put a ball of cotton in it, as they will be looking for nest materials.  So I did that with one of the traps.  I saw the rat again this morning, it was checking out the compost bucket I'd set out there.

And though it isn't June yet, we are starting to get June Bugs banging themselves against things in the early morning if the patio light is on.  I get up early so I've been having my coffee out there and I pick them up and drop them into an empty milk jug.  The birds have gotten used to my putting grubworms out for them and they are pretty prompt at taking them.  But they weren't interested in the June Bugs I left for them yesterday.  So this morning I burned trash and threw the ones from yesterday and today in the fire.  I could take them to Brent and Rebecca, around the corner, for their chickens, but you know, sometimes things like this are just a burden for people to let you think you're doing something FOR them.

The onions are looking good and coming along.  I have one row of open-pollinated "Sweet Candy", and then all those hybrid Candy onions Paula sent me for my birthday (thanks again, Paula).  The garlic are putting on scapes and should be ready for harvest in early June.  These are from garlic sent to me by a man who frequented the same gardening forum I did, back when we lived at The Ponca House, and I have kept them going every year. 

The Albion strawberries I was so proud of have winterkilled, except for about three small clumps.  I hope those three will spread this summer and maybe I can learn a better method for helping them through next winter. 

Potatoes are blooming.  I'm growing some blue ones this year.  Also some Yukon Golds and some red-skinned ones, in addition to some tan-skinned potatoes from last year's garden and some big brown baking potatoes that came from the grocery store and sprouted in the bowl in the kitchen. 

Maybe next post I will have some garden pictures.  OMG the clover in the pathways is really growing, and blooming, and the bees are loving it.  But so are the weeds and I'm having a helluva time with that.  I don't think planting annual rye grass as living mulch was all that good an idea.  It's all starting to make seed now so I'll probably be fighting that for the rest of my life.  I had Hubs go out with the weed-wacker, finally, because I just couldn't get on top of it. 

Well, this is probably not a very good post, but it's the best I can do for now.  At least y'all know I'm still amongst the living.  Must get out there and get some things done.  Till next time....

Rock on.....  Hugs xoxoxo  (Hubs just yelled at me from outside!  Just now caught that dang rat!!)